Virginia Tech vs Boise State vs Officiating

As the resident Hokie, I suppose it’s my civic duty to review this game…I’ll try to keep it as unbiased as possible.

#5 Boise State-33, #6 Virginia Tech-30

First off, allow me to address the uniforms: they were hideous. Nike needs to be sued by a group of clothing designers or something. Boise’s jerseys were bad, but Tech looked like a team from some 13 year old’s poorly written fan fiction about “futureball,” a game that combines football with explosions and stripper cheerleaders. (Kinda like the XFL.) Both teams’ helmets were nice, though. But you’re not here for aesthetics, you’re here for analysis, especially since you already know who won the game.

Well, for once a big game lived up to the hype. Aside from the horrible, awful first quarter, this game was danged good. The first quarter, however, was an embarrassment to anyone who happens to root for the team from Blacksburg. Boise’s jump to a 17-0 lead owed much less to the Broncos’ skill, and much more to outright ineptitude from Virginia Tech. It should be obvious that the debacle of the first quarter factored into the decision, since Virginia Tech outscored Boise by 14 over the course of the rest of the game. I’m aware that it’s everyone’s first game, but Tech’s offensive line looked outright sad during the first quarter, and I’m not really sure they started getting better over the course of the game so much as Tyrod Taylor said “Alright, enough of this.” and put the game on his shoulders.

Boise, meanwhile, looked great when it came to shutting down Tech’s running attack. Mind you, they did so at the expense of the pass defense. Taylor’s not the best passer, but he threw for nearly 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sure, Kellen Moore had better numbers through the air, but he’s a passing quarterback. Tech’s defense, which was replacing 6 starters, didn’t have a shot at shutting down the Boise offense, but they did do OK until they gave up an absurdly long touchdown run in the 3rd quarter.

The salient feature of this game for me (and just about everyone else who willingly wears the clashing colors of maroon and orange) was the officiating. Specifically, the quality of the officiating, which was remarkably poor. Fortunately (I guess) the screwups were pretty much even. Boise State, for example, was called for “running into the kicker” in the 3rd. In all honesty, the Boise State player grazed Tech’s kicker and he (like many other kickers) treated the slight touch as though it were a gunshot wound. After the five yard penalty was marched off, Tech proceeded to throw a touchdown on the very next play. But the reason why Blacksburgians (Blacksburgites? Blacksburgers? There needs to be a dictionary for this crap.) are up in arms today is because of the final minute and a half of the game. On the kickoff there was an illegal block in the back. The flag was thrown, and the officials decided that there was no penalty. OK, fine. Debatable, but fine. Later in the drive, Virginia Tech was whistled for a personal foul on a late hit. This call was, simply put, bad. The lateness of the hit was debatable, but if the refs wanted to err on the side of caution, that’s OK. What is not OK is that, on Virginia Tech’s final possession, a similarly debatable pass interference call was ignored on 4th down. If you want to be a ticky-tack official who calls every little rule infraction, that’s fine, but call it both ways. The running into the kicker call and the late hit call were both bad calls, while the block in the back and the pass interference call were bad no-calls. Inconsistent officiating drives fans bonkers, and I am no exception. Or maybe I’m just not over this call. Either way, it doesn’t matter at this point; they’re not going to go back and replay the game just because the officials messed up.

In conclusion, now that they’ve beaten the Hokies, I sincerely hope that Boise runs the table and heads to the National Championship game. The chips need to fall right, though, because (as seen above) I choose to focus on the coaches poll, which currently places Boise at number 3. Considering the relative weakness of their schedule, they still need a miracle or two to make the National Title game. What they really need is for Virginia Tech and Oregon State to run the table after they play Boise, the better to make the Broncos look good. As it stands, though, Boise needs every major conference team to lose a game, because otherwise coaches will find an excuse to place any team above them, if only to preserve the BCS monopoly.

Well, that’s all. Personally, I think I did alright on avoiding the bias, but I’m curious to get your input. Comment away…