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ESPN keeps labelling the upcoming East Carolina/Virginia Tech game this weekend a “trap game”.

Bullshit.

How can a team you’ve played and fought — tooth and nails — almost annually for the past 20 years represent the opponent in a “trap game”?

The Hokies know what to expect; these games, for them, are always tough. Home or away, it doesn’t matter. ECU is a constant formidable foe.

I reckon Bud Foster will shock everybody with his defensive scheme again. I think he’ll rush three and drop eight into coverage, with little or no blitzing. Remember, the ECU quarterback gets rid of the ball quickly. Bud will allow some short completions with the idea of stopping the receiver with a short gain. Good tackling will be at a premium. Even with only three rushing, Dadi Nicolas might apply some pressure on occasion.

I hope the Hokies will establish the run early and often in this one — Marshawn Williams’ 2.5 ypc should augment.

This feels like a constant theme on my blog.

Because it is.

The St. Louis Rams’ defense sure likes to talk a lot for a group of 11 men that seems to have developed amnesia over how to tackle the opposition.

The offense is anemic. And pathetic. Not to mention they were down to their third string, practice squad quarterback in Austin Davis after Shaun Hill went down.

As of right now, a little past 5 in the evening, I’m up in my fantasy league matchup, so all is good in the pro football world. Also, the Miami Dolphins spanked the New England Patriots 33-20. I can’t complain too much. I should be used to the Rams disappointing me.

I struggled to write a more compelling title, so fuck it, I settled with the straightforward message of what happened.

Holly Rowe was reporting from the sidelines in Columbus, Ohio at “The Shoe” for the Ohio State/Virginia Tech game last night, and she said that the 107,000 people in the crowd was the largest crowd in the history of Ohio State football.

And the Buckeyes fell 35-21, losing their home opener for the first time since 1978.

But I’m a Virginia Tech Hokies guy, through and through, and I don’t give a shit about the Buckeyes’ plight. I’m overjoyed and naturally take pride in the fact that the Hokies walked into the Buckeyes’ home, in front of LeBron James and Orlando Pace, and sacked freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett seven times.

hokies

Before I continue, I will give Ohio State some props (why not?): Barrett played well, and I reckon he has a bright future. He threw some passes that were on the money that I rarely saw from Braxton Miller. Ohio State’s defense is pretty formidable. Their offensive line was vulnerable late, which allowed Bud Foster’s defensive cronies to go in on Barrett like sharks after blood (I love shitty cliches).

But I’m so goddamn proud of the Hokies.

I guess I never truly appreciated past quarterbacks like Bryan Randall and Tyrod Taylor until the Logan Thomas regime. I never was a fan of Thomas — he was an emotionless tight end playing an uninspiring, insipid quarterback. I have no idea how he’s on an NFL roster. Not a ‘detractor’ — just a realist.

Now at the helm for Virginia Tech is Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer.

Vanilla Vick!

And despite his three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) last night, he has already proved himself to be the antithesis of Logan Thomas — he’s passionate, uber competitive and harbors a healthy dose of toughness and heart.

michaelbrewer

Oh, and he has a specific skill that involves putting the ball on the money to receivers. Last night, he did things Logan Thomas only could’ve dreamed of: on 3rd and long, on the Hokies’ own 5, he converted. Another touch-loft pass in a different drive to the fullback showed off more of his precision.

I’ve had a bitter taste in my mouth over the years, from losses to LSU, Alabama and, in 2010, Boise fucking State, so last night felt like a long time coming.

Now if only my favorite worthless pro football franchise could, y’know, piece together a winning season for the first time since 2003.

Usually, the idea of playing fantasy football makes me want to shotgun a 1 liter bottle of Skyy Vodka.

How can something that appears to be so innocuous induce such an effect on yours truly?

Because I’m competitive as hell, and the shtick of fantasy football virtually guarantees that you are going to be rooting against your favorite team(s) in some form or fashion.

After avoiding the fantasy football abyss, having not played in a league since 2005, some of my friends coaxed me into signing up to join a league with them, and now that I have, shotgunning that aforementioned bottle of Skyy Vodka is looking like an inevitable prospect at some point.

This weekend, I’m starting Shane Vereen and the New England Patriots’ defense. They are playing the Miami Dolphins. I, of course, in my heart, want the Dolphins to beat the absolute hell out of the Patsies, but because I’m in the throes of competition, my testosterone-fueled desire to decisively dominate the competition is too strong, and thus my hopes for Vereen to run all over the Phins and for the Pats’ D to lock Ryan Tannehill and Co. down are trumping the former.

My opponent? He wields Adrian Peterson… and the St. Louis Rams’ defense.

Holy shit.

That’s a lose-lose situation for yours truly. My opponent is notching some points regardless.

Damn you, friends for coercing me into playing this shit.

Damn you, fantasy football for putting a fan into this quagmire of pigskin misfortunes.

I haven’t witnessed as much on ESPN, but on the official St. Louis Rams facebook page, there are quite a few people vociferating their disappointment of the St. Louis Rams not keeping Michael Sam.

From the looks of things, I’m not even sure these people are St. Louis Rams fans, even if their display pictures might feature a Rams logo or something Rams related.

For that matter, I don’t even know if they are actual football fans.

Anybody who keeps up with the NFL (ubiquitously and not just their own ‘team’) knows that the Rams are absolutely loaded at defensive end. They are stacked, and at the forefront of it all features the best defensive end in the league (Robert Quinn).

Michael Sam had one game in the preseason where he stood out, and that was when he sacked Johnny Manziel twice. Outside of that, Ethan Westbrooks — who beat Sam out for a roster spot — impressed more.

A lot of the same people I generally referred to above want to point out that 2-sack/Johnny Football game, but they fail to realize that Sam beat out the third string offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns.

I wish Sam the best in the NFL. I was almost ready to cringe when the Rams released him, because I fully expected an onslaught of ignorant comments being made by outraged, non-football-watching members of the LGBT community, but fortunately that hasn’t been as much of the case (from what I’ve noticed, anyway — I try to stear clear of most comment sections on public internet forums that allow anybody and everybody to write as much stupid, uninformed shit as they please).

I’m positive he’ll find a franchise that’ll give him an opportunity. Maybe the Dallas Cowboys will holler at him, considering their defensive deficiencies.

The TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao rematch, in Sacramento, California (where the Team Alpha Male — the fight camp Dillashaw is a part of — hails) isn’t going to happen tonight.

Before the weigh-ins yesterday, Barao passed out.

Dillashaw will still be fighting, though, and in Barao’s place is Joe Soto, who’s never fought in the UFC but is a former Bellator Bantamweight champion and is on a six fight win streak. I don’t know much about Soto other than that, so I won’t even attempt to write a prediction post for tonight’s event.

This year, the UFC’s witnessed various promising fight cards be ixnayed for either injuries or guys being removed from cards for artificially elevated hormonal levels. UFC 175 was originally supposed to feature Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort; UFC 176 was cancelled because Jose Aldo got hurt; UFC 177 was going to feature Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson before that fight was moved to 178 (more on that in a moment) and then was going to feature what was aforementioned; UFC 178’s Jones/Gus fight was tossed aside once Gus got injured before Daniel Cormier stepped in to challenge Jones only for Jones to experience an injury that will push that fight back until January, which now renders that card into featuring the flyweight title being on the line.

As a fan, I’m hoping for the best for the events later this year, but I sure as hell am not going to hold my breath in anticipation.

In the 1999 NFL season, a quarterback who’d never been “the man” finally got a shot to be a full time starter. In the next four seasons, he put up gaudy numbers and led his team to winning records.

And, no, people, I’m not talking about Kurt Warner.

I’m referencing Rich Gannon.

Gannon, like Shaun Hill, was a journeyman who got a chance to be a full-time starter at the age of 34. In his first year, he led the Raiders to an 8-8 record while posting very respectable numbers (24 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 3,840 yards, 86.5 passer rating). In the three years that followed, he led the Raiders to a 33-15 record, including 3 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl visit, as well as an MVP award.

So, yeah… there’s such a thing as a “late bloomer” at quarterback..

Let’s all get behind Shaun “Not Quite Over The” Hill.

By the way, you can’t say that Hill got his shot during his time with the 49ers, because that franchise was experiencing locker room fallout and chaos within the coaching staff back then. The Rams have a respectable foundation on the leadership front and are a team built to win tough games.

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