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The Bill For ACC Actions Taken In 2016 Has Now Come Due In 2023

You might be surprised to learn that I have in fact been wrong before. It tends to happen a lot, unfortunately.

But after seeing Brett McMurphy and Ross Dellenger’s reporting on dissension within the ACC’s member schools, I think I nailed this one squarely on the head — the ACC is sinking into the oceanic abyss of college athletics.

Dellenger, one of the most clued-in reporters in all of sports media, informed all of us on Monday that seven ACC schools — revealed by McMurphy to be Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech — have met with teams of lawyers multiple times in recent months, examining the ACC’s Grant of Rights deal, which extends through 2036.

I’m not the only one to have seen this iceberg coming from a mile away. Anyone paying attention sees what lay ahead— the ACC is falling further and further behind their conference colleagues and the Grant of Rights severely impacts the schools’ abilities to keep pace with their competitive counterparts.

Unsurprisingly, a four-hour meeting Monday between ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and ACC athletic directors ended in radio silence.

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It's Unusual, But James Johnson Hire For Football Could Work...

Facing an issue with the light switches in your house, you’re probably not going to call the poolboy.

In this world of specialization, each of us have different skill sets that we can offer others. I’m not going to walk into Tesla and tell Elon Musk how to make his cars more affordable, just like I wouldn’t expect Mr. Musk to tell me how to write a game recap on an 11 p.m. deadline.

But that doesn’t mean Mr. Musk couldn’t teach me a thing or three when it comes to time management, task organization and more. He’s a pretty smart guy, regardless of how you view him.

That’s the closest analogy I can think of when considering Virginia Tech’s hiring of James Johnson.

Mind you, this is 2023, not 2012. Almost 10 years ago, Whit Babcock and Virginia Tech dismissed Johnson as head basketball coach after an abysmal 22-41 record over two seasons. Johnson bounced back at Miami as the director of basketball operations and eventually as an assistant coach for NC State.

Johnson reportedly stepped down from his post in May 2022. Since then, it’s unclear what Johnson’s been doing in the professional world. One thing is for certain — I never expected him to return to Blacksburg.

Brent Pry’s decision to hire Johnson as the second Director of High School Relations turned more heads than a hire for such a position should. But Johnson, a basketball lifer, is now worried about a completely different sport. He’s a fish out of water.

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Spring Game Offense May Have Been Simple, But It Was Effective

After watching Grant Wells put together an impressive performance in Virginia Tech’s Spring Game, the obvious question was, “How did Grant do that?”

It’s a valid question, considering Wells’ lackluster 2022 campaign. But a quick look at the first drive shows that Wells’ improved look was in large part due to simplified throws to the perimeter.

Tyler Bowen’s Spring Game script started with two quick throws for Wells, the first of which was a pass to transfer running back Bhayshul Tuten.

Wells takes the snap and immediately throws to Tuten in the flat. Walk-on receiver Ayden Burkey successfully blocks Keonta Jenkins, leaving Tuten in a one-on-one matchup with Jaylen Jones. Tuten then shakes the former receiver for a solid gain.

On the very next play, Wells keeps the ball on a run-pass-option and throws to Burkey in the flat. This time, Tucker Holloway clears out Jenkins and Jones is forced to come from the safety spot to make the tackle.

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Grant Wells Looks Sharp In Virginia Tech's Spring Game

Hokie fans don’t expect much from their quarterbacks in Spring Games as it’s pretty rare we see one quarterback or another look sharp enough to confirm that he’s the leader in the clubhouse as QB1.

Grant Wells did just that Saturday, cementing himself as the favorite to start for Virginia Tech Week 1 against Old Dominion.

Behind solid protection up front, Wells displayed knowledge of the offense and poise that his closest competitor, Kyron Drones, did not. The returning starter from last year finished the day 12-for-18 for 148 passing yards and two touchdowns, one of which came through the air.

Wells did a little bit of everything. He moved his feet when needed, got the ball out quickly and spread it to the perimeter. Wells completed passes to seven different players, many of which went to running backs Chance Black and Bryce Duke.

He was “sacked” twice, albeit thanks to the quick whistle of Brent Pry. But all things considered, Wells seemed in command of the offense.

The same cannot be said for Drones, who was tagged for two interceptions. Neither fell entirely on his shoulders — his first came on a dropped pass to Ali Jennings that was thrown too late, and his second on a contested pass by Jalen Stroman.

Drones had some positive plays, particularly using the run-pass-option (RPO). He nailed two slants to Norfolk State transfer Da’Quan Felton, both of which went for sizable gains. But those were really the only highlights.

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Hit The Road, Dan, And Don't You Come Back No More, No More...

Around this time each spring, I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time exploring the upcoming crop of college football players headed to the NFL. I didn’t attack this task with the same rigor and detail as my friend and colleague Stephen Newman, but I loved forming my own opinions about who my beloved Washington Redskins should take in the NFL Draft.

Over the last decade, that energy diminished significantly, and the man responsible for ruining that enthusiasm and passion - owner Dan Snyder - has now also walked away from the Washington football franchise, albeit under different circumstances.

Snyder is leaving with billions of dollars, as an agreement in principle to sell the team carries a $6 billion price tag for the new ownership group, led by Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris. It’s unsurprisingly the most expensive NFL franchise sale in league history, and closes the book on a 23-year tenure noted as much for controversy than wins and loses.

But while Snyder’s reign over the Washington football fanbase is now over, the damage is done. And in some ways, the damage is permanent.

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Could This Finally Be The Year The Hokies Win A National Title?

The entirety of my sports fandom is steeped in one tried and true tradition — my favorite teams don’t win championships.

Whether it’s the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Redskins or the Detroit Pistons, my teams simply don’t win titles. The Orioles’ last title came in 1983, the Redskins in 1991 and the Pistons in 2004, before I began rooting for the big red and blue.

It’s the same issue with Virginia Tech. The Hokies have never won a team national championship, and the one time they came close I had yet to start grade school.

The Virginia Tech women’s basketball program carries a unique burden as they advance through the NCAA Tournament. They have the chance to lift the blanket of misery that I, and many others, have repeatedly found in the sports realm.

Let’s be honest with ourselves — Virginia Tech is a long way from the Final Four, let alone a championship game. Four-seed Tennessee might be the worst team remaining on the Hokies’ way to  Dallas, and a trip to the Lone Star State won’t be any easier. All this is why I’m trying not to get out over my skis, but it’s becoming harder and harder to not get my hopes up.

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Brooks & Co. Continue Gilded Age Of Virginia Tech Basketball

Don’t take this for granted. You are currently witnessing the Gilded Age of Virginia Tech basketball.

For the second time in two seasons, a Virginia Tech basketball team has earned the right to be called ACC Champions. Kenny Brooks and the women’s team ran the table in Greensboro this week, culminating in a 75-67 win over former ACC powerhouse Louisville.

Sunday’s win featured all of what makes this year’s women’s team elite. Georgia Amoore dropped 25 points, despite shooting just 6-18 from the field. ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley added another 20 points, while the Hokies’ collectively held the Cardinals to just 37.3 percent shooting.

The Hokies are flirting with a 1-seed in the coming NCAA Tournament, something this school has never experienced before.

But if you’ve been paying attention, there have been a lot of things happening in Blacksburg since 2015 that we haven't seen very often.

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Cautious Optimism Warranted Ahead Of Orioles' 2023 Season

Adley Rutschman

When the college football season ends in December and January, my inner sports fan struggles to keep up the enthusiasm.

The Detroit Pistons have been irrelevant for more than a decade and are not close to competing for a spot in the NBA playoffs. NASCAR is a fun sport to consume, but it’s not quite as enjoyable as it used to be when I was younger. And while I’m a huge baseball fan, my Baltimore Orioles have spent the last several seasons putting an embarrassing product on the beautiful diamond in Camden Yards.

Things changed in 2022.

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Pry Bets Big On Transfer Receivers As Hokies Begin Spring Practice

With one year under his belt, Brent Pry enters his second season as the head whistle in Blacksburg with plenty of pressure on his shoulders.

Eight losses and a bowl-less December later, there’s no doubt that the honeymoon period is over for Pry and his staff. Virginia Tech needs to generate some positive results in 2023, and that process began this winter.

Pry made a flurry of roster moves to try and fill holes on his roster that were already there, plus some extras that showed up after the season. He spent much of his time on one position in particular, but let’s take a holistic approach and examine each of the position groups on offense.

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For Virginia Tech Basketball, It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again

I swear that I’ve been here before. In fact, I know I have.

On Jan. 24 of last year, I penned a column booking the unofficial end of Virginia Tech’s basketball season. Virginia Tech had just lost to ACC doormat Boston College in the sleepy confines of Chestnut Hill and at 10-8 overall with just two ACC wins, the Hokies were dead in the water.

We know how that turned out.

But now that Virginia Tech is in a similar situation, do I feel differently about the Hokies’ ability to get this thing turned around?

Sadly, I do not.

The Hokies’ maddening defeat to Boston College — why is it always these guys? — on Wednesday night came at a crushing time. Fresh off an upset win over the top-10 Cavaliers, Virginia Tech should’ve rolled back into Cassell Coliseum and blown the doors off a Golden Eagles’ team that is still below .500 on the season.

Instead, Virginia Tech shot just 41.9 percent from the floor, 31.3 percent from behind the arc and missed seven free throws. Tech’s defense was just as subpar, as Boston College shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and made half of their three-pointers.

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It IS A Problem, Right?

Imagine being a sportswriter at Monday night’s National Championship, struggling to come up with a unique angle to Georgia’s dismantling of Texas Christian in front of a national audience.

There’s really only one angle, and that’s Georgia is now the premier college football program in the country? Right?

I’m not here to argue that point, but what I took away Monday night is just how wide the talent gap is between the haves and the have-nots. In case it wasn’t clear to us before, it should be clear now — nobody beats the top programs in the country except for themselves.

Immediately after kickoff on Monday night, Texas Christian looked outmatched. The Horned Frogs were too slow, too weak and not talented enough. Georgia was too much for them in every phase of the game.

And that’s frustrating, because Texas Christian carried more than the Hypnotoad banner into that game. They were representing the little guy.

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