This is a pop culture look at the FedEx Orange Bowl. Bleacher Report media darling Michael J. is watching the game alongside me and is helping with the brainstorm here. Anything funny within can be credited to him, it certainly wasn’t me.
We need to start it off with a little American History X:
“Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them, and go out strong.”
I’ve chosen to steal my quote from not only American History X, but Kanye West’s “Good Life” as well:
“If they hate, then let ‘em hate and watch the money pile up.”
Can any quote better sum up this game? For the last three weeks, everyone has been destroying Virginia Tech and Cincinnati because neither really deserves to be playing in a BCS Bowl.
What do they care? What do the conferences care? They’re getting PAID!
Onto the game, we’ve heard a whole lot about Cincinnati’s offense, the Hokies’ lack of offense, and both teams’ defense. This brings me to Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film, The Prestige.
“The magician shows you something ordinary: A deck of cards, a bird, or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course...it probably isn't.”
Was this exceptional defense we saw in the first half? Absolutely not. It was really just an offensive deficiency. There were two fumbles (neither lost) and two interceptions (almost three).
Kam Chancellor and Macho Harris were doing what they can, but the Hokies don’t really need a proficient secondary playing in the ACC—nobody throws the ball this much!
Cinci’s first drive reminded Michael J. of a scene from Dodgeball when Kate Veatch is the only member of Average Joe’s left, but turns out to have a gun for an arm:
“Hold the phone, she’s got a cannon!”
We’ve all read the stats and we get it, he throws the hell out of the ball. But WOW! I didn’t expect him to be so effective against the Hokies’ D.
“Bobby Fischer, where is he? Where is he? I don’t know! I don’t know!” – Spartan Cheerleaders, Saturday Night Live.
Let’s replace “Bobby Fischer” with “Greg Boone.” Have we not noticed how soft Cinci’s defense was? Greg Boone is a 280-pound back who can also take snaps.
Tyrod Taylor and Evans led the Virginia Tech rushing attack, and whether it was due to the strength of the VT offensive line, the weakness of the Cinci defensive line, or the timid nature of Bearcats’ defenders, they just weren’t making the tackles.
How are they going to tackle Boone? Put him in!
Speaking of Tyrod Taylor, it’s certain Cincinnati hadn’t seen anything like him before:
“Brought a secret weapon. It’s gonna make us look extra cool on TV.” – Semi-Pro
Did you see Taylor’s 17-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter? If we were counting for real, it would have been about a 35-yard run.
Cincinnati's rushing was non-existent. When they ran the ball, I found myself saying “why are you doing that?” When they heeded my advice and went to the pass, I found myself screaming “GO BACK TO THE RUN!”
We’re at a loss for a pop-culture reference for this one, so Michael J. has offered his own quip:
“Even the Detroit Lions would hold Cinci under 100 yards rushing.”
Furthermore “What do you think they’re talking about in the huddle? ‘What’s our least effective play?’”
Okay, enough bashing Cincinnati. Michael J. has some words for Macho Harris, who is sporting a nice new hairstyle tonight.
“This game isn’t fair. Why does Virginia Tech get to have Troy Polamalu on their team?”
Back to the Bearcats for a second: They had a first-and-goal from the four-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. As a Hokies fan, I knew Cinci wouldn’t run the ball, but you can’t throw it four times, can you?
First and goal: Incomplete pass.
Second and goal: Incomplete pass.
Third and goal: Two-yard run.
Fourth and goal: Stuffed.
Michael J.: “They must have gone back into the huddle.”
With about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Virginia Tech regained possession after the aforementioned goal line stand. They go three-and-out, or do they? On the punt, Cincinnati commits ANOTHER penalty—running into the kicker.
Michael J. hits us again with a Seinfeld reference when George Costanza is fired from his job when he is caught having sex with a cleaning lady:
“Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?”
The fourth pick of the game all but ends it. Five straight years of 10 or more victories. USC and Texas are the only other teams to do it.
They may not play in as competitive of conferences, but you can’t deny Frank Beamer, Bud Foster, and company know what they’re doing.
Congratulations to my Hokies for an Orange Bowl victory. Watch out, Frank, here comes the Gatorade cooler.
“At least he’s not getting an elbow to the face this time.” - Michael J.