A little trivia test as one year ends and another begins
The Roth Report
January 6, 2003
By Bill Roth

Here's a list of 16 questions. With the 2002 season over, we're going to see if you've been paying attention.

1. What opposing quarterback toured Alcatraz with a crowd of Virginia Tech fans who were in San Francisco for the bowl game?
A) Troy Nunes, Syracuse
B) Dustin Long, Texas A&M
C) Matt Schaub, UVa
D) Byron Leftwich, Marshall

The answer is B. There were a bunch of maroon shirts and jackets being worn in line to take the boat to Alcatraz, but one person in line had an A&M shirt on his back. Turns out that Long, who made his first career start against the Hokies for Texas A&M in September, was in San Francisco for New Year's and - much like his experience this past fall - found himself surrounded by a swarm of Hokies. Long and the Aggies will be in Blacksburg for a Thursday night game this coming season, but expect the elusive Reggie McNeal to start at QB for new Aggie coach Dennis Franchione.

2. Name one person whom you won't see in Miami any time soon.
A) Jimmy Johnson
B) Madonna
C) Dave Barry
D) Terry Porter

If you weren't watching, it was D, Big 12 Field Judge Terry Porter, who threw his flag on the controversial pass interference penalty against Miami cornerback Glenn Sharpe. The call gave Ohio State new life and took away - from the 'Canes perspective - the national title. Don't expect Porter to be strolling down South Beach this winter.

3. Who correctly predicted, "on any given Wednesday, anything can happen?"
A) George Clooney
B) Garth Brooks
C) Steve Spurrier
D) Avon Cobourne

It was quotable West Virginia tailback Avon Cobourne, who predicted that his Mountaineers might indeed pull the upset of the Hokies at Lane Stadium during the week prior to the game. On any given Wednesday? That's a classic.

4. Who is Aaron Rouse and why should you know his name?
A) The star of MTV's Real World
B) Lead singer for the Counting Crows
C) A type of bird
D) Perhaps the next superstar on Virginia Tech's defense

Of all the freshmen who redshirted for the Hokies this past season, not one - including Marcus Vick - drew more positive comments from Tech's coaches than the 6-foot-4, 200-pound linebacker from Virginia Beach. While plenty of eyes will be on MV2 once spring practice begins, be sure to keep an eye on the kid wearing No. 36.

5. Who is the best tight end on the planet?
A) Jeremy Shockey
B) Bubba Franks
C) Kellen Winslow, Jr.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that all three played for Miami. Shockey and Franks are in the Pro Bowl ... and Winslow will be in a couple of years.

6. But, which BIG EAST school does not have a quarterback starting in the NFL?
A) Temple
B) Virginia Tech
C) Boston College
D) Miami

OK, so Henry Burris only started one game. But this Temple alum started the final week of the regular season, as did ex-Eagle Matt Hasselbeck. Of course, you know about Atlanta's Michael Vick. But with Vinny coming off the bench for the Jets, the NFL now has no ex-Canes starting at quarterback.

7. Virginia Tech's likely preseason ranking in the AP Poll before the 2003 season?
A) 20th
B) 15th
C) 10th
D) 5th

Go with answer C here. The Hokies, who should be better in '03, finished 18th in the AP poll this season. They'll start at No. 10, give or take two or three spots.

8. The most common national comment about the '03 Hokies will be:
A) Tech's schedule is soft
B) Tech's schedule is soft
C) Tech's schedule is soft
D) Tech's schedule is soft

Get used to it now and don't let it bother you. Just get ready. It's coming.

9. The most common topic of '03 Hokie Hotline callers will be:
A) End zone paint schemes
B) Concession prices
C) "Why can't I turn left out of lot 2?"
D) Why is our schedule so soft?

The correct answer, of course, is D. Jim Weaver, don't let it bother you. Just get ready. It's coming.

10. A debate you'd pay good money to see this spring?
A) Bud Selig vs. Pete Rose
B) Melissa Stark vs. Andy Rooney
C) Rich Rodriguez vs. Mike Tranghese
D) Bob Knight vs. Miles Brand

This is a tough one, no? I'm not sure you can believe Pete, Andy is clueless, and Coach Rod has some good points and it would be a lively debate. But I'm thinking I'd like to see Brand, new head of the NCAA and ex-honcho at Indiana, and Knight square off in some auditorium.

11. Which BIG EAST team will return the most starters for the 2003 season?
A) Miami
C) Rutgers
D) Tech

The answer here is D. The Hokies will return 17 starters, most in the conference. Since Ronyell Whitaker did not start the San Francisco Bowl game - that was Garnell Wilds on the field at cornerback to start the game - Tech returns 10 starters on defense, and seven on offense. The starters lost include Lee Suggs, Luke Owens, Anthony Davis, Shawn Witten, and Willie Pile. Rutgers, by the way, loses 11 seniors from its starting lineup. Ouch.

12. The latest words of wisdom from Charlottesville?
A) "Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every win."
B) "What is it men cannot be made to believe!"
C) "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
D) "The Hawk was flying today."

Three of those quotes are from Mr. Jefferson. One is from Mr. Groh. We're still not sure what the ╬Hawk' really is, but it was windy, that's for sure.

13. When was the last time the final AP college football poll did not include Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee or UCLA?
A) 1980
B) 1965
C) 1955
D) Never

The answer is D, although our staff got a headache researching the polls over the years. However, a look at the final 2002 poll shows 25 pretty good teams with nary a Gator, Husker, Vol or Bruin in sight. Tech, of course, finished 18th in that poll, marking the fifth consecutive season the Hokies finished ranked in that poll.

14. The BIG EAST's top sport is:
A) Football
B) Men's basketball
C) Men's soccer
D) Women's basketball

Well, yeah, four BIG EAST teams finished ranked in the football polls, which is half the league. But if you look closely, you'll see that three teams - Pittsburgh, UConn and Notre Dame - are ranked in the top six in both basketball polls. UConn has a great women's hoops team, too. But this week, ya gotta go with B.

15. The BIG EAST's top mid-season men's basketball player is:
A) Brandin Knight, Pittsburgh
B) Emeka Okafor, UConn
C) Darius Rice, Miami
D) Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse

You won't see him against the Hokies this season since the Orangemen and Tech will not play each other, but Anthony has a chance to become the first player in league history to be named freshman of the year and player of the year.

16. Who is Isaac Montgomery and why should you know his name?
A)Founder of Montgomery Ward stores
B) A U.N. arms inspector
C) Pit boss for Robert Pressley's NASCAR team
D) A 300-pound defensive tackle for Virginia Tech.

The answer, of course, is D. Montgomery transferred to Tech from North Carolina and sat out this season. Tech's defense, which finished sixth in the BIG EAST this season, could use some bulk up front. Will UNC's loss be Tech's gain?

Notre Dame TV impact nominal
Despite the fact Notre Dame was playing in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day, NBC's television ratings for the game were down from the past two years, which is surprising. This year's Notre Dame-N.C. State match-up had a 6.4 national rating and a 12 share and actually lost its time slot to ABC and the Capital One Bowl (Auburn-Penn State), which was played at the same time. By comparison, last year's Virginia Tech-Florida State Gator Bowl had a 6.8 national rating.

Why would the Gator Bowl's ratings drop 12 percent with Notre Dame participating? Perhaps since Tech and FSU played a high-scoring, close game that was decided in the fourth quarter, they were able to keep the national audience for the 2002 Gator Bowl. This year's game was out of hand, with N.C. State handing the Fighting Irish a lopsided loss. Of course in 2001, ratings-magnet Michael Vick was on the field for Tech in a game against Clemson.

The rating of a game measures the percent of all television homes in the country watching it. The share is the percent of televisions that are actually in use and which are tuned to the particular game.

  The Four Year Cycle  
Year Record Percentage
1987-1990 17-26-1 .409
1991-1994 24-21-1 .543
1995-1998 36-10 .783
1999-2002 40-10 .800

And now that he's completed 16 years as the Hokies' head coach, Frank Beamer's career can be conveniently divided into four, four-year segments. Not surprisingly, the Hokies' record has improved in each four-year cycle.

In 1987, Beamer inherited a team on NCAA probation and endured scholarship limitations. By 1991, the BIG EAST was formed and the Hokies starting winning some games.

From 1995-98, the Hokies won 78 percent of their games and played in the Sugar and Orange Bowls. And of course, the past four years have been the best in school history.

Now the question is can Tech win more than 80 percent of its games over the next four years? That's a hard call at this point. The team would need to average 10 wins per season from 2003-2006. But looking at Beamer's young talent, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Hokies' 2006 class match, or even top the mark of this year's seniors.

The Roth report appears weekly in hokiesports.com-the newspaper and is posted for the general public on hokiesports.com.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Virginia Tech Athletics Department, hokiesports.com, or it's advertisers.