Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
Hokies throttle Cavaliers to become bowl-eligible
An up and down regular season for Virginia Tech ended on a positive note on Saturday, as the Hokies routed rival Virginia in Charlottesville, 55-17.
Not only did Virginia Tech claim the Commonwealth Cup, but it improved to 6-6 and will now play in a bowl game in Brent Pry’s second year at the helm.
In a funny scene that had rivalry bantering all over it, the sprinklers came on at Scott Stadium as Virginia Tech players and coaches tried to take a picture with the trophy on the field after the game.
After drying off, Virginia Tech walked off the field knowing there will be another game this season, which will be announced on Sunday after the conference title games are complete.
Normally a 6-6 season isn’t something to feel good about, but after losing eight games last year and throwing young quarterback Kyron Drones into the fire in September, one can definitely argue that progress was made.
Given that, we want to hear your opinion. Was this a satisfactory year for the Hokies? Is the program headed in the right direction under Pry? Let us know below.
James Madison will go bowling after all
After twice being denied a special waiver by the NCAA to become eligible for a bowl game this year, James Madison will be playing in the postseason after all.
The Dukes finished the regular season at 11-1 with a 56-14 rout at Coastal Carolina, but weren’t expected to be bowl-eligible since they are in the second year of a two-year transition window going from an FCS program to an FBS one.
The transition window normally prohibits programs from competing in postseason play.
However, not enough teams reached the minimum six wins to qualify for a bowl game, meaning James Madison will compete in its first ever bowl game that will be announced Sunday.
Given the rapid ascension of the program that saw the Dukes enter the national rankings this year, it’s an appropriate reward and justice was served.
Expect heads to roll within the Commanders organization
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was the first from the Washington Commanders to lose his job last week, but don’t expect him to be the last.
Following an ugly 45-10 loss at Dallas on Thanksgiving that put the Commanders at 4-8 on the season, reports are already surfacing that head coach Ron Rivera will be next to get canned. With new ownership in place, the front office could also drastically be reorganized, or new people could be brought in altogether.
One thing for sure is that with five games left, the Commanders are already looking ahead to 2024.