Blacksburg, Va. — Here’s great news. There’s a flash flood warning in effect here until midnight, with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms at 7 p.m. (Kickoff is at 8, or whenever ESPN decides it’s good and ready.) We mention this because …
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech were set to play here on Aug. 27, 2000, which was so long ago that George Godsey was Tech’s quarterback and some guy named Vick was playing for the Hokies. The game never came off. A savage storm that Sunday night forced the game to be canceled, as opposed to postponed. In ESPN lore, the memory lingers because Lee Corso’s rental car was struck by lightning. (Without him inside, let’s stipulate.)
For more on the non-game, here’s esteemed colleagues Ken Sugiura’s recounting of it. But I’m not worried about a repeat of the washout, for these reasons:
1. The forecast — and I’ve been watching — has actually improved throughout the day, and as I type it’s only partly cloudy. (It was, I should note, a weird drive up from Greensboro. It poured in Winston-Salem and was so foggy at 2 p.m. in the Virginia mountains that it seemed like night. Then it got sunny.)
2. My rental car is so small — it’s a compact roughly the size of the water closet on an airplane — that I’m pretty sure any lightning would miss it.
As previously discussed, this seems the biggest game in what stands as a massive season for Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson. As previously mentioned, I like the Jackets to win. I have found absolutely no one else in the media who seconds that emotion, but I’m accustomed to that.
If it should rain hard and/or long, it could well hurt (Ga.) Tech and its pitch-it-around option game more, but those sorts of forecasts are problematic. (Va.) Tech figures to be the better passing team, so inclement weather could curtail the Hokies, too. And if the ball gets so slick nobody can hang on, there’s no real handicapping that.
I’ve liked (Ga.) Tech’s chances all summer because I think this looms as a bigger platform for the Jackets than for the Hokies. VPI, as we old folks used to call this school, is expected to win by a touchdown. VPI is ranked; GT is not. VPI has beaten GT four of the past five years. Give the hunger edge to the visitors.
But really, who knows? Georgia Tech could win, or it could lose, or the game could be rained out. Hey, it happened once.
And whatever happens tonight, I’d appreciate it if you’d hang around for all the fun and frolic. And I thank you, as ever, in advance.
By Mark Bradley