Friday Q&A: May 18, 2012

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1: Why does VT schedule a short week after a big game? I know it is Austin Peay, but JMU was an easy win, too.  Football is not like other sports, the players need time to heal. It will probably work out, but why make games harder than they have to be? Respect every team you play and put yourself in the best position to win.

Chris Coleman: It’s simple.  Virginia Tech is trying to be a good ACC school and be a good TV partner for ESPN.  ESPN is paying the ACC a ton of money, and one thing that is written into the ACC contract is that they must play a Labor Day game each year.  As one of the most recognizable names in the league, it’s Virginia Tech’s responsibility to take on that challenge.

There’s a big difference between this year and Tech’s opening schedule in 2010.  In 2010, the Hokies had to travel to DC.  They got back early Tuesday morning, and basically couldn’t practice until Wednesday.  This year the game is at home, with no travel in between.  They will have a much more efficient week.  Second, James Madison was a much better football team than Austin Peay.  Much better.

Virginia Tech was originally scheduled to play East Carolina this year and next year, but they pushed those games back to make room for Alabama in 2013.  That opened up a spot for Austin Peay in 2012.  That opponent makes sense for the second week of the season.  They are not only a 1-AA opponent, but a very weak 1-AA opponent.

Virginia Tech is going to play Monday night games for ESPN, and maybe some Friday games in the future because of the new TV contract.  That’s just the way it is.  There’s too much TV money involved these days, and the ACC isn’t exactly in a position of strength.  If a 4-team playoff happens, and the ACC doesn’t have any teams in the top four, then they are going to start losing out on a lot of money.  That means they’ll have to look in other places for income.  If that means Virginia Tech playing on a Monday night for the good of the league, then so be it.

Also, you don’t want to use your bye week that early in the season.  The bye week needs to be in late October or early November, when your team starts playing Thursday night games or is perhaps a little banged up.  That’s when the bye week is most beneficial.  It gives your team a much-needed break from a grueling 12-game schedule.