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Vandy, Virginia Tech announce future home-and-home

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The mystery school has been identified.

Back in late October, Virginia Tech announced three future home-and-home series with SEC schools — Alabama in 2034 and 2035; Ole Miss in 2032 and 2037; and a school from the conference to be named later.  Tuesday, Tech and Vanderbilt confirmed that the latter is the unnamed school as both programs announced a future home-and-home in tandem press releases.

The Hokies will make the trek to Nashville on Aug. 31, 2024, with the Commodores heading north to Blacksburg on Aug. 30 the following season.

“We are excited about opening the 2024 and 2025 seasons against one of the nation’s leading programs for the last 25 years in Virginia Tech,” Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason said in a statement. “Those openers will be great opportunities for our football program.”

Tech and Vandy have played nine times previously, with the most recent coming in 1989.  The Hokies lead the all-time series at 6-3.

With the Tech series officially added, Vandy has been forced to adjust its future schedule.  From that school’s release:

To accommodate the Virginia Tech series, Vanderbilt has moved two games with Stanford originally scheduled in 2024-25 to Stanford, California, on Sept. 4, 2032, and Nashville on Sept. 3, 2033. The Commodores and Cardinal also have games scheduled Sept. 18, 2021, at Vanderbilt and Sept. 11, 2027, at Stanford.

Semi-finalists for Ray Guy Award announced, but missing last year’s winner

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Who is the best punter in the land? According to the Ray Guy Award, there are now 10 players left in the running for that title in the 2019 season.

This year’s semi-finalists for the Ray Guy Award are Oscar Bradburn (Virginia Tech), Joseph Charlton (South Carolina), Max Duffy (Kentucky), Tyson Dyer (New Mexico), Sterling Hofrichter (Syracuse), Adam Korsak (Rutgers), Dane Roy (Houston), Tommy Townsend (Florida), Michael Turk (Arizona State), Owen White (Navy).

Somehow, last year’s winner, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann, didn’t make the cut. Mann is third in the nation in punting average (48.21 yards per punt). Not exactly sure how that happened, but there will be a new Ray Guy Award winner this season as a result of this slip form the award’s committee.

AP Poll: Georgia moves past Alabama; Texas A&M, Virginia Tech join top 25

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Voters are still struggling with what to do with Alabama after Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury but it’s pretty clear that the immediate effect for the Tide is to drop behind their SEC rival Georgia in the polls.

After doing so in the Coaches Poll earlier Sunday, the new No. 4 Bulldogs flipped places with the No. 5 Crimson Tide, following the example set by the CFP Selection Committee last Tuesday as well.

Elsewhere in the poll, previously undefeated Baylor and Minnesota dropped several spots after taking their first L’s of the year. The Bears were only down one place however to No. 13 while the Gophers were punished a little harsher by moving from No. 7 to No. 11. That latter spot is, it should be noted, two places behind the team it just beat a week ago in No. 9 Penn State.

No. 17 Cincinnati remained the top Group of Five team in the poll but there was some movement at the bottom of the rankings following a number of losses in the 20-25 range. No. 23 Appalachian State returns to the rankings after thumping Georgia State while No. 24 Texas A&M and No. 25 Virginia Tech also earned an appearance.

The full AP Top 25 entering Week 13:

  1. LSU (54 first-place votes)
  2. Ohio State (5)
  3. Clemson (3)
  4. Georgia
  5. Alabama
  6. Oregon
  7. Utah
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Penn State
  10. Florida
  11. Minnesota
  12. Michigan
  13. Baylor
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Auburn
  17. Cincinnati
  18. Memphis
  19. Iowa
  20. Boise State
  21. SMU
  22. Oklahoma State
  23. Appalachian State
  24. Texas A&M
  25. Virginia Tech

No. 16 Notre Dame escapes Virginia Tech, but likely loses Robert Hainsey to fractured ankle

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The good news for Notre Dame: Trailing late in the fourth quarter against Virginia Tech, an 18-play, 87-yard drive was punctuated by an Ian Book seven-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left to lift the Fighting Irish to a 21-20 home win over upset-minded Virginia Tech.

The bad news: During the course of the win, the Irish likely lost a second long-time starter along its offensive line to a serious injury.

On the Irish’s second series of the game, starting right tackle Robert Hainsey went down with what looked to be a very significant injury to his left leg.  Hainsey left the field unable to put any weight on the leg but ultimately returned to the sidelines, albeit without his uniform (he was wearing street clothes, though).

Following the game, head coach Brian Kelly indicated that the initial prognosis is a fractured ankle for Hainsey.

Given the timing of the injury, it’s very likely the junior captain will miss the remainder of the season.  A more specific timeline should be available in the coming days.

Hainsey has started 22 straight games, including all nine this season.

The injury to Hainsey is the second significant one to the right side of the Irish’s offensive line.  In the loss to Michigan last weekend, starting right guard Tommy Kraemer went down with a sprained MCL that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.

Virginia Tech’s Norell Pollard popped for pot possession

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One of these days this won’t even be a story but, alas, we’re not there as a country quite yet so here we are.

According to the Roanoke Times, Virginia Tech’s Norell Pollard was issued a citation earlier this month for (gasp!) possession of marijuana.  The incident that led to the true freshman defensive tackle being cited took place on campus the night of Oct. 24.

Details of what led to Pollard’s citation being issued near, appropriately enough, the university’s Food Science and Technology Building weren’t divulged.

The Times writes that, per Tech’s student-athlete code of conduct, “[t]he sanctions for a misdemeanor charge range from a warning to probation to a suspension.” At this point, it’s unclear what if any action head coach Justin Fuente will take against the lineman.

Coming out of high school in Florida, Pollard was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2019 recruiting class.  In seven games (two starts), Pollard has been credited 16 tackles and three sacks.  The sacks are tied for second on the team.