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Smitty's Hurricane Thursday: Week 2


Salute to you, sir. Welcome back to the home of unexplainable injuries, sending golf balls like heat seeking missiles at street lights with water balloon launchers, and that moment in the morning and you're very afraid to check your recent calls and text messages after those Mind Erasers. Last Thursday was filled with homework, so most of the inspiration was through the stupor that was the trip to downtown Frederick and FedEx Field. Honestly though, Olde Towne Tavern is exactly what it's Facebook cover photo deems it to be.

I digress. It is quite surprising the topics I'm willing to go into detail with strangers from Frederick whilst putting back a draft. These topics include our special teams, kick off times, and ESPN personalities. Most of this very well could be knee-jerk stuff, but that's the point. Let's make some blanket statements and see how we do, shall we? So strap in and prepare for dive....

1. Kicking Game is WVU's Biggest Concern

Why does it feel like our special teams, year in and year out, is a liability? For years, we all know who the scapegoat was, but I'd be willing to say that one is out of bounds. So far, we've had a missed PAT and a shanked punt for 24 yards. Meanwhile, the JMU punter was doing an excellent job of providing just enough hang-time for Tavon to call fair catch every damn time. I understand that we are only two game into the schedule, but getting out-dueled kicking wise by Jimmy Madison is something I don't need in my life. Bitancurt was tied for 66th last year in field goal percentage (which looks worse than it is because there were about 13 guys who had less than 10 attempts) and Corey Smith was around the 100s in punt yard average (no excuse.) Yes, I understand kicking/punting stats aren't exactly the coolest thing to talk about, but it says that our kicking games are average at best across the board. If we're looking to make a run here, this seriously needs to pick up. I will give credit where credit is due: Bitancurt beat Pitt in 2010 and USF last year clinching the Big East Championship. Corey Smith hasn't forced Molinari to come on (yet) so that's cool, (I guess?) and he's been doing a pretty damn good job of aiming for the goal line on kickoffs. Either way, if something else derp happens, I will proclaim that we only recruit kicking specialists from Plum, PA and Australia.

2. Noon Kickoffs are the Work of Satan

When I found out Baylor was a noon kickoff, my Facebook status involved cursing and Professor Farnsworth. If Aleister Crowley would have been as into football as he was chess, the man would have found a kicker and made him spank one off the orange tee right before sacrificing a goat. As a student, noon kickoffs force you to have a decently tame Friday night or have to seriously rally the next day. With that, if one decides to have a good night's sleep, you must set that alarm for a time that is probably earlier than your classes (that you actually attend.) On top all of that, the gates open 90 minutes before kickoff. This means, if you have a tradition in sitting standing in the front of Section 206 on the 50, you must abandon your tailgate before Corso curses on national television. Blasphemy. If you are one to commute from a while away the morning of, this forces you to leave the house before the sun comes up to get make it to Tudor's before it feels like lunch. Double blasphemy. Even bros outside Motown are feeling the pain.

Before you go and tell me that it's all business/television/$$$, I'm completely aware of how the sport works. I'm also aware that we should be thankful to be on national television what seems to be a healthy amount rather than have your boys at ESPN Plus, a televising status that is the equivalent to Google+.


image via

Yet, the JMU game was a perfect example of why afternoon kickoffs are superior. Got rowdy Friday night, woke up around 8am and had a few soldiers of Frederick Friday evacuate their stomachs just in time for bagels and some Gatorade. Ended up getting to DC at 12:30 as they opened parking and, there you have it, right back to getting rowdy with flip cup and brews. I thought Big XII would mean only non-conference noon kickoffs but.... guess not.

3. Mancrush-O-Meter: Dari Nowkhah isn't Quite SVP-status, But He's Trying

Yes, even with this being Maryland Week, I'm featuring Scott Van Pelt on Hurricane Thursday. Why? Because regardless of whatever flavor of the month ESPN decides to dedicate a show, the Scott Van Pelt show featuring Ryen Russillo is easily the best thing that comes out of Bristol on a daily basis. I started listening to the podcasts when it was Tirico and Van Pelt before Tirico went to Monday Night Football. It's a show that prides itself on not being knee-jerk and some sanity is certainly needed on that network along with some absolutely golden stories about Russillo's association with tequila and his final class at Vermont. However, this isn't about Russillo's unreal stories, this is about my boy the Scott Van Melt. The dude is the king of SportsCenter commercials including, my personal favorite, telling Simon Gagne what's up. From Lil Help to Rappin' Duke to Dos Lobos, I'm an SVP fanatic.

However, Dari Nowkhah is making a strong case. First heard him a few years ago when it was covering the 1PM time slot on ESPN Radio for the SVP crew. He spoke of how the WVU players had all the talent in the world, but Stew simply didn't have control of the team going into the bowl game against NC State. Nail on the head and impressive especially from an OU grad that had no reason to pay attention to happenings in Morgantown at the time. Years later, he's continued to be a WVU band-wagoner while being featured on this site for picking WVU as the top team in the nation. Along with being a host on CFB Daily and interviewing Geno Smith yesterday, he also had a podcast with the infamous Mel Kiper, Jr. that doesn't suck. The quickest way to get to my mancrush heart is to speak strongly about WVU having a real chance at the crystal football and Dari seems to be hitting on me stronger than Plaschke at this point. Who knows, maybe I'll hop onto this #DariOnCampus deal.