2006-01-06

Vickhead!


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OK, Marcus Vick's shameful behavior has been hashed over ad nauseum this week. To be fair, Vick claims it was an accident (despite the fact that he appeared to pause and survey the situation before committing this accident). Poor guy is very accident-prone. Earlier this year he accidentally flipped off the West Virginia fans. Then there was the time he accidentally gave alcohol to underage girls, not to mention the fact that he was accidentally partying with that same jail bait. And then there was the time he accidentally had marijuana in his trunk ...

Thing is, had Vick not taken his own game to a new "high," we'd be talking about Virginia Tech as a whole being in punk mode for the Gator Bowl. 1 ejection and 5 personal fouls in the first half! Unfortunately, this isn't surprising. Va Tech is to college football what Cincinnati is to NCAA hoops. People talk about Frank Beamer putting the Hokies on the map the same way they talk about what Bob Huggins did for Cincy basketball. But when you hear these things the roster of thugs who have inhabited those programs rolls through the back of your mind and you just wonder ... how far over the line did they step? ... how much of their soul did they sell?

Not that these would be the only programs playing dirty. Far from it. But when a team's rise from obscurity to national power coincides with the tenure of a coach who seems unwilling to address anything but winning the game, its hard to join in the celebration.

Of course we can go one level higher and blame the system. Where did the younger Vick's sense of entitlement come from? Well, for one thing he was being hailed as the Hokies' next savior two years before he even arrived in Blacksburg! Pity his high school teachers.

So, Va Tech is on the clock. Frank Beamer has already expressed a desire to remember the second half of the Gator Bowl and forget the first half. Of course - cherish the victory, screw the cost. But what happens between now and the opening kickoff next fall will show us Va Tech's soul. The fact that Vick was even playing this year was called a "last chance" by the school back in September. So what now?

Vick isn't ready to declare for the NFL draft. On the field he looked no better than average anytime he faced a defense with even a smidgen of team speed. Throw in the character questions and he's not a hot commodity. A lot of NFL teams would probably be willing to take a chance on the guy, but not with a break the bank level pick, something that Vick seems to think he deserves. Besides, he's got Leinart and probably Young in line ahead of him at QB.

The guy had the potential to cash in big on his name alone, but he's frittering away the opportunity. And with big brother Michael having completed yet another year in which he electrified without accomplishing anything the window is closing fast on brand Vick.

My guess is that, left to their own devices, Va Tech would go the easy route - make a big production out of suspending Vick for a game that the Hokies will be able to win without him. But that might invite the ACC or NCAA to step in and give the remedy some teeth.

We'll see what happens. So far, a lot of anger and disgust from the quarterbacks coach, and the governor and the fans, etc., etc. Pretty much everyone in Virginia except Frank Beamer.

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