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College Football Corner: Virginia and Virginia Tech return in fine fashion

College football is not a world without stereotypes.

There’s the image of the SEC being better than all of the other leagues combined even though they rarely play non-conference road games west of the Mississippi or north of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers.

There’s the theory that 50 years after schools like Texas and Oklahoma dominated thanks to the triple-option wishbone, it’s now the defense that’s optional in the Big 12.

There have even been those who buy into the myth that Virginia games are populated by “Kippy & Buffy” with their popped collars and sundresses (some may even have wine and cheese lists dedicated to that myth). Meanwhile Virginia Tech fans are a little more “down to earth” — or at least a little more down to eating that smoked turkey leg at Lane Stadium.

Saturday’s action saw plenty of thrills and chills in the SEC and Big 12, with one notable spill in each conference.

Defending National Champion LSU learned that losing 17 starters is not ideal (although they did return their placekicker and punter/holder) and Mike Leach is working with a microwave instead of a slow-cooker at Mississippi State: The Bulldogs’ 44-34 win in Baton Rouge was the school’s third in the series this century. It also saw K.J. Costello throw for 623 (?!) yards.

The rest of the SEC is now on notice: Air Raid is already operational in Starkville.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 continues to live down to expectations as its best two schools’ D earned just that.

No. 3 Oklahoma blew a 35-14 second half lead in their 38-35 loss to Kansas State.

No. 8 Texas almost fell on the road to Texas Tech before prevailing 63-56 in overtime. A bit of the shine that usually accompanies the Longhorns’ annual October showdown with the Sooners is gone and once again the Big 12’s loss is the SEC’s gain.

Virginia (1-0) began the 2020 season with a 38-20 win over Duke. The defense stepped up in the second half with three interceptions, a fumble recovery, and holding on fourth down on the Blue Devils’ final five possessions.

Next: Saturday night at 8 p.m. against No. 1 Clemson. I’ll talk this up as a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship Game.

No. 20 Virginia Tech (1-0) scored on its first three possessions en route to a 45-24 victory over N.C. State.

They did so minus starting quarterback Hendon Hooker and 22 other players who were sitting out due to testing positive for COVID-19, and that didn’t include new Defensive Coordinator Justin Hamilton who was also infected. One can only imagine how they’ll navigate the next few weeks of their season; they’re playing every Saturday until Thanksgiving week.

Next: Saturday at 4 p.m. on the road at Duke (0-3).

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