Mailbag: November 1, 2017

Welcome to the return of the Mailbag, presented by CMG Leasing.  Each week, we'll answer your questions about sports, culture, food, politics, music, and offer Game 7 World Series predictions: (Dodgers get 'em tonight).

Thanks to CMG for sponsoring the Mailbag, which was always one of the most popular items in the original Roth Report.

Click on the CMG logo to learn more about their rental apartments, townhouses, homes, condos, lofts, and other living options throughout Virginia. CMG has seven leasing offices near both the Virginia Tech and Radford University campuses.

Dear Bill,

If you woke up one day and found out that you were Virginia Tech's AD, what would your top 5 priorities be? Steve Sansone


Well Steve, I forwarded your e-mail to Tech AD Whit Babcock and we shared a good laugh.  Honestly? If I woke up one morning and found out I was the AD … I’d probably just go back to bed.   

Being an AD today is a tough gig. It's all about finding new revenue streams and increasing the ones a department currently has in place. Every AD has a vital role in dealing with donors and corporate partners and helping raise millions of dollars.  Not to cop-out on your question, but I’d probably be doing many of the things this current administration is actually doing right now.  But for fun, I’ll answer anyway:

1.  Monetize Cassell Coliseum.  In some ways, Cassell is one of the best venues in the ACC, but in other ways, it’s the worst. With no club seats, luxury suites, meeting room space, or convention center areas, it can’t keep up with peer facilities in terms of being a revenue producer. It might be a great basketball venue 15 times per year, but for the other 350 days, it’s a big ole building that takes up a lot of space in a prime spot on Virginia Tech’s campus. Right now, Cassell’s revenue stream is ticket sales and signage.  It’s not fair to fans to dramatically raise ticket prices over the next 10-20 years.  It needs to become a multi-purpose convocation/multi-use facility.  Time for a massive renovation, or blow it up.

2.Keep pushing the “Drive for 25.”   In the last six years, Virginia Tech’s scholarship bill for athletics has gone from $9 million to roughly $15.9 million. That’s a 75-percent jump since 2011.  While it might not jump at that rate over the next six years, costs are going to rise and that’s why the Hokie Scholarship Fund Program is so critical. In fact, it might be the most important campaign in the history of Virginia Tech athletics. Ticket sales are important. Sponsorships are important.  But that Hokie Scholarship Fund Program is beyond vital. It’s not just the “Drive for 25.”  It’s a Drive to Survive.

3Continue to play one-off football games in major metro areas in the region. Something like Penn State in Baltimore. Or an SEC team in Atlanta or Charlotte. FedEx Field? Um, no.

4.  I’d like to suggest the same in basketball, particularly over the holiday break.  Let’s bring Kentucky into the Capital One Arena (Verizon Center) in DC or play Maryland there every year.  Maybe create a new tournament in DC with the Hokies and Terps or Hoyas as anchors?  Somehow, it would be fun to bring Hokie hoops to the DMV region annually. We’ve seen how hard the Big Ten is pushing in both that area, and NYC. The Big Ten has more alums there than the ACC and its numbers are growing. Can’t surrender I-95 to the B1G.

5. Alcohol sales at home athletics events?  Yes.


Dear Bill,


Which is a better environment for broadcasting from: A packed football stadium or a packed basketball arena? James Smith


Cop out II: I get goose bumps at the ACC Tournament when it’s packed but also at Lane Stadium, or Michigan Stadium, or Ohio Stadium. 

Broadcasting a game when there's 100,000+ people in the place is really cool.   So, I’ll lean football.

Dear Bill, 

Agree with Krispy Kreme over Dunkin, but what about Carol Lee? You didn’t mention what I think is a great Blacksburg tradition. Doug G.


Well Doug, there’s no question that doughnuts can be a big part of the cultural fabric of a community. In fact, this very topic came up (for real!) two weeks ago when I was visiting with Rhett Lashlee, the first-year Offensive Coordinator at UConn.  

A year ago, Rhett was the co-offensive coordinator at Auburn.  Now, he’s the O.C. at UConn.   He and his family, which includes two sets of twins (7 year-old boys, and 4 year-old girls) have been forced to make perhaps the greatest doughnut transition in college football history: From Auburn, Al, where Krispy Kreme is sacred, to Storrs, CT, where there’s Dunkin on every corner.  Per Coach Lashlee, his family is learning to adapt.

As for Carol Lee, (Pictured at right)you are correct. A great tradition at VT.


Dear Bill,

Will UVA make a Bowl game? Why or why not? And do you remember what you were doing the last time Florida State didn’t make a Bowl Game? Hannah M.


1.     UVA bowl? Eh, I dunno. They’ll have to have a great November against a really tough schedule. Leaning “No.” 

pat boutette.jpg

2.     The last time FSU didn’t make a bowl game? Well, that was 1981.  I remember vividly watching Pitt’s Danny Marino throw a fourth-down touchdown pass to beat Georgia at the Superdome. 

Also, the Penguins had this short, stocky guy named Pat Boutette. He couldn’t skate worth a lick, but he had a knack of deflecting shots into the net. 

He couldn’t/wouldn’t get back on defense or pass the puck or even jump over the boards. In fact, he never did anything athletic-related. But boy, could he could tip, deflect, and re-direct shots past NHL goalies. So, that winter, we all pretended we were Pat Boutette.






Dear Bill,

Josh Jackson. ACC Player of the year? Doug H.

 Hi Doug,

LJ 2.jpg

Josh will have a chance to impress in November, but that other Jackson, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is having another amazing season and will be tough to beat. 

He did win the Heisman last year and his statistics this year could be even better. Jackson leads the ACC in passing (312 yards/game), rushing (114 yards/game), touchdowns (14), and total offense (426 yards/game). Louisville has lost four games because it has really struggled on defense (allowing 500+ yards per game.) But that’s not Jackson’s fault. 



Dear Bill,

Should Virginia Tech fans be concerned about Justin Fuente maybe going to Florida? His name is coming up in a lot of those media reports.  Anna P.

 Hi Anna,

When you have a great young coach like Justin, you’re always going to hear his name pop-up when there are openings at a place like Florida.  It’s a good problem to have and as Tech continues to win under Justin's leadership, you'll continue to hear his name pop-up. Just wait till he beats Miami on Saturday night.

Dear Bill:

Do you think Coach Fuentos would be interested in the Florida coaching job? Would hate to lose him.    Will A.

Oh Will, it’s spelled Fuente.  And no, I don’t think that’s a concern. Son, you need to get the spelling right.  The guy’s a great coach who is doing a simply amazing job so far.  

Fuentos con queso sounds like an appetizer at El Grand.

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