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Move over, Mississippi: cotton crop takes root in Southside Virginia

Compared to Southside Virginia’s big cash crop in tobacco, King Cotton is, well, kind of puny.

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Sports

Sports Today for Sept. 5, 2013

SoVaNow.com / September 05, 2013
There can be no more complete dismissal of ACC football, about the league not winning at least some of the important games. Clemson is now no. 4 after a very consequential win over a very good Georgia club.

Virginia also downed BYU, a major boost for Mike London. Yes, no. 1 Alabama took down Virginia Tech and South Carolina defeated UNC, but the Hokies certainly were more competitive than expected in specific areas.

For the record, the ACC has a 9-3 non-conference mark overall in the season’s first week.

The nine non-conference wins by the ACC on the first weekend of the season are the second-most non-conference wins for the league on any weekend.

THE SLATE: Wake Forest meets Boston College in a matchup of two 1-0 teams Friday. On Saturday, no. 12 Florida travels to Miami, now 24th in the coaches poll. Middle Tennessee (1-0) travels to UNC. South Carolina State (0-1) tangles with Clemson in Death Valley. Western Carolina (0-1) goes to Virginia Tech.

No. 2 Oregon visits Virginia. ODU (0-1) travels to Maryland (1-0). Duke seeks an 2-0 start on a tough assignment against Memphis, while Richmond and N.C. State both seek a 2-0 start. Syracuse is at no. 19 Northwestern (1-0).

TIGERS RIDING HIGH: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney listed areas of improvement after the Georgia win.

“We have to throw and catch better. We were very average last week in throwing and catching and just finishing some plays that could have made a huge impact on the game.

“We have to be better there and we will be. We have to cut down on some of the mental errors that we had on both sides. We have talked about being a smarter team and there are some things mentally that we have to get corrected,” he said.

From protection issues to “two crucial mistakes by veteran players that have to be corrected,” Swinney has his wish list.

Not to be picky, here, but playing Georgia does not lend itself to perfection.

Swinney, on the Tigers’ no. 4 national ranking, followed the major college coaches’ code and remained low key, even as Tiger nation erupted into high atmosphere orbit.

“It (the ranking) doesn’t matter. If we are no. 4 going into the ACC championship game, then that’s great. Maybe that game gives us a chance to get into the final game, then it matters,” Swinney said.

“We have a chance to be a really good football team. It’s a long way to go, though,” he said.

Clemson RB Roderick McDowell had 22 carries for a career-high 132 rushing yards against Georgia in his first career start. And there was the game from that Boyd fellow from Virginia’s 757 zip code, in case you haven’t heard.

Swinney is right, from a certain perspective. But there can be no short-changing last Saturday night for Clemson.

After his 312-yard, five TDR performance against then fifth-ranked Georgia, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd ranked first in the first HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw poll of the season.

FSU OPENS: ‘Noles freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, after one college game, was tied for eighth with Christion Jones of Alabama and Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina. The ‘Noles wrecked Pitt in the ACC opener for both teams.

U.Va. RISING? Oregon will be an extremely difficult challenge for Virginia, which landed national recognition this week.

Virginia safety Anthony Harris was named the Walter Camp national defensive player of the week after 11 tackles, one quarterback sack, a blocked punt to set up a touchdown and an interception in the win over BYU.

We’re willing to concede Virginia’s program could be poised to make significant progress in the next two years under London. Bagging the blistering Ducks this weekend is another matter altogether.

Virginia got improved special teams play and the defense - which has been impacted by changes - held up to the point that Virginia defeated a rugged opponent.

“I think all we want to see is improvement and against a caliber of team like that, there was noticeable improvement in game one of a lot of games left to play. We can talk about it at the end of the season. But, for game one, there is more improvement that needs to be made,” London said.

HOKIE REPORT: Virginia Tech wants to get better, too, and the Hokies should have a perfect laboratory for that project this week.

Head coach Frank Beamer hopes that tailbacks Joel Caleb and J.C. Coleman will be back this week.

Against Alabama, the offensive line “hung in there and I think Trey Edmunds is going to be a special player. We’ve got to pick it up around Logan (Thomas) and get some consistency. I feel like it’s coming,” Beamer said.

“Defensively, we played one of the best games we’ve ever played. I thought we were very physical. We were flying to the ball. We were tackling some really good backs and some really explosive wide receivers,” he said.

“We went out (Sunday) with special teams and spent some extra time on kickoff return, kickoff coverage and punt coverage. We’re going to make a few changes there personnel-wise and make sure we have our best possible lineup on the field,” Beamer said.

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