Hello. Welcome to the latest edition of "Foe"Rensics. While we spent the fall expanding our knowledge about our opponents, it's only fair to turn our gaze inwards at this time1. On Saturday, we shall watch what happens when the greatest football program on Earth does battle against itself. Today, we shall learn about the greatest university on Earth, Virginia Tech.
Oh man, this gave me goosebumps. Image courtesy of Hokiesports.com
1. Tell me about this...Virginia Tech.
A. Well, some know it as "Virginia Tech University", choosing to leave out the critical "Poly" as well as the "nic Institute and State" portions, which I feel does a disservice to the overall mission of the school. Here's some history.
Virginia Tech was originally founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution. Two enterprising brothers, Rogers and Fuller2 were upset at the limited higher education opportunities available in their great state. Students were forced to choose between spending four years in Williamsburg or go to the douchiest place on earth, wear bow ties, and hero-worship Thomas Jefferson. They wanted to produce the most useful, productive people in society (engineers) by teaching them in the most beautiful place in Virginia.
So they split up to find it, and after weeks scouring the Tidewater, Piedmont, and the Shenandoah Valley, Fuller finally chanced upon the New River Valley and realized he had found what they were looking for when the very mountains themselves seemed to be singing. What follows is an artist's recreation of his discovery:
I'd stop there too
2. Tell me more about this place!
A. Blacksburg, Virginia was founded in 1798 by, what else, two brothers. While William Black was technically the sole founder and namesake, and owned the land that eventually became the town, his brother John owned much of the land that eventually became the adjacent university, although he had passed away several years earlier. Blacksburg grew and, after the arrival of the university, grew even faster. So much so that by 1913, they had to pass a city ordinance prohibiting cows from wandering freely downtown3...4.
Blacksburg, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has enhanced that beauty with charm. It has been named best place to raise kids in US and Best College Town in the South (but we all knew that already).
3. Okay, now I'm in love with this place and plan to sire children in order to raise them there and then collegiately educate them there.
A. Smart move.
4. Back to the school. What else can you tell me?
A. Well, Virginia Tech was predominantly a military institute initially, requiring students to participate in the Corps of Cadets until 1923 when the requirement was reduced to two years. It was later made entirely voluntary in 1964 and admitted the first female cadets in 1973. The Corps is still a vibrant part of the student body, contributing their own marching band (the Highty Tighties) to perform at football games and remains one of three public universities (only two in Division I, along with Texas A&M) to have both civilian and cadet students.
5. Anything else interesting?
A. Just by a walk around campus, you can probably guess the names of most of the presidents in our history. However, you will note that there is no hall named after Lunsford Lindsay Lomax, due to his later career as a comic book villain5.
6. Any alumni of note?
A. Aside from the trio of Fuller brothers that have already graced campus and Lane Stadium, yes. Virginia Tech boasts author and the subject of October Sky, Homer Hickam, who went on to do some pretty rad rocket shit, which seems a be a good excuse to throw this in there...
SATELLITE OF LOVE, bitches
In addition, the Hokies include The Today Show's Hoda Kotb and Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Roger Craig among their alumni, and sources (SOURCES!) have indicated it will be the adopted football team of famed comedian Tina Fey.
Perhaps most importantly, Virginia Tech boasts seven (SEVEN) Medal of Honor recipients among its alumni and former students, confirming the completely badassedness of the school.
In athletics, the Hokies have notable alumnus Bimbo Coles, Ace Custis and Dell Curry who, contrary to popular belief, does not have any children. But it is in football that Virginia Tech has its most notable alumni, including former No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks Bruce Smith (most sacks in NFL history) and Michael Vick (most broken ankles and lost jock straps in football history). Super Bowl champions Tyrod Taylor and Antonio Freeman played there as well as fan favorites Corey Moore, Danny Coale, Lee Suggs, Ken Oxendine, Bryan Randall, Kevin Jones, Eddie Royal, Vince Hall, Greg Boone, John Engelberger, Torrian Gray, Brandon Flowers, Andre Kendrick, Andre Davis, Xavier Adibi, Cody Grimm, Duane Brown, Ryan MF Williams, Shayne The Giant Ginger Leg Graham, Darren Evans, Logan Thomas, Aaron Rouse, Bam Bam Kam Chancellor, David Wilson, Alonzo Tweedy, Macho Harris, Deangelo Hall, Shyrone Stith, Jeff King, and Branden Ore.
7. Goodness. They seem to have quite the football program.
A. Yes, they do.
8. Tell me more. Do they have a good coach?
A. Why yes, they do. Fancy Gap Frank Beamer, the winningest active coach in Division I-A, as well as the fifteenth winningest coach of all time (the bell tolls next for THEE, Kevin Donley). Frank was a standout cornerback for the Hokies and returned home to Blacksburg from winning the Ohio Valley Conference with Murray State in 1987. He currently runs a heck of a football program, his boys'll get after ya, and he is expected to rise to heaven directly from the sidelines of Worsham Field one day, most likely after beating LOLUVA for the 43rd straight time6.
9. Fascinating. So I'm assuming Frank is just the latest in a string of amazing coaches?
A. Well, no, not exactly. The Hokies have some success historically, with such luminaries as Hunter Carpenter and quarterbacks Don Strock and Jim Druckenmiller, but really rose to prominence in the mid 1990s after taking the Texas Longhorns behind the proverbial woodshed in the Sugar Bowl. In 1999 they truly broke onto the national scene by meeting Florida State in the national championship game, again in the Sugar Bowl. The Hokies led the game 29-28 after the third quarter, at which point the game was stopped and FSU awarded the national championship for some stupid reason. Assholes.
10. Well, that seems dumb.
A. It was.
11. Any cool traditions?
A. Yes! The team was originally called The Fighting Gobblers, either because the football team ate so fast or because a local supporter trained a turkey to do tricks. Later, the mascot was changed to the Hokies after a word that was made up to fit a rhyme in the school cheer.
The Hokies also shake their keys on third down plays (get it, "Key" Play, GET IT?!), do the Hokie Pokie after the 3rd quarter and (used to) chant "Stick It In!" when the offense entered the red zone. But one of the two best traditions are the maniacal jumping to Enter Sandman just before the team enters the stadium, highlighted by the pregame to the Saturday night trouncing of Miami in 2004. The second requires backstory.
Historically, VMI was the Hokies fiercest rival, and VMI used to fire a cannon during the game and taunt the Hokie cadets about their lack of a cannon. The aforementioned Homer Hickam and some buddies decided that they'd make their own damn cannon, which they did in secrecy, unveiling it at the next VMI game after the taunts started. They reportedly loaded a double charge and the blast from the cannon knocked the caps of the Keydets off. Now, every time the Hokies score, Skipper, as the cannon came to be known, gets fired, scaring the literal piss out of small children not expecting it.
12. Metallica and large firearms. Sounds like Appalachia.
A. Yes! I've also heard it told that at one point, due to moonshine getting brewed in the basement, Pritchard Hall was one of the largest distilleries in the state. And as my freshman year chemistry professor pointed out, Virginia Tech is the only university he is aware of the includes all of the necessary components to making corn liquor on its seal.
13. Truly a well rounded education. Back to the football team. Anything else I should know? Any good rivalries?
A. Yes! I would say that Miami is our biggest rival, going back to the Big East days. For a time, these were two top ten programs and between them played for three out of four National Championship games between 1999 and 2002 (and frankly, Miami got jobbed in 2000). The matchup has produced some classic games, from the Michael Vick beat down in 1999, the Ernest Wilford drop game, the "Give It To Me, Roscoe!" game, and perhaps the best, the Logan Thomas perfect game, which ended with an Alonzo Tweedy tackle and two additional renditions of Enter Sandman.
In addition, there is a divisional rivalry with Georgia Tech. The winner of the Techmo Bowl went on to win the Coastal Division for the first 8 years of ACC divisional play. It is enhanced due to the schools both being "Tech" schools and the recurring douchebaggery of Paul Johnson, who Bud Foster seems to particularly delight in outwitting.
There is a forced rivalry with Boston College, because the Eagles too were in the Big East at one time, but most Hokies wish Boston College would just go to the Big Ten already and leave us the hell alone.
Finally, there is a strong rivalry with the powerhouse in the state due south of Virginia, East Carolina. After pining to get into the Big East for years, ECU finally (somewhat) succeeded once it became a member of the watered down AAC. In order to continue their march to some semblance of relevance, ECU managed to finagle an annual matchup with Virginia Tech where they play for the coveted Soul of Jim Weaver.
14. That's it? No big in state rivalry?
A. None of note, no. There is an annual "cool down" game with a Charlottesville JV team before bowl season, but nothing you would call a "rivalry".
15. Where does Virginia Tech do its Gobbler Fighting?
A. On Worsham Field at Lane Stadium or, as Corey Moore affectionately dubbed it, The Terror Dome.
An artist's rendering of The Frank Beamer Terror Dome, courtesy of BWade
Lane has been previously been recognized as one of the most intimidating places to play and the best home field advantage in college football, something you can ask LSU, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Miami about.
16. Any players of note?
A. Yes. There is Dadi Nicolas, who our intrepid analyst French turned into a verb meaning "to arrive, wreck shit, and leave."
Offensively (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), the Hokies depth chart at center reads "No. 2 Wang, No. 3 Chung", which makes me giggle more than it should.
In addition, the Hokies boast the hardest hitting punter in America, A.J. Hughes, as well as the heaviest shoulder in college football, Kyshoen Jarrett. The top kicker right now is a dude named Remington, which is the best name a kicker could have side from "Theleg".
Lastly, the Hokies have only a single Caleb to unleash upon the world, unless Joel Caleb counts as a Caleb. Is he a Caleb?
17. I dunno, I'm supposed ask the questions. And speaking of stupid name trends that you track...Any Fullers?
A. Indeed. The last remaining Fuller (of the "Mama Fuller" Fullers) with college eligibility will suit up for the Hokies, bringing devastation and destruction to whatever team is unfortunate to face him. If he suits up for the Maroons, pity the Whites and vice versa.
18. Will you be doing a FAINT watch for the Spring Game?
A. Of course! Any time a Fuller takes the field, their aggressive statistics are designed to offset their quarterback's indiscretions. They will, however, only apply to the quarterback(s) on the team Mr. Fuller is playing for.
19. Food recommendations?
A. I'll be brief. Get your food at Sycamore Deli and a rail at TOTS and you're set. Don't be led astray by others who claim there are Blacksburg establishments that serve better subs. They would lead you to the dark side.
From a Google Review on Sycamore:
"Their sandwiches are just the best and they cater to my gluten allergy by making the sandwiches without bread. I love this place!"
Sorry, dude, that actually means it's not a sandwich.
From Alexis G's Yelp! review on TOTS:
"Note to self: TOTS is not busy whatsoever Tuesdays at 2pm. I was told that I needed to get a Rail, and unfortunately the only time I could squeeze one in was Tuesday afternoon."
Alexis, I like your style. Unfortunately, she's right; go during the day or during the summer or else that joint is way too crowded.
20. Finally, what should we be watching for when the Maroons take on the Whites?
A. Aside from seeing if Coach Loeffler can field a former quarterback or tight end at every position on offense:
- The over under for quarterbacks playing on Saturday is at 17. Take the over.
- If Juice Williams can actually explode a defender to his individual atomic pieces. We're hoping he saves this super power for the fall.
- If Bucky Hodges is truly eye level with the press box while he's on the field.
- If the defenders bring enough anger to the field to require the return of the RAGE MATCH in the fall.
- If Coach Searels is coaching up some road graders in front of our 23 quarterbacks.
That's it, thanks for joining us and enjoy Lane Stadium if you'll be there on Saturday. Otherwise, get pumped for the dulcet tones of Mr. Dwight Vick coming through on the ESPN broadcast!
1So...should this actually be an "Us"Rensics?
2Last name withheld to protect their descendents from being mobbed due to their ancestral awesomeness
3Source is Wikipedia, which is probably even less reliable than I am
4Now cows are only allowed to roam downtown during our biennial home LOLUVA game, but they don't normally bring that many fans anyway
5He battled an equally stupidly named superhero, Tree Man, who threw leaves and pinecones at you
6Or ECU for the 43rd straight year, whichever comes first