Hello. Thanks for joining me this week on my personal journey of discovery. After taking some time for meditation and self reflection, I've determined that I continue to offer unparalleled value to the world through my extensive research, and subsequent distilling1 a WikiPedia's worth of facts about Virginia Tech opponents into a brief2 summation for my fellow Hokies. So I'm still here, much to the consternation of the Atlantic Division Elites who don't want you to know all about their school from me. That's right, the Hokies are battling the Tigers of Clemson, journeying all the way to Blacksburg from their valley!
Alex, what is "How long are we going to give it to them?"
1. Give me an update on the season.
A. This past weekend, the Hokies set up next year's televised recruiting trip to the 757, playing the first-half of a home-and-home3 with ODU. An interesting tidbit I learned is that it is now an avowed goal of the football program to beat every team in the state by the score of exactly 38-0, bro. Richmond, ODU, Hampden-Sydney, Roanoke College4 and, of course, LOLUVA have already fallen by this exact margin.
2. Wow. That is a ridiculously obscure and pointless fact.
A. Well, how about the fact that Tech's now scored 95 straight points without conceding one. That's...a lot.
3. Okay, that is an impressive stat.
A. And it makes me the most right as the only TKP staffer to pick the Hokies to go undefeated this year, so I AS WELL AM UNDEFEATED.
4. Great, that means a lot to me. What's next on the schedule?
A. The Clemson Tigers, who are very confused that people keep calling this a conference game since they think they're in the SEC.
Awww, isn't he just SO FUH-WOCIOUS
Clemson has a long and proud history, though not always as a school of higher learning. Located in far western South Carolina, the valley it sits in was populated in the 1800s by relatively dimwitted frontiersmen. One of them, Howard Clem, was particularly slow, but very nice so everyone put up with his quirks, like occasionally forgetting to wear pants to church. Everyone, of course, except for mean ol Mr. Sweeney, who was always picking on Clem. Well, one day, Clem was on his way into town and ol Sweeney stopped him to steal his lunch money. Clem was petrified that there was no escape; his mother had told him if he came home hungry and with no lunch money again he'd catch a whooping, and mama said she was far better at administering whoopings than Sweeney. So Clem took off running, and while he was trucking full speed down a hill with Sweeney hot on his trail, was miraculously saved by an eagle flying overhead who realized at the perfect time (for Clem) that the fieldmouse he thought he had snagged was actually a rock and dropped it. Well, the rock fell square on Sweeney's head and knocked him out cold. Clem, being the simpleton that he was, thought it was divine intervention and immediately began to worship the Rock God.
An artist's rendition of the Rock God.
Clem began trying to spread the gospel all over town, but had trouble finding people that would believe him. So he went on a speaking tour across the country, trying to convince people wherever he may roam of this granite deity that would bring justice for all, or at least for Clem's lunch money. He converted dozens of young men; for some reason, women didn't seem to have a taste for a new religion built around rock-based violence, but for young men he was a master of puppets. He brought them back to his hometown and gave them each rocks to call the Rock God if they ran into Sweeney, and let him know for whom the bell tolls.
He was a very inspirational leader.
Well, Sweeney found out what Clem had been up to and was none too pleased. So one quiet night, he intended to fight fire with fire, scare the bejesus out of Clem and set up an ambush on the quiet country lane near Clem's house. When he sprung it, Clem was so scared he tripped and fell into the ditch alongside the road and drowned in three inches of water, almost like he was trapped under ice. Sweeney knew no one would believe his motives were only semi-nefarious, stopping short of murder, and that they'd make him ride the lightning if they caught him. So he skipped town, changed his last name to Swinney to cover his tracks and answered the call of Ktulu to head south.
5. DUM DUM DUMMMM. Then what happened to the dudes with the rocks?
A. Sweeney/Swinney vanishing under the cover of darkness and their father figure's dead body confirmed in all their minds what had happened. The men had really progressed to full scale cult status at this point, and considered themselves all to be Clem's children, and started an indoctrination school named for themselves, Clem's Sons School of Howard and the Divine and Almighty Rock God. The name was eventually shortened to Clemson University, but they have now sent Howard Clem through the never, who sits at the right hand of the Rock God up above, ready to welcome home all his sons.
6. That was involved.
A. Yep. They eventually had to start offering stuff like math and English so they could get accredited, but Clemson is still super into the Howard stuff; they reenact his flight from Sweeney prior to every game, with the team sprinting down a hill, each carrying one of his inspirational rocks, screaming unintelligible gibberish like IPTAY.
7. Oh. Has Clemson ever produced anything or anyone worthwhile?
A. So the guy that founded Hooters went there, setting the stage for decades of men insisting they actually like the terrible wings they serve to justify ogling women. The guitarist from Creed, who only went to Clemson for a year before transferring to Florida State to major in economics at the Dillard's School of Business.
8. Oh my god that is horrible.
A. It is! To make up for those mistakes, they also boast the Fridge, whose GI Joe figure I had to do the special mail order to get and took SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS TO COME IN, which is like a frigging lifetime for a six year old and dear GOD that was infuriating. Actually having The Fridge action figure to play with didn't even make up for all the waiting, why would they torture small children like that? F#&* Clemson.
Uh...I seem to recall the bottom of the real Fridge's 7 and the 2 being a lot more...stretched.
9. Oh. Do they football?
A. They do! They have footballed for a long time and they have done it moderately well at times. They started quite literally as Auburn wannabes, taking their coach, mascot and colors from the used practice jerseys he brought with him. Later, they switched the navy blue out for purple to be manlier. They have had many coaches; some are made up, like Shack Shealy and Stein Stone, and some are very southern, with names like Bud, Red and Hootie. They won the national championship in 1981, followed immediately but COMPLETELY COINCIDENTALLY by multiple years of NCAA sanctions due to 150 recruiting violations leading up to and including the 1981 season which had NOTHING to do with the national championship AT ALL.
A. Are you questioning me?
11. No, no. Anything else?
A. Well, they are the opposite of West Virginia in that they like to rack up the conference championships BEFORE anyone good joins the conference, instead of after all the good teams leave. For example, of their 16 ACC titles which they will remind you of AT LENGTH are the most in the conference, 13 of those came before anyone good (read: Florida State, Miami or Virginia Tech) joined the conference.
12. Do they have a coach?
A. Turns out they do and this gets a bit interesting. You see, ol Mr. Sweeney/Swinney is long gone, but his super great grandson, whose parents let his 18-month-old brother name him Dabo, is BACK, and the memory remains. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. Not only has the Swinney family come full circle, HE KNOWS THE TRUTH. He's back to seek his revenge upon the sons of Clem by building them up as much as he can and then DESTROYING THEM FROM WITHIN. He sabotaged then Coach Tommy Bowden and fell bass ackwards into the interim head coaching job, the Clemson AD thinking if the season is going to be a train wreck, might as well let some joker named Dabo be driving. Then he miracled out the end of the season into a permanent job and has been there ever since, plotting from within.
13. Dastardly. Does he have players on his team?
A. He does! It so happens that the roster includes none other than wide receiver Will Swinney, Dabo's son. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. The roster ALSO features ANOTHER Swinney at wide receiver, Jack Swinney. Jack, who came into this world in January, 1995, is from Lawrenceville, GA, not too far away from Tuscaloosa, AL, where Dabo was working on his MBA in April, 1994, nine convenient months before Jack showed up. He was ALSO a Graduate Assistant with the football team, most likely supporting recruiting efforts, which MAY OR MAY NOT have taken him to Georgia, a hotbed of high school football. Word has it back in the day Dabo was quite the prince charming.
Now, could all of this be mere coincidence? It could. But what I want to know is, why won't Jack Swinney produce a BIRTH CERTIFICATE that CLEARLY DISPLAYS his father ISN'T Dabo? Until I see that birth certificate, I don't see any reason NOT to believe that Dabo is his long lost illegitimate father.
14. Wow. Okay. Are there other players on the team?
A. There are! Being in South Carolina, they've got the usual set of really weird family names, including dudes named Cannon, Kanyon, Maverick, Hall, Tanner, Tucker, and TWO dudes named Hunter. They've also got Baylon Spector, which I think is Dog the Bounty Hunter's official job title. But more worryingly, they've got brothers. And I'm not just talking regular brothers, like Carter and Christian Groomes, Cole and Hunter Renfrow, Alex and Austin Spence, and the aforementioned ALLEGED half brothers, Will and Jack Swinney. No, Clemson has learned the Hokies' secret and taken it to the next level. Why recruit a guy with athletic little brothers when you can recruit them at the SAME DAMN TIME. THAT'S RIGHT. They've got not one, NOT TWO, but THREE SETS OF FREAKING TWINS ON THEIR TEAM. Kaleb and Kelby Bevelle, J.D. and Judah Davis, AND Jacob and James Edwards. Luckily for Virginia Tech, in their haste to capitalize on this secret, they recruit guys like this:
Kind of takes away the intimidation factor, doesn't it.
15. Yeah, it do. Any Fullers?
A. For a second straight week, the boys will be facing a Fuller, while being completely unFullered themselves. Luckily, the Edmunds have been proudly carrying the brothers torch and are more than a match for running back C.J., which stands for Can't Juke.
16. Any cool football related traditions?
A. They ride a bus from one end of the stadium to the other, run down a hill and carry pet rocks. So, cool traditions? No.
17. Do they have rivalries?
A. Sadly, this is where Clemson and Virginia Tech have something in common. Clemson's in state rival is a complete football incompetent. The allure of the rivalry is further reduced by the fact that they named it the Palmetto Bowl, after that stupid tree on their flag which is arguably worse than "Commonwealth Cup". To Clemson's shame, though, it's actually a closer rivalry. The three-game win streak Clemson is on in the series came on the heels of a five-game losing streak to the Cocks.
18. Do they eat food at Clemson?
A. Yes, but I'm going to be honest, not well. The highest rated restaurant in Clemson on Google at 4.8 stars is the on-campus Subway, which is a good summation of Clemson, in my opinion. Let's hear what Sadie has to say:
Do regular fast food prices not make Clemson enough money? Charging exorbitant prices because students don't have time to leave campus is dirty. Not my paycheck!
Great food from Panda Express and clean dinning area.
Yes, if someone took me to Subway, I'd bring food from a different restaurant as well.
19. And do they barbecue?
A. No. They smoke meat and drown it in mustard, which should be a capital offense. Luckily, they are a short, 90 minute drive from the closest NC barbecue that meets standards, Luella's in Asheville, even if they put ketchup in their sauce. But you've got to have standards, and frankly, NC barbecue needs to stick together when faced with a travesty like South Carolina "barbecue". LET'S GO TO THE REVIEWS!
The Brunswick stew is good but I fold the BBQ mediocre.
Rebecca, you ding dong, that's because you're supposed to eat barbecue, not fold it.
Fantastic with vegetarian options
Exellent Q and the sides were even better!
Now, this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but maybe it doesn't bother you. Is it really that hard to say barbecue? Or even spell it out? It really is infuriating when people abbreviate it to "Q". You're not being hip or witty, you're just being lazy. Which is ironic since barbecue is something that takes a long damn time to make. Now GET OFF MY LAWN.
20. How are the FAINTs looking?
A. Not great. DBU got a DAINT, but then Divine Deablo immediately broke himself. Seeing this, Pacey attempted to injure one of the ODU defenders by throwing an interception to THEM, but it didn't work. The FAINT count remains at -3, and now Tech's saintliness count in the secondary is at -1.
21. Personally, I think ODU was flashing pictures of Joey on the sideline to distract him. Anything to watch for this weekend?
A. I'm watching for:
- If Lee Corso picks out Eight Ball the Tiger's head from his bag, God's gonna taser his car again.
- Right as Clemson is trying to rally themselves back into the game, BOOM, Tim Settle punt return for touchdown. Settle will be the hero of the day.
- Flashbacks to the Macho Harris game against Clemson in 2007.
- Blacksburg PD busting Eight Ball for smuggling a kilo into the stadium.
- Something to cure Joey Slye of the shanks.
- SOMEBODY BETTER MAKE A MAMA FULLER SIGN FOR GAMEDAY.
1Although there are much more important things to be distilling, knowledge should be distilled as well. At least to 90 proof.
3A home and home that will be repeated until the Fuller cousins use up their eligibility.
4The Roanoke College score was 36-0, but in 1894 before we switched to the Gregorian calendar, so it translate to 38-0 today.