Monday, January 2, 2012

Who Are You and Why Do We Care: Virginia Tech Hokies


When have we seen them last?

What do they look like?
The Hokies colors are Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange. Over the last few years, Virginia Tech has worn a large selection of incredibly ugly uniforms. Both of the Vick brothers got to wear different, ugly varieties. Last season, Virginia Tech got roped into the Nike Pro Combat uniforms, and came out uglier than ever (Good breakdown of that terrible looking game here). They also wore Pro Combat uniforms in 2009, but Nike surprisingly didn't ruin them

This season, Virginia Tech has scrapped their 2000s look, and went to a throw back uniform. Refusing to keep a single plain uniform, the Hokies have worn many different jersey combinations.
It has been reported that Virginia Tech will not wear special uniforms for the game, so we will see the Hokies wearing either their Orange or Maroon jerseys tomorrow. 

What's their coaching situation?
When Joe Paterno got fired earlier this season, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer became the winningest active coach. Beamer played cornerback for the Hokies from 1966 to 1969. He then went on to be a graduate assistant at Maryland for a season before becoming the defensive line coach, and later defensive coordinator at The Citadel. After two years as Murray State's defensive coordinator, he became their head coach and lead the Racers to a 42-23-2 record. In 1987, Beamer was hired by Virginia Tech, and has been their head coach since. Beamer has completely transformed the program from a mediocre independent to a consistent contender in the ACC. Beamer is 209-97-2 as the Hokies head coach, and 251-120-4 all time. 

Have they won National or Conference Championships?
Virginia Tech has won ten conference championships, with seven of them under Frank Beamers watch. Before Beamer, Virginia Tech won the South Atlantic Conference in 1916 and 1918, and won the Southern Conference in 1963. After Beamer, the Hokies won the Big East Championship in 1995, 1996, and 1999 before they jumped to the ACC. Since entering the ACC in 2004, they have been a major player in almost every Conference Championship game. The Hokies were the ACC champs in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010. They also played in the ACC Championship game in 2005 and 2011. They have no National Championships. 

How do they perform in bowl games?
Again focusing on the Beamer era, the Hokies are 8-10 in their bowl games. Last year they got blown out by Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal 40-12 in the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech has played in some big bowl games including three Sugar Bowls and four Orange Bowls. They have a 2-5 record in these games. In the Sugar Bowl, they beat Texas in 1995, and lost to Florida in 2000 and Auburn in 2005.

Do they have any cool traditions?

Do they have a goofy mascot?
Virginia Tech's mascot is the Hokie. This leads to the obvious question, WTF IS A HOKIE?!? Virginia Tech sort of has the answer: 
Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution and was named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1896, the Virginia General Assembly officially changed the college's name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, a name so long that citizens shortened it in popular usage to VPI. The original college cheer, which made reference to the original name of the institution, was no longer suitable. Thus, a contest was held to select a new spirit yell, and [O. M.] Stull won the $5 top prize for his cheer, now known as Old Hokie:
Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.
Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.
Later, the phrase "Team! Team! Team!" was added at the end, and an "e" was added to "Hoki."
This still doesn't explain why their mascot is a turkey. But this does:
The origin of the term "Gobblers" is disputed, with one story claiming it was coined in the early 1900s as a description of how student athletes would "gobble" up their more than ample servings of food. Another story attributes it to the fact that the 1909 football coach, Branch Bocock, wanted to stimulate better spirit amongst his players and initiated them into an impromptu and informal "Gobbler Club." 
Now we get to take a look at their "Gobbler", the Hokiebird. In the early years of Hokie football, there was an actual turkey that roamed the sidelines gobbling at opponents. Later, they started the tradition of students in a turkey suit. The suit has seen many variations throughout the years.

And Kirk Herbstreit being a huge dick for no reason: 

So here we are, last game of the season. Although this post is clearly about the Hokies, it probably would be irresponsible to not mention Michigan's uniforms for the game. I actually am kind of a fan of these. They are much better than the surprise from the Michigan State game (when I turned that game on I thought I was on the wrong channel). This is my favorite away jersey Michigan has had in recent years, I love the M on the sleeve

Moving on, Virginia Tech essentially played two good teams all year, and both were the Clemson Tigers. The Hokies lost those two games by the impressive combined score 61 - 13. The only one of Virginia Tech's opponents this year to win a bowl game was Marshall who beat Florida International 20-10. This should be a good game, but Michigan should be better. This shouldn't go down to the wire, and Michigan should win. Prediction based on everything but football: Michigan 38 - Virginia Tech 27. 

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