Your ACC Introduction to Virginia Tech: A Q&A with SB Nation Blog

Streeter Lecka

With Pitt's foray into the ACC, we figured it was time we go to know some of our ACC brethren. So each day for ... well, as long as we have them, we'll be posting Q&As with other SB Nation ACC blogs. The bad news? I'm lazy/tired/too busy (pick one) to get too creative here, so all ten questions were the same for every blog. The good news? That's still better than nothing.

Up today are our good friends over at Gobbler Country - SB Nation's Virginia Tech blog. Check them out. Answering questions for us is Chris Hatcher.

1. First, give us a little background on your blog. How/why did you get started? How long have you been at it?

Our blog was started in 2007 by our former editor and founder Ryan McGhee. He stepped away early in 2012 and I along with two others co-managed the blog for a few months before I took over as the managing editor. I have been writing for Gobbler Country since 2009 and became an editor in 2010. I first started writing at GC as a labor of love. I found the SB Nation platform to be unique and freeing as a writer. I was never able to express some of the things that I have through words and share my passions about Virginia Tech sports with like-minded fans anywhere else.

2. So tell us a little about our ACC brethren. Besides maybe your own, of course, whose fans are the most hospitable? Who do Pitt fans need to avoid like the plague?

Every fan base has their bad apples, that much we all know. But I've always found by and large that Wake fans are very hospitable. And on the opposite side of that spectrum, I think Florida State fans by and large have left me with one of the worst impressions of any in all of college football.

3. Again, leaving your school out, best road trip? And the place you wouldn't go even if given free airfare, lodging, and tickets?

Hmmm...well, I would have to say that my best ACC road trip would be to Georgia Tech or Miami. I love going to a game and catching some of the city life there too. It doesn't hurt that those cities don't get very cold, although Miami has been unseasonably cold when I have visited. I don't know that I have an ACC locale I wouldn't go back to, but I can assure you I will never go back to Morgantown unless it's on assignment, which should be of some interest to your readers. That place is just depressing on top of the experience I'd imagine most of your readers have had there as well.
4. After dealing with John Marinatto in the Big East, we're pretty sure John Swofford's a genius, ninja, or both. Can you confirm/deny?
I'm not sure yet to be honest. He does some things that make you question his leadership and vision, but it is possible there is a genius buried in there somewhere. I like the moves that the conference has made from a solidarity standpoint, even if they are a little too basketball-centric for my liking. But hey, he somehow prevented the conference from falling apart, and was actually at the onus of conference expansion. He must at least kinda know what he's doing, right?
5. Okay, with that out of the way, what did fans of your school think about the additions of Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville? It's okay - rip into us ... you won't hurt our feelings (much).
Like I said just above, I am cautiously optimistic about the additions. I know that it brings more of a Northeast focus into the conference, but it does bring some pretty large markets into play that will work in the conference's advantage if nothing else. Football-wise (and really for all sports right now), I'm loving the addition of Louisville. I like the addition of Pittsburgh, as I've always found them a worthy opponent for the Hokies in football, and never really harbored much ill will towards the program (except on the freezing cold night in Blacksburg in 2002 when freshman Larry Fitzgerald went off on Tech). Syracuse I'm more tempered about, but at least we're working geographically along the Atlantic Coast and not going for a Midwestern team for example like some have been forced to do. Given the geographic nature of the conference's name and history, there weren't too many other schools I would've picked ahead of any of these three institutions.
6. For Pitt fans, Tony Dorsett is absolutely untouchable. Who's the athletic icon from your school (any sport) that we should never, ever make fun of?
Tough call. I guess the highest profile athlete to come out of Virginia Tech is Michael Vick, but I wouldn't expect people to not criticize him. Technically Frank Beamer counts, as he was an athlete at Tech. Many Hokies have made fun of his coaching decisions, but one thing that is not cool to make fun of is his neck/skin grafts, as it occurred as a child when he was burning leaves. Otherwise, as long as you don't poke fun at the massacre on 4/16 (believe it or not we've actually had people do that) or the victims, we're usually pretty low key with regards to what you can make fun of. As a fan base, we're pretty used to making fun of some of those players (in good fun) ourselves.
7. Not counting football and basketball, tell us a little more about a non/small-revenue program at your school that excels.
The baseball team just finished a tremendous season, but absent the head coach that revitalized the program and a large portion of the cast of players that took part in it, the future is a little more uncertain. Track and field has always been a very good program for the Hokies over the last decade or so. Also wrestling is coming to the forefront of the sport with excellent coaching and recruiting. Softball has also been pretty good for a while now.
8. While ACC fans (we're told, anyway) like to dress up to the occasion for games, Pitt fans are mostly the opposite. Even our most buttoned up fans are typically rocking a jersey (including the occasional Steelers jersey) or t-shirt with jeans/shorts for nice weather games. That goes for our ladies, too, by the way. Will that cut it for a game in your neck of the woods or do we need to try harder if we don't want to get mocked endlessly?

Are you kidding me? You're much more likely to get mocked dressing up to go to one of our games. We're not judgmental about what you wear, unless, again, see above (no UVA fan garb). A jersey and jeans are fine. As for the ladies, flaunt it if you got it. I don't think I can be more clear there for several reasons.
9. If we're in town, what do we need to eat and where do we eat it? Oh yeah, and give us a local attraction/touristy thing, if you can.

My favorite Blacksburg eatery came under new ownership a little over a year ago and has taken a complete nosedive, raising prices and lowering the quality of food, both significantly. It's a small town, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great options. Cabo Fish Taco is up there for me, as are Bourdreaux's (cajun-themed menu), PK's (pizza and subs) and Mike's Grill or Lefty's Main Street Grille (try their Chili Burger loaded) if you're looking for burgers. Also, if you're rushed to get to the game, don't worry about it, just grab a giant turkey leg from the South End Zone concourse at the game. You're welcome for that one (if you've had one already, I know the look you have right now). As for local attractions, there is a lot of stuff to do for the outdoorsy types in the New River Valley, like rock climbing, tubing/rafting and camping/hiking to name a few. If you're more into the city life, Roanoke is not too far and there's lots to see and do there. Also downtown Blacksburg is pretty neat. On a weekend night you'll definitely enjoy your time there. If you want to take a walk around campus, Tech has some beautiful buildings/features including the War Memorial, the drill field, the duck pond and if you can handle it the April 16 Memorial at the end of the drill field directly in front of Burruss Hall.
10. Pitt is known for its medical facilities and research - give us something non-sports related that's important about your school?

Engineering is the name of the game for Tech, but they are also big in the technology and medical fields. I'm sure I'm selling a couple of the main programs short, but for me, those are the big ones.
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