Chris Colston, author of the 2010 Hokie Annual, challenged me to an honor du-el in his publication when he called me "not a Hokie per se." In an effort to try and bury the hatchet, crush Chris' soul and shamelessly (and do I ever mean shamelessly) plug his book, I sat down with Chris to discuss my grievances.
P.S. - If you haven't bought the Hokie Annual yet, quit being lazy and cheap and do so here.
GC: So Chris, why do you want to fight me?
CC: I don't want to just fight. I want to PUMMEL you. And you know why? You really want to know why? Because of your logo. I have massive logo envy. I WANT YOUR LOGO. I mean, a turkey spinning a football in the air? I love that. Maybe that sounds weird, but you're talking to a guy who paid $125 for a vintage Fighting Gobbler toilet seat.
GC: You are entering a world of pain, my friend. You said in the 2010 Hokie Annual that I'm "not a Hokie per se but did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." Dude, that's just wrong.
CC: It WAS wrong. You have nailed me like Barquell Rivers hitting Cincinnati QB Tony Pike in the 2009 Orange Bowl. You have "Barquelled" me! In a momentary lapse of judgment, I failed to grasp the whole concept of Hokieness. It is not defined by degrees or certificates hanging on a wall. It is all about love, about passion. It is about bleeding orange and maroon. It is about getting chills down your back when you hear the opening chords of "Enter Sandman." It's about buying that new VT cap even though you already have 10, because this is the VT cap for THIS SEASON. It is about that inner glow of standing among the throng at Lane Stadium on a perfect October Saturday, the buzz of a Wild Turkey and Coke caressing your senses, and thinking, "This is Heaven." So I believe that makes you one of the truest Hokies alive.
GC: I begrudgingly accept your apology. But you still owe me a beer before the Georgia Tech game.
CC: Let's make it two: A Budweiser and a Foster's. In honor of the whooping BUD FOSTER is going to put on Yellow Jacket QB Josh Nesbitt.
By the way, I ran into a Hokie fan recently and he said the official bourbon of the 2010 season should be Evan Williams, in honor of Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. So Wild Turkey might have to step aside for a year.
Not that I'm advocating the excessive consumption of alcohol or anything like that.
GC: I'm pretty sure Joe from TKP has been talking up the 100 Proof Backfield for about a while now. And if you actually drink Bud and/or Fosters beer I don't think we can be friends anymore.
CC: That just shows the level of commitment and sacrifice I'm willing to make on behalf of the Hokies.
GC: I'm glad that's all settled, although I'm sure there's still a few of my readers who would rather see us settle this with clean, old fashioned violence. But anyway, on to the book. Why should Hokie fans read the 2010 Hokie Annual? What can they get out of it that they can't get anywhere else?
CC: Thank you for asking. The simple answer to that question is, "Everything." We have a round table discussion with me, Will Stewart of TechSideline.com and Kyle Tucker of the Virginian-Pilot, where we go game-by-game through the season with our analysis. We have predictions from every state beat writer and from national sportswriters. We have commentary by the Voice of the Hokies, Bill Roth, whom Tech Sideline named as one of the 10 most important people in Tech athletics. We have sit-downs with Frank Beamer and Bryan Stinespring. We have a detailed position-by-position depth chart with the true scoop on every player. I sat down with nearly every coach separately in lengthy interviews to get the straight scoop. It's very detailed. We have a colorful retrospective of the 2009 season, which is almost reason enough to buy a copy. Nobody else has done that, going game-by-game with color pictures and my own take on each game.
There is a seven-page recruiting analysis. A tailgating section. A retrospective on the 1986 Peach Bowl with fresh interviews and a surprising confession by the hero of the game, Chris Kinzer. And much more.
I think perhaps the book's greatest strength is that I wrote it in a voice they'll enjoy. I've been watching Tech football since 1971, worked in the Tech athletics department for 11 years, and spent the last decade covering national sports for USA TODAY and Sports Weekly. So I believe I bring a certain level of authority to my work.
GC: That and of course my completely awesome, life-changing guide to Virginia Tech's beat writers, right?
CC: I was waiting for you to bring that up! Our section on the beat writers, you will absolutely find that nowhere else. And your take on their online prowess was spot-on. I had diehard fans tell me that was great information, because so many people get their info on the web today.
GC: So where can people find the Hokie Annual?
CC: They can order it online at www.chriscolston.com. Also, until AUGUST 15, The University Bookstore offers FREE SHIPPING for orders of $50 or more at www.bookstore.vt.edu. So you can order three and have it delivered directly to your home for free. Surely readers have friends who want one. That's a great way to go. Or you can order two and get that 2010 VT cap.
GC: Finally, give us a prediction on how you think the Hokies' season will go.
CC: In the Annual I predicted an 11-1 mark. I thought Tech would lose to Boise, but then get on a roll much like it did in the 1995 season. In retrospect, it might be too much to ask to go 3-0 in that November stretch against Georgia Tech and consecutive road games at North Carolina and Miami, so a 10-2 mark would not surprise me. And that would be a great season. The timing of the Miami game worries me.
I do think the Hokies could beat Boise. Tech will have 80,000 fans cheering them on at FedEx Field. What concerns me is that Boise QB Kellen Moore has all of his starters back on offense, and Chris Petersen is very smart. Bud Foster has had to replace nine key defenders and I'm worried that Petersen and Moore will exploit Tech's youth on defense. And the Hokies have never been able to win those big early season games. Since 2004 they've lost to Southern California, LSU and Alabama, although all those teams went on the national championship. That could happen again this year.
The great hope I have with this year's Hokies is chemistry, character and Tyrod Taylor. Frank Beamer keeps talking about how this team has a special group of players. And a great QB can take you a long way. When you have a great QB, you have a chance in every game. Tyrod looked great all spring, and I think he's ready to take his game to the next level. And those two running backs: wow. Ryan Williams and Darren Evans are special. I would hope the Hokies would have a ball-control offense and allow that young defense to stay off the field. Against Boise, they'll have to keep the ball away from Moore. That's what they've got to do.