Now in its second year, Colston has made some changes to HFA's format that will make it attractive to more of the spectrum of Hokie fans. It has more pages and more attention to features and social aspects of Virginia Tech football, but still has some good information aimed at fans who are obsessed with X's and O's.
Imagine HFA as an Athlon or Lindy's football preview if it was made by a Hokie fan with Hokie fans in mind. We'll take a more in-depth look at the publication and how it compares to last year's version after the jump.
Differences Between 2011 and 2010
Price: $14.99 in 2011 vs. $19.99 in 2010
Pages: 128 in 2011 vs. 112 in 2010
Player Pages: 22 in 2011 vs. 34 in 2010
Recruiting Pages: 8 in 2011 vs. 7 in 2010
Previous Season Pages: 24 in 2011 vs. 33 in 2010
What I Miss: Having all ACC schedules on the inside back cover (they're on page 23), Q&A with coaches, index of player profiles.
Improvements I Like: Less pages devoted to Season in Review, sections devoted to Hokie traditions, feature on Tech's uniform changes.
What I'd Like to See: More attention paid to our upcoming opponents, more information on recruiting targets, return to in-depth roster breakdown.
To be honest, the Hokie Football Annual appears to be a publication going through an identity crisis. It's a young publication that's still trying to figure out what it wants to be.
I'll explain. Last year's edition was something I kept at my side throughout the entire season. I went through it with a highlighter and used it over and over to help me write posts. It was indispensable to me because it was full of information on last year's team that would be tough to collect otherwise. However, i's shelf life really doesn't go beyond the season. Sure, there are a few neat features that will be fun to look at a few years from now, but for the most part its usefulness is over.
This year's edition doesn't have the same kind of vital information I need to do what I do. The player sections don't compare to last year's. But what this year's edition has that blows away last year's is features. There are some great features on former players, the rivalry with UVa, Virginia Tech fans and tailgating that make this year's HFA a keep sake. It's also a great gift to give to a young fan in your life who wants to learn Virginia Tech's history and what it means to be a Hokie or high school-aged friends and relatives who you're trying to convince to go to Tech.
The shelf life for the 2011 edition is light years more than the 2010 edition, but it's not as useful for THIS year. It just depends on what's important to you. There's still some good stuff about this year's team and the "State of the Program" section gives a good run down of the offseason changes and what they mean for the future. But it's the non-roster related content that gives this year's Hokie Football Annual its value.
In short, I recommend buying the Hokie Football Annual, but for different reasons this year than last year. I'm sure Colston is still tweaking what he wants the book to be and will find the happy medium of features that casual fans will enjoy for years to come and nitty gritty information that insane people like me want to use for reference throughout the season.
The Hokie Football Annual can be purchased in the Commonwealth at Barnes and Noble, Giant, Borders and Food Lion. Fans in the Roanoke Valley can find it at Gobbler Gear and those in Blacksburg can pick it up at Tech Bookstore, University Bookstore and Volume 2 Bookstore. Online ordering is available at HokieAnnual.com.