Heather Dinich did an interesting blog for ESPN.com recently in which she listed the “villains” for each ACC team.
She listed Tech’s “current” villain as the bogus helmet-to-helmet call in the Hokies loss last year and she listed the “all time” GT villain as Bear Bryant, largely because of the Chick Granning incident and Bobby Dodd’s competition with Bryant when Bama and GT were two of the most dominant programs in the country.
I can’t disagree with either of those. That bogus call very likely cost the Jackets a berth in the ACC title game and GT fans almost uniformly hate Bama and Bear Bryant. So from my perspective she was pretty much on target.
Her blog also got me to thinking about “villains” or Jacket “killers” that I remember as players or coaches amongst the other ACC teams. So I sat down and scribbled out a quick list as I thought about each team in the ACC we’ve played against since I first started following Tech football in the late ’80s.
What “villains” do you remember from our ACC rivals and games? Here are mine…
Boston College – Mike Cloud! Anyone else remember Cloud running for over 200 yards against us in 1998? We wound up 10-2 that season but we may have been 11-1 and playing in a really big bowl game if Cloud hadn’t single handedly carried BC to an early season upset on our own turf. True, the Eagles weren’t an ACC team when that game was played but they count today.
Clemson – Woody Dantzler. The QB draw…over and over and over again. Danztler threw for 254 and two TDs while running for 164 and two TDs. This game followed the events of 9/11 and Tech never really recovered from the OT loss as we dropped out of the national title picture.
Duke – Chris Douglas. 211 yards and two TDs in the 2003 road loss up in Durham. I was at that game and distinctly remember telling one of my buddies as we walked into the stadium, “Duke has one guy who can really hurt us…watch their running back, #4, he’s good enough to play for anyone in the conference.”
Florida State – Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews gets special consideration here. His dirty brand of defense in the ’90s resulted in Joe Hamilton rarely finishing a game against the ‘Noles. Tech fans by and large consider Andrews the master instigator behind way too many late hits designed to get Hamilton out of the game. Hamilton only ever completed one game without an injury against FSU, in 1999, when he went 22 of 25 for 387 yards and four TDs while rushing for another. FSU fans I know still say Hamilton’s performance in that game was the best they’ve ever seen at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Maryland - This one was tougher and I settled on Ralph Friedgen. I still remember the bitter disappointment when The Fridge left his offensive coordinator job at Tech to take over the Terps program. Yeah, he deserved the chance to be the head man at Maryland, but it still stung when he left. Its ok to revere him for his time at Tech and dislike him as the Terps coach. Its only natural right?
Miami – We’ve beaten these guys 4 straight and own a 4-10 all time record against them. At this point they are something of an afterthought. As far as a “villain” goes I’ll take the opposite approach I took with Maryland. I disliked Patrick Nix as a Jacket and loved him as a Cane. Having Nix calling the offense for Miami was almost like having a double agent in place that you could count on to sabotage your opponent. Since noone has stepped up at Miami in the recent past to really fill the villain role, I’ll leave it to Nix for safekeeping.
North Carolina – We’ve owned the the Heels for the most part. But after last season, I think Butch Davis has landed on Paul Johnson’s list of villains with along with mine. Going for it on 4th down and converting a 31 yard TD pass in the waning minutes of a game you control…Paul Johnson remembers things like that. Look for Tech to run up the score any time the opportunity presents itself.
NC State – Terrance Holt. Anyone else remember Holt taunting Kerry Watkins after their OT victory in 2000? I’ll always remember his actions as a clear cut example of poor sportsmanship.
Virginia – Cedric Peerman spoiling Homecoming last season was the first thing to jump out at me when I pondered who would qualify as a UVA “villain”. Al Groh is easy to dislike as well. I just can’t shake the image of Peerman plowing into the endzone for the go ahead score last season…from my seats, I had a great view of the play…it sucked…
Virginia Tech – This one is easy. I hate the entire team and everything associated with it. These guys are the new “punk” team in the ACC if you ask me. If UGA is our 1A rival then the Hokies are a close 1B. Since joining the ACC they’ve shown repeated poor sportsmanship and have quickly surpassed FSU, Miami, and NCSU as the brats most likely to showboat, throat slash, or just generally act like a fool. Losing to them last season because of a bogus helmet to helmet call was just adding insult to injury.
Wake Forest – Its hard to dislike these guys. I think Grobe is a fine coach and Wake is a fine academic institution. Can anyone come up with a real Wake Forest “villain”? Help me out here…the best I can do is the Tereshinski brother who caught the big pass in the 2006 ACC title game. His brother was a Bulldog so maybe he’s guilty by association…
I’m curious to see everyone’s responses…who are the “villains” you remember from your days watching GT’s ACC opponents?