Hey there, Notre Dame. Lucky for you I know where you are. I've been through Indiana a lot. I know all about the RV Hall of Fame. I know Orville Redenbacher is from Valparaiso. I can even pronounce Valparaiso. I bring a unique perspective to this whole 'expansion' thing not every ACC fan can. I'm from the Midwest, went to an ACC school, moved back to the Midwest, back to the South and back to the Midwest again. I've made the drive across 80 from Ohio to Chicago so many times I could notice when the tolls and speed limits went up.
Not all of our ACC brethren have been so privileged to have driven three and a half miles and wandered somewhere between Portage and New Carlisle to find that Culver's (seriously, go to Culver's southerners -- it's the Bojangles of burger places) off the highway.
That said, you're here now. Let me be one of the first to say, 'Welcome.' The ACC is a fun place. We are caring and goodnatured and we believe that failure is not the end of the world and we like to make jokes. We're not as super serious as the SEC, but we aren't as closed-off and cold as the Big Ten. We take all kinds -- including those not on the Atlantic Coast now. We're cool with the North.
Here is my attempt to give you a quick crash course in the ACC, football included, since you're going to be playing us sooner or later.
Bojangles -- Go here. Get the Tailgate Special. Eat the Fixins. Destroy some Cajun Filets. No, it's not 'just like a southern KFC.' It's special. It's as integral and important to the ACC as losing BCS bowls is. You'll learn to love it.
Cook-Out -- Also go here. It's magical.
Tailgating -- I've been to a Notre Dame game in South Bend. The first thing you'll notice at tailgates in the South is more sundresses, more dudes in croakies and bowties, more people complaining if it's 60 degrees. Feel free to poke fun at those people, but be polite. Not all of us are accustomed to frigid nuclear winters every year between October and April.
Barbecue -- It is not a thing you 'do' or 'go to.' It's a noun. It's a type of food. When you order it, you'll get a delicious plate of piggy goodness. This isn't brisket or a cookout or eating pulled pork. Learn it, love it, live it.
Sadness and Disappointment -- oh you guys are cool here nevermind
Accents -- Not every Southern accent is the same. Just like not everyone from the North sounds the same. You'll start to hear differences and even be able to tell who comes from where after awhile. The ultimate test is being able to tell the difference between a UNC fan and an N.C. State fan, both of whom are actually from Fuquay-Varina and neither of whom went to the college they root for.
Geography -- It might take like two hours to drive East to West across Indiana, but North Carolina is freaking huge. It has the ocean and farms and mountains. I know you guys have the Dunes and everything, but this is way different. This thing blew my mind when I moved down there. From the Tennessee border to the Atlantic Ocean takes like way longer than it should. Plan accordingly. Also, Virginia is enormous too for some reason. South Carolina you can just pretty much ignore.
When you're driving to Clemson, don't get off at any random exits, do not pass go, do not drive directly to the trailer parks in Anderson, just go, drink, watch football, drink, hang out downtown at the fun bars, get back to Greenville and get out. It's not that people in Clemson aren't nice; you just might get stuck there forever.
You're good on Boston College. Miami is in Florida and is not the Ohio one. Syracuse and Pitt you should be familiar with. Charlottesville is a nice place, but Virginia Tech fans will tell you it's the worst place ever and they invented anthrax. Georgia Tech is in Atlanta; you have probably been there or heard of Atlanta since it is one of the three cities in the South.
Gay Marriage + The Civil War -- Just don't talk about it. Let's get you acclimated first.
Hokies -- It's a bird or something. Virginia Tech fans think it's self-explanatory. They also like robots a lot, so just smile and nod.
Wake Forest -- is not in Wake Forest anymore. It's in Winston-Salem. It's also trying to be the Notre Dame of the South, but I don't know how that's going to work now considering you're in the South now. So maybe Wake Forest will try to become the Stanford East of the Mississippi. Regardless, they're harmless. They're the Switzerland of the ACC. Everyone likes them, no one fights with them and they pose no threat to anyone.
That's about it for now. Hopefully this helps. If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments. If you have questions, I'll try my best to answer them for you.