Football in the Old Dominion

Excitement on the gridiron is here to stay across the Old Dominion.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from the Gator Bowl Association in Jacksonville, Florida. “They’ve written to tell me that the game is moved somewhere more geographically central!” I thought. A few bumper stickers fell out of the envelope as I greedily tore it open to reveal the following letter.

“Dear ACC Championship Ticket Holder,” it began.

We need your help! We appreciate your support of the ACC Football Championship game through your purchase of tickets. Now we need your help in convincing other fans to do the same. The Gator Bowl Association, in an effort to keep the game in Jacksonville, is conducting a major ticket drive utilizing the following theme: ACC Football Championship 12.1.07: “Experience the Passion”

It continued along these same lines — display the included bumper sticker and static cling! Help us convince others to come to the game!

As if.

ACC Championship gameSorry, Gator Bowl Association, but your game does not belong in Jacksonville at all. Maybe, if you want people to come to it, it should be located closer to the teams who are going to play in it. Like Virginia, or Virginia Tech.

Step aside, Miami and Florida state. There is a new powerhouse state in college football: Virginia.

Only four teams still control their own destiny for the ’07 ACC championship game, and two of them are in Virginia. None are from Florida. Both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia control their own destinies for the 2008 ACC Championship game, too: can any schools from Florida say that?

In fact, with a few more losses by teams from the Sunshine State, the game between Virginia and Virginia Tech on November 24th sends the winner to Jacksonville to play for the ACC Championship and an Orange Bowl invitation.

Looking out past the glitter and fame of the Division I schools, there are even Virginia teams enjoying success at lower levels. Take a gander at the sorts of games Virginia teams are playing on Saturday:

  • University of Richmond will be playing at Delaware on Saturday in a game to break the tie for the Division I-AA CAA South Division lead.
  • Virginia Union will be playing the Division II CIAA Conference Championship game in Charlotte against Shaw.
  • The 113th meeting of Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney in “The Game,” with an ODAC championship and Division III playoff berth on the line.

When’s the last time there was a Virginia conference champion in football at the four NCAA levels? Until RVAnews generously chips in for a subscription to Elias, we’ll never know. But I did look all the way back into the old Southern Conference days without finding any year where Virginia and Virginia Tech played each other at the end of the season with a conference or divisional championship on the line for the winner. Their clash on November 24th, assuming VT holds up its part of the bargain and beats a Florida team, will be exciting — good luck finding tickets.

But if you’re looking for something a bit smaller time but no less exciting this Saturday, why not take the trip up to Ashland to see Randolph-Macon host Hampden-Sydney? I’d go myself, if I weren’t planning to hitch a ride to Blacksburg with $50 in my pocket to throw myself at the mercy of the scalpers in the hopes that Frank Beamer’s squad can finally knock Bobby Bowden into retirement.

Photos in part by jgarber.

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Justin Morgan

Justin Morgan knows that there is no problem an Excel spreadsheet, a sweet tea, and a pass to the tight end won’t solve.

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