By David Teel
7:45 AM EST, November 29, 2012
Virginia and Maryland have met at least twice each basketball season for 71 consecutive years. The Cavaliers and Terps have closed the regular season against one another 11 times in the last 13 years.
As football rivals, the schools have clashed each season since 1957, often in the finale. Separated by about 125 miles, they have been one another’s closest conference neighbor since the ACC’s inaugural season in 1953.
So no ACC school will be more affected by Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten, especially since the conference plans to simply plug newcomer Louisville into the Terps’ schedule rotation.
Commissioner John Swofford said that is the plan as he and other officials Wednesday announced the Cardinals’ acceptance of ACC membership.
That means Louisville will replace Maryland in the Atlantic Division and become Virginia’s annual interdivision football rival. Moreover, the Cardinals will be among the two teams – Virginia Tech is the other – that the Cavaliers will face twice each basketball season.
Considerable numbers of Virginia fans could drive to Maryland for games. At nearly 500 miles, the Charlottesville-to-Louisville excursion is far more grueling.
On Twitter I floated the notion of a crossover switch, making Louisville and Virginia Tech annual football partners, and pairing Virginia with the Hokies’ current crossover, Boston College. Blacksburg, after all, is about 100 miles closer to Louisville than Charlottesville, and the schools do have a history, dating to their basketball rivalry in the late Metro Conference.
Some Hokies fans liked the idea of switching, though offers professed a grudge for Louisville forcing Tech out of the Metro decades ago. Most Virginia faithful were opposed to the Boston College linkage, preferring Louisville.
The Cavaliers and Cardinals have played twice in football, splitting tight games in 1988 and ’89. Louisville won 30-28 at home, Virginia 16-15 the following year. Coached by Howard Schnellenberger, the Cardinals then were football independents, and in 1990 went 10-1-1 and crushed Alabama 34-7 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Virginia leads the basketball series with Louisville 5-3. The programs met most recently in 1989 and ’90, Terry Holland’s final two seasons as the Cavaliers’ coach. Coached by Hall of Famer Denny Crum, the 13th-ranked Cardinals won 74-71 at Freedom Hall and a year later, ranked 18th, dusted Virginia 72-56 at University Hall.
Louisville and UVa both were ranked in 1982 and ’83 games that featured Ralph Sampson. The No. 3 Cavs won at No. 17 Louisville 74-56 the first season; a year later, ranked No. 6, Virginia buried No. 8 Louisville 98-81 at U-Hall.
Sampson had a signature performance in the latter contest, scoring 35 points on 14-of-18 shooting, with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. This against a team that included Rodney and Scooter McCray, Milt Wagner and Billy Thompson – my fellow graybeards will appreciate those names.
Virginia Tech will face Louisville far less frequently in football – once every six years, once every 12 at home – and twice a season in basketball only by rotation. But the Hokies and Cardinals go further back.
Tech leads the football series 5-2, and the teams’ most recent game, in the January 2006 Gator Bowl, included Marcus Vick’s infamous stomp of Elvis Dumervil.
The Hokies and Cardinals clashed 36 times in basketball from 1979-95 as Metro rivals, with Louisville winning 28. Tech upset ranked Cardinals teams in the ’79 Metro tournament in Memphis and at Cassell Coliseum in 1982.
Louisville expects to begin ACC competition in 2014-15. Regardless of timing, the Cardinals’ arrival will make league play more challenging for Virginia and Virginia Tech.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
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