Doubling back to profile our draft picks in the SB Nation Conference Re-Draft ...
School: University of Virginia
Colors: Orange and Navy Blue
Mascot: CavMan (we disowned this thing with Virginia's move to the Twelve Pack)
Location: Charlottesville, Va.
Varsity Sports: 25
Football Stadium: Scott Stadium (cap. 61,500)
Basketball Arena: John Paul Jones Arena (cap. 14,593)
SBN Blog: Streaking The Lawn
On to the vitals:
TV Revenue Potential. It's pretty difficult to nail down a TV market for Virginia. Charlottesville is only the 181th largest TV market in the country, but Virginia alums are highly concentrated all over the East Coast including DC (9th) and New York (1st). UVa's Scott Stadium, however, was the second largest on-campus football stadium left on the board (after Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium).
Academics. Virginia is the nation's highest ranked public university, according to USN&WR. Check.
"As a destination, there is plenty for prospective travelers to do before and after game day. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a short drive away for the outdoorsy; while the estates of Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe are all close to the university. Plenty of significant sites from our nation's history are close enough to work into a trip, such as Jamestown, Williamsburg and Richmond, as well as the obligatory Washington DC plug."
Historic Success. Virginia claims 18 NCAA team championships in six different sports -- men's soccer (last: 2009), men's lacrosse (current National Champ), women's lacrosse (last: 2004), women's cross country, boxing (?) and rowing (last: 2010). The 'Hoos also have quite a few ACC championships, 103 more than BC, to be specific. Add to UVa's trophy case two Final Fours and ... potential in football, and Virginia was an absolute steal with the 48th overall pick in the draft.
Commissioner: Tell us more about your football and basketball program, in 300 words or less (grad school essay style).
Streaking The Lawn: Both Virginia Football and Virginia Basketball are in a bit of a rebuilding ...decade. We get it. People don't pick UVA for its storied program in either. But with new head coaches at the helms, both programs are on the rise. Mike London has done a tremendous job recruiting, pulling in a consensus top-25 recruiting class in his first year, and whipping our current players in to academic shape. Last season left a bitter taste in my mouth. We performed about as well as everyone expected, but we were in a lot of games, and I can only imagine where we'd be had we not shot ourselves in the foot as one of the most penalized teams in the country. In two words, we're "getting there."
Our basketball team, on the other hand, is on the verge of something great. We are returning a ton of talent next year and coach Tony Bennett is continuing to pull in some fantastic, highly touted recruits. The scheduling is friendly to us and I'll be disappointed if we don't go dancing this year. Our program has not been on the map since the Ralph Sampson era in the early ‘80s (In 2002 we were ranked as high as No. 4, but still failed to make the field), and while I'm not sure this is the year to talk about heading to the Final Four, it is certainly time to start talking about some real expectations here.
Commish: What is your school's best non-revenue sport? What is that program's defining moment / crowning achievement?
STL: This is a pretty tough one for us, since we really do excel in almost all the alleged non-revenues. Our men's lacrosse team won its fifth national title this year, our baseball team made the College World Series and actually turns a profit (not to mention, Will Roberts pitched a perfect game), Our rowing, swimming, and tennis teams consistently dominate the ACC and at least make runs at a national title. But if I need to pick one, I would say it's our men's soccer team (even though it probably has a smaller fan following than our baseball or lacrosse teams). With six, that program has picked up more national titles than any other sport at Virginia, not to mention multiple overall No. 1 draft picks, including 2004 MLS Cup MVP Alecko Eskandarian, 2006 World Cup Team USA Captain Claudio Reyna, and current DC United coach Ben Olsen, just for starters. The program has won 10 out of 19 ACC titles since tournament play began in 1987. Hard to pick a crowning achievement on that, but the 2009 national championship over the then-undefeated Akron (who would go on to win the title the following year) broke a 15-year title drought for a program who had, just before that, won four in a row.
Commish: What excites you most about joining this conference?
STL: This really does look like the most well-balanced conference in the land. The 12 Pack is going to be a consistent national title contender in football (Texas) and basketball (Duke, UVA...okay fine, but you know I had to try), not to mention a plethora of Olympic sports (baseball, lacrosse, tennis, soccer, timber sports (Wisconsin, no?)). All that means for UVA would be a cut of what could be a pretty hefty revenue stream. And, I wouldn't be a Thomas Jefferson follower if I didn't note what an academic powerhouse this conference is - Duke, Virginia, UCLA, Texas...I could pretty much list the entire conference.
Commish: If you are in Charlottesville for a football game, what's the #1 local spot -- bar, restaurant, attraction -- you have to visit before you leave?
STL: It's what the Game Day crew (okay, the Raycom Sports Game Day crew...) will tell you, and it's what most people will agree on: you have to try the Gusburger. Ideally, you want to try the Gusburger between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., when the lines are the longest and your decisions are made with questionable judgment. The Gusburger is simple: a cheeseburger, with the most delicious fried egg you've ever tasted in your life. No, I won't stand behind that statement at all, but there is something magical about a burger with an egg on it at that hour. I have had four and a half in one sitting. Here's a bonus tip - at that hour, don't go in through the normal door. Go next door and you'll be able to get in through the back. Much easier to get to the register!
Commish: Which conference road trip are you most looking forward to and why?
STL: Texas. I'm a sucker for country music and, from what I've been told, Austin is one of the greatest college towns in America. All of the schools have strong game day traditions (if BC fans actually show up, that is), but the Texas Fight experience is the one I want to see for myself the most.
Commish: Last one. If you could pick one rap song that captures what this conference is all about, what is it?
STL: Nuthin' but a G thang - Dr Dre and Snoop