The Boo Crew

Take a look in your closet.  I would bet that more than seventy percent of U.Va. students have a jersey, shirt, or some form of apparel supporting another college's athletics.  Almost all of my friends have a second favorite football team, be it Georgia, Alabama, Florida, or even ACC rivals like FSU; the list goes on.  At any of these other schools, it would be considered a disgrace to their respective programs and outright bandwagoning, but here in Hooville, the behavior is completely acceptable.

This is a product of poor recruiting and even worse execution on the field.  U.Va. has put names like Tiki and Ronde Barber, Thomas Jones, Heath Miller, and Matt Schaub in the NFL, where each has gone on to have a successful career.  So, with a hoard of talent, why has our last legitimate BCS bowl appearance been the 1990 Sugar Bowl against Tennessee?  Sure we won the Continental Tire Bowl twice in this millennium, but that is no excuse for not consistently putting up winning seasons.

The reason I make this point is not because I have some grudge against U.Va. football, but that I want to go to the games, I want to tailgate (which is nearly impossible these days, thanks whoever changed the Lawn rules), and cheer my beloved team to victory.  The truth of the matter is that the only time Scott Stadium will be full this year is to see Bono and his twenty million dollar stage.

A recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch points out that U.Va. is the only big name program to have declining ticket sales in the state of Virginia.  Our most despised rival sold out the '09-'10 season before last year's season started.  The University of Richmond just built a new stadium and is expecting record crowds.  JMU has sold out the past 4 years.  The last two mentioned aren't even division one teams.  Due to their performance and dedication to football, they have created a loyal fan base.  U.Va. has fallen undeniably short in this area.

Once one of the most touted rivalries in all of college football, the Hokie-Hoo hatred has long died out.  There is no rivalry: they come, they win. We go, we lose. It all hit rock bottom when our fans stormed the field against 18th-ranked UNC in 2008, albeit the strong rivalry we have with the Tar Heels.  I'm sorry Hoo-fanatics but it was a little too soon to be on the field.  We went on to finish the '08 season with a whopping 5-7.

All I wanted was one strong season in my four years here.  It looks like I will be disappointed yet again. This past weekend our football team lost to a Division 1-AA team. The William and Mary team was better coached, have better teamwork, and more efficiently executed on both sides of the ball.  Coming into the game, William and Mary was ranked 14th.  Does that mean that there are 13 other teams outside of Division 1 that could beat us?  I dare say yes, and probably more than 13.

I believe that it is the University of Virginia's responsibility to create a successful program. Take a look at the less popular sports:  lacrosse, tennis, swimming, baseball, all consistently post up respectable, if not championship caliber, seasons. Where is football's break out season?  Where is the undying support for the blue and orange?  Where is… Al Groh's resignation?

Sam Lyddan\nCLAS IV


Published September 10, 2009 in Letters, Opinion





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a true fan
(09/10/09 3:13pm)
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sam, you are absolutely correct. fair weather fans suck, and i'm dedicated to staying until the end of every event i go to. it's the principal that's most important.


John
(09/10/09 6:10pm)
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I hated when Virginia football went big time. It took the focus from the socialization that made the game day experience. Fall Saturdays in the mid-70s consisted of pre-pre-game parties, pre-game parties, tailgating with alumni, and then the stagger into Scott Stadium in time to catch the Pep Band playing the Good Old Song and the Fight Song. The first half consisted of more partying, the lobbing of gallon jugs of mixed drinks over the fence, the surreptitious movement of half kegs through the stands, the bright sun shining on the coeds’ sundresses, and the rows and rows of frat boys in their coats and ties. Everyone was smiling and happy, except of course for the poor cheerleaders who were trying to get the crowds’ attention directed to the field. The half time show was the highlight of the day, watching the Pep Band with their crisp wit and loose formations. As the second half would begin, the fans would begin to slowly trickle out to the post-game parties. The actual football game was played, of course, but the focus of the day was the party and the people. Of course the Hoos would lose, but if they scored and we could sing the Good Old Song, then we had a successful day.


John
(09/10/09 6:17pm)
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Richmond is a division one team. They're in the FCS.


Brandon
(09/10/09 6:59pm)
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I wish my time at UVA was marked by experiences like John's. Instead we have the "Sea of Orange" and constant bitching about the way the team is playing. I knew in applying to UVA that I was applying to a great school with a great social scene and a mediocre-at-best football team. I love football, but I did not come here for an SEC caliber program. Stop thinking we are going to have that type of team, and go back to accepting who we are and drowning your sorrows. If you take that attitude, you will be pleasantly surprised by every win, and have a killer buzz to go with it.


Tom
(09/10/09 9:59pm)
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How lame... I'd rather have a good buzz than a good football team. What precludes having both?

Does U.Va. tolerate having bad lacrosse or soccer teams? No! Maybe this is becasue they are preppy sports and fit into the image of the University. Perhaps having a good football team is not accepted because it is a rough and tumble, "ungentlemanly" sport? Dare I even say one fit only for rednecks and the less tasteful of society. How ridiculous!

George Welsh came to Virginia and proved that football and acadmics could be partnered successfully at the University. Like it or not, a successful, legitimate athletic program enhances the image of a college overall. There is nowhere where it is written that to obtain academic standing you must have lousy athletics. Notre Dame, Southern California, Stanford and Cal-Berkley are all rated higher as universities than U.Va. according to U.S. News & World Reports, yet each have outstanding athletic, including football, programs.

Perhaps those more interested in partying and not accepting that the University of Virginia can be a school of international standing and also aspire to having a big time football program should have gone to Hampden-Sydney where they belong.


Katie
(09/11/09 4:54am)
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While the Sugar Bowl is NOW a BCS bowl, the 1990 UVA win, unfortunately, doesn't count as a BCS win since the BCS wasn't around until 1998.

And in reference to the partying...I went to Texas undergrad and was there for the 2005 season (you remember the one...VY in the Rose Bowl...amazing 38-35 win to end USC's winning streak) and we definitely had the best of all worlds. We all wore burnt orange, lots of guys in dress shirts, jeans and boots (it's Texas), and girls in burnt orange dresses or skirts with hats and boots, which made sneaking alcohol into the stadium ridiculously easy since they don't check boots. So by half time, most of the student section was drunk from all the pre-gaming and gaming, enjoying the band and cheerleaders, participating in the cheers, and loving that the score on our side of the board was greater than the other side.

Long story short: it's possible to have it all, lots of partying, lots of sportsmanship while still maintaining the preppiness (but in school colors mind you), having school spirit and watching the band and cheerleaders, and WINNING the game.

And I'm sorry, after that distasteful computer skit at the beginning involving an Indian with a loin cloth, and also making fun of W&M for being the "nerd" school, UVA shouldn't have lost. I remember hearing recently that the poor football performance was due to "higher academic standards" than other schools. And yet we got trounced by the "nerd" school with even higher academic standards. I think W&M was an even match (sad as that is), but UVA played horribly and sloppy.

Anyway, anyone who was offended by last years "Groh must Go" posters in the stands was simply offended by facts, and how can you be offended by facts?


seth
(09/15/09 2:56pm)
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Al Groh's Grand Football Strategy:\n- Get the students to wear orange T-shirts.\n- Eliminate pep band, create just-another-StateU marching band.\n- Ban signs in Scott Stadium.\n- Build expensive big stadium and put moronic content on the big screen.

What's missing here? Oh yes, none of these has anything to do with the team itself.

The current football program is an embarrassment to the University. Nevermind the win/loss record- Craig Littlepage and Al Groh offend UVA traditions and student self-governance. Fire both of them, and give control of the game-day atmosphere (including the video screen) back to students.


Theo '85
(09/18/09 8:21pm)
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I’m class of ‘85, which means I was there for Bestwick’s last season — a nice 1-10 — and Welsh’s first season (2-9) and the Peach Bowl in ‘84 that marked the arrival of the New UVA Football Program. There has only been one era of true, consistent success in the last 50+ years, and that is the Welsh era. Groh’s body of work is somewhere between Bestwick and Welsh, but it’s clearly closer to Bestwick than Welsh, I think we can all fairly say. Time for Hoos to turn the page, and do so with the right things in focus. First and foremost, success — as demonstrated by Coach Welsh — begins at home, with recruiting, at home. Look at the Top 25 2010 recruits in-state and you’ll see we have a commitment from one of them, No. 24, and no others. VPI has 11 or 12. That’s the ballgame folks. Ask yourselves who might be able to turn heads if hired right now, on an interim basis, re-energize the fans immediately, re-invigorate the recruiting, and most importantly, get the attention of this slipping team. If this were UNC b-ball, you know they’d stay close to the Dean tree. If this were Alabama football (back before the Internet at least) you know they’d stay close to Bear. We’ve had one era of success. Just one. That has to tell you that Welsh was doing something different, something right, something effective, and you have to know his players know what it was and how it works. There is one player with the juice, with the connection to our lone period of excellence, and who is synonymous with UVA football and sacrifice for the program: Anthony Poindexter. I don’t blame any of the young kids at the school now for not knowing or really understanding who Poindexter is to this school. But the players know, the alums know and, equally important, the recruits in Lynchburg, Big Stone Gap, Norfolk, Newport News, Danville and beyond all know as well. I’ll bet you Welsh would even sign on as a Special Advisor, just to keep the old folks from getting too antsy about a young guy taking the reins. Before you slice me up for this, maybe you ought to take a look at Poindexter’s history and what he gave up to come back one more time for the orange and blue. Good story, good man, and a good risk.


Groh Must Go
(09/19/09 2:32pm)
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Groh shouldn't resign. He should commit seppuku!



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