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Musings on Virginia sports include praise, predictions

Because of the positive response to last week's tidbits and two-cents worth, the following is a hodgepodge of hype, high praise, hypotheticals and a hint of the Heisman pose.

Cheers for the Cav cheer squad: Actually this group deserves a lot more than three cheers. The squad practices daily for at least three hours, and now the "HOOleaders" are getting some much deserved recognition.

The Cavaliers captured first place in their division, earning a free trip this upcoming January to Nationals in Orlando. By taking the top spot, Virginia does not have to participate in preliminary rounds and advances to the national competition. Congratulations to all of you!

The best of the best: Cavalier tailback Thomas Jones definitely belongs at the top of the heap. There was some sense that Jones should strike the Heisman pose during Saturday's upset against then-No. 7 Georgia Tech. That has never been his style, and quite frankly, it probably never will be.

Jones is as humble as they come. In fact, with all the fans in the house chanting "Heisman," Jones elected not to enter the game late in the fourth quarter. After Jones had helped carry the Cavaliers to the Jacket 37 with runs of three, 14 and 11 yards, reserve tailback Tyree Foreman entered the game to spell Jones.

Foreman rushed the ball four straight times, pushing the pigskin to Georgia Tech's two-yard marker. The fans and some of the coaches wanted to put Jones in to get the touchdown. Jones waved them off. He wanted Foreman, who had driven the ball into the red zone, to get the score. Foreman did just that on his fifth consecutive carry. Jones, a perfect example of class and humility, did not want "to pad his numbers."

Partially correct predictions: It seems that this version of the Swami did respectably last week. Each of last week's predictions was at least partially true. So here's another sampling. The football team wins two in a row with a romp over Buffalo. Jones only plays two-and-a-half quarters but breaks the ACC single-season rushing mark. The score favors Virginia, 56-7.

The field hockey team came up just short of upsetting No. 1 Maryland in the ACC Tournament. But the Cavaliers gained some valuable confidence and experience, which they'll us to make a strong run in the NCAA, and appear in the Final Four again.

The women's soccer team bowed out in the ACC Tournament's first round for the third straight year against Clemson. Still, Virginia earns a bye into the NCAA's second round. The Cavs win there but lose another disappointing contest in the third. Meanwhile, the men hit the pitch this week for their ACC tourney. The Cavaliers' youth and inexperience has plagued them all season. However, needing a first-round win to make the NCAA field, the Cavs thump their opponent 4-0.

Quarterback controversy: Not to stir up a bee's nest, but David Rivers' performance against a highly touted group of stingers should raise some eyebrows. With Dan Ellis, the Cavs' starter for most of the season, still recovering from a concussion suffered against FSU, this may be a moot point for this weekend's contest with Buffalo.

However, football is a what- have-you-done-for-me-lately society. Save one quarter of superb football against N.C. State, Ellis hasn't done much at all recently. Rivers looked more comfortable in the pocket Saturday than Ellis has looked all season. As a matter of fact, Rivers had no happy feet at all after the early game jitters wore off. Ellis often looks like he's trying out for River Dance.

But, I digress. The last thing this team needs is a controversy right now. Looking at the long term, however, I think this team should go with Rivers for a while and see how things work. If he doesn't duplicate Saturday's showing, pull him. No harm done, no love lost. If he does, another seven-win season could suddenly become a reality.

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