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The Terps are moving to the Big Ten, and no future games have been slated in the rivalry.
Courtesy of Maryland
Maryland coach Randy Edsall is concerned about his offensive line.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
While Maryland is neither Virginia’s oldest rival nor its biggest rival, there is no denying that the Terrapins are UVa’s closest rival, at least geographically speaking.
The ACC acknowledged as much when Maryland and UVa were placed in opposite football divisions but were designated as each other’s scheduling partner, preserving their annual meeting in football.
That union will be rent asunder after today, when the Terrapins (4-1, 0-1 ACC) entertain the Cavaliers (2-3, 0-1) at 3:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium.
Maryland will move to the Big Ten after this season and no future games have been scheduled. Nor has there been any movement to keep the series alive.
Terrapins coach Randy Edsall said this summer that he could not foresee a future Virginia-Maryland series because the Big Ten is going to a nine-game conference slate.
“There’s going to be limited opportunities for us to be able to play a lot of different people based on the number of games that we’ll be playing in our conference,” Edsall said.
The Terps’ hotly contested series with West Virginia also could fall by the wayside.
UVa athletic director Craig Littlepage doesn’t see how the Cavs and Terps could play in the next 6-7 years.
“I would say as you look around the country, the trend seems to be toward nine conference games,” said Littlepage, noting that the Pac- 12 already has a nine-game conference schedule, as does the Big 12.
“It would not surprise me if there is a point in time when the ACC lands at nine conference games.”
Maybe the larger issue from a logistical standpoint is the 20 other UVa programs that traditionally have played Maryland, especially in sports such as lacrosse and field hockey that are often associated with the Mid-Atlantic region.
“The question has come up,” Littlepage said, “and the answer we have provided is, ‘The heads of their particular sports are charged with putting together a competitive schedule … from the standpoint of what benefits our program at UVa.
“The bottom line is, those coaches will make the decision if the University of Maryland fits or does not fit.”
Littlepage said he has not discussed the situation with Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson and he has spoken to his coaches only as a group, not individually.
Striking is the lack of emotion toward a series that has been contested annually since 1957. This will be the teams’ 78th meeting — fourth in UVa history behind North Carolina (117), Virginia Tech (92) and VMI (83),
Virginia has 15 players from Maryland on its roster, including tailback and return specialist Khalek Shepherd, who grew up going to games at Byrd Stadium.
“These Maryland-Virginia games are very physical and very fun to play in,” said Shepherd, son of former Washington Redskins wide receiver Leslie Shepherd. “It’s kind of a bittersweet thing, being a Maryland guy.”
Perhaps people should have seen this coming. At one time, the teams played for the Tydings Cup, named for a family prominent in Maryland politics.
The last time the cup was awarded was in 1938, although the Baltimore Sun reported in 2003 that the practice was being revived. Maryland and Virginia played on a Thursday night that year but there was no ceremony after the Terrapins’ 27-17 victory.
“When they asked me about it, I deferred,” Littlepage said at the time “Already, we’ve got the Commonwealth Cup with Virginia Tech, the longest-running series in the south with North Carolina and the Jefferson-Eppes Cup with Florida State.
“Coach [Al] Groh wasn’t interested ... in adding another cup.”
Littlepage said at the time that he couldn’t be sure, with the advent of ACC expansion, that the Terps and Cavaliers would be playing on an annual basis.
In their last 10 meetings, starting with the 2003 game, the teams are 5-5. A series once dominated by the Terrapins has been the most evenly contested on the Cavaliers’ schedule.
Plus, it has been the best opportunity for the respective fanbases to watch their teams on the road. You rarely hear the term “cost containment” in college athletics any more, but the teams can — and still do — visit each other by bus.
Before he was the Cavaliers’ head coach, Mike London served two terms as a UVa assistant and views the rivalry fondly.
He said, “It’s a game that a lot of your players going to Virginia, and even some kids from Maryland, always look forward to playing.”
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