This is a repost of “The Opposing View” from January 14th, right before the VT @ uva game. We interviewed an alum of the hated hoos of virginia, or as I like to call them, “Others Receiving Votes” since they always seem to be on the fringe of actually being good, but not quite getting there.
I’d like to thank Chris Graham of thesportsdominion.com/ for participating and being a good sport.
Chris Graham (CG) is a 1994 graduate of the university of virginia and the husband of the former Crystal Abbe, a 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech [Niemo: at least he made one smart decision]. The Grahams own and operate the Waynesboro-based Augusta Free Press Publishing, the parent company of The New Dominion Magazine, a quarterly print magazine, two news websites, and thesportsdominion.com, a website that is also the home to “The SportsDominion Show,” a daily sports podcast and weekly radio show covering sports in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Q1: uva has been a member of the ACC for over 54 years now. In those 54 years, how many OUTRIGHT* ACC Championships have they won in Men’s Basketball and Football (ie: the real sports)? *co-championships do not count
CG’s A: The one in ’76 comes to mind. (Basketball, The Miracle in Landover. VPISU was probably playing vmi and washington and lee that weekend. And probably losing.)
Notice how the question is framed by a VPISU booster, though. “Men’s Basketball and Football (i.e. the real sports).” I don’t want to hear you guys claiming later on in this Q and A that you’re all the sudden now good in soccer. You’ve defined the terms in the way VPISU grads are accustomed to doing.
Niemo’s Note: 1 is the correct answer – uva won the 1976 men’s basketball tournament title. They tied for the football title just twice – in 1989 and 1995 – but have never won a football title outright despite the fact the ACC consisted of just seven or eight teams and no fsu until 1992.
Q2: Virginia Tech has been a member of the ACC for less than four full years now. In that time, how many OUTRIGHT ACC Championships do the Hokies have?
CG’s A: Is it two? I would want to count the track and field championship from this year, but again, those sports don’t count in Blacksburg, apparently, so we’ll go with the two from football. Both, by the way, have to be attributed to uva president John “HokieLoveFest” Casteen, without whom you would still be the Beasts of the Big Least.
Niemo’s Note: 2 is the correct answer. That’s right, VT has more in 4 years than uva has in 54. VT has two outright football championships in just four years – 2004 and 2007. And speaking of the Big Least, I should point out the Big East has won their last three BCS games, defeating the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 champs while the ACC has lost eight straight BCS games.
[Many more questions and answers below...]
Q3: Why has uva sucked so much in the major sports? [Just to add on, uva only has one baseball championship in the 34 year history of the ACC Baseball tournament]
CG’s A: I dunno, two Finals Fours (that’s when your basketball team wins four games in an NCAA Tournament, a concept unfamiliar to those in Castrated Turkey Nation, who burn the couches on their front porches when they win one in a row) doesn’t connote “sucking” to me. [Niemo: FYI: uva lost both those semi-final games so they have never played for the big one in football, basketball, or baseball.]
And we’ve been #1 in the national football rankings. How does that feel? Sorry, I’m asking someone who wouldn’t know – VPISU has been ranked as high as #2 before, but has never been #1. (Just to give you a sense – because you will never know, and you guys all know this by now – being #1 feels great. Same as it feels great being #1 every year in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of public universities. It’s way, way better than being #2 or #76 or whatever other numbers you guys down there are used to.)
Niemo’s Note: I really don’t care that uva was #1 in football in 1990 considering the fact they finished that season 8-4, including a 38-13 pasting by the Hokies. A favorite t-shirt of mine was “1990 uva football: #1 in the nation [X], ACC [X], Virginia [X], charlottesville”. They don’t give national titles on November 1st. I’d rather wait and be #1 at the end.
Niemo’s Note #2: uva is NOT #1 among public schools this year (2008) in the US News and World Report College Rankings and is not even top 20 overall. But why let facts get in the way of an inaccurate boast? Funny to hear uva’s inflated ego of themselves. VT is #71 overall (including public and private).
Q5: Who would play al groh in a movie?
CG’s A: Robert De Niro, though if Shemp from “The Three Stooges” was still alive and kicking …
Q6: You are stranded on a deserted island. Pick one of the following pairs to be there with you:
a) Ralph Sampson and Dave Leitao
b) al groh and mikey groh
c) Frank Beamer and Jessica Biel
CG’s A: Long answer … I dig Leitao, but Ralph, hey, the guy doesn’t have much to offer these days, other than unintentional comic relief. The Grohs … sorry, but even though it would be entertaining to see them turn on each other after about 10 minutes on the desolate rock, no way. Beamer I could handle, even though the homilies would get old quick. And there’d always be Jessica Biel.
Q7: Tell us about john paul jones arena… Favorite things about it? Is it loud?
CG’s A: The premier arena in college basketball. And this is coming from the guy who wrote the book (Mad About U: Four Decades of Basketball at University Hall, published in 2006) on its predecessor.
Niemo’s Note: So at least he’s not biased… [tic]
Q8: Which facility do you like better? jpj or scott stadium?
CG’s A: JPJ, hands down.
Q9: Where do you see uva’s basketball team finishing in the ACC this season?
CG’s A: The ACC, outside of Carolina, is not looking too strong this year. duke, I think, is decent, but not at all the duke program of old. n.c. state, obviously, is going to fall short of expectations. clemson is looking OK, but just OK. I’m thinking uva is a top-four ACC team this year, but I’m not bragging about that at all, given the context.
Q10: What about Tech?
CG’s A: Not to down VPISU, but this is going to be a tough year for the Hokies. The losses of Dowdell, Gordon and Collins are proving tough to overcome already. I can see the Hokies sneaking out four or maybe five wins, just because the conference as a whole is down this year.
Q11: We all knew about sean singletary and j.r. reynolds last year, but who has replaced reynolds at uva’s secondary go-to-guy this season?
CG’s A: Good question, and the answer is still to be determined. Mamadi Diane is supposed to be that guy, but he is proving to be madly inconsistent. Calvin Baker might be the #2 scoring option, but Dave Leitao has him in the sixth-man role because his defense needs to improve to justify the extra minutes. Adrian Joseph is playing pretty well at the four, but I wonder if he will be able to keep up what he is doing now that we’re into ACC play.
Q12: uva has done well in rebounding margin. How have they gotten that done?
CG’s A: Willpower. I think one thing that is overlooked about this team is its toughness – and its team speed. Playing basically four and even five perimeter players pretty much the entire 40 minutes, you would think they would be getting killed on the boards, but rebounding is as much desire and team speed as it is anything else. That, and Dave Leitao preaches rebounding above everything else. To get on the floor, you need to be able to rebound and defend even more than you need to be able to score.
Q13: What are uva’s other strengths as a team?
CG’s A: Depth is a strength for this team. Leitao can go to any of 13 guys and get quality minutes at any point in time. That can also be a drawback – because at some point, you have to go with your best eight or nine and try to get consistent minutes from them.
Q14: What do you see as the key match-ups in the game [Saturday]?
CG’s A: Mamadi Diane/Deron Washington is the key matchup for Virginia. Washington is the one guy who can hurt virginia, and though Diane’s offense often goes into slumps, his defense is usually quite solid. I would say A.D. Vassallo/Adrian Joseph, but I don’t know that they will match up much because Joseph plays a lot of four for us.
Q15: Even though he’s gone now, do you think jason cain ever scored with the ladies with that cheesy mustache? I mean, it was cool with Adam Morrison, but he has game.
CG’s A: My guess is that Cain probably had his way with the ladies on grounds. I mean, not only did he have the cheesy ‘stache, but he had all those boss tats to go with them. Chicks fall for that mad combo of bad ‘stache and tats – and then the guy was 6-11 to boot.
Q16: Any chance we will see laurynas mikalaukas in a Proactiv commercial any time soon? I think he led the country in back and shoulder zits last season.
CG’s A: No steroids jokes here, please. Nothing about HGH. Or The Cream. Or The Clear. Nope, because that has nothing to do with back and shoulder zits …
Niemo’s Note: If getting fat and ugly is also a side effect of ‘roids…
Q17: Do you see sean singletary making an NBA team next year?
CG’s A: I’m not sure. His offensive game is NBA-ready. His D would leave a lot to be desired, if he played any. Honestly, I think if he played any D, he’d be there already. I think that he ends up in Europe.
CG’s Question from the Questioned: How many national championships – in any sport, even cow-tipping, which I hear is a recognized team sport down in Southwest – has VPISU won?
Niemo’s Answer: Bass Fishing and four in hammer/weight throw…. Guess you should have done your homework. Not to mention two national mascot titles (cheerleading) in the ’90’s. But who/hoo really cares until either of us gets a real one – in football, basketball, or baseball.