Conference realignment broke up dozens of traditional rivalries back in the early part of this decade but one that probably wasn’t on the radar of most fans was the longstanding game between Maryland and Virginia.
The two regional rivals played annually since 1957 when they were both in the ACC, but haven’t met since 2013 after the Terps departed for the greener pastures of the Big Ten. Looking to change that, the two schools announced on Thursday that they were renewing the game with a home-and-home series set to take place in the distant future.
According to releases from both programs, the Cavaliers will travel to College Park on September 16, 2023. That will be followed up by the Terps trip to Charlottesville on September 14, 2024.
Maryland has played Virginia 78 times, which the school notes is the most of any opponent in program history. The Terps lead the series 44-32-2 all-time and won the last two meetings back in 2012 and 2013.
So sure, it’s not as notable as Texas and Texas A&M or West Virginia and Pitt renewing a rivalry game but for those select fans in the Northeast, it’s an interesting bit of news to look forward to years from now.
Georgia and Virginia will meet in a 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, it was announced Wednesday.
The Dawgs-Hoos matchup will be a Labor Day night affair — Sept. 7, 2020, to be exact — with Florida State and West Virginia already set for Sept. 5. The 2020 season will mark the fourth time the Chick-fil-A Kickoff event has doubled up on opening weekend.
“This game will provide another great opportunity to kick off a season in the sports capital of the South on national television and against an opponent with long-standing tradition,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. “Like Georgia, Virginia has been playing football for well over 100 years and I’m sure this will be a popular matchup with both fan bases, as well as football fans in general. We are appreciative of the opportunity and look forward to returning to Atlanta for the 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.”
Added Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall: “Having the chance to open the college football season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a fantastic opportunity for our program. Players love to compete on the largest stage and Atlanta is a great location for our fans to spend the Labor Day weekend. I cannot imagine a better setting to open the season than to face Georgia in what I’m told will be one the nation’s finest stadiums. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has a reputation of being an amazing experience for both teams and we are appreciative of this invitation.”
The 2020 game will be, coincidentally, the 20th all-time meeting between the programs. Georgia holds a 9-7-3 lead and a 2-game winning streak. The pair’s last three meetings have all come in a bowl games; Virginia won the 1995 Peach Bowl, and Georgia won the 1998 Peach Bowl and the 2000 Oahu Bowl.
The game will be Georgia’s third time to participate in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Bulldogs lost to Boise State in 2011 and beat North Carolina to open this season. The 2020 game, the 17th in Chick-fil-A Kickoff history to that point, will be Virginia’s first such appearance in the event.
Future Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games break out as follows:
2017: Alabama vs. Florida State, Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech (Monday)
2018: Auburn vs. Washington
2019: Alabama vs. Duke
2020: Florida State vs. West Virginia, Georgia vs. Virginia (Monday)
Embarking on his first offseason as the head coach at Cincinnati, Luke Fickell has made a couple of veteran additions to his first UC coaching staff.
The football program announced in a press release the additions of Joker Phillips and Jon Tenuta to Fickell’s initial staff. The former will serve as wide receivers coach, the latter as safeties coach.
“I’m proud and excited about how our staff is coming together,” Fickell said in a statement. “Brady[and] Joker… are all great coaches and family men. We asked our team to have blind faith as we started this journey, and that has been true of the coaches as well. It has been amazing to see how many guys have taken that leap of faith. The caliber of coaches and people we’ve been able to attract here has been unbelievable and we aren’t done yet.”
The former head coach at Kentucky, Phillips is coming home in a roundabout way as he was a position coach at UC in 1997 and 1998. He has spent time as receivers coach at Minnesota (1999-2000), Notre Dame (2001), South Carolina (2002), Kentucky (2003-2009) and Florida (2013). Additionally, he was the receivers coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2015.
Last season, he was a quality control assistant at Ohio State.
Tenuta was last in the collegiate game as the defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2013-15. He’s also been a coordinator at Ohio State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Notre Dame.
Mike London knows the area in, and around, Washington D.C. well from his stops recruiting at Richmond, Virginia and Maryland. So well, in fact, that he’s decided to drop down a few levels and coach there again.
According to FootballScoop, the veteran head coach will be taking over as head coach of Howard University, a historically black college that competes in the MEAC located in the area.
This past season, London served as associate head coach of the Terps and handled the defensive line. He was one of the bigger name hires that D.J. Durkin made when first taking over the program and was, at the time, one of three former head coaches on staff.
Prior to going to College Park, London was the head man at Virginia. While he had several lackluster seasons with the Cavs, he did guide the team to an 8-5 year in 2011 and was named ACC Coach of the Year.
London served as the head coach at Richmond before that and also had a stint in the NFL with the Houston Texans in 2005.
He will replace Gary Harrell, who was not retained after the Bison went 2-9 this past season.
While not too many things ended up going well for Virginia in the first season under new head coach Bronco Mendenhall, one bright spot was the play of junior safety Quin Blanding. On Monday, Virginia announced Blanding has decided to return to the program for his final year of eligibility in 2017, providing a nice boost to the defensive outlook for the Cavaliers next fall.
“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to stay at the University of Virginia and complete my fourth year,” Blanding said in a released statement. “I am fully committed to coach Bronco Mendenhall, coach Nick Howell and the entire coaching staff and the program they are building. I am committed to my teammates and want to help lead my team to a bowl game while at UVA.”
Virginia confirmed Blanding had submitted his name for an evaluation from the NFL College Advisory Committee. What the results were is unconfirmed, although it would seem it was not enticing enough to make the jump from college to the pros at this point in time. The All-ACC was named a second team All-American by multiple organizations this past fall after recording 10.0 tackles per game and 120 total tackles for the Cavaliers.