Virginia Tech vs. Virginia: 10 Little-Known Facts About the Commonwealth Rivalry
The Virginia Tech Hokies and Virginia Cavaliers will square off on Saturday for the annual battle for the Commonwealth Cup.
Virginia Tech begins the college football weekend in search of its 11th win of the 2011 season and eight consecutive wins over its in-state rivals.
The Virginia Cavaliers are looking to earn their inaugural trip to the ACC Championship and become only the third team from the ACC Coastal to make the title game.
More importantly, this tilt is about bragging rights and recruiting in the state of Virginia. Both teams will bring their best in order to get a shot at an illustrious BCS bowl.
Wanna know more? Here are some facts you may not have known about the Commonwealth rivalry.
Berth of the Cup
The series dates back to 1895, making the rivalry over a century old.
What you may not know is that the Commonwealth Cup trophy did not become a part of the rivalry until 1996.
Since the Commonwealth Cup was introduced as the reward for victory, the Virginia Tech Hokies are 11-3 against the Cavaliers.
Perhaps raising the stakes brought Tech's game to a whole new level.
Construction of Commonwealth Cup
The Commonwealth Cup trophy is composed of beautiful marble and cherry and checks in at four feet tall.
The award depicts the commonwealth of Virginia on its facing with the cities of Blacksburg and Charlottesville highlighted on the map.
The results of every matchup between the two rivals is displayed on the three sides of the base.
Sitting on the roof of the base is a detachable silver plated cup that many players drink out of after the whistle.
It is a remarkable trophy, and one that both teams strive for each and every Saturday following the Thanksgiving holiday.
Frank Beamer Era
The Virginia Cavaliers have employed three separate head coaches since Virginia Tech's hiring of Frank Beamer in 1986.
George Welsh took over as head coach of Virginia from 1982 until 2000. Welsh went 9-10 against the Hokies and 8-6 against Beamer.
Al Groh replaced Welsh in 2000 and had a record of 1-9 versus Tech with his lone win coming in 2003. That was the last victory for the Cavaliers in the Commonwealth Cup.
Mike London is in his second season as head coach of Virginia and is 0-1 after a 37-7 loss in 2010.
Overall, Virginia Tech is 15-9 against Virginia during Beamer's term.
Commonwealth Cup Series
The overall series stands at 50-37-5 coming into action on Saturday.
According to the game notes published by hokiesports.com, Tech has won 11 of 12 contests and 14 of 18 matchups against the University of Virginia.
Other impressive runs included Virginia winning six of eight from 1987 to 1994, six in a row from 1947 to 1952, and its first eight games against the Hokies.
Tech won six in a row from 1958 to 1963 and did not lose a game to the Cavaliers from 1928 to 1937.
The last tie between the two squads occurred in 1977 with the game ending by a score of 14-14.
The series has been played at five different locations.
After 1964, the tilts have been staged at the campus stadiums of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Prior to that season, games between the two were played in Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke.
Prior to the 2005 matchup at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, an apparent Hokie supporter vandalized the field, painting a "T" on the end of the Cavalier logo as shown above.
It must have worked for Tech, as the Hokies ended up domination that game by a score of 52-14.
Top 25 Matchups
Virginia Tech and Virginia have squared off eight times when both teams were ranked in the Top 25.
The Hokies are 6-2 in those games, with the last such case occurring in 2007. Tech was ranked No. 8 at the time and Al Groh's Cavaliers were ranked No. 16.
Virginia Tech won the game 33-21 during Tyrod Taylor's freshman campaign. Virginia's best player on the 2007 roster was defensive lineman Chris Long, who went on to be a first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Biggest Games in Series History
The second-most important game in series history was the aforementioned 2007 matchup in which the No.8 Hokies beat the No.16 Cavaliers 33-21.
The most important?
Well, that will happen on Saturday at 3:30 PM ET on ABC or ESPN2.
The game will decide the winner of the ACC Coastal division for the first time since 2007 and for the second time ever.
Virginia is itching to end the losing streak versus Tech and earn its first trip to the ACC Championship.
Logan Thomas and Michael Rocco
The two starting quarterbacks for Virginia Tech and Virginia call the same town home.
Tech's Logan Thomas and Virginia's Michael Rocco are both from Lynchburg, Virginia and are sophomores.
More importantly, both signal callers are leaders of their respective teams.
Thomas has completed 60.4 percent of his throws for 2,338 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is on pace for one of the most productive passing seasons in Virginia Tech history.
Rocco has similarly completed 60.4 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2,148 yards and eleven touchdowns.
Both players will be integral in their teams' performance on Saturday. The passer who is more productive and efficient on Saturday will likely be drinking from the Commonwealth Cup.
The Virginia Tech Hokies joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 and have not lost to Virginia as an ACC member.
Virginia has played the Hokies under four conference affiliations including the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Southern Conference, the ACC and as an Independent.
The Hokies have faced the Cavaliers while being a member off the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Southern Conference, the Big East, the ACC and as an Independent.
In seven full years as an ACC member, Tech has won four ACC titles. In 58 years as a member of the ACC, Virginia has won two ACC crowns.
Since Tech's Last Loss to Virginia
Virginia Tech's last loss to Virginia occurred in 2003. Here are some popular events that have occurred since that date.
- United States captured and killed Osama Bin Laden
- YouTube was invented
- Hurricane Katrina
- President George Bush was reelected in 2004
- The United States elected its first African American President, Barack Obama
- Tiger Woods forgot how to play golf
- Tyrod Taylor became Virginia Tech's winningest quarterback in team history
- The Boston Red Sox won ended an 86-season championship drought by winning the 2004 World Series
Needless to say, the Virginia Cavaliers will be ready to roll on Saturday. Mike London has brought a new culture to Charlottesville and will get the best out of his team.
Look for a great game between two good ACC rivals and expect a close-knit contest.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our valued readers.