Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry

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Virginia Tech meets Virginia for the Hokies' first visit to John Paul Jones Arena on March 1, 2007. The Cavaliers won the game 69-56, and clinched a share of first place in the final ACC standings for their 5th regular season title.

The Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry is an American college rivalry that exists between the Virginia Cavaliers sports teams of the University of Virginia and the Virginia Tech Hokies sports teams of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Both universities are currently members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In ACC sports that have divisional play, such as college baseball and college football, both compete in the ACC's Coastal Division.

In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years, the program-wide rivalry was called the Commonwealth Challenge.[1] The Cavaliers won both years of the Challenge but future sponsorship was not sought out of respect for the Virginia Tech massacre. Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage stated at the time that "now is not the time to be talking about bragging rights." [2]

Virginia and Virginia Tech had actually been conference rivals in the past prior to the latter joining the ACC - the two schools were in the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association together from 1907–22, then in the Southern Conference from 1922–37, when Virginia left (Tech would stay in the SoCon until the 1960s).

All-time and ACC series results[edit]

Sport All-time series record[3] ACC series record Last result Next meeting
Baseball UVA leads 94–81[4] UVA leads 22–6 UVA won 7-4 on March 30, 2014 TBD @ UVA
Men's Basketball UVA leads 86–53 UVA leads 13–8 UVA won 57-53 on February 18, 2014 TBD
Women's Basketball UVA leads 43–8 UVA leads 19–2 UVA won 80-64 on February 16, 2014 TBD
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT leads 53–37–5 VT leads 10–0 VT won 16-6 on November 30, 2013 November 28, 2014 @ VT
Women's Lacrosse UVA leads 18–1 UVA leads 11–1 UVA won 17-12 on April 16, 2014 TBD @ VT
Men's Soccer  UVA leads 36–4–3^ UVA leads 5–2–3 Tied 1-1 (2OT) on October 18, 2013 TBD @ UVA
Women's Soccer UVA leads 13–3–1 UVA leads 10–3–1 VT won 4-2 on November 8, 2013 October 26, 2014 @ VT
Softball VT leads 31–20 VT leads 19–11 VT won 11-3 on April 13, 2014 TBD @ VT
Men's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 26–1[4] UVA leads 8–1 VT won on January 18, 2014 TBD
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 25–1[4] UVA leads 8–0 UVA won on January 18, 2014 TBD
Men's Tennis UVA leads 52–8[4] UVA leads 9–0 UVA won 7-0 on April 19, 2014 TBD @ VT
Women's Tennis UVA leads 34–5[4] UVA leads 10–0 UVA won 4-3 on Apr 26, 2013 TBD @ VT
Volleyball UVA leads 32–30 VT leads 10–9 UVA won 3-1 on November 24, 2013 October 12, 2014 @ VT
Wrestling VT leads 38–27 VT leads 7–2 UVA won 19-16 on November 24, 2013 February 1, 2015 @ VT
TOTAL UVA leads 543–317–9 UVA leads 137–62–5  

Series led and games won by Virginia are shaded ██. Series led and games won by Virginia Tech shaded ██.

^ has results for men's soccer back to only 1975, but has a record of results going back to 1960.[5]

Commonwealth Challenge[edit]

Commonwealth Challenge
Virginia Tech (0) Virginia (2)

Now in the same conference, the two schools agreed to face off in a Commonwealth Challenge[6] across all sports in 2005. The Challenge continued through 2007, with the Cavaliers winning both years of the competition. It was discontinued "in the short term" after the Virginia Tech massacre, although a score was tallied on February 21, 2008 by the Roanoke Times using the scoring system of the previous two years. UVA would have been leading the 2007–2008 competition as of that date, 7 to 6.[7]

Year Result
2005–2006 UVA won 14½–7½
2006–2007 UVA won 14–8

Challenges won by Virginia are shaded ██.


The Virginia/Virginia Tech rivalry has existed since the late 1800s, but has only come to preeminence in the last twenty years. Traditionally, Virginia's primary rival has been the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- known as the South's Oldest Rivalry. Virginia Tech's rival was the Virginia Military Institute, with whom they shared a military tradition and similar acronyms (VMI vs. VPI).

The UVA/Virginia Tech rivalry began in earnest in 1899, a year that saw Virginia take on northern powerhouses Penn and Michigan. Virginia's final game of the season was against a squad in the middle of a disastrous first full season, a fledgling land grant school in Blacksburg, Virginia, that had only just progressed into a four-year campus- Virginia Polytechnic Institute. That game, a 28-0 decision for Virginia, was a footnote in their 4-3-2 season that year- but for at least one Virginia Tech student, it was much more.

Hunter Carpenter, a 15-year old from Clifton Forge, enrolled at Virginia Tech in 1898. Though he had never touched a football prior to enrolling at Tech, following the blowout of the 1899 game, he became a man possessed by one thing- beating Virginia in football. However, after five years of college, Hunter Carpenter graduated from Virginia Tech without achieving his goal. Infuriated, he transferred to the University of North Carolina. "I just want to beat the University of Virginia," Carpenter was quoted as saying by the Associated Press, in reference to his move to Chapel Hill. However, as a standout on the Tar Heels' football squad, he again failed to win against Virginia for two years in a row.[8]

Carpenter returned to Virginia Tech in 1905 for a last shot at beating Virginia. Going into the 1905 game, Tech was 0-8 against UVA by a cumulative 170-5 score. The Cavalier Daily, student paper of the University of Virginia, ran a story outlining Carpenter's motives and move from Virginia Tech to the University of North Carolina, and then back to Virginia Tech. Virginia accused Carpenter of being a "professional" player- as eligibility rules were much looser back then, it was not uncommon in those days for players in their mid to late twenties to travel from school to school, loaning their services out to football powerhouses such as Ohio State and Alabama to give them an edge in rivalry games.[8]

Carpenter signed an affidavit that he was an amateur player and, against a backdrop of recrimination, the game was finally played. Carpenter scored, and Tech took an 11-0 lead. Carpenter was ejected midway through the game for throwing the ball at the face of a Virginia defender, but stayed on the sidelines to watch as neither team was able to score against each other. Carpenter left immediately after the game and moved to Middleton, New York, never to return to the Commonwealth. The University of Virginia refused to play Virginia Tech again until 1923.[8]


Some from outside the state believe the rivalry to be a bitter one; analogies have been made to the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry, in both its intensity and scope. Former Ohio State quarterback and football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said in 2004 that he "never realized how much those people hate each other." He went on to say "when I was down in Blacksburg, I said some nice things about Al Groh and it was like I had turned my back on them."[9]

This, however, is not common. Many of the teams' respective fans are cordial to each other, and it is not uncommon to see Virginia fans rooting for Virginia Tech teams (and vice versa) when they are competing against teams from outside the Commonwealth. Many families have children who attend both schools, and the two schools often hold sorority, fraternity, and other social functions together. Yard flags, mailboxes, and vehicle decals displaying the colors and logos of both teams are common, even in each team's home territory.[citation needed]

Virginia Tech joins ACC[edit]

Despite the intensity of the rivalry, Virginia Tech owes its membership in the ACC to the University of Virginia.[10]

The Atlantic Coast Conference initially planned to add Boston College, Miami, and Syracuse to the conference lineup. Talks with Syracuse stalled as Jim Boeheim vocalized his opposition to the move, and Duke, UNC, and Virginia consistently voted against adding the Orange. When it became obvious that Syracuse lacked the necessary seven votes, U.Va. President John T. Casteen III took the opportunity to suggest the ACC consider Virginia Tech on June 18, 2003.[11] Duke and UNC voted against the Hokies, but with Casteen's support Virginia Tech was invited to the conference with 7 out of 9 votes. Miami and Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004, with Boston College joining in 2005.

The primary significance of this development to the rivalry was that the athletic teams from the two schools would now be mandated to play every year. For instance, the men's college soccer teams did not face each other in any of the four seasons between 2000 and 2003. They have since met every year after Virginia Tech became a conference member in 2004. Additionally, in some sports where there was already an agreement to play each other on an annual basis, the teams might now play more than once. For instance, the men's college basketball teams had played each other annually since the 1934-35 season but not faced each other twice in the same season since 1983-84. Starting with the 2004-05 season, the teams have played at least twice each year, and in 2005-06 the teams met for a third time in the ACC Tournament.

Impact of the Virginia Tech massacre[edit]

Many fans on both sides of the rivalry have reported a lessening of hostilities between the two universities while maintaining the same intensity of the rivalry in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. According to The Washington Post "students in both camps are more apt to think of themselves as simply Virginians." UVa students were amongst the first university students to lend support to the comrades at Virginia Tech in the wake of the shootings. Likewise, the connections between the two university's populations are often very close. Prior to the 2007 football contest in Charlottesville both college's bands participated in a joint performance.[12]

...there was the sense among Tech students that fans of U-Va. – an institution founded by none other than Thomas Jefferson – looked down their noses at the mountain-ensconced Hokies of Blacksburg. Hokies were "hicks"; Cavaliers were "snobs." But after the shootings in April, something changed. U-Va. students and faculty members wrote condolence letters, held a candlelight vigil and even painted the campus's fabled Beta Bridge with a pro-Hokies phrase.
— Jonathan Mummolo, The Washington Post[13]

U-Va.'s student newspaper reported that students in Charlottesville were even sporting Hokie sweatshirts on occasion in observance of the tragedy. The University's Z Society went so far as unveiling a 65' x 120' Virginia Pride flag featuring both UVA and VT logos on it during the annual football game, and it was noted that the two fan bases had never been so close as they were after the shootings.

Since the tragedy, it hasn't been so odd to see a Wahoo wearing a Virginia Tech sweatshirt. Since April, transfer students haven't felt so awkward saying they used to attend school in Blacksburg. Truly, Hokies and Wahoos have never been so together.
— Eric Kolenich, The Cavalier Daily[14]