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 their fifth ACC season title. If VT had won, they would have had their first.

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 sports that have divisional play, such as college baseball and college football, both compete in the Coastal division of the conference.

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] A renewed rivalry competition began for the 2014–15 season, called the Commonwealth Clash. UVA won the first year of the Clash as well.

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, at which point the Cavaliers departed. It would be sixty-seven years before they shared a conference again.

All-time and ACC series results[edit]

Sport All-time series record[3] ACC series record Last result Next meeting
Baseball UVA leads 94–84 UVA leads 22–9 VT won 6-5 on March 15, 2015 5-19-16 @ UVA
Men's Basketball UVA leads 89–54 UVA leads 15–9 UVA won 67-49 on February 9, 2016 TBD
Women's Basketball UVA leads 45–9 UVA leads 20–3 VT won 66–46 on February 7, 2016 2-28-16 @ VT
Football (Commonwealth Cup) VT leads 55–37–5 VT leads 12–0 VT won 23-20 on November 28, 2015 TBD
Women's Lacrosse UVA leads 20–1 UVA leads 10–1 UVA won 17–10 on April 17, 2015 4-22-16 @ VT
Men's Soccer  UVA leads 30–2–3 UVA leads 7–2–3 UVA won 1–0 on October 23, 2015 TBD
Women's Soccer UVA leads 14–3–1 UVA leads 9–2 UVA won 2–0 on October 26, 2014 2016
Softball VT leads 32–21 VT leads 19–11 UVA won 5–2 on April 8, 2015 4-30-16 @ VT
Men's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 11–2 UVA leads 8–2 VT won 218–135 on January 16, 2015 2017
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA leads 13–0 UVA leads 10–0 UVA won 156.5–143.5 on Jan 16, 2015 2017
Men's Tennis UVA leads 53–8` UVA leads 11–0 UVA won 6-1 on April 5, 2015 3-6-16 @ VT
Women's Tennis UVA leads 35–5` UVA leads 11–0 UVA won 5-2 on April 18, 2015 3-6-16 @ VT
Volleyball UVA leads 34–32 VT leads 12–11 VT won 3–2 on November 28, 2015 TBD
Wrestling VT leads 40–27 VT leads 9–3 VT won 31–7 on Jan 31, 2016 TBD @ VT
TOTALS UVA leads 523–328–9 UVA leads 148–80–3  

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

Regular-season head-to-head games/matches only

Conference, Sponsorship, and Relative Popularity[edit]

UVA has been a member of the ACC since 1953, while Virginia Tech was invited in 2004. Both athletics programs are also sponsored by Nike.[4] The Cavaliers are signed with Nike through 2025, at $3.5 million per year.[4] The Hokies are also signed with Nike through 2022 but receive significantly less, at $1.98 million per year.[4] Moreover, UVA is the most popular overall college sports program in Virginia as of 2015 — with the state splitting 34% for the Cavaliers versus 28% for the Hokies — despite UVA having fewer students and a smaller alumni base than its rival Virginia Tech.[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 again been leading the 2007–08 competition as of that date, 7 to 6.[7]

Year Result
2005–06 UVA 14½–7½
2006–07 UVA 14–8

Challenges won by Virginia are shaded ██.

Commonwealth Clash[edit]

Commonwealth Clash
Commonwealth Clash Virginia VT rivalry.jpg
Virginia Tech (0) Virginia (1)

In August 2014, the two schools announced a renewed rivalry competition and new scoring system between the two schools, named the Commonwealth Clash. This new competition is sponsored by Virginia 529 College Savings Plan.[8] In contrast to the previous challenge, an additional fan-decided point will be issued as well. Each sport will be worth a single point (unless a split occurs in sports with two meetings, in which case a half point will be awarded to each team) except that track and field is now considered two different sports, each with its own points, depending on whether it is contested inside or outside. This makes track and field worth 4 points total between the men's teams and women's teams.[9] Previously, sports had various values between 0.5 and 2.0 points.[10]

The programs do not square off in all sports, as Virginia Tech does not field as many teams. For instance, the celebrated UVA men's lacrosse team, with multiple national titles, has never played against a Hokie team and is therefore not a participant in the Clash.

UVA's fans won the first year of the Fan Vote in 2014–15. This aspect of the Clash was then mysteriously removed for the following year.

Yearly records[edit]

UVA 15–7 UVA 4–3
Sport 2014–15[11] 2015–16
Men's Soccer UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Soccer UVA 1 point Did Not Play
Men's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Women's Cross Country UVA 1 point UVA 1 point
Volleyball UVA / VT 0.5 UVA / VT 0.5
Football VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Basketball UVA 1 point UVA / VT 0.5
Women's Basketball UVA 1 point 2/7/16
Wrestling VT 1 point VT 1 point
Men's Swimming/Diving VT 1 point 2/24–27/16
Women's Swimming/Diving UVA 1 point 2/24–27/16
Men's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point TBD
Women's Indoor Track and Field VT 1 point TBD
Baseball VT 1 point 5/19-21/16
Softball UVA / VT 0.5 TBD
Men's Tennis UVA 1 point 4/20-24/16
Women's Tennis UVA 1 point 4/10/16
Men's Golf UVA 1 point 4/22-24/16
Women's Golf Did Not Play 4/15–17/16
Women's Lacrosse UVA 1 point TBD
Men's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point TBD
Women's Outdoor Track and Field UVA 1 point TBD
Fan vote UVA 1 point No Vote Held


Some from outside the state find the rivalry to be an especially bitter one. 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."[12] ESPN's Colin Cowherd remarked on the rivalry saying UVA was "the softest bunch of cream puff, bowtie wearing, brie eating wussies I have ever seen. They roll up in the fetal position against Virginia Tech. I just want to punch people from UVA in the neck." [13]

One point of mockery is Cavalier fans referencing Virginia Tech's never winning an NCAA team national championship,[14][15] compared to Virginia's 23 NCAA titles through June 2015.[16] UVA fans also make jokes regarding Virginia Tech's club bass fishing team winning the Hokies' only "national championship" back in 2007.[17][18] The Cavaliers, meanwhile, won the Capital One Cup for top men's athletics program in 2015 and lead the ACC in national titles for men's sports. However, in 50 plus years in the ACC, UVA has never won an outright football title, a feat Virginia Tech accomplished in its very first season. With regard to UVA’s “celebrated” men’s lacrosse team, Virginia Tech fans note that only 5 of the 14 ACC schools, and only 11 of the 65 Power 5 conference schools, field a men’s lacrosse team in NCAA play.


Hunter Carpenter in early football days[edit]

The Virginia–Virginia Tech rivalry has existed since the late 1800s, but did not reach pre-eminence until the 1980s. Traditionally, Virginia's primary rival had been the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which remains 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 and VPI).

The UVA/VPI rivalry began in earnest 1899, a year that saw Virginia take on northern powerhouses Penn State and Michigan. Virginia's final game of the season was against a squad in the middle of a disastrous first full season, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. That game, a 28–0 decision for Virginia, was a footnote in their year. But for at least one Virginia Tech player, the blowout was much more.

Hunter Carpenter enrolled at Virginia Tech in 1898. He became a man possessed by one thing after the 1899 rout: beating UVA in football. However, after five years of college, Hunter Carpenter graduated from Virginia Tech without achieving his goal.

Infuriated, he played in 1904 at 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.[19]

Carpenter returned to Virginia Tech in 1905 for a last shot at beating Virginia in his eighth year of college football. Going into the 1905 game, UVA was 8–0 against VPI by a cumulative score of 170–5. The Cavalier Daily ran a story outlining Carpenter's motives and move from Virginia Tech to UNC and back to Tech over the preceding eight years. Virginia accused Carpenter of being a professional player, as he had played college football already for nearly a decade.[19]

Carpenter signed an affidavit that he had not received payment to play against UVA and, against a backdrop of recrimination, Carpenter led VPI to 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. Carpenter retired 1–7 against UVA, but the Cavaliers still refused to play Virginia Tech again until 1923.[19]

Virginia Tech joins ACC[edit]

In 2003, 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, Virginia Tech emerged as a compromise candidate put forward to win over the decisive seventh vote from the University of Virginia that ACC officials needed to gain approval for their expansion plans.

Virginia Governor Mark Warner earlier had blocked the University of Virginia from casting an affirmative vote for the conference's plan to invite Boston College, Miami, and Syracuse to leave the Big East Conference and join the ACC. Warner feared that such a move would hurt Virginia Tech by leaving it in a diminished Big East.[20]

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III therefore offered a plan to have the ACC consider Virginia Tech on June 18, 2003.[21] 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.[22]

...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[23]

UVa.'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[24]


  1. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge". 
  2. ^ Doughty, Doug (2008-02-21). "Bragging rights taken off the table". The Roanoke Times. 
  3. ^ Sources: and
  4. ^ a b c UVA signs lucrative Nike deal, accessed August 13, 2015
  5. ^ Public Policy Poll on Va. topics, released July 21, 2015; accessed July 25, 2015
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Bragging rights taken off the table". Roanoke Times. 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  8. ^ "Commonwealth Clash Adds to Historic Rivalry Between UVa and Virginia Tech". The University of Virginia Official Athletic Site. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rivalry". Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Commonwealth Challenge presented by Comcast". Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "2014–2015 Schedule/Results". The Commonwealth Clash. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Tech-UVa relationship eye-opening for Herbstreit". Roanoke Times. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "OT: LOLUVA still feels good about their lacrosse and rowing championships!". The Key Play. January 27, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Virginia Tech Hokies National Championship Tracker". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  16. ^ "UVa Baseball Wins College World Series Championship". WVIR. June 25, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  17. ^ Leung, Brian (February 20, 2012). "Virginia Cavaliers National Championship Tracker". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ Bedrosian, Alyssa (April 6, 2011). "Bass fishing team angling to bring home national title". Collegiate Times. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c Brady, Erik (2007-11-22). "Virginia allegiances driven by rivalry on football field". College Football Update (USA Today). 
  20. ^ "ACC to invite Virginia Tech". The Washington Times. June 19, 2003. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  21. ^ ACC Will Reconsider Hokies for Expansion; Adding Virginia Tech Would Make It a 13-Team League | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  22. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-23). "After Tragedy, Hokies and Cavs Take Field as Virginians All". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  23. ^ Mummolo, Jonathan (2007-11-24). "Why are rivalries so intense?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  24. ^ "Tragedy vs. rivalry". The Cavalier Daily. 2007-11-19. Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-05-11.