Posted: 9:25 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
By Brian Schwartz
No school has fared as well athletically this year as UVA.
The Learfield Directors' Cup has published its rankings to date, and the Virginia Cavaliers are #1! The Hoos placed 4th in the Cup's prior update, but semifinals showings by both the men's and women's soccer teams have catapulted UVA into the lead.
Virginia, with 323 points, sits just barely in front of Stanford's 321.5 points. Next is UNC with 263, Notre Dame with 260, and Colorado with 236.
Besides the two soccer teams' 3rd place finishes, field hockey grabbed ninth place, men's cross county finished 13th, and women's cross country 9th as well. All of these are improvements from last year except for field hockey, which ended in 5th place in 2012. The biggest gainer was actually the women's cross country team, which picked up 0 points last season, but grabbed 69 this year.
There are still 3 sports that still need to be factored in before the end of the fall. However, Virginia won't be gaining points in volleyball, and the "FBS football team" will once again earn as many points as the school's "FCS football team." Stanford will fly into first place for good, but Virginia is likely to remain at #2 in the final fall standings.
This is a drastic improvement over the past few seasons. Last year, UVA was 19th with 235 points after fall sports on its way to a 20th place overall finish. And before that, UVA finished 15th in the end but picked up just 157 points in the fall. The last time Virginia scored as many points, they gained 337 in 2009, and ended up in 3rd place in the final standings.
Looking ahead, winter will be the program's weakest season, (mainly because the school STILL lacks programs like skiing, ice hockey, and rifle). However, the basketball team and wrestling team should both increase their finishes from last season, and the track and swimming teams are in good shape as well. UVA always dominates the spring, and should be able to pick up big points once again. A return to the top 10 in the final Directors' Cup standings looks to be in the cards this season.
Around the ACC, UNC is on UVA's tail at #3, followed by Notre Dame at #4. Duke is #13, Wake Forest #15, FSU #16, Maryland #18, Syracuse #23, Virginia Tech #24, and BC #28. (Overall, 10 teams in the top 30 hail from the ACC. The Pac 12 and Big Ten have 5 schools each, and the SEC and Big East each have 2).