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Virginia-Maryland Non-Rivalry

Maryland SucksCulture vs. Agriculture. Carolina Sucks! These are perhaps the two phrases that come to mind when thinking of catchphrases against Virginia's rivals. You'll notice that "Eat turtle soup!" is not one of them. That is because Virginia and Maryland are not rivals.

Virginia only really has one rival. And who that rival is depends on when you became a fan. If you're under 48, you probably say, hands down, that Virginia Tech is our rival. You would be correct in the matter. Once Virginia Tech finally became a factor in football, by way of the morally-upstanding Vick brothers, this is when the rivalry really started heating up. Before the Vicks, the Hokies were inferior academically, athletically, and as decent human beings. (I know, I know. "But when it comes to Engineering, Tech is clearly the better school." Yes. You're right. Congratulations.)

On the other hand, if you're 48 or older, you'd probably say, hands down, that North Carolina is our rival. Again, you would be correct. One can fondly remember the days sitting in Scott Stadium playing against any team -- whether it's an ACC battle or a non-conference throwaway -- all the while chanting, "Carolina Sucks! Carolina Sucks!"

But no one, and I do mean no one, considers Maryland our top rival. Yes, I understand that we are bordering states and with that comes a natural development for a rivalry. And I understand that the state of Maryland and the commonwealth of Virginia are general rivals because Virginians are wealthy and successful and Maryland folk are dirty and grungy. And I understand that there's competition for the same student athletes (but no more so, really, than you'd find between UVA-VT or UVA-UNC). But let's face it. We just don't care about them.

It's interesting to hear what the two coaches had to say about this:

Virginia Coach Al Groh: "In most conferences, when you have border teams play, it's usually pretty traditional rivalry. In the Big 12 you've got Kansas and Missouri. In the Big Ten you have Michigan and Ohio State, Indiana and Illinois, so most of those border-school rivalries are amongst each school's most significant, whether it's students come from both sides of the border or people graduated from one school and get a good job offer in the state of the other school, that's pretty common in most of these rivalries."

Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen: "I think if you’d ask the Virginia players, they would say the same thing. The kids all know each other. A lot of them have gone to school with each other. We have Virginia kids, they have D.C. kids and Maryland kids. I think, over the years, and even since Al and I played, it’s always been a rivalry. They have Virginia Tech also, but I think Maryland’s a rivalry to them and I think it’s a rivalry for our guys, too."

So it sounds like to me that Friedgen definitely thinks it's a rivalry. Groh, on the other hand, just says that in most conferences, when border teams play, there are rivalries. But there's no acknowledgment that in the ACC or with regards to Virginia, this is the case. So Terps, I think you're on your own.

I think the difference comes in that Maryland doesn't really have any team to call a rival. So Virginia is the next closest thing they could find. They find a school that's clearly academically superior to them, and they call them a rival (I say this just to piss them off, of course. It's kind of the same with JMU and William and Mary, both of whom hate UVA with a fiery passion, and both of whom are regularly neglected by UVA).

Maryland linebacker Alex Wujciak says, "Coach said they’re a shirt-and-tie, khaki-type of guys. I guarantee you won’t see any of us wearing that around here." Well, Alex. I'm sorry your entire school, apparently, does not know how to wear a shirt and tie. Good luck getting a job. On the flip side, I guarantee you won't be finding UVA students burning couches after a loss. Or a win. Or every time the sun rises, for that matter.

While Maryland leads the series 41-30-2, Virginia has won 13 of the past 17 matchups, and is the current reigning champion.