CBS released its ranking of ACC coaching jobs this week, and Virginia ranked much higher than I expected. Despite declining attendance amid 5-straight losing seasons, UVA ranked as the 6th best ACC job on the CBS list. Props to our friend John Cassillo for finding the rankings and covering them for our sister Syracuse site. Here’s the full list:
- Florida State
- Virginia Tech
- North Carolina
- NC State
- Georgia Tech
- Boston College
- Wake Forest
And here’s what CBS had to say about the Virginia job:
“It's this middle section of the rankings that was extremely difficult to put together because so many of these schools are similar. So if you see your school ranked 10th, just know that the difference between 10th and sixth here is minuscule. The one thing that gave Virginia an edge in my mind was that it's the state school with a fertile recruiting ground. So there's talent to be found, you just need the right staff to find and mold it.”
Virginia’s ranking surprised me quite a bit. It’s not that UVA hasn’t been a great job in the past or couldn’t be a great job again. I would have completely agreed with such a lofty ranking if this list had come out 10-20 years ago. George Welsh and the VSAF donors in the 80s and 90s built UVA into one of the best jobs in the old ACC. And Scott Stadium regularly sold out games well the latter years of Al Groh’s tenure.
But I have a hard time justifying it as being a mid-to-upper tier job right now.
Attendance has been wretched the last five years. The product on the field has been arguably even worse. Facilities are outdated and there doesn’t seem to be much fundraising momentum to improve them. And while it’s true that UVA is close to a ton of high school talent, the school’s academic demands make recruiting harder.
If it were up to me, I probably would have ranked Virginia around 10th at the moment. OF the schools below them, I could make arguments that UNC, NC State, Georgia Tech, and Pitt should be ranked higher. Carolina and State certainly enjoy more institutional support. Georgia Tech and Pitt have better tradition. And all four of those schools have more marquee victories in recent years.
But it’s possible I’m jaded. When I spoke with John, he said “UVA is probably that high up there because ‘sleeping giant’ and all.” That comment floored me.
I might have argued in 2008-2009 that Virginia was a “sleeping giant.” I might have argued in 1998 that Virginia was a “fully awake giant.” But the only “giant” I associate with the program these days is the “giant” rebuilding job that needs to be done to get back to respectability.
The again, the Virginia job certainly has some important positives. UVA remains one of the best academic institutions in the country. Charlottesville is fantastic and the Grounds are gorgeous. Donors have deep pockets once they get excited about the potential for success. And most fans have reasonable enough expectations. All that should count for something.
So what do you think? Did CBS get it right? Am I too jaded? Not jaded enough?
Where would you rank the Virginia job?