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Syracuse & Virginia: The ACC Rivalry No One Saw Coming

We’ve written about the withering rivalries with Georgetown and UConn, so maybe the Orange’s fiercest current rivals are also in orange.

Syracuse v Virginia Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Over the last few weeks, there’s been a question rattling around in my head: who is the Syracuse Orange’s biggest rival in 2018?

I went to the games against both UConn and Georgetown. And while it was great to beat them, I’m more excited about making the trip up to ‘Cuse for this weekend’s contest versus the Virginia Cavaliers. Not just because the former two were on the road, and this one’s a home game against the presumptive No. 1 team in the country. But because I genuinely think I care more about beating UVA than I care about beating any of the others.

On a less personal note, our Nunes Slack has had a discussion or two about this. We also have the benefit of Caroline Darney, a UVA grad and one of SBN’s college league managers, around to offer input:

“Part of it may be a result of the stage on which the game has been played over the last 3-4 seasons, seeing as Virginia clinched their long-awaited regular season title with a win over the Orange. Of course the Game That Shall Not Be Named was a thing that happened, but long before ‘Cuse even joined the ACC, UVA-Cuse lax games were must-see games (and still are).“

As Syracuse fans know better than anyone, an Orange rivalry needs moments on those stages for rivalries to take foot. There was the Flying Dungey. Boeheim’s 1,000th win that totally happened. Absolutely insane lacrosse games in both men’s and women’s lacrosse. It’s basically guaranteed that when these two teams face off in any sport, Twitter will be a fun place to be. What’s probably aided this rivalry is the fact that ‘Cuse fans have the ultimate trump card that we are not afraid to use.

“The most annoying thing is that when Cuse fans throw out a Malachi three-goggles or use our Caid Kirven shrug against us, we literally can’t respond. There’s nothing we can say. Sure, we are still ahead of y’all when it comes to the overall record, but a demoralizing defeat in the Elite 8? Yeah, what can you do? That, and the whole ‘come from behind thing’ repeatedly, and in every sport.“

Syracuse v Virginia Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’m not one to get into defining what fandom is for someone, but I genuinely think there’s something to be said for what UVA and the Orange have been forced to create. While I HATED losing to Georgetown and UConn last season, I was probably more annoyed with this season’s loss to UVA. I’m not sure if this is a weird personal thing, or a more universally recognized thing among the greater SU fandom.

Caroline seems to echo the sentiment, as UVA is in a similar boat.

“Honestly, it’s tough right now because as much as I don’t want to admit it, Maryland was a pretty solid rival. They always hung around throughout most sports (football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse), so I think in that sense I’d put Syracuse up there. We’ll always get up for Duke and UNC, Louisville is the rivalry that’s been forced on us, and VaTech only cares in football. Obviously the anger and history isn’t there, but (most) games have been fun.“

I want to hear from you (and even UVA fans, if you’re around) about your feelings. Is ‘Cuse-UVA a rivalry game in your eyes? Or just one of those games that continues to deliver big moments and big drama? Let us know in the poll and comments below.


Do you consider Virginia a "rival" or a "rivalry game?"

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    (317 votes)
  • 22%
    (174 votes)
  • 35%
    No, but the game is always circled for me.
    (275 votes)
766 votes total Vote Now