If it not for a Tiki Torch invasion in the summer of 2017, this idyllic southern town would be a utopian dream destination for anyone seeking charm, history and class–with a burgeoning football program. Charlottesville, Virginia, ranks 28 in our Top 100 College Football Towns of America countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, through Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
28. Charlottesville, Virginia – Virginia
Bronco Mendenhall is entering his third year in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers still have a long way to go to be a contender in the ACC.(Photo: University of Virginia Athletics)[/credit]
Virginia is more known for upsets than actually fielding a competitive team. The Cavaliers have had one winning season in the last 10 years. They have finished the season ranked just nine times, fielded 11 total All-Americans in the 114-year history. The ‘Hoos have won two conference championships in the last 100 years.
Having said that, there is room for optimism.
Last year, despite going 6-7, Virginia exceeded expectations. In the summer heading into this season, Mendenhall addressed the UVa Board of Visitors and the dire situation he inherited and where he sees it going.
“I believe we have 27 ACC-caliber football players on our roster,” Mendenhall said.
“By the time [the Class of 2020] comes, we will have 85 ACC-caliber players,” Mendenhall said. “In the meantime, my job is that I relish and I’m lucky to have to show a trend upward through success and winning with the existing resources we have — through motivation, culture and innovation.”
Based on his success in Provo, Utah, there’s no reason not to believe he can get there.
Nestled right in the center of Virginia, with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a backdrop and rolling vineyards on display, Charlottesville combines both a nod to a rich history and the modernity of a 21st-century college town. This is the home of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. A land of 25 wineries over 1,250 square miles, most of which are within 15 minutes of the town center.
The region is steeped in tradition. Michie Tavern dates back to the 1700s. Jefferson and Madison’s homes are easily accessible. Red-brick buildings and colonial style homes with white porches immediately arouse a thirst that can only be quenched with an ice cold sweet tea.
This is the old south, the new south, all rolled in one.
So much good.
On Saturdays, women get in their Sunday dresses, guys get gussied up in navy blue blazers with orange-and-blue bowties. Saturday football is a formal event, black-tie optional.
Philadelphia Eagle Chris Long donated his first six game checks last season to fund scholarships in Charlottesville.
The Doctor Pepper went to Virginia.
I want to go on, but we must proceed.
Virginia football has been mediocre at best for the entirety of its 115-year history. It just speaks volume to Charlottesville. Come for Southern Charm at its best, maybe watch some average football.