Thursday, August 31, 2006
Ranking UVa's programs
Men's lacrosse is tops
Doug Doughty's UVa Insider is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Thursdays in season.
See Doug and Randy talk sports every week with the Sports edition of the TimesCast
There is nothing in the title to this column, “UVa Insider,” that limits the content to football and men’s basketball, but I’ve always worried that readers might be turned off by too much discussion of other sports.
(Like they’re not turned off by what’s written about football and men’s basketball!)
That said, I’ll be the first to confess that I’m an Olympic-sports junkie. So, too, is the media gadfly, Jeff White, when he isn’t obsessing over Olu Hall.
White’s contention is that nobody with as much buildup has ever been the object of as little discussion as Hall, who was rated the No. 1 football prospect in Virginia as a senior at Robinson High School in 2003.
Hall, now a sophomore at Virginia after spending the 2004-2005 school year at Hargrave Military Academy, won’t be making the trip to Pittsburgh this week. Coach Al Groh says Hall is working on becoming a complete outside linebacker and not the would-be pass specialist that he was last year.
That’s the kind of issues that this column should be treating two days before the opening game, but, instead, I find myself working on the all-sport UVa rankings that I have been promising to The Gadfly and others.
There is one criterion for the Doughty Rankings: the degree to which UVa’s athletic programs impress me at this point in time.
Columns like this aren’t designed to make friends or even influence people, but all it takes is one big win or an ACC championship for impressions to change. Hopefully, these rankings could become an annual feature. Check back next Sept. 1 and the order could be a lot different.
(Where men’s and women’s teams have the same coach, they will be judged as one program:)
1. MEN’S LACROSSE Reigning NCAA champs for the third time since 1999; wins with class
2. WOMEN’S SOCCER ACC title in 2004 spoke volumes; team set school record for wins in 2005
3. MEN’S TENNIS Team didn’t live up to preseason No. 1 ranking in 2005 but coach Brian Boland hasn’t eased up on accelerator
4. BASEBALL Three straight 40-win seasons and NCAA appearances would have been unfathomable 10 years ago
5. SWIMMING Should have done better in 2006 NCAAs but has remarkable streak of men’s ACC championships against good competition.
6. WOMEN’S TENNIS Marc Guilbeau’s first team made the NCAAs and his first recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the country; program on the rise
7. WOMEN’S GOLF Getting top-of-the-line talent but missed out on the NCAAs last year
8. MEN’S BASKETBALL New building, new coach, top recruits have sparked interest; now they’ve got to make it back to the NCAAs.
9. FOOTBALL Other sports don’t operate under the same microscope as football; Cavs could struggle this year, but recruiting for 2007 has been good
10. . WOMEN’S LACROSSE One year after reaching the NCAA title game, Cavs were upset in first round of 2006 NCAAs; too up and down.
11. CROSS COUNTRY UVa made the NCAAs last year in men’s and women’s cross country for the first time in school history; men won ACC title
12. MEN’S SOCCER After 11 seasons, George Gelnovatch owns three ACC titles and nine NCAA trips but has been unable to escape Bruce Arena’s shadow.
13. WOMEN’S ROWING Second in the NCAAs in 2005 but didn’t get a bid last year; how does that happen?
14. WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Only one NCAA appearance in past three years; Monica Wright should help, but numbers say the program has slipped.
15. SOFTBALL Made huge mistake not recruiting Angela Tincher and still paying for it, but there were positives last year under new coach Karen Johns.
THE BOTTOM FIVE (Alphabetically)
FIELD HOCKEY Cavaliers enter the season with 20 consecutive ACC losses but new coach Michelle Madson has team in top 20.
GOLF (MEN’S) Can’t see where Bowen Sargent is an upgrade over predecessor Mike Moraghan
TRACK AND FIELD Twenty years after the fact, still paying for letting Dennis Craddock get away
VOLLEYBALL Program has been in existence for 25 years without winning an ACC title; last NCAA bid was in 1999.
WRESTLING Not sure Lenny Bernstein should have been pushed out if he was after a 4-1 ACC regular season but Cavs’ last ACC title was in 1977