UVA Focused On Seminoles, Not No. 25 Ranking

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Media Relations

It was certainly understandable that Virginia’s reaction to being ranked No. 25 in the AP poll over the weekend was with a sense of pride, but nothing to get overly excited about.

The Cavaliers only have to look back to last Nov. 2, when they were ranked No. 23 in the country, before promptly lost their next outing, 23-13, to eventual ACC Coastal Division champion Pitt. The current national ranking came a lot earlier in the season than last year’s, but still wasn’t greeted with any delirium.

“My wife (Holly) was joking that probably my favorite thing to say is, ‘The polls mean nothing until about week eight,’” UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall said during his weekly presser on Monday. “Until then, everyone is just guessing.

“Marketing is powerful. I think in the entertainment business as soon as you put a number by a team, viewership has a chance to go up. So I think the entertainment value is increased as soon as there are numbers in rankings.”

Mendenhall said his hope was that the ranking is accurate and reflects three years and two games worth of work. He was correct in saying that early-season rankings are difficult to trust because those rankings are traditionally based on what teams have been good in the past.

A good example of that already this season is Syracuse, which was annihilated by Maryland this past weekend.

“After saying all that, it’s really just interference and we’ll focus on the game,” Mendenhall said.

Ah, yes, the game. No. 25 Virginia hosts a 1-1 Florida State team that narrowly escaped the weekend with a 45-44 overtime win against visiting Louisiana-Monroe.

“To be honest, me personally, it’s not something I’ve been too focused on or care much about,” said UVA senior defensive lineman Eli Hanback. “As a program we don’t put a big emphasis on rankings, just the goals that we set for ourselves weekly and the season.

“It’s a nice compliment to what we’ve done, but it’s an added, unneeded distraction.”

Virginia is 2-0 for the first time since 2014. The Cavaliers haven’t started a season 3-0 since 2005, a campaign in which UVA upset then-No. 4 ranked Florida State in Charlottesville.


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