World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

South's Oldest Rivalry

South's Oldest Rivalry
UNC logo Virginia logo
North Carolina Tar Heels Virginia Cavaliers
First game played 1892
Played annually since 1919
Games played 120 (through 2015)
Series record North Carolina leads, 62–54–4
Largest margin of victory Virginia 66–0
(November 26, 1912)
Highest scoring game Virginia 56–24
(September 11, 2004)
Lowest scoring game Tie 0–0
(November 29, 1923)
Most recent game North Carolina 26-13
(October 24, 2015)
Next game October 24, 2015
Current win streak North Carolina 6

The South's Oldest Rivalry is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Virginia Cavaliers football team of the University of Virginia and the North Carolina Tar Heels football team of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Both universities have been members of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1953 but the Cavaliers and Tar Heels played their first two football games in 1892 (Virginia won the first and North Carolina the second), over sixty years before the formation of the ACC.


  • Series history 1
  • Nature of the Rivalry 2
  • Contributing factors 3
    • "Benedict Ronald" 3.1
    • Famous Spectators 3.2
  • Game results 4
  • Other Sports 5
    • Basketball 5.1
  • The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry 6
  • Notes 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9

Series history

Long being the most played game among all Football Bowl Subdivision series in the Southeastern United States, it has become known over the years simply as the South's Oldest Rivalry. It is also the oldest series in this highest division in the east. The 2014 meeting marked the 119th edition of this game (played continuously since 1919), five more than the Army–Navy Game (played continuously since 1930), and one more than the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" (Georgia–Auburn, played continuously since 1944).

The game was first twice played in 1892 (Virginia won the first, and North Carolina the second, splitting the southern title). Virginia then claims a southern championship for every year of 1893–1897, with North Carolina gaining a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title in 1895 (only loss to Virginia) and 1898. Both overshadowed by Sewanee in 1899, Virginia again went on a tear from the turn of the century until 1905 when North Carolina pulled the upset.[1] It is the third most played rivalry game nationwide among college football's Automatic Qualifying conference schools, and soon to be the second-most played. Due to the 2010–13 NCAA conference realignment the UVA-UNC rivalry will surpass the Lone Star Showdown between Texas and Texas A&M as the third most played national rivalry on October 25, 2014 in Charlottesville. It will then surpass the now-defunct Border War between Kansas and Missouri in the fall of 2016, also in Charlottesville. Beginning in that year, it will be the second most-played national rivalry behind the Paul Bunyan's Axe rivalry between the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Virginia and North Carolina have faced each other 119 times. North Carolina leads the all-time series, 61–54–4. In 2010 UNC broke a long losing streak in Charlottesville, UNC's first road win in the series since 1981. It ended what many UNC fans mockingly described as the "Charlottesville Curse." UVA led the series from 1893 to 1944, and UNC has since led from 1945 onward. Virginia closed to within two games in 2009 before UNC won five in a row since. Even after the losing streak, Virginia is 20–11–1 in the rivalry since 1983.

Second-most played is 103 for North Carolina versus the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and second-most played for Virginia is 95 against Virginia Tech for the Commonwealth Cup.

Nature of the Rivalry

There is considerable historical lineage and academic standing between the two universities involved. The University of Virginia was founded by third President of the United States and founding father Thomas Jefferson, whereas the University of North Carolina was the first operational state university in the United States. UVA had its writer-in-residence William Faulkner, while UNC is the alma mater of Thomas Wolfe. President Woodrow Wilson attended the University of Virginia and was President of its Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, whereas President James K. Polk attended UNC.

When the 1985 Richard Moll book was published listing the original eight "Public Ivies," public colleges with rigorous academic standards, there were only two sharing a common athletic conference: the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina. For at least nine consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UVA second and UNC fifth among all public universities, and they are first and second in the east.[2] The two were also the first future members of the Atlantic Coast Conference to be elected to the prestigious Association of American Universities: UVA was elected in 1904 and UNC in 1922. Only Duke University would join them, in 1938, before the ACC was formed in 1953.

The rivalry is often called a "Gentlemen's Rivalry." One reason for this moniker is the prestigious image, both academically and socially, of both universities in their states and throughout the region. The institutions' student bodies also tend to somewhat mirror one another from a social and academic standpoint. As for today and recent decades, the rivalry itself has been lackluster and less heated despite a few recent historical wins by UNC. Neither program has finished at the top of the ACC since the 1990s, nor has either program yet played in the ACC Championship Game.

Contributing factors

"Benedict Ronald"

Often considered the best high school football player of all time from the state of Virginia,[3] and the only junior ever to be named the nation's top high school quarterback by ESPN coverage of that night's game between Virginia and Auburn.[4] With the commitment from Curry, Welsh declined to recruit Michael Vick, whose own stellar career in the same high school district was largely overshadowed by Curry's. While Curry's high school football coach, 12-time state champion Mike Smith, was happy that Curry would attend Virginia, Curry's AAU basketball coach Boo Williams told Curry he should decommit and go to a "basketball school" like North Carolina to get a better shot at the NBA.[5]

Curry decommitted from UVA on signing day, causing him to be called "Benedict Ronald" and "Benedict Curry" by the Virginia faithful who blamed him not only for the program losing out on his own services, but for losing out on the unrecruited Vick. Curry was lampooned in the media, earning the title "Sports Jerk of the Year" in the nationally syndicated Tank McNamara comic strip. At North Carolina, Curry set many records including most career passing yards and most career total yards. He was twice named the most valuable player of post-season bowl games, doing so at the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl and the 2001 Peach Bowl. He also played basketball for two years, along with now-Green Bay Packers' defensive end Julius Peppers. After an inspired combine, the physically impressive Curry spent seven seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver. The Cavaliers defeated UNC during Curry's freshman year (when he played behind starter Oscar Davenport), and he went 0–2 against UVA the next two season as a starting quarterback. The Tar Heels did finally beat Virginia when he was a senior and shared time under center with freshman Darian Durant.

Famous Spectators

President Calvin Coolidge attended the 1928 game held on Thanksgiving Day in Charlottesville.

Probably the most famous spectator of this rivalry was present on Thanksgiving Day 1928. United States President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge were among the 20,000 spectators watching the game at Charlottesville to see North Carolina win 24–20 over Virginia.[6]

Game results

Below are the results of all 120 meetings.

Other Sports


Carolina currently leads the series 127–50.

The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry

The World War II.


^a North Carolina forfeited the 1956 game to Virginia for using an ineligible player.[7][8][9] The UNC athletic department does not acknowledge the forfeit when reporting on the result, and chooses to count the game as a UNC win in its marketing materials.[10]

1Virginia won the first game played in 1892.
2North Carolina won the second game played in 1892.

See also


  1. ^ "Carolina Athletic Record Over 37 Year Period High". The Tar Heel. January 7, 1926. Retrieved March 5, 2015 – via  
  2. ^ Ranked above both is the University of California, Berkeley and UVA is tied with UCLA. UNC then trails only the University of Michigan for fourth nationwide.
  3. ^ "The Amazing Ronald Curry". Dave Sez. 2004-08-12. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  4. ^ "Virginia Won Big Before It Took The Field"; Richmond Times - Dispatch - Richmond, Va.; Bob Lipper; Sep 5, 1997; Page D1
  5. ^ Ronald Curry Has All the Moves; The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.; Angie Watts; Apr 8, 1998; page C1
  6. ^ O'Neals (1968) Pictorial History of the University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia (p. 154)
  7. ^ "Wahoos Play Host to No. 18/22 UNC Saturday - University of Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  8. ^ Jon Blau, Penn State Daily Collegian, "Forfeits uncommon in realm of college sports"
  9. ^ Sports Illustrated, 1957 Football Issue, September 23, 1957
  10. ^ [2]
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from iCloud eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.