Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowls Throw Cavs for a Loss

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowls Throw Cavs for a Loss

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union staff writer

If it were up to Virginia football coach Al Groh, he would spend this week preparing the Cavaliers for a game or devoting his full attention to bringing in another stellar recruiting class. Instead, he's trying to figure out how he should pack for a bowl game.

Rain gear for Seattle? Or a sweatshirt for Charlotte?

Groh has reason to be peeved. His Cavaliers tied for second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with Maryland, a team UVa hammered two games back. Maryland is going to the Peach Bowl. N.C. State, another victim during the Cavs' 6-2 ACC run, is selling tickets at a feverish pace for a Gator Bowl date.

Even Clemson, which finished two games behind Virginia in the league standings, knows its bowl destination. Tommy Bowden will pack his shorts for Orlando and be home in South Carolina for Christmas.

Excuse Groh for his inexperience in dealing with bowl politics. His last go-round at the collegiate level was at Wake Forest, which has been to four bowls in its history. And there aren't any politics when it comes to making the postseason in the NFL, where Groh was last employed by the New York Jets.

"The bowl people have made a statement that while coaches and players understand that this issue is decided on the field, in this case perhaps the issue was decided through some backroom politics," Groh said, describing it as "hocus-pocus."

You would think the folks in Charlottesville, home to Thomas Jefferson, would have a better handle on how to play the political game.

Groh isn't the only one at Virginia who is something of a neophyte at this bowl stuff. This is athletics director Craig Littlepage's first time around on the glad-handing circuit. Either Littlepage was serving up Boone's Farm and supermarket block cheddar when the bowl reps came calling, or he wasn't persuasive enough in persuading the men in bright-colored jackets that Virginia fans would scoop up enough tickets. …

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