The JMU Dukes. Photo courtesy of James Madison University.

Almost three months have passed since the preseason ACC Football Kickoff, where incoming Virginia Tech football coach Brent Pry described the Hokies as the “flagship school in the state of Virginia.”

Regardless of whether he was getting in a dig at rival Virginia, neither school has performed like a flagship football program.

Both teams are 2-4 overall and are in the midst of three-game losing streaks.

The Sagarin rankings in USA Today have the Cavaliers in 93rd place and the Hokies in 104th.

So, which one is the “flagship” football program in the state going into the second half of the college season?

Neither Tech nor UVa, although some other programs might qualify.

James Madison, unbeaten at 5-0, is No. 47 in USA Today. Liberty, which is 5-1, is 80th.

The Dukes are in the process of moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Starting in 2019, Liberty has won three straight bowl games.

Old Dominion defeated visiting Virginia Tech in the season opener and the Cavaliers slipped past ODU 16-14 in the third week of the season.

ACC media day

Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner rarely hesitates to speak his mind and that was definitely the case Wednesday at the ACC’s preseason basketball media day, where he contended, “North Carolina should be preseason No. 1 nationally but Virginia should be picked No. 1 in the ACC.

“You guys [in the media] think I’m crazy when I say that but I’m just telling you.”

Like a youngster

Jim Larranaga, who is 73, took Miami to the final eight of last year’s NCAA Tournament and ranks among the top 10 active Division I men’s head coaches with 695 wins going into this season. 

“So, I’m shooting for 700,” he said, “and I’m hoping these [players] can get it for me. But, more importantly is us getting back to the NCAA Tournament and seeing if we not only can repeat but even go further this season. I feel very fortunate.”


Larranaga, who likes to challenge his players by shooting free throws with them, said his current streak is 39 free throws in a row.

When asked for his opinion, Virginia’s Tony Bennett said he thought he had made that many 3-pointers during one stretch and Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he made 45 straight free throws one time when he was in high school.


Minnesota’s men will play at Virginia Tech on Nov. 28 in the first men’s game in the ACC-Big Ten Basketball Challenge and Virginia will visit Michigan on Nov. 29. On Nov. 30, Ohio State will be at Duke and North Carolina will be at Indiana. Nebraska’s women’s team is at Virginia Tech on Dec. 1 and Virginia visits Penn State on Nov. 30.


Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young on the Hokies’ status as reigning ACC champions: “It comes up a lot and I want it to come up more. 

“With some luck and good health, we’ll get back together 10 years from now, 20 years from now, and it’ll be a lot of fun.

 “We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ’73 NIT Championship team next Friday. You think those guys are excited? In 50 years from now, I won’t be around. Those will be fun experiences, but it’s time to move on.”


The ACC has held its football and basketball media days in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a long time, and the conference is in the process of moving the ACC office to Charlotte after nearly 70 years in Greensboro. That won’t have an effect on this year’s ACC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments scheduled for Greensboro in March.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips also indicated Wednesday that he would like to see the NCAA men’s field expanded.


During the women’s basketball portion of the ACC media days, it was noted that Virginia has only two players on its roster who had begun their college careers at UVa. One of the transfers, Sam Brunelle, graduated from William Monroe High School outside Charlottesville and was a UVa ballgirl before heading to Notre Dame. 


An unofficial visit to Virginia for the Cavaliers’ football game Saturday resulted in UVa getting an oral commitment from Landon Danley, a defensive back from Irmo, South Carolina, who is the 13th player to commit to the Wahoos for 2023. Six are from Virginia.

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...