As one of the most historic programs in college football, the University of Virginia also offers one of the sport's greatest settings. U.Va. has been playing football since 1888, and for most of that time -- since 1931 -- the Cavaliers have called Scott Stadium their home.
Renovations and expansions have modernized the historic stadium while continuing to provide a beautiful and unique atmosphere.
Here's a look at some of the history and traditions that make Scott Stadium one of the special sites in college football:
Origin: Scott Stadium opened in 1931 as a 22,000-seat venue, a gift from university rector Frederic Scott and his family. The stadium replaced Lambeth Field, a concrete amphitheater topped with a colonnade that still exists on the university grounds.
Name: Crediting the major donors over the stadium's history, the official name of the facility is now the Carl Smith Center, home of David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium.
Location: The stadium sits to the southwest of the university's historic grounds, sandwiched between Alderman and Stadium roads. Due to the topography, the first level of the north end sits below street level, and a steep, grassy hill sloping down to the north end zone has been a popular spot for fans throughout the stadium's history.
Renovations: Upper decks were added to both sidelines in 1980, and lights arrived in 1983. In 1985, a locker room and dining facility was added to the south end zone. At the north end zone, in 1998, a tall video board nicknamed "HooVision" was erected above the hill and has since been enlarged. By the 2000 season, the south end had been replaced with seating -- creating a bowl -- and a pergola was added along the top of the north hill, evoking the colonnade at Lambeth Field.
Surface: The stadium features a natural grass, Prescription Athletic Turf field. The surface dates back to 1995, having replaced artificial turf that had been installed in 1974.
Capacity: The current capacity is 61,500. The stadium's attendance record was set in the 2008 season opener when a crowd of 64,947 saw the 'Hoos play the USC Trojans.
Record: Scott Stadium has provided a significant homefield advantage over its 81 seasons. The Cavaliers' all-time record at Scott Stadium is 241-169-12. Over the past 25 years, the record is 112-41 in Charlottesville.
Biggest Wins: Among many great moments and fantastic finishes, two games stand out. The highest ranked team taken down by the Cavaliers was #2 Florida State in 1995 -- the 'Hoos' defense made a stop at the goal line on the game's final play to win 33-28 and hand the Seminoles their first loss in ACC play after 29 straight wins. U.Va. fans also hold a special place in their hearts for the 1990 Clemson game -- #14 Virginia knocked off #9 Clemson 20-7, giving the Wahoos their first ever win against the Tigers after 29 straight losses.
Pregame Traditions: From traditional tailgating to modern-day fireworks and ribbon video boards, Virginia has plenty of football pageantry. A series of pregame events has rapidly become an essential part of the game-day experience. As the clock ticks down to the team's entrance, all eyes turn toward HooVision for "The Adventures of Cavman" -- an animated video featuring the Cavalier taking on the opposing team's mascot. As the video ends, with the crowd in a frenzy, all eyes turn back to the field, where the "real-life" Cavalier charges out of the tunnel on his horse, Sabre, leading the team out onto the field through the cheerleaders and the marching band.
In-Game Traditions: Among the many reasons Scott Stadium is a unique place to watch a football game, another pair of traditions earn particular attention. One is the scene in the stands, where coats and ties for the men and pearls and sundresses for the women make an appearance. Once a commonplace sight at games, particularly throughout the South, U.Va.'s dress code has faded but not disappeared. The tradition most dear to fans, students and alums is undoubtedly "The Good Old Song," the university's unofficial alma mater, which was written in the 1890s and is sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. Every time the team scores -- in a scene unlike any other stadium -- fans throw their arms around each other, slowly sway back and forth, and sing "The Good Old Song," "for dear old U.Va."
SOURCES:University of Virginia Athletics: Facilities
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Scott Stadium
- the University of Virginia
- college football