Bronco

ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESSVirginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall guided the Cavaliers to a 9-5 record, an ACC Coastal Division championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl this past season.

The Virginia football team was ranked 25th in the final Amway Coaches Poll of the 2019 season, which was released on Tuesday. The Cavaliers were not ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll of the season, but were among the teams receiving votes in the poll.

It is the first time since 2004 that Virginia has been ranked in either of the final college football top 25 polls of the season. The 2004 UVa football team was ranked No. 23 in both the final AP and coaches polls of the season after going 8-4 and losing to Fresno State in the MPC Computers Bowl.

The 2019 Cavaliers had one of the best seasons in program history. In Bronco Mendenhall’s fourth season in charge of the program, Virginia finished 9-5, recording just the seventh nine-win season in the 130-year history of the program, and won the ACC Coastal Division for the first time in school history. Among the highlights of the season was a victory over Virginia Tech that ended a 15-game losing streak to the Hokies and clinched the Coastal Division title.

The Wahoos finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the ACC. Virginia lost to Clemson, 62-17, in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, then concluded the season with a 36-28 loss to Florida in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

“We’re on a mission to just simply establish that you can have world-class academics and be at the top tier of college football as well,” Mendenhall said after the Cavaliers’ loss in the Orange Bowl. “That’s what’s happening at the University of Virginia.”

Virginia, which began its winter workout program on Tuesday, opens the 2020 season with a high-profile matchup with Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Labor Day (Sept. 7).

Mendenhall, who will be entering his fifth season as Virginia head coach, will aim to continue the program’s recent upward trajectory, but must replace a talented senior class that includes QB Bryce Perkins, receivers Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois, defensive lineman Eli Hanback, linebacker Jordan Mack and cornerback Bryce Hall.

“I’m thankful to the senior class,” Mendenhall said, “those that came, most of whom I didn’t select but honored their commitments when I came to the University of Virginia, that started with a 2-10 season and now find themselves on the verge and a great chance to have won the Orange Bowl and set a foundation, and I consider them a legacy class in terms of establishing what UVa football really is.”

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