Cavs try to take 'next step' in Orange Bowl against Gators

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MARIO HOUBEN

Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen listens during a news conference for the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Florida plays Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. (AP Photo/Mario Houben)

MIAMI, FL – University of Virginia junior Charles Snowden recalls that when he first arrived on campus, new acquaintances were disappointed to learn he was a linebacker rather than a power forward.

“I was 6-7 and 190 pounds, real skinny," Snowden said. "And people would say, ‘Are you on the basketball team?’”

“'No, I'm on the football team.'”

“'Oh.'”

As in, “Oh, that's too bad.”

But now that the Cavaliers (9-4, No. 24 CFP) are about to play No. 6-ranked Florida in the Orange Bowl, strangers are excited to meet a football player, Snowden said.

“That’s a twist, and it's pretty cool,” he said. “I love it.”

Virginia's trip to the Orange Bowl shows how far the program has come, and Monday night's game will offer a gauge of where it might be headed.