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Raycom broadcaster: Virginia win Saturday 'would speak just as loudly as that win in 1995'

Steve Martin has covered Atlantic Coast Conference football as a play-by-play broadcaster for Raycom Sports for the past 17 years. He didn't call Virginia's 33-28 win over then-No. 2 Florida State in 1995, but he said in a phone interview earlier this week that he remembers listening to the account Warren Swain, who was the voice of Cavaliers football back then.

Martin will call Saturday's Virginia-Florida State game at Scott Stadium along with analyst Dave Archer, and while Martin hasn't had much of a chance yet this season to watch the Cavaliers play -- he saw parts of Virginia's 17-14 loss Sept. 11 at Southern California -- he said he has been "very impressed" with what he's seen so far.

"Of course, this is a team that everybody dissed at the beginning of the season and said they would finish lower than Duke, and I'm not so sure that's going to be the case," Martin said. "I'm anxious to see what Mike London has done with this program. A lot of people thought -- and I would probably agree with them -- that they had a good chance to beat Southern Cal, which is an excellent football team, so that speaks well.

"It's not easy, also, to open up against your alma mater and the place where you last coached and come up with a win, especially against a good football program. Coach London seems to have avoided all of the things that can make a first season look very, very bad, and he seems to have this team playing very well."

But Martin also knows Florida State will pose a tough challenge for the Cavaliers in their ACC opener. The Seminoles clearly are no longer the dominant force in the conference, as they were back in '95, but Martin believes they still carry a lofty enough reputation that a Virginia win Saturday would be monumental for London's program.

"Florida State, they fumbled on the national stage at Oklahoma, but their win over Wake Forest was very impressive," Martin said. "If you think it's just (quarterback) Christian Ponder, then I think you're probably wrong. They have a rushing attack that averages over seven yards a carry. This will be a great challenge, and if Virginia were to rise up and beat Florida State this Saturday, in my mind it would speak just as loudly as that win in 1995."

I'm sorry, what was that?

"I think Virginia in 1995 was one of the teams that you looked at to be very competitive in the ACC," Martin said. "I don't think there's that perception -- or at least, there wasn't that perception at the beginning of the season. I think the perception of Virginia football is a lot better right now than it was maybe in August because of the way the Cavaliers have started, and I think it would be a feather in everybody's cap in Charlottesville if they were to win that game on Saturday. I think that would be a very important win for them. I think it would give them some great legs."

By Steve Yanda  | October 1, 2010; 9:29 AM ET
 
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