Virginia’s 2015 season got off to a rough start, with the Wahoos looking overmatched in a 34-16 loss to UCLA. For the Cavaliers to sniff a bowl game, they'll need show marked improvement from Saturday’s loss. Unfortunately, relief isn’t likely to come this weekend with Notre Dame coming to town.
Last week, we said the Hoos would need to win these six games in order to end their bowl drought:
- William and Mary
- @ Pitt
- @ North Carolina
- @ Miami
In my opinion, that sweep looks a tad easier than it did before Week 1. Syracuse routed Rhode Island, but it sadly lost starting quarterback Terrel Hunt for the year. Pittsburgh gave up 35 points and struggled to put away FCS-opponent Youngstown State. North Carolina lost a close one to South Carolina, and quarterback Marquise Williams looked dreadful. Duke looked the best of the bunch, racking up a 37-7 win on the road at Tulane.
In order of difficulty (easiest to hardest), I’d currently rank those six games thusly: W&M, Syracuse, @Pitt, @UNC, @Miami, Duke.
By losing to UCLA, Virginia missed out on one of its bigger upset chances of the season. Among the other long-shots on the schedule, Notre Dame dazzled against Texas, Louisville put up a good fight against Auburn, and Georgia Tech manhandled Alcorn State. Virginia Tech will offer its first impression tonight against Ohio State.
The only long-shot opponent that looked vulnerable was Boise State. The Broncos, who come to Scott Stadium on 9/25, barely put away a Washington team that most experts picked to win 4 games this season. Virginia plays W&M, Boise State, Pitt, Syracuse, and North Carolina in succession starting in two weeks. That stretch is looking increasingly important to Cavaliers’ bowl chances.
Of course, if Virginia keeps laying eggs like it did in the Rose Bowl, all of this talk will be for naught.