The point of the gamethread introduction is to give you, the readers, a sort of pep talk. Here’s the opponent, they’re a goliath we could topple or a David we should squash. Now let’s go talk about the game like warrior-poets or whatever.
We’re playing Wake.
Wake stands squarely outside the mosh pit of hate that ACC fans gleefully dive into most weeks. They’re on the wrong side of the divisional divide for Virginia fans to regularly get annoyed with them. When they do well, you rightfully are more angry at your own program because if any school in this conference has the right to point to institutional roadblocks to football success - it’s Wake.
They’re going to play the game, so we need to talk about it.
Wake likely has this game circled after losing the previous game to Army. A win over Virginia makes the Demon Deacons bowl eligible. Lose, and they’re almost certainly headed for a do-or-die situation against Boston College in their final game.
Virginia’s coming off a disastrous three game home stand that saw them get pushed around by Pittsburgh and North Carolina and - perhaps worst of all - narrowly avoid a stunning upset of playoff contender Louisville. The next three opponents are less formidable, with the Wake Forest game being Virginia’s best chance at a win. Virginia’s slim bowl chance rests on winning it’s last four games.
The true test, however, is how the team responds to the disappointment of almost nabbing a season defining win for the third time in the last two seasons. Do the effects of Bronco Mendenhall’s mental overhaul show up, or has the team entered ‘wait until next year’ mode?