“I woke up Sunday morning. With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.”
The Virginia Cavaliers hosted arguably their most important football game in three years last Saturday.
And they got absolutely hammered.
Boston College outplayed UVA in every facet of the game in a 41-10 drubbing. And by doing so, the Eagles poured a bucket of cold water on Virginia’s bowl aspirations. The Cavaliers still have five more chances to reach bowl eligibility, of course. But their postseason hopes might hinge on whether or not they can shake off a BC hangover.
There’s no point in sugarcoating it: UVA gave up a golden opportunity last Saturday. But the Hoos remain in relatively good shape to reach bowl eligibility. In my preseason bowl watch column, I wrote that they would have to start fast and defend their home turf in order to reach the postseason.
How fast? At this point, the Cavaliers will likely be clear underdogs in each of their last four games. So they might need to have bowl eligibility locked up by November 1 if they want to avoid another holiday season at home.
The quote above still holds true nearly two months later. The Hoos got themselves in this position by starting faster than even the most optimistic fans expected. But they’ve only gone 3-2 at home so far, which leaves them in need of one more win despite pulling “upsets” against Boise State and North Carolina.
Rankings And Results:
So where might the Cavaliers find their 6th win? Well, here’s how they stack up against their opponents in the most recent S&P+ ratings. But last week’s drubbing served as a reminder that rankings and projections don’t mean squat once the ball is kicked. So take these with a healthy grain of salt.
- at Miami (6-0) - 11
- Virginia Tech (5-1) - 17
- Georgia Tech (4-2) - 23
- at Louisville (5-3) - 28
- at Boise State (5-2) - 47 - Win
- Indiana (3-4) - 52 - Loss
- Virginia (5-2) - 53
- Duke (4-4) - 79 - Win
- Boston College (4-4) - 92 - Loss
- at Pittsburgh (3-5) - 102
- at North Carolina (1-7) - 103 - Win
- Connecticut (3-4) - 112 - Win
- William and Mary (2-5) - 173 - Win (Sagarin ranking used for W&M)
The Cavaliers took a hit in this week’s media bowl projections. CBS Sports and SB Nation both dropped UVA out of their bowl lineups despite having five wins. And most of the other media outlets moved the Hoos down to lower-tier bowl games. Here’s where the media projects UVA to go in the postseason:
USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN project Virginia to play in the December 28 Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland. USA Today shows Virginia facing Navy, while ESPN’s writers vary between Navy and SMU.
Virginia’s best opportunity to grab win number six is this weekend against Pitt. The Panthers beat Duke on the road on Saturday but had previously been unimpressive. Pat Narduzzi’s squad barely beat Youngstown State to open the season. The Panthers then ran into a scheduling buzz saw against Penn State, Oklahoma State, and Georgia Tech. The win over Duke is nice, but it’s really the only sign of life Pitt has shown all year.
If Virginia can’t get by Pitt, the next best shot at win number six will come against Georgia Tech on November 4. The Jackets will be fresh off of a game against Clemson, and could be ripe for a letdown. Plus, a 3PM start in Charlottesville might lend itself to a rowdier home crowd.
But beware...if the Hoos can’t pick up one of the next two, all postseason bets are off.