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Bowl Watch: Virginia enters crucial stretch

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Can Virginia seize its unexpected opportunity?

Virginia v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

“Summer has come and passed. The innocent can never last. Wake me up when September ends.”

The Virginia football team enters the month of October with legitimate postseason hopes for the first time since 2014. But for the Hoos to make a bowl game, might need to notch their sixth win before Halloween. Given a daunting November schedule, the next four weeks will likely determine if UVA breaks its postseason drought or spends the holidays at home....again.

Bowl Projections:

Here’s where Virginia stands in the most recent media bowl projections:

  • For the second straight week, SB Nation projects Virginia to face Navy in the December 28 Military Bowl in Annapolis.
  • David Hale of ESPN also has Virginia and Navy squaring off in the Military Bowl.
  • College Football News projects Virginia to face Arkansas in the December 27 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. Virginia last played in the Independence Bowl in 1994, defeating TCU 20-10. That game is available on YouTube here.
  • Sporting News projects Virginia to face Toledo in the Camellia Bowl. As we noted last week, the ACC doesn’t have a Camellia Bowl tie-in.
  • Sports Illustrated projects Virginia to face Minnesota in the December 27 Pinstripe Bowl. Virginia and Minnesota last played in a thrilling 2005 Music City Bowl, which Virginia won 34-31. That game is available on YouTube here.

Schedule Analysis: Week 5 was a great week for scouting UVA’s future opponents, and the Streaking The Lawn staff took full advantage. In my opinion, Miami’s win over Duke and Georgia Tech’s win over North Carolina provided the most clarity for Wahoo fans. I think it’s fair to put Miami and Georgia Tech in the top tier of the ACC Coastal along with our buddies from Blacksburg.

On the flip side, Duke and North Carolina looked seriously beatable. The Blue Devils were totally outplayed by Miami. UNC, having lost 13 players for the season due to injury, is an absolutely mess. It’s not crazy to think that UVA could beat both of those teams in the next two weeks and sew up bowl eligibility at home against Boston College on 10/21. If not, the Wahoos will still get a chance against a Pitt team with one of the least impressive Power 5 resumes in the country.

Rankings And Results:

Here’s how UVA stacks up against its opponents in the most recent Sagarin rankings.

  • at Miami (3-0) - 16
  • Virginia Tech (4-1) - 17
  • Georgia Tech (3-1) - 21
  • at Louisville (4-1) - 24
  • Duke (4-1) - 35
  • Indiana (2-2) - 47 - Loss
  • at Boise State (2-2) - 49 - Win
  • at Pittsburgh (2-3) - 57
  • at North Carolina (1-4) - 64
  • Virginia (3-1) - 65
  • Boston College (2-3) - 81
  • Connecticut (1-3) - 132 - Win
  • William and Mary (2-2) - 160 - Win

What’s Next:

At the beginning of the season, I listed the Duke game as a toss up. Before last weekend, I thought that beating the Blue Devils might be too tough of a task. But I simply wasn’t that impressed with Duke after taking a closer look.

Virginia is currently a slight favorite to win at home on Saturday. If they can do that, they’ll be in the catbird seat to go bowling. If not, the margin for error will become much thinner.

Make no mistake...the season’s crucial stretch has arrived.