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Bowl Watch: Talk points to Military Bowl for UVA

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The decision will be here within days.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl destinations will be announced this Sunday, and signs continue to point to a Military Bowl bid for Virginia football. The Cavaliers concluded their season Friday night with (another) loss to Virginia Tech. They finished the regular season 6-6 and will play in their first bowl game since 2011.

A number of outlets have begun to address the possible match between UVA and the Military Bowl. Roanoke Times sports editor Doug Doughty interviewed Military Bowl executive director Steve Beck on Monday. Beck said that a “Navy-UVa matchup would be a great game” that would make a lot of sense.

The Annapolis Capital Gazette had a similar take Tuesday evening. Per the Gazette’s Bill Wagner:

Beck readily admitted that a Navy versus Virginia matchup would be a home run for the Military Bowl because of the ability to promote a border state rivalry and promise of selling a high number of tickets. The Cavaliers have a huge alumni base in the greater D.C. region and those fans living in Virginia would be likely to make the trip to Annapolis.

The local papers aren’t the only ones hinting that UVA and the Military Bowl would make a good match. Micah Kiser, Virginia’s All-ACC linebacker and Maryland native, made his preference known on Twitter.

As far as the national media is concerned, most major writers have pegged Virginia for the Military Bowl as well. Here are this week’s projections:

Week 13 Bowl Projections

Site Bowl Prediction Opponent
Site Bowl Prediction Opponent
SB Nation Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD, December 28) Navy
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm) Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, MI, December 26) Western Michigan
College Football News Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD, December 28) Navy
Sports Illustrated Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, MI, December 26) Central Michigan
ESPN (David Hale) Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD, December 28) Navy
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura) Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD, December 28) South Florida
USA Today Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD, December 28) Navy

Commentary: As I mentioned last week, I think this would be a great fit for Virginia. While there might be some hesitation about the possibility of playing Navy on its home field, UVA fans should produce a solid turnout for a game this close to home. Moreover a UVA-Navy matchup would sell out in short order and produce a great atmosphere.

Analysis: Of course, it’s important to remember that this is all just talk and conjecture until the official bowl bids arrive on Sunday. A few factors that could still shift Virginia up or down a spot in the bowl pecking order and change UVA’s ultimate destination:

  1. Florida State can still achieve bowl eligibility with a win on Saturday. I doubt the Noles would knock Virginia out of a Military Bowl bid, but nothing is impossible at this point. Most projections have FSU going to the Independence Bowl if it becomes eligible.
  2. The ACC could end up with a Citrus Bowl bid if it faces a Big Ten opponent in the Orange Bowl. That could potentially move Virginia up a spot in the pecking order and into a Tier 1 game like the Belk Bowl. This could potentially happen if Wisconsin loses to Ohio State and the CFP takes Alabama as its fourth team.
  3. Notre Dame could still squeak into a New Year’s Six bowl, though they likely blew their shot by losing to Stanford. That could also potentially move Virginia up a spot on the bowl ladder. I think this is the least-likely event of the three, especially given Notre Dame’s ranking (14th) in the latest CFP poll.

What’s Next: We’ll know more about Virginia’s bowl destination as Saturday and Sunday unfold. All UVA fans and players can do now is sit home and watch.

Stay tuned to Streaking The Lawn as we continue our Bowl Watch Coverage throughout the week.