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Bowl Watch: Virginia Passes Test Against UConn

UVA’s slim postseason hopes continue to survive.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

I'm a survivor (what?)

I'm not gon' give up (what?)

I'm not gon' stop (what?)

I'm gon' work harder (what?)

Even the most forgiving Virginia Cavaliers fans knew that a loss to UConn on Saturday would have brought a stern test of faith about the direction of Virginia football. Instead, Bronco Mendenhall’s squad did exactly what it needed to do: it dominated a weaker opponent in a convincing win. And by doing so, it breathed a slim puff of oxygen into its wispy bowl hopes.

Schedule Analysis:

At the start of the season, I categorized Virginia’s schedule into four buckets:

  • Should-wins: Home games against W&M, UConn, and Boston College
  • Toss-ups: Home games against Indiana and Duke
  • Potential Upsets: Road games against Pitt and UNC, and a home game against Georgia Tech
  • Prayers: Road games against Louisville, Miami, and Boise State, and the home finale against Virginia Tech.

I said that Virginia needed to sweep the “should-wins” and the “toss-ups” and pull off one of the “potential upsets” to qualify for a bowl game. The Cavaliers are 2-1 against the first two groups. So they’ll still need to pick up an upset somewhere.

As for UVA’s opponents, Week 3 furthered some of the trends we saw in the first two weeks. Pitt gave up 49 points in the first half of a blowout loss to Oklahoma State. Boston College gave up 49 points in a loss to Notre Dame. Duke and Virginia Tech again looked impressive.

October Is Coming:

It increasingly looks like Virginia’s bowl hopes will be settled by November 4th. The October stretch against Duke, UNC (away), Boston College, and Pitt (away) will all feature games UVA can make competitive. If the Hoos can somehow win three of those, they’ll host Georgia Tech on November 4th with bowl eligibility on the line.

What a scene that would be.

Rankings And Results:

Headed into week three, here’s how Virginia stacks up against its schedule in the Sagarin rankings.

  • Virginia Tech (3-0) - 18
  • at Miami (1-0) - 20
  • at Louisville (2-1) - 21
  • Georgia Tech (1-1) - 29
  • Duke (3-0) - 32
  • at Boise State (2-1) - 40
  • at North Carolina (1-2) - 51
  • at Pittsburgh (1-2) - 55
  • Indiana (1-1) - 57 - Loss
  • Virginia (2-1) - 76
  • Boston College (1-2) - 94
  • Connecticut (1-1) - 125 - Win
  • William and Mary (2-1) - 160 - Win

What’s Next:

Virginia hits the road against Boise State Friday night on the blue field. UVA has opened as a 14-point road underdog. Boise State notched a smooth 28-7 victory over New Mexico last week. Can Virginia do better? Only time will tell.