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Bowl Watch: Virginia takes major step towards postseason

UVA’s bowl chances are real.

Virginia v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

“You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got. Whoa! We’re halfway there...”

Every week I get grief for publishing this column. I get grief from readers. I get grief from Tweeters. They snicker and mock. They tell me that tracking Virginia’s bowl hopes is a pointless exercise. They tell me that the joke is played out.

I sincerely hope the haters are reading this week. What a time to be alive!

Virginia pounded Boise State Friday night on national television. In doing so, it made the postseason a realistic hope for players and fans alike. UVA now sits 3-1 and needs only three more wins for bowl eligibility. Make no mistake, this win was a big deal as far as elevating UVA’s bowl hopes. And readers should be prepared to see and hear a lot about Virginia’s postseason chances for at least the next month.

Bowl Projections:

For the first time in ages, major media outlets are starting to include Virginia in their bowl projections. Here’s who has Virginia listed in their projections this week:

  • Over at the mother ship of SB Nation, the Hoos are projected to face Navy in the December 28 Military Bowl in Annapolis.
  • David Hale of ESPN has Virginia squaring off against Purdue in the Quick Lane Bowl. That game is scheduled for December 26 in Detroit.
  • College Football News also has Virginia in the Quick Lane Bowl, but against Northwestern.
  • Yahoo! Sports has Virginia against Central Michigan in the Camelia Bowl. It should be noted that the Camelia Bowl isn’t in the ACC bowl rotation.

As a disclaimer, Week 4 bowl projections are about as useful as a history major in a calculus class. But that’s no reason to not to relish in the moment. You’ve earned it, loyal Wahoo fans.

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. After whooping Boise State Friday night, they’re now 1-0 against the “prayers.” To borrow a golf term, the Hoos are back on par with their schedule.

The path forward:

The Cavaliers face three ranked teams at the end of November: Louisville, Miami, and Virginia Tech. So they would do well to take care of business before then. In my opinion, Virginia’s most likely bowl path includes

  • Beating Boston College at home
  • Beating either Duke or Georgia Tech at home
  • Beating either Pitt or UNC on the road

The Duke game on October 7th could be the most important game of the season. If they Hoos win that one, they’ll have a good amount of wiggle room for the rest of the way. Tickets are available here.

Rankings And Results:

Here’s how Virginia stacks up in the Sagarin rankings after Week 4.

  • Virginia Tech (4-0) - 16
  • at Miami (2-0) - 20
  • at Louisville (3-1) - 23
  • Duke (4-0) - 25
  • Georgia Tech (2-1) - 26
  • Indiana (2-1) - 47 - Loss
  • at North Carolina (1-3) - 50
  • at Boise State (2-2) - 57 - Win
  • at Pittsburgh (1-3) - 61
  • Virginia (3-1) - 66
  • Boston College (1-3) - 93
  • Connecticut (1-2) - 130 - Win
  • William and Mary (2-1) - 154 - Win

What’s Next:

Virginia has a week off before playing Duke. Here’s hoping the team can have a useful week of rest and healing. The Blue Devils face Miami on Friday night, which will be their stiffest competition yet.