For the first time in the history of this three-year-old column, I’m happy to write the following words:
The Virginia football team remains on track for a bowl game after Saturday’s win.
Yes, I’m aware we’re only one week into the season. Yes, I’m aware that William and Mary is likely the easiest team Virginia will play all year. And yes, I’m aware it’s ridiculous to talk about a bowl game this early.
But I don’t care about any of those things. Starting 1-0 is so much more delightful than starting 0-2 (like in 2015) or 0-3 (like last year). So let’s revel in the joy for a bit.
Last week, I categorized Virginia’s schedule into 4 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. With the win over W&M, Virginia took the first step towards the needed sweep.
Week 1 provided a mixed bag for UVA opponents. Indiana looked impressive in the first half against Ohio State. Georgia Tech showed out well against Tennessee. Those games look much harder now than they did last week.
On the flip side, North Carolina lost a game in which it was a heavy favorite. Pittsburgh and UConn damn near lost to FCS teams. And Boston College needed a late field goal to beat Northern Illinois. Those games might all look a bit easier than once thought.
Rankings And Results:
Headed into week two, here’s how Virginia stacks up against its schedule in the Sagarin rankings.
- Virginia Tech (1-0) - 17
- at Louisville (1-0) - 19
- at Miami (1-0) - 21
- at Boise State (1-0) - 36
- at Pittsburgh (1-0) - 37
- Georgia Tech (0-1) - 40
- Duke (1-0) - 48
- at North Carolina (0-1) - 57
- Indiana (0-1) - 66
- Virginia (1-0) - 72
- Boston College (1-0) - 78
- Connecticut (1-0) - 121
- William and Mary (0-1) - 166 - Win
Saturday’s game against Indiana could end up being the most pivotal game of the year for UVA’s bowl chances. A win against a dynamic, experienced Hoosiers squad will keep the Hoos on the right path. A loss won’t sink their postseason hopes, but it will definitely make it a steeper climb. Here’s hoping UVA can overcome the loss of Tim Harris and pull off the victory.