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Bowl Watch Week 2: Can the Hoos keep the momentum rolling?

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Virginia took its first step to a bowl game by beating Richmond. 

Richmond v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

“Just make it one for my baby and one more for the road.” – Frank Sinatra

One down. And now the Hoos hit the road.

The Virginia Cavaliers football team did what it needed on Saturday, beating Richmond 42-13 and keeping quarterback Bryce Perkins healthy in the process. While the win won’t make UVA’s season, a loss would have crippled its bowl hopes. The Hoos are now 1-0 in games we’ve characterized as “Must Wins.” They need five more wins to clinch the postseason.

They’ll step up in class in Week 2 with a road trip to Indiana.

Setting the table

Let’s take another quick look at UVA’s schedule and how it shakes out in regards to a bowl game.

Must Wins

  • Richmond (Won)
  • Liberty (1-0, November 10)

Toss Ups

  • at Indiana (1-0), September 8)
  • Ohio (1-0, September 15)

Winnables

  • UNC (0-1, October 27)
  • Pitt (1-0, November 2)

TBDs

  • Louisville (0-1, September 22)
  • at Duke (1-0, October 20)
  • at Georgia Tech (1-0, November 17)

Longshots

  • at NC State (1-0, September 29)
  • Miami (0-1, October 13)
  • at Virginia Tech (November 23)

In last week’s column, we said that Virginia’s simplest path to a bowl game would be to run the table among the “Must Wins,” “Toss Ups,” and “Winnables.” Failing that, UVA will need to find an upset somewhere else. So far, so good.

Opponent check-in

Among UVA’ s opponents, most Week 1 games went according to plan. There were a few notable exceptions. Miami looked listless and uninterested in a bad loss to LSU. Virginia could give the Canes a run for their money if they lay a similar egg when they visit the snake pit that is Scott Stadium on October 13. Even so, it’s too early to view that game as anything other than a longshot.

Ohio, picked by many to win its division in the MAC, needed a second-half comeback to beat the Fighting Mike Londons of Howard. While I’m absolutely stunned that a Mike London-coached team gave up a second half lead, I’m more intrigued by the fact that they racked up 600 yards on the Bobcat defense. Ohio will have two weeks to prepare for UVA, but Virginia fans might (might!) be able to sleep a little better about that one.

On the flip side, November opponent Liberty housed Old Dominion 52-10. The Flames are in the middle of a transition to FBS, so their victory over a more established program definitely raised my eyebrows. We’ll learn plenty more about Liberty between now and November, but at the moment it appears to be a shade more formidable than it did earlier.

Virginia Tech’s defense shut down Florida State by holding them to just three points en route to a 24-3 win. The Hokies once again look like they’ll contend in the Coastal.

This Week

With the Richmond win behind them, the Cavaliers have an opportunity to build some early season momentum. We wrote last week that Virginia needed at least a 2-1 start to have a reasonable chance to make the postseason. With the Ohio game looking slightly easier, UVA can put itself in great position if it beats Indiana. If the Wahoos fall, then the Ohio game becomes absolutely crucial.

Among Virginia’s opponents, we’ll keep a close eye on Duke (against Northwestern), Georgia Tech (against USF), and Pitt (against Penn State) in Week 2. UVA will likely need to beat at least one of those teams to reach the postseason. It might need to beat two or three. This week’s games will give us a better idea of how possible that might be.

We’ll be back next week with a lot more information. We can’t wait!