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Virginia Weekly Win Tracker: One Down, More To Come?

Virginia’s best (only) win is better than half of the rest of the ACC’s best.

Central Michigan v Virginia Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

The good news undoubtedly outweighs the bad news for Cavalier football fans this week. The Hoos won their first game of 2016 and beat a quality opponent in doing so. Central Michigan is no Alabama, but make no mistake, the Chippewas are a solid team that will contend for a MAC title. Before you guffaw and dismiss that as homer-talk, consider some data from the Sagarin rankings.

Going into week 5, only half of the teams in the ACC have wins over opponents ranked in the Sagarin top 70. The other half of the league boasts wins that are comparable to or less impressive than UVA’s win over CMU. Here’s a list of the lamest best wins among ACC schools:

Miami - #73 Appalachian State
Georgia Tech - #72 Vanderbilt
Virginia - #75 Central Michigan
Virginia Tech - #76 East Carolina
Syracuse - #99 UConn
Boston College’s - #123 UMass
NC State - #136 Old Dominion

Now the point here isn’t that Virginia is as good as or better than any of the teams listed above. And I’m painfully aware that UVA is the only team on the list with a loss to an FCS opponent. But an argument can be made that UVA’s lone win was more impressive than anything Syracuse, NC State, or Boston College has accomplished. And it’s certainly satisfying as heck to see that CMU checks in one slot higher than the East Carolina squad that the Blacksburg mouth-breathers beat last weekend.

Having said all that, it’s important to note that the news from the Sagarin rankings isn’t completely rosy this week. With road wins in Week 4 by Duke and Wake Forest, Virginia’s remaining schedule looks much tougher all of this sudden. So it’s less clear now where Virginia will pick up its next win. Here’s how Sagarin ranks Virginia’s opponents, along with their weekly move in the rankings.

#5 – Louisville (↓1)
#18 – Miami (↓1)
#23 – Virginia Tech (↑9)
#29 – North Carolina (↑1)
#37 – Oregon (↓1)
#42 – Pittsburgh (↔)
#43 – Georgia Tech (↓4)
#59 – Duke (↑9)
#62 – Wake Forest (↑11)
#75 – Central Michigan (↓10)
#91 – Virginia (↓1)
#99 – Connecticut (↓4)
#110 – Richmond (↓1)

As much as Saturday’s win has energized the program, I think that a victory over Duke might be an even bigger deal. Remember that just last week, Central Michigan was ranked #65 and Duke was at just #68. Virginia’s now shown it can punch above its Sagarin weight class. Beating the Chippewas allowed Virginia to check off the first box in its rebuilding checklist: getting a win. Beating the Blue Devils would allow it to check off two more: getting an ACC win and getting a road win. The Hoos would then get a week to recharge before heading breaking into the top half of Sagarin competition and looking for yet another box to check: a signature win.