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Virginia’s bowl game chances look better and better

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It’s no longer a reach to start thinking postseason!

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

“I’ve been taking care of business (it’s all mine). Taking care of business and working overtime.”

After beating Duke on Saturday, the Virginia Cavaliers are EXACTLY where they need to be with regards to making a bowl game. The Wahoos only need to win two of their seven remaining games to reach bowl eligibility. What’s better, their next three opponents have a combined record of 5-13. Virginia will still need to exorcise some demons (starting against UNC this week), but it’s appropriate for fans to start day-dreaming about potential bowl destinations.

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 “toss-ups” and pull off one of the “potential upsets” to qualify for a bowl game. If I were to re-categorize UVA’s schedule now, I would put UNC and Pitt in the “toss-up” category, and I’d put Boise State in the “potential upsets” category. The Hoos failed to get the original sweep I called for, but they made up for it with an upset over the Broncos. At any rate, they just need to take care of business against Boston College on October 21 and find one more win.

Bowl Projections:

The national media is beginning to buy into UVA’s postseason chances. Here’s where Virginia stands in the most recent bowl projections:

  • Both SB Nation and David Hale of ESPN project Virginia to face Navy in the December 28 Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • USA Today and Sports Illustrated project Virginia to face Minnesota and Maryland, respectively, in the December 27 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
  • Sporting News also projects Virginia to face Maryland, but in the December 26 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Michigan.
  • College Football News projects Virginia to face UAB in the December 27 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Rankings And Results:

So where might the Cavaliers find their last two wins? Here’s how they stack up against their opponents in the most recent S&P+ ratings.

  • at Miami (4-0) - 11
  • at Louisville (4-2) - 19
  • Virginia Tech (4-1) - 20
  • Georgia Tech (3-1) - 23
  • Indiana (3-2) - 38 - Loss
  • at Boise State (3-2) - 39 - Win
  • Virginia (4-1) - 40
  • Duke (4-2) - 65 - Win
  • at North Carolina (1-5) - 79
  • at Pittsburgh (2-4) - 86
  • Boston College (2-4) - 103
  • Connecticut (1-4) - 121 - Win
  • William and Mary (2-3) - 163 - Win (Sagarin ranking used for W&M)

What’s Next:

UVA heads to Chapel Hill on Saturday to play a battered UNC team. The Tar Heels have sputtered to a 1-5 start and have lost 13 players for the season. Still, Carolina has recruited at a fairly high level in recent years and deserves to be taken seriously. The Cavaliers might be four-point favorites, but they’ll need to turn in another solid effort to walk away with a win.