The Virginia Cavaliers suffered another disappointing road loss on Saturday at Louisville. And let’s be honest, these bowl watch columns are a lot more enjoyable to read (and write) when the Hoos win. From this fan’s perspective, it feels UVA’s season has reached a bit of a crossroads. Consider:
On the bright side, the Hoos are only one win from being bowl eligible for the third year in a row. This would be only the fifth time in school history that UVA makes it to three consecutive bowl games. It would be a notable accomplishment when it happens.
Also, Virginia still sits atop the ACC Coastal division, though it’s now tied with North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech. The Hoos still control their own destiny and they can take a major step forward by beating UNC on Saturday. A 2019 ACC Coastal title would be one of the best football moments in school history.
But on the downside, Virginia has squandered any breathing room it had in the ACC Coastal race and in the ACC bowl pecking order with its two losses at Miami and Louisville. After starting 4-0 and leading Notre Dame at halftime, the Hoos have lost three of their last four. Their showdown against UNC is now a must-win. If Virginia loses Saturday, this season’s luster will completely wear off and fan interest will wane. Don’t forget...basketball season starts next week.
All in all, Bronco Mendenhall’s club can still finish strong and complete a great - and maybe even historic - season. But if the Hoos stumble again, we might all look back on 2019 as a big missed opportunity.
Current Bowl Projections
Here’s how the media currently forecasts Virginia’s bowl destination and opponent:
Bowl Watch Week 10
|Source||Bowl Game||Date and Time||Opponent|
|Source||Bowl Game||Date and Time||Opponent|
|College Football News||Orange Bowl||December 30, 8PM||Florida|
|247 Sports||Orange Bowl||December 30, 8PM||Florida|
|USA Today||Camping World Bowl||December 30, 4PM||Texas|
|Sports Illustrated||Camping World Bowl||December 30, 4PM||Texas|
|ESPN - Schlabach||Music City Bowl||December 30, 4PM||Mississippi State|
|CBS Sports||Music City Bowl||December 30, 4PM||Missouri|
|SB Nation/Banner Society||Pinstripe Bowl||December 27, 3:20PM||Michigan State|
|Athlon Sports||Pinstripe Bowl||December 27, 3:20PM||Michigan State|
|Brett McMurphy||Pinstripe Bowl||December 27, 3:20PM||Michigan State|
|ESPN - Bonagura||Sun Bowl||December 31, 2PM||Arizona State|
|Sporting News||Sun Bowl||December 31, 2PM||Washington|
At this time last week, Virginia was slotted to make a Florida bowl game in ten of the eleven media projections we track. The picture is much less clear now. Most projections have Wake Forest (6-1, 4-1 ACC) moving into the Orange Bowl slot and Notre Dame dropping down to the Camping World Bowl. That leaves the Hoos fighting for ACC “Tier 1” games with teams like Pitt, Louisville, and Virginia Tech.
Which Game Would You Be More Likely To Attend?
This poll is closed
Camping World Bowl vs. Texas - Orlando, December 28
Music City Bowl vs. an SEC team - Nashville, December 30
I Wouldn’t Go To Either
I Would Go To Either One
What’s Happening With Virginia:
Virginia fell back again in the Sagarin rankings with its loss to Louisville. The Hoos rank higher than all of their remaining opponents, but Sagarin only gives them a 50-51% percent chance of beating North Carolina.
39 – Virginia
46 – @ North Carolina
71 – Virginia Tech
95 – Georgia Tech
125 – Liberty
Virginia remains ranked higher than all but one of its previous opponents. It has now lost to two lower-ranked teams.
14 – @ Notre Dame LOSS
39 – Virginia
40 – Florida State WIN
48 – @ Pittsburgh WIN
49 – Duke WIN
50 – @ Miami LOSS
58 – @ Louisville LOSS
170 – Old Dominion WIN
186 – William & Mary WIN
Grouping the Games
Here’s how the schedule looks currently:
- Liberty (5-3) Home, November 23
- Georgia Tech (2-5) Home, November 9
- Virginia Tech (5-2) Home, November 29
- North Carolina (4-4) Away, November 2
Both Techs were off last week, while Liberty fell to Rutgers and North Carolina won in the last-second against Duke.
At 5-3, Virginia needs just one more win to be bowl eligible. The Hoos will need every win they can get, however, to avoid falling into a less desirable ACC bowl game.
What’s Happening Upstream?
Clemson beat the pulp out of Boston College and remained on track for the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame, however, lost badly at Michigan, which is significant for ACC bowl purposes. Notre Dame is a LOT less likely now to make it to a New Year’s Six Bowl game, which means it will compete with other ACC teams for bowl slotting.
The Camping World Bowl would be the biggest beneficiary of Notre Dame’s loss (and Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State). For weeks the Camping World folks were looking at a game matching Wake Forest, Pitt, or Virginia against Baylor, Iowa State, or Oklahoma State. Now they could potentially host Notre Dame against Texas: a matchup that would sell a lot more tickets and garner a lot more TV viewers.
As for the Orange Bowl, Wake Forest currently looks like the front-runner for the ACC’s slot. The Deacs are just inside the Top 25 and only have one loss.
No one else is “ahead” of Virginia at this point in the ACC bowl picture.
As a reminder, the Orange Bowl picks first among non-playoff ACC teams. The Orange Bowl selection, writes Joe Giglio, will be based wholly on CFP rankings and won’t take into account TV appeal or fan travel reputation. After the Orange, the Camping World Bowl picks next, and then a tier of four bowl games (Belk, Music City, Sun, and Pinstripe) pick after that.
What’s Happening Downstream?
Virginia wasn’t the only team to lay an egg on Saturday: Pittsburgh, which had moved into a tie with the Hoos for first place in the ACC Coastal, fell at home to Miami. The Panthers have five wins, along with Virginia, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. Behind them are Florida State, Boston College, Duke, and Miami at four.
This traffic jam of mediocrity will need to shake out before bowl destinations become clear.
Games To Monitor This Week
Virginia at North Carolina -
The Oldest Rivalry in the South is the fulcrum game for Virginia’s season: win it and an ACC Coastal title is within reach. Lose it and the focus turns to Virginia Tech on Black Friday. No pressure, Hoos.
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame -
With two wins over FCS teams, Justin Fuente’s squad still needs to find two more victories to go bowling. The Hokies close with the Irish, Pitt, Wake, and Virginia. It won’t be easy -- but nothing would galvanize the Gobbler supporters like an upset in South Bend.
Miami at Florida State -
Willie Taggart probably needs this one more than Manny Diaz, but both teams need to win to keep to sustain their bowl hopes. The Noles still have to travel to Boston College and Florida. If they lose this one, they’ll probably be home again for the holidays.
That’s it for now. I’ll see you next week, fans.
Until then, keep the faith...and Go Hoos.