Right next to Signing Day, the day the football schedule is just as exciting. If you have been following our blog, we broke down the schedule a little while ago. But today we put the names to the dates. First off, lets look at what the ACC has in store for us:
Sept. 1 RICHMOND
Sept. 8 PENN STATE
Sept. 15 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 22 at TCU
Sept. 29 LOUISIANA TECH
Oct. 6 at Duke
Oct. 13 MARYLAND
Oct. 20 WAKE FOREST
Nov. 3 at NC State
Nov. 10 MIAMI
Nov. 15 NORTH CAROLINA (Thur.), ESPN
Nov. 24 at Virginia Tech
What We Like
- Opening with a ‘softball’. This year’s opening game at home is against FCS Richmond. They are coming off of a 3-8 season and after ‘upsetting’ Duke on the road to start the season, fell off the wagon come the CAA season. In an interesting twist, former UVa backup Michael Strauss will most likely start for the Spiders. It will be a good early opportunity to get a leg up before the first of two tough stretches.
- Under the Lights. For the first time in 6 years, the Hoos get a national Thursday night game at home. Of course it is in the middle of November, but it is against one of our biggest rivals, UNC. Larry Fedora is bringing his spread offense to Charlottesville and since he is 2-0 against UVa when he was HC at Southern Miss, it should make for an interesting matchup for the Hoos young secondary.
- Soft in the Middle. From the end of September to the beginning November, there is a 4 game stretch that the Hoos can really take advantage of. With Louisiana Tech, at Duke, Maryland, and Wake Forest, it is not out of the realm of possibility for Virginia to go 4-0 and really help out our cause for a second consecutive bowl game.
- Needed Rest. In the past, Virginia has usually had their bye week early on in the year. This year we get it after the Wake game and before the at NC State matchup, who have usually been a thorn in our sides. In addition, we have 9 days of extended rest before our yearly tilt with Virginia Tech.
- No Atlantic Bullies. Virginia got a real break by not having either Clemson or FSU on the slate this year, which should help our overall record when all is said and done.
What We Don’t Like
- Tough Opening Act. I know the non-conference slate is scheduled in advance, but since we can’t pull a VT and bring in an Austin Peay, we are locked in with Penn State, at TCU, and Louisiana Tech. All 3 were bowl teams last year, and TCU and LT played each other last year in the Poinsettia Bowl. Throw in a road trip to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech and emerging from that stretch 2-2 would be very good.
- Tough Closing Act. And like it is every year, we face a very tough tilt at the end of the year as well, with at NCSU, Miami, UNC, and at VT. Again, 2-2 out of this run would really help our cause to make it to a bowl game, but this run is packed (pun intended) with teams that have not been kind to Virginia in the past.
- Short Rest. Not helping us get ready for that big matchup against UNC is the 5 day quick turnaround after Miami, in what will surely be a slugfest. The trade off is the 9 days before VT, but playing the percentages, I’m sure we would have liked it to be the other way around.
If you look at the Richmond, Duke, Maryland, and Wake Forest as very likely wins, finding 4 more wins are pretty hard. You could pencil in one more possible with LT, but that could be a trap game like Southern Miss was last year. You can also think that we would have a shot with Penn State, Miami, and UNC with them all being at home, but UNC is going to the unfriendly spread offense, Miami does not want to lose 3 in a row to us and have reloaded, and Penn State will bring in a vey stingy defense to counter a big play offense. GT and NC State were close last year and taking one of two would help, and TCU and VT on the road are in the ‘most likely not going to happen’ arena. Overall look at 8-4 as a good season, with 7-5 being more realistic.