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Game Preview: Can UVA upset Miami, College Football Playoff apple cart?

uva footballMiami, fresh off back-to-back blowout wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, is a 19.5-point favorite over UVA heading into Saturday’s matchup.

The ESPN Football Power Index gives Virginia (6-4, 3-3 ACC) just a 5.5 percent chance of winning.

So … you’re telling me there’s a chance. Yeah!

Give me that one. You haven’t read any game previews lately quoting “Dumb and Dumber.” Maybe for good reason.

The odds are more one in a million than one in a hundred for the ‘Hoos, coming off a 38-21 loss at Louisville last week, the team’s third loss in four games.

The Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0 ACC), for their part, just beat down then-#3 Notre Dame in a 41-8 beatdown that was clinical in its precision.


You almost wanted to see the Irish get a running clock in the second half, it was so bad.

The big question going in is, which Miami team shows up? The one that mauled Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, or the one that went to the wire with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and North Carolina?

You wouldn’t fault the ‘Canes for coming in a little flat, given how high they’ve had to be for the past two.

Virginia, on its sideline, has nothing to lose, and honestly probably not that much to gain, at least in terms of its bowl destination, which is likely going to be hamstrung by the pitiful home attendance this season and the past several, no matter what happens on the field.

Expect the Cavs to come out loose, though, with a bit of the old chip on the shoulder from the recent struggles that have taken some of the shine off a season that had begun with so much promise.

Assuming Miami does come out flat, Virginia has the firepower on offense to make the Hurricanes sweat it out. Quarterback Kurt Benkert is tied for the lead in the ACC in touchdown passes, with 21, and is throwing for 249.2 yards per game on the season.

Defensively, UVA can more than hang: the ‘Hoos are sixth in the ACC in total defense, giving up 359.1 yards per game. Miami is fifth, giving up 355.8 yards per game.

The key for Virginia, as with any Miami opponent, will be limiting turnovers. The ‘Canes lead the ACC and are second nationally in turnover margin, at +15.

UVA is sixth in the ACC, with a modest +3 margin on the season.

Avoid turnovers, have high energy early assuming Miami comes out flat after the big wins, and …

I’m telling you there’s a chance.

And it’s better than Lloyd’s chances with Mary.

Preview by Chris Graham