Could UVA suddenly be the team to beat in the ACC Coastal?
Now, before you get too excited, that ain’t exactly bragging. I mean, the Coastal isn’t the SEC West. It’s barely better than the MAC West, to be honest.
That said, it’s the division we’re in, and right now – emphasis on the right now part of right now – the ‘Hoos might be the class of the division.
Breaking it down:
Miami, the preseason favorite, is 3-1, with a blowout loss to LSU, and most recently an unimpressive 31-17 win over Florida International, that ended with the ‘Canes launching a QB controversy.
Virginia Tech, who I thought should have been the preseason favorite, just lost by two touchdowns at ODU, which had been 0-3 until last night, with a 52-10 loss to a Liberty team that last night lost 47-7 to North Texas, which is actually a school.
Georgia Tech, which I couldn’t believe was picked third in the preseason voting, is where I thought they’d be, at 1-3, with a blowout loss to Clemson, and losses at South Florida and Pitt.
Duke, picked fourth, is 4-0, with wins over Army, who took Oklahoma to OT yesterday, and at Northwestern, who then lost to Akron. Duke is the other team you would argue is at the top of the heap through four weeks. I downgrade them because starting QB Daniel Jones is out, then Duke lost his backup, Quentin Harris, in yesterday’s 55-13 rout of North Carolina Central.
Pitt is 2-2, has that win over Georgia Tech, but also has losses to North Carolina, which is awful, and a blowout loss to a Penn State team that a week earlier had to rally to beat Appalachian State at home.
North Carolina, aforementioned, is awful, losing 41-19 to an East Carolina team that a week earlier had lost to North Carolina A&T, which, like North Texas, is actually a school.
Virginia gets Carolina and Pitt at home later next month. The ‘Hoos get Miami at home after a bye week in mid-October.
The finish at the Techs in November is no longer as scary as it was when we first saw the schedule.
At NC State looks winnable. The Pack is undefeated, but JMU gave them fits, had to kick two 19-yard field goals in a narrow loss, and the Marshall game last night wasn’t exactly a walkover.
Again, I’m not at all suggesting that UVA is anywhere near playoff level. But the ‘Hoos can scratch out some wins against this assemblage, and given how wide open it seems to me to be, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Virginia in the mix for that game in Charlotte in early December.
Column by Chris Graham