In a college football season punctuated by upsets, could the ‘Hoos pull off the biggest of the season?
This year we’ve seen last year’s national champions – the Clemson Tigers – shockingly fall to Syracuse in early October. Previously, many had dubbed them favorites to retain their champion status before and during the season. Similarly, the now 8th seeded Ohio State Buckeyes was humiliated at Iowa by a score of 24-55 just two weeks ago. Both of these results were totally unprecedented and significantly impacted the landscape of the playoff picture and collegiate standings. And who’s actually going to try arguing that UVa is much less of a team than Syracuse of Iowa this year, with their combined records of 10-10? That’s not even a winning record! For the optimists out there, an upset is unlikely but definitely not impossible.
On the contrary, our Cavaliers are 6-4, and this Saturday, UVa has the opportunity to defeat arguably the strongest football team in the country and send a message to the rest of the NCAA. Having seen two notable upsets against highly ranked teams, an upset is at least possible. We’ve seen Iowa and Syracuse prevail over higher opposition. So what’s that expression you Americans use, three times the charm?…
What we’re up against:
Now let’s face it, the Miami Hurricanes are ‘for real‘ this year; they’re undefeated through nine games and have sustained a 14 game winning streak – the longest in major college football. After obliterating Notre Dame side by 41-8, they have risen in ranking to second in the country. Despite the Irish’s aspirations of making it to the playoffs, they were dominated by the Hurricanes in front of a lively Miami crowd. Miami’s defense looks pretty formidable too, but more about that later…
How Can UVa beat them? Stop them chains:
Miami’s defines is having a historic season, creating a ridiculous 24 turnovers this season. Since the start of this season, Miami’s defensive players have been awarded for making a turnover by the right to wear a 24 carrot Cuban link gold chain. The ‘Turnover’ Chain.
It goes without saying that if UVa is to deny their divisional rivals of a perfect season, it is imperative that they concede no turnovers this week. This really has become the key to Miami’s on field success, whilst the whole ‘chains’ debacle has helped restore the swagger that permeated previous Hurricane outfits in the days of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and co. Virginia’s high octane offense must be at full capacity. Recently we have seen a dip in the performances of quarterback Kurt Benkert, with the senior throwing an interception in each of the last four games. In order for an upset to be possible, the Cavaliers need offensive weapons such as wide receiver Andre Levrone – who leads the team with 6 touchdowns – as well as running backs Jordan Ellis and Olamide Zaccheaus. The latter will has been vital to the passing game throughout the season, and will be instrumental in any potential upset against an imposing Hurricanes defense.
How we can be a part of this, too:
‘Hoos together? Despite the game being played in Miami’s ‘Hard Rock Stadium’, there are numerous ways for you to keep updated on the game. The game will be viewable from ABC and ESPN online. There will also be a viewing party at Boylan Heights for those of you who don’t like to remember every play. This will be without question the toughest test of the season – so if you’re not there to witness a upset of this scale, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Virginia are 17 point underdogs headed into the matchup, but this game will be televised at 12pm, in what will be a platform for UVa to showcase to the rest of the country the successful football it has been playing this season.