With the release of the most recent AP Top 25 poll, the Virginia football team is set to begin a stretch of three games in a row against ranked competition.
BYU is back in the rankings at No. 25 after dropping out of the poll following consecutive losses to Boise State and Baylor. The Cougars were ranked as high as No. 10 in the country after a 5-0 start to the season, including three-straight wins over Power Five opponents. BYU slipped out of the rankings after the loss to Baylor, but the Cougars found their way back into the poll following a win at Washington State this week.
Virginia will play at BYU on Saturday night with a kickoff time of 10:15pm, ET. Both teams come into the contest with a 6-2 record.
After a well-timed bye week, UVA will host No. 11 Notre Dame at Scott Stadium on November 13th. The Fighting Irish were ranked as high as No. 8 in the country, but a 24-13 loss at home to Cincinnati caused them to drop several spots. Since then, Notre Dame has picked up wins at Virginia Tech and at home against USC.
On November 20th, after nearly a month without playing an ACC game, the Cavaliers will travel to play a critical Coastal game against Pittsburgh, currently ranked No. 17 in the nation. The Panthers have lost just one game this season, a 44-41 shootout at home against Western Michigan in week three. Pittsburgh has won a pair of very impressive games in the last two weeks to improve to 3-0 in ACC play. Pittsburgh went into Blacksburg and crushed the Virginia Tech Hokies 28-7 on their home turf. Pitt was ranked No. 23 after that win. Then, the Panthers took down Clemson 27-17 on Saturday and Pitt subsequently rose six spots in the rankings to No. 17.
Virginia currently trails Pittsburgh by two games in the ACC Coastal standings. The Cavaliers will naturally need to take down Pitt on the road on November 20th to give themselves a chance, but UVA will also need the Panthers to lose at least one game against Miami, Duke, North Carolina, or Syracuse if the Hoos want a shot at the Coastal title.
Of course, Virginia’s final game of the season will be at home against Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash. The Hokies were unranked to begin this season, but, after a strong win over then-No. 10 North Carolina in week one, Virginia Tech rose to No. 19 and then No. 15 in week three. Tech dropped from the rankings completely following a 27-21 loss at West Virginia and the Hokies have lost three of their next four games since then. Virginia knows better than to underestimate Virginia Tech, though, and the battle for the Commonwealth on November 27th will likely be hard-fought.
Since suffering two bad losses to North Carolina and Wake Forest in late September, Virginia has bounced back to put together a four-game winning streak that has gone largely under the radar. In the final four games of the season, the Cavaliers will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves with road games at No. 25 BYU and at No. 17 Pittsburgh and home games against No. 11 Notre Dame and in-state rival Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers received nine votes in this week’s AP poll and you have to think that the Hoos will be a shoo-in for next week’s poll if they can extend their win-streak to five games by pulling the upset over No. 25 BYU on Saturday night. Even more importantly, Virginia could find itself inside the Top 25 of the first College Football Playoff rankings when they come out on November 2nd.