So here is part two of my game-by-game season preview for Virginia. Take a look at part one and enjoy!
Game 5: vs. Maryland: Revenge Is On Their Minds.
SET UP: Virginia’s season really started to garner attention when the Cavaliers took down the Maryland Terrapins in College Park before a national audience in 2007. It was the coming-out party for Mikell Simpson, who had 271 all-purpose yards.
However, the Terrapins will not be the only ones with revenge on their mind when they come into Charlottesville. Despite a very poor 2006 campaign, Virginia would have gone bowling if it had not blown a 20-point lead against Maryland at home.
That loss killed a lot of the momentum for freshman quarterback Jameel Sewell and helped erase a bad history for Maryland when it comes to playing (or more accurately “being beat down”) in Scott Stadium.
So who will have the last word this year?
PREDICTION: This is a very hard game for me to predict. On paper, the Terrapins have a decisive edge here in late August. However, I have seen the underdog Cavaliers pull out victories at home before, especially against Maryland.
Also, the latest boggling decision to go with Jordan Steffy over Chris Turner can only help Virginia in my honest opinion. However, Virginia’s greatest weapon, Mikell Simpson, won’t be the big surprise he was last season. Don’t expect him to go for 271 yards this time.
The Cavaliers will run the ball and, without a solid quarterback for Maryland, Virginia’s secondary deficiencies will not be so glaring. A few timely turnovers, and this may be the game that Turner gets his starting job back and the Fridge might be looking at a pink slip.
SET UP: The Cavaliers went down to Greenville in 2006 and lost 31-21 in a game that was not even as close as the score may indicate. Virginia had a hard time stopping the Pirates' offense and without guys like Chris Long of Jeffrey Fitzgerald, that task is not getting an easier.
ECU has a very hard schedule, but it has a load of returning players and ended the season with a victory over America’s favorite mid-major, the Boise State Broncos.
Still, Virginia has an amazing home record. Only twice in the seven years Al Groh has been there, have the Cavaliers lost more than one game at home. Can they find a way to get it done?
PREDICTION: The Pirates have a brutal schedule against teams like Virginia Tech, West Virginia and N.C. State all before this game, so they will certainly have a great deal of experience.
Patrick Pinkney had a solid passing performance the last time these teams did battle, but their victory really came from the ground where they scored four touchdowns and racked up over 200 yards.
Both of these teams have a shown a wonderful ability to win close games. The Cavaliers won five games by two points or less last season. That is an amazing accomplishment but…it also means they’re due.
Game 7: vs. UNC: Same Script, Different Cast?
SET-UP: Virginia needed a great pass deflection from Nate Collins and a successful challenge of a field goal call to hold on to beat the Tar Heels last season. This year, many expect UNC to be the trendy team to contend in the Coastal Division and possibly reach the ACC title game.
Of course, if they want to accomplish this, they must beat a Virginia team who has not lost at home to the Tar Heels since 1981.
The Cavaliers have beaten North Carolina by an average margin of 15 points at home, since Groh has taken over, including a 23-0 beatdown in 2006.
Still that was then, what about now?
PREDICTION: T.J. Yates had a very solid outing last time these teams met, throwing for over 300 yards and almost single-handedly bringing the Tar Heels back from a big deficit. Not bad for a freshman.
Adding the versatile Greg Little to the mix in the backfield will help even more for UNC. In other words, if Carolina is ever going to beat UVA in Charlottesville, now is the time.
Still, Lalich actually had his best ACC performance against the Tar Heels going 7-for-10 and avoiding contact. Peerman also had a monster game, rushing for 191 yards. I think he can have just as much success this time around.
I think that little bit of experience will help Virginia but this may not be enough. A young and talented UNC squad will still be riding high after a possible victory over Notre Dame at home.
The road contest is right in the middle of a four-game home stand for the Tar Heels and Butch Davis will have them ready to come out strong.
We’ll see just how good Lalich is in a fourth-quarter drive.
Game 8: at Georgia Tech: Stings Like A Bee.
SET-UP: A new era for the Yellow Jackets, as Chan Gailey was handed his walking papers last season. Groh certainly has done a good job of getting other ACC coaches fired.
When Virginia miraculously took out GT last year at home, it changed the course of the season for both teams. That game was decided by the great defense of Long and Fitzgerald and a timely touchdown pass from Sewell to Koch in the fourth-quarter.
This year Virginia will be going to Atlanta, where they have posted some surprising victories and some embarrassing defeats. So what will happen this year?
PREDICTION: This series has always favored the underdog. This is the rivalry which gave Virginia one of its best finishes ever with a hook-and-ladder long before the Broncos, and it also gave Virginia its costliest loss when it was ranked No. 1 in the country.
Paul Johnson appears dedicated to the option offense, something that Virginia employed a great deal when it had Marques Hagans and Sewell behind center. Georgia Tech will take some time to bring in the type of talent to fit Johnson’s mold and there will be a definite transition period.
I think GT will be in good shape for the future, but this is the style that matches perfectly with the smash-mouth approach of Virginia.
With Virginia’s powerful linebacking corps they can limit the big plays of the Yellow Jackets and produce their second road win in Atlanta in their last three attempts.
Game 9: vs. Miami: How The Mighty Have Fallen.
SET-UP: 48-0. It will be weighing on the minds of both teams when the Hurricanes come to town. The Cavaliers were playing in an essentially useless game and Miami was playing its final home game in the Orange Bowl.
Yet Miami appeared to be the ones sleepwalking, and the Cavaliers absolutely humbled the Canes, scoring at will throughout the game and completely shutting down Randy Shannon’s offense.
Will Miami turn the tables?
PREDICTION: The Cavaliers had 418 yards of total offense last year, and most of those came through the air. If Sewell could cut through the Hurricane defense, I think Lalich will be just as successful.
More importantly was that Miami had as many interceptions as they had third-down conversions. That is not going to get it done. Even with some extra experience, I do not expect those numbers to improve dramatically on the road in Charlottesville.
I think Miami is better than Virginia, but are they really 48 points better? The Cavaliers know this is a critical home game and they will play with a tremendous passion and energy.
WR Maurice Covington and Kevin Ogletree will have great performances, and the line will give time for Lalich and allow Peerman to put up some nice numbers as Virginia uses the clock and tames Hurricane Ibis.
PREDICTION: UVA 31, Miami 21
Game 10: at Wake Forest: Just For Kicks
SET-UP: Virginia has only lost to Wake Forest once since 1984, but last year it required a missed field goal kick from Sam Swank in the final seconds to secure a one-point victory. The Demon Deacons will pose a stiffer challenge this year as they hold an edge in talent and experience.
Redshirt junior Riley Skinner knows how to get the job done. He has already tried the career record for most wins as a starter at 18 and helped march the Demon Deacons down the field against the Cavaliers last season, including two fourth-down conversions.
PREDICTION: This will not be pretty. Virginia will be happy after it’s victory against Miami and the ingredients will be there to lay an egg against one of the best stories in the ACC.
Jim Grobe is a better coach than Al Groh and he will make the right adjustments to keep the offense moving. Virginia was able to limit Wake Forest to field goals last season to help secure its victory, but I do not think it will be as easy this time around.
Josh Adams and Skinner will put up big numbers en route to challenging Clemson for the Atlantic Title.
SET-UP: Virginia would love nothing more than to spoil the season of the Clemson Tigers. The Cavaliers have not played the prohibitive ACC favorite since a 30-10 victory at home in 2004.
Though that was a wonderful thrashing, Heath Miller is not exactly around anymore and the Tigers have the best offensive player in the conference along with a rushing tandem that may be impossible to stop.
So can Virginia’s own tandem of Simpson and Peerman pull out a shocking upset?
PREDICTION: We all know Clemson has had a penchant to underachieve lately, but this really seems to be their year. Virginia could easily be a trap game because the Cavaliers will be far better than where they are at the start of the season.
They remember the 29-game losing streak that brought shame and they have a very stout defense and an efficient offense.
However, they have a hurting secondary.
Cullen Harper will light up Scott Stadium and make the big plays when he needs to in order to keep drives alive. Harper will make up for a sub-par performance from the rushing game and keep Virginia on its heel.
The Clemson defense will also have a big day putting pressure on Lalich where he will become close friends with the turf. I would love to pick the upset but logically, Clemson has too many weapons.
Game 12: at Virginia Tech: The Rivalry of Insignificance
SET-UP: It has been five long years since Virginia defeated its archrival and the trend does not seem to be improving. The Cavaliers have actually played better on the road than it has at home against the Hokies, but they have still yet to record a victory at Lane Stadium since the 1998 comeback victory.
Virginia Tech will have either Sean Glennon or Tyrod Taylor firmly cemented as their quarterback by this point and its young defense led by Macho Harris will have solidified nicely.
Virginia will be older, but will they be wiser?
PREDICTION: Virginia’s biggest weakness in these rivalry games has been its inability to score. The Hokie defense has physically pounded the Cavaliers and even though Virginia has gotten tougher it has not gotten much faster. Without a vertical passing game, VT has stacked the box and pinned their ears back. Since the Hokies typically don’t miss tackles, Virginia cannot sustain long drives.
Lalich may be accurate, but he has not shown a great deep ball. Therefore, VT will be able to keep everything in front of them and continue a disappointing series for the Cavaliers.
A 5-7 season for the Cavaliers and no bowl game. Certainly not what people were hoping for but, fortunately, that is why they play the games.
I hope the Cavaliers prove me wrong, for there certainly is the potential for an even better season. Some of those losses could easily be turned around but, then again, so could some of the wins. After all, others are predicting a winless ACC season.
Thankfully, we’re about a week away from finding out!
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Saturday, Nov. 5, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take on the No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels. The game, to be played at Kenan Stadium, is slated for a 12:30 p.m. ET start time. Read on for our UNC vs. GT preview.
According to ESPN’s matchup predictor, which is based on its Football Power Index, North Carolina wins the matchup between the two teams 82.5% of the time. The spread has the Tar Heels favored as well.Spread: UNC -11 Game Time: 12:30 p.m. ET UNC vs. Georgia Tech preview:
Georgia Tech has had a streaky season thus far. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with three straight wins over Boston College, Mercer, and Vanderbilt before dropping three straight to Clemson, Miami, and Pitt. Georgia Tech rebounded with back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern and Duke to rest at 5-3 on the season.
North Carolina has its own streaky season going on as well. After opening the season with a loss to then No. 18 Georgia, the Tar Heels reeled off four straight wins before getting crushed by then No. 25 Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels have rebounded nicely since that defeat to the Hokies as UNC has won its last two games against Miami and Virginia.
The Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels have played 50 times in history, with the Yellow Jackets holding a 28-19-3 advantage.UNC vs. Georgia Tech prediction:
The bad news for the Tar Heels? North Carolina’s defense allows over 200 yards rushing per game. The Yellow Jackets have one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
North Carolina 40, Georgia Tech 32
THIS IS A PRETTY NICE MATCH UP ALL AROUND ESPECIALLY DOWN LOW thompson vs gani. favors vs davis. this will be the best front court gt will face this year (not including tournament if they facve kentucky) with nba talent in thompson and lotto talent in davis. zeller wont be playing this game because of injury
Why are people so low on Larry Drew?
probably because hes not doing what they expect a unc starting pg to do. but the thing is hes puttin gup 8pts 6ast and shooting 47percent from 3 and 50 from2. for a soph those are pretty solid/good numbers
Larry Drew is starting to remind me alot of Quentin Thomas =\
Terrible decision makers
hes alot better then him and a 2 to 1 ast to turnover ratio isnt what id call a terrible decision maker. there are alot worst out there
man carolina is looking worst as the season goes along. i really thought they would start to look better
I agree, but I think that A/T is due to the pace UNC is playing at. How many times have you seen Larry Drew pass it too high or too wide to the left/right to someone and it goes out of bounds this season?
He even forces the ball into places he shouldn't sometimes.
im not saying hes a great pg because hes not but hes also not that bad. im not sure what the other unc pg have done in the pass with this same system as a soph but im sure it isnt awhole lot better then he has. and his turnovers have to accoutn for the pace as well if the ast do so that means that would be going down at a different pace as well so it evean so it either way
Iman Shumpert is doing his thing.. favors bad defense got him in foul trouble once again. gani is killing on the boards. no one is really looking great for unc
I feel bad for any team who picks Favors in the top 5.
That being said, the way he's played this year, I think he's coming back for his SOPH year, he's clearly not anywhere near NBA ready.
Man Iman Shumpert can flat out ball dude is an legit prospect he can play both guard positions he is an nba prospect and dude is a first rounder this year if he declare and he pretty athletic
favors will probably still go. that his play usually doesnt stop players from skipping over the lotto. especially one who said he would probably have went straight pro if it wasnt for the rule
Favors would be one of the worst players in the NBA this year, if there was no college rule and he went pro. He's so far away, it's scary.
for people who argued with me about henson starting over will graves by the time conference play started, ya'll have been pretty quiet this year. ive been pretty much right about my predictions with the college players
as you can see hot you cant talk bad about favors with some of thee people around. some think he can do no wrong. hence youre negitive point
favors acc stats
as a wolves fan, i'm glad people love Favors, I hope scouts do too lol.
I'd love for a Turner, or Johnson slip to us, because some team took Favors over them.
This kid is 4-5 years away from doing anything, he is the definition of raw. If Favors fan boys can't see that, they are blind.
"favors bad defense got him in foul trouble once again"
I disagree. Favors got one foul on a bad desicion in the backcourt (effort foul). Another on a block attempt, and the last on a rebound. Did you watch the game?
Favors would be one of the worst players in the NBA this year
How so? Around better NBA talent, I think Favors would be much better. Since he cannot create his own shot, a good point guard would do wonders for his game. His rebounding and defense would make an impact in the NBA.
as you can see hot you cant talk bad about favors with some of thee people around. some think he can do no wrong. hence youre negitive point
This is pretty ignorant. His negative point was the result of a claim that was backed up with no support, intelligence or facts.
favors acc stats
Yes. We know his stats. Because it's all you ever talk about.
Maybe people are defending Favors because he does have talent. Quincy, you are writing him off too early and I think he is going to make you eat your crow.
I am eating my words Quincey about Henson. I don't understand why he isn't dominant. He has all the talent in the world and the physical tools to be a monster. It must just be a confidence thing. That dunk he had was so freaky it looked unnatural. He really just needs to realize how good he can be and come back a better player next year.
Ginyard got lit up by Shumpert. McDonald and Strickland need more minute as they are the only ones on UNC that can create their own shot. Strickland was going to the free throw line a lot and yet only played 10 minutes. He could have scored a lot at the line seeing as UNC got into the one and one early. Drew needs to work on his post entry passes. He is a solid PG when he playes within himself he absoulutely destroyed Kalin Lucas earlier this year but lately has been trying to do too much when he is in.
Remember when I said Dexter Strickland was a better scorer than Drew and I got ate for it? Gatorhels and Quincey. Ha. I didn't even think that was an argument either. Like I said, he'd be getting as much PT as Drew come conference play, even though he didn't this game.
Larry Drew is NOT a starter. I also said that. At least not on this team. He's a change of pace player, he's shifty and a decent spot up shooter, but he's an erratic half-court set player when it comes to passing and he's a poor finisher at the rim.
I also said Georgia Tech is a better team with Shumpert in the lineup. He's their only perimeter player who can really put pressure on the D creating for himself. He looked great slashing to the rim yesterday, and showed a good looking shot as well. I like him in 2011 as a lotto pick.
Favors was kinda ineffective and he's playing timid right now. He's got to get more polish. Lawal was very good, rebounded well, blocked and altered shots, and he's a great finisher at the rim. I think he can be a Brandon Bass type of player.
Will Graves wasn't the weak link in the lineup as Quincey said earlier, at least not this game. He was, in fact the "strong" link. He was in the one shooting the ball, and he's a good on ball defender.
John Henson also needs polish, and of course strength.
JNixon-Iggy9. don't call me out without being able to back up your statements. Larry Drew has one bad shooting game & all of a sudden you think that he can't score. Cmon man. look at the "whole season". It speaks for itself:
As you can see Larry Drew not only plays more minutes, he scores more, rebounds more, way more assists, better assist/turnover ratio, more steals, better FG%, better free-throw %, way better 3 pt. %. So why exactly should Strickland be starting at PG & playing more minutes than Drew?? I like Strickland but I don't think he is ready to lead a team.
That one game doesn't make me think he isn't a good scorer. Watching him play games make me say that. He averages 10 more minutes a game, so naturally he's going to score more. I already knew hje had better stats because he plays more minutes and is more of a true PG than Strickland. But when Strickland played nearly or the same amount of minutes as Drew, he produces more points than Drew does. He may not be the passer Drew is, but he is the better scorer. And he's proven that time and time again as he's gotten more minutes. I don't think anyone at UNC would argue with that either.
Here are some examples:
Strickland: 18 pts in 18 minutes vs. Rutgers:
Drew: 10 pts in 28 minutes vs. Rutgers
Strickland: 17 pts. in 20 minutes vs. Clemson
Drew: 9 pts in 31 minutes vs. Clemson
Strickland: 9 pts in 18 minutes vs. NC Central
Drew: 5 pts. in 20 minutes vs. NC Central
Strickland: 12 pts in 18 minutes vs. Texas
Drew: 4 pts. in 27 minutes vs. Texas
If you give Strickland at least 18 minutes of action (which he's gotten in only 7 games), he got 8 or more points in 6.
Larry Drew has played 20 minutes in all 18 of UNC's games, and has only gotten more than 8 pts in 8.
It's pretty much a fact that Strickland can score better, but he doesn't get the minutes to prove it due to the fact that he isn't the passer Drew is.
"It's pretty much a fact that Stickland can score better" How so?
Once again you want to look at a couple of games instead of the "whole season".
The fact is he doesn't score more than Larry Drew.
Larry Drew has scored double figures 7 times. Strickland only 3.
Plus there is a reason Larry Drew gets more playing time than Strickland.
"Like I said he'd be getting as much PT as Drew come conference play."
I don't think that is going to happen.
Stricland has played a total of 51 minutes in 3 ACC games so far.
Drew has played 89 minutes in 3 ACC games so far.
Give Larry Drew some respect Iggy haha. Seriously though, if Strickland ends up scoring (averaging) more points than Larry Drew at the end of the season then I will definitely admit I was wrong.
butidonthavemoney liek so many other people you only see what you wanna see. how am i wrting him off by saying he is raw and he should stay and he would be alot better next year?. just because im not saying hes the next this or that im writing him off? also dont be hypocrite. if you gonna get upset about em talking down on him then get upsert about peopel who constantly talk good about a player. because liek i told the other guy its the same thing. dont just get upset because you dont agree about something. i give praise where its due and i never hear you say a word about that but when i dont give praise where it isnt due then all of a sudden thats a problem. liek i said befor ei call it liek i see it. if someone is dominating i will say so. if they arent i well say so as well, not like some peopel who are just biased and will one talk about how good a player is playing. the reason i mention favors is because soooooooooooooooooooooo many peopel during the summer talked about how dominate he will be this year and how hes gonna be like micheal beasley and all this other stuff and i was constantly saying its not gonna be like hs and dont just look at his stats at the mcdonalds game and you have to look at a players skill set. seems that now that hes not doing what they thought, those people are no upset instead of accepting reality
JNixon-Iggy9- doesnt strickland have to score more for you to even have a arguement that hes a better scorer? no different then saying a guy off the bench is a better rebound but averages less rebounds. at this point if he was a better anything he would be talking drews minutes especially since some people claim drew is so bad. what does that make the player who cant take his spot. food for thought
That's not necessarily true. I think that Strickland could put up more points than Drew could in the same amount of minutes. The reason he doesn't is because Drew is the better passer and Coach Williams would much rather have a true PG run his offense than a scorer and combo guard like Strickland. Strickland would be labeled a scorer, while Drew would be labeled the better PG/passer in my eyes..It's pretty much going to be Drew who leads those 2 in scoring as long as he plays the amount of minutes he does relative to Strickland..I still think he's the better scorer. Similar to how I think JR Smith is a better scorer than Chris Paul despite Paul averaging more points and playing more minutes, or how last season John Salmons scored more than Derrick Rose despite Rose being the better natural scorer in my eyes. For whatever the factors may be, a player can score more than another player but not be the better natural "scorer" than that player. But watch, Strickland will emerge and show why he was recruited to play for UNC. He's a scoring guard. Drew is the better passer and playmaker, but I still maintain that Strickland is the better natural scorer despite what the stats currently say.
"butidonthavemoney liek so many other people you only see what you wanna see."'
Name one instance where I was ignorant of Derrick Favors struggles. Please highlight for me where I only "saw what I wanted to see", by all means.
"how am i wrting him off by saying he is raw and he should stay and he would be alot better next year?"
You didn't say that, did you?
"also dont be hypocrite. if you gonna get upset about em talking down on him then get upsert about peopel who constantly talk good about a player."
That is not what the word "hypocrite" means. In response, I guess I am just more positive-minded. Besides off the top of my head I don't see anybody talking about any player as much as you do about Derrick Favors.
"dont just get upset because you dont agree about something."
When did I get upset?
Now I'll break this down into two parts:
1. Don't immediately judge me for defending Derrick Favors. I have every right to that as you do to constantly bash him. You assume that I'm ignorant and a hypocrite. To turn it around, I think YOU are only seeing what you want to see, in me being some megalo Derrick Favors fanboy who can't read a stat sheet.
2. I guess the rest of your post AFTER you talked about me, made some sense. I used to get mad when everybody made excuses for Anthony Randolph (I couldn't care less anymore). Anyway I'm tired of discussing this. You won't get any beef from me on the subject anymore.
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