We’re starting a series this week taking a look at some of the ACC’s most meaningful rivalries, and predicting whether or not the most recent trends are going to change in 2014. We’ll look at the Commonwealth Cup, the Georgia-Georgia Tech series, and, of course, Clemson-South Carolina, to name a few. Can the underdogs finally reverse the roles this fall and snap their losing streaks?
Today, we pose that question to Virginia …
The series: Virginia Tech leads 53-37-5
Last meeting: Nov. 30, 2013: Virginia Tech 16, Virginia 6
The streak: The Hokies have won 10 in a row against Virginia and have beaten the Cavaliers 14 times in the past 15 games. Virginia has not beaten the Hokies since Matt Schaub was quarterback and led the Cavaliers to a 35-21 victory in 2003.
The skinny: Both of these teams have something to prove this fall, starting with their quarterbacks. At Virginia, David Watford is an experienced candidate to start, while Mark Leal takes over for Logan Thomas in Blacksburg this spring. The questions go well beyond the unheralded quarterbacks, though, for both programs. Virginia is coming off a 2-10 season and has won just six games in the past two years. Virginia Tech is also trying to improve upon back-to-back mediocre seasons by the Hokies’ standards, and the future is uncertain for both head coaches, Mike London and Frank Beamer.
Virginia has holes to fill on the offensive line, especially following the departure of Morgan Moses, and the Cavaliers are waiting for running back Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell to show his track speed against the Hokies. Virginia Tech has several big names to replace in the front seven, where it will lose James Gayle, J.R. Collins and Jack Tyler. While there has been no confidence lost in defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s ability to reload, the offense remains a concern heading into the second season under coordinator Scot Loeffer.
The prediction: The Commonweath Cup stays in Blacksburg. Sorry, Hoos, but this streak isn’t going to end in Lane Stadium on Nov. 28. This game will continue to mean more to in-state bragging rights and recruiting than it will the Coastal Division standings.