Virginia Cavaliers 2021 College Football Preview
Created August 4, 2021
Record – 5-5
ATS – 7-3
The Cavaliers got off to a tough start losing four of their first five games. Then. The MAGIC happened. They SHOCKED the WORLD with a win over the potent Tar Heels (W 44-41) and won every game the rest of the way until the season finale loss to the hated Hokies (L 33-15). All things considered, 5-5 wasn’t a disaster. On to 2021.
Virginia Cavaliers 2021 Outlook
The offense was decent LY, particularly when QB Brennan Armstrong was healthy (18-11 TD to INT, #1 rusher, 552, 5 TD). Armstrong returns this year but it’s unclear what kind of depth they have behind him should he go down. The overall talent level at RB is a bit suspect. Wayne Taulapapa doesn’t have the LOOK, and it’ll likely be a committee approach at RB. #1 WR Billy Kemp is back and he booked 67 (!) receptions LY, but note that he’s averaged WELL under 10 YPC in his career. ALL-MEGALOCKS team member WR Lavel Davis (20-515, 25.8, 5 TD LY) is out until at least November so that’s not great. They also lost TE Tony Poljan who’s now in the NFL (Ravens). Getting a TE replacement from Oklahoma St was yuuuuge (Jelani Woods). The OL is experienced and has good size and recall that they allowed just 20 sacks LY (#2 ACC sacks allowed per game).
The defense slid for the 2nd consecutive season LY and they allowed 443 YPG (#10 ACC) whilst having problems defending the pass (#109 FBS pass efficiency D, 63%, 9.4/attempt). They were pretty solid vs the run (#37 FBS, 139 YPG) and booked 32 sacks (#4 ACC sacks/per game). #1 tackler Nick Jackson is back at LB but there are pair of yuuuge losses at the position given the departure of Zane Zandier and Charles Snowden who combined for 8.5 sacks in 2020. We expect the Cavs to be stingier on the back end as there is talent back there and they suffered a serious bout of injury bug a season ago. Don’t sleep on FS Joey Blount who had a big 2019 campaign (#2 tackler, 3.5 sacks, 3 INT) and he’s healthy and ready to go. NT Jahmeer Carter is a useful big body up front but hopefully they can find a pass rusher or two at DE.
RUH ROH. It’s RELOAD CITY as they need to find replacements at P, PK, and KR.
Overall – The non-conference slate is a mixed bag. Two tough ones (at BYU, Irish) and two FREE SQUARES. They get an excellent draw out of the Atlantic (Wake, LUA-VUH). The last four games are pretty nasty.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at BYU (October 30th)
This tough road trip follows six ACC games and precedes a home game with Notre Dame. Not an ideal spot.
Season Win Total
Per 5Dimes August 4
Over 6 -130
Under 6 +110
This team looks like the POSTER CHILD of 6-6.
The Cavaliers have lost 16 of the last 17 games vs Virginia Tech.
On paper, this appears to be an average team on both sides of the ball. We really like QB Armstrong but he’s a tough dood that doesn’t mind contact. Considering the back-up situation that’s not ideal, yo. The defense looks above average but needs to reload from a pass rush perspective. Who knows about the special teams? We’ll call for a 6-6 season and a minor bowl bid.
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