It’s that time of the year. You know, it’s the holiday season, and it’s also time for the Battle of the Commonwealth Cup, as the Virginia Cavaliers host the Virginia Tech Hokies in Charlottesville.
This year’s game has a different feel as Virginia heads into the game as the favorite, while the Hokies limp to the finish line under interim coach J.C. Price. All of the confidence resides with the Hoos and quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who would be the ACC player of the year if not for Kenny Pickett. And, I am not sure Pickett deserves the award over Armstrong.
Anyhow, this is the last game before a new era of Virginia Tech football begins. The previous era under Justin Fuente saw the Hokies lose their 15-game winning streak over Virginia, the bowl streak, etc. Ok, enough about that, but the Hokies will have a new coach soon, and that new coach will understand how important beating Virginia is each and every year.
So, who wins this year?
I believe the Hokies are going to come out fired up. They understand the importance of this game for a multitude of reasons. The seniors want to end their careers on a positive note. Do you think Tre Turner wants to leave Blacksburg with a loss to Virginia as his final game? For the seniors and the younger players, they want to start a new bowl streak. Players love Price, and they would love nothing more than to win one for the popular former Hokie defensive tackle.
It will be easier said than done.
Virginia’s offense is high octane. Armstrong is the ideal dual-threat quarterback who can burn you in a number of ways. He’s put up video game numbers this season. Tyler Van Dyke hurt the Hokies from the pocket last week, where Armstrong can create issues in the pocket and outside of the pocket.
The key for Virginia Tech’s offense is to run the football at will. Use quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and/or Connor Blumrick, in addition to running backs Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear. Virginia has a terrible defense. Make the Cavaliers stop the run. I don’t believe they can. But is that enough for the Hokies to win the game?
I am afraid not. I’m taking UVa in a close one on Saturday, with Armstrong being the difference.
Virginia 35, Virginia Tech 27
With Brennan Armstrong under center, I fear that there is no amount of grit or heart that can carry the Hokies past the Cavaliers. VT’s secondary has been the weakest unit of the defense all season. They allowed Syracuse to have their best passing performance of the year and that’s an offense that hasn’t passed for more than 66-yards in the last three games. Kenny Pickett was hindered more by the weather than anything VT’s secondary did and last week Tyler Van Dyke exposed VT on national television. Statistically, the Cavalier defense is significantly deficient to the Hokies, but I do not think the VT offense can take advantage of that deficiency enough to keep up with what Armstrong is going to bring to the field. Certainly, there are rivalry game implications that may show, but I think UVA recognizes a fantastic opportunity to dominate a rival who has spent a decade and a half consistently beating them. I love you Hokies, but the Hoos take this one and I think they do it big.
Nothing like UVA on the calendar to bring on #hateweek. Assuming Brennan Armstrong plays, it’s hard to see the Hokies pulling this one out. The Hokies offense is going to need an infusion of something that they do not seem to have available. This looks like an easy win for the home team.
UVA 38 - VT 17
I hope I’m wrong.