Sunday, December 4, 2011

that's a Peach, hon

In what I'd call the surprise of the bowl season, UVA is not going to the Music City Bowl.  Nor is UVA going to Charlotte.  Nor even the Sun Bowl in El Paso.  Get ready for prime time in Atlanta - Virginia will match up against former uni-pants sister team Auburn, one year removed from a national title game appearance.

I'll get straight to brass tacks: this is the best thing that has happened to UVA football since I don't know when.  New Year's Eve.  Prime time.  Auburn.  The Peach Bowl.  UVA has a great history playing in this game.  This was the first bowl Virginia ever played in.  It's the site of perhaps our biggest bowl win ever.  If you bought my theory that UVA needed at least a 6-6 season so that they could go to a bowl and keep the recruiting momentum going, then you have to figure this is a recruiting bonanza.  Especially if we win.

If you're looking for someone to thank for this, look at two teams: Clemson, and our old amigos, Southern Miss.  Clemson winning yesterday kept Virginia Tech out of the Orange Bowl.  There's no chance a four-loss Clemson team would've been selected for the BCS, so UVA wouldn't have been as likely to jump this high in the pecking order.  (We might still have - but the chances would be much less.)  But even more so, thank our old thorn Austin Davis and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.  If they don't upset Houston, Houston gets an autobid, ends up in the Sugar Bowl, and there's no room for VT there.  And just like that, VT would've been in Atlanta.

Atlanta is an SEC hotbed - it's something of a mixing bowl of SEC teams, really.  You got UGA, USCe, Alabama, Auburn, UF, UT....all heavily represented.  So it's a road game.  Virginia also has a following in Atlanta, but we'll be outnumbered, all by people who'll likely be dismissing their opponent as a weakling from a basketball conference.  The mighty Ess-Eee-Cee shall prevail.

Fortunately, Auburn is a beatable opponent.  Not a cupcake by any stretch, but still a tiny shadow of last year's version.  They have good wins (South Carolina) and really bad ones (Utah State.)  A cursory glance at the statistics reveals a solid running game and a midseason quarterback switch that appeared to be reasonably effective.  (Sound familiar?)  Later on this month, I'll get into the Auburn nitty-gritty to get you up to speed.

Here's one bit to get you started; you may know already that Auburn owes its very colors to the University of Virginia, and in return, it's likely we owe some of the knowledge to the history of those orange and blue colors to Auburn research.

I would bet that some crazy behind-the-scenes horse-trading has been going on since yesterday afternoon.  However it happened, it's nice that maybe, just maybe, a little luck finally shines down on the Hoos.  Instead of playing below slot with other teams leapfrogging us, a la 2002, we get the tables turned and get to play above slot.  Actually, scratch that - this is our slot.  If you tiebreak things out so as to rank the ACC from top to bottom, we're #3, edging Wake Forest.  It's just that we've been so long used to dropping down a notch or two in favor of the marquee teams with supposedly better traveling parties.  Not this year.  Now it's time to take advantage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What d'you think, the Wolverines are gonna crush the hokies?