The cupboard isn’t completely bare for Virginia’s first-year head coach Tony Elliott.
The former Clemson offensive coordinator, who was hired by UVA after then-head coach Bronco Mendenhall abruptly resigned at the end of the 2021 regular season, inherits a 6-6 team that has a lot of upside, especially at quarterback and receiver.
With the right adjustments and combination on the offensive line and throughout the defense, Virginia could be a tough team to beat in 2022. And it should improve on its six-win season from a year ago.
That’s why UVA’s win total is set at seven this season, according to DraftKings. The Cavaliers’ odds to win more than seven games: +100, while the under is set at -120.
The ACC media predicted Virginia to finish sixth in the league and fourth in the Coastal Division, putting the Cavaliers right in the middle of the pack and pretty much on their win-total expectancy. Four of their last five regular-season games are at home, including three in a row against top ACC Coastal Division teams. Winning late will be the key for the Cavs.
FrontPageBets takes a deeper look at UVA’s regular-season schedule with predictions and some important games that will determine if they can get past seven victories.
Brennan Armstrong leads UVA from under center. Last year as a junior, the left-handed quarterback set program single-season records for passing yards (4,449), total offense (4,700 yards), touchdown passes (31) and completions (326). He is also third in school history for total offense (7,720 yards) and career touchdown passes (51).
Virginia’s trio of returning wide receivers could be the best in the conference, if not the country. Dontayvion Wicks was fourth in the ACC last season in receiving yards with 1,203 on 57 catches. His 21.1 yards-per-catch average was best in the conference and fifth in all of FBS.
Keytaon Thompson was seventh in the ACC in yards receiving (973), but was fourth in catches (77); while Billy Kemp IV had 75 catches (5th in the ACC) and 742 receiving yards (11th) to go along with six touchdown catches.
However, the Cavaliers do have some holes to fill on the offensive line. Keeping Armstrong healthy is paramount for UVA, as is developing a running attack.
Defensively, UVA returns five starters from a group that struggled with consistency last season.
Key games to determining O/U 7 wins: Syracuse, Virginia Tech
At Syracuse, Sept. 23
Of all the “winnable” games for Virginia this year, on the road at Syracuse could be the toughest. The Orange struggled last year throwing the ball. Running back Sean Tucker was the bright spot in another season where Syracuse missed a bowl and finished 5-7.
For Dino Babers to keep his job in his seventh season, the Orange need to win some games, especially at home. Virginia’s hopes at seven wins and another bowl game could get off to a great start with a win in the Carrier Dome, which follows winnable home games against Richmond and Old Dominion to start the season for the Cavs.
At Virginia Tech, Nov. 26
Coming off a gauntlet to end the regular season that has UVA playing Coastal foes Miami, North Carolina and defending ACC champion Pitt in a three-week stretch, the Cavaliers will have somewhat of a break against Coastal Carolina on Nov. 19.
All that is before heading to Blacksburg to face rival Virginia Tech on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The Hokies are also in a rebuilding phase with first-year head coach Brent Pry, who came from Penn State after serving as defensive coordinator. Tech will break in a new quarterback and try to find some answers after a 6-7 season last year that ended with a 54-10 loss to Maryland in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Virginia has only beaten VT once in the last 18 seasons. Winning this game would mean more to the program than just getting to seven victories.
Conference realignment, NIL and scheduling format among storylines to watch during 2022 Big Ten Media Days
USC and UCLA join the mix
College Football Players Association
Name, image and likeness — again
Schedule format changes
One year of NIL: How much have athletes made?
NCAA Athlete Compensation
ATHLETES MAKE HOW MUCH?
MEN'S VS. WOMEN'S
WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOUR DOUGH?
WHAT THE SCHOOLS HAVE DIVULGED
Interactive: NIL a lucrative deal for some college sports athletes
Mike Szvetitz is the General Manager and Content Director for FrontPageBets.com. Szvetitz is a 22-year veteran reporter and editor, including serving 17 years as a sports editor in Florida, Alabama and Virginia, covering everything from preps to pros. His "View From The Lazy Boy" column won multiple state and national awards. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.
Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) set program single-season records for passing yards (4,449), total offense (4,700 yards), touchdown passes (31) and completions (326) last year as a junior.