MONDAY HUDDLE: Can Virginia compete with Clemson?

Cavaliers happy to have chance after winning ACC Coastal for first time

(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Here are three takeaways from this weekend’s football scene around the state.

Cavaliers playing with house money

Virginia fans rightfully stormed the field on Friday, collectively getting out 16 years worth of frustration after the Cavaliers snapped a 15-game losing streak to Virginia Tech with a 39-30 victory in Charlottesville.

It was Virginia’s first win over Virginia Tech since 2003 and gave the Cavaliers the ACC Coastal title and a trip to the ACC Championship game in Charlotte for the first time in program history.

But making history in a good way can still sometimes come with a price, and that might be the case for Virginia with what’s next.

The Cavaliers will now prepare for defending national champion Clemson in the title game, which on the surface doesn’t seem like much of a reward for winning the Coastal division.

Clemson has averaged more than 50 points a game since a 21-20 win at North Carolina in September, which can’t be comforting to a Virginia defense that hasn’t given up fewer than 27 points in the last five games to teams weaker than Clemson.

But the good news is that the Cavaliers can play loose and see what happens.

It’s already been a successful season beating Virginia Tech and getting to Charlotte, so anything from here is a bonus.

Was Virginia Tech’s season a success?

On one hand, if you would have told many Virginia Tech fans that the Hokies would finish the season with eight wins following an embarrassing 45-10 home loss to Duke on Sept. 27, they would have danced for joy.

The Hokies did respond after that loss, winning six of seven games before the loss at Virginia.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to call it a successful season for the Hokies when they lose to their rival and fail to advance to the conference championship game.

It’s definitely a gray area that will be open to debate for Virginia Tech fans all season.

What happens in the upcoming bowl game will also go a long way in defining the tenor of 2019 for the Hokies.

Liberty becomes bowl-eligible

There will be a third in-state team beside Virginia and Virginia Tech that will be playing in a bowl game after Liberty became bowl-eligible with a 49-28 win over New Mexico State on Saturday.

It is the first time in program history Liberty (7-5) will play in a bowl game.

The exact bowl Liberty will be playing in will be announced on Sunday.

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