Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.
Who has edge between Hokies, Cavaliers?
First of all, it’ll be great to see the rivalry renewed between Virginia Tech and Virginia on Saturday in Charlottesville.
The teams didn’t play last year following the tragic shooting on Virginia’s campus, so seeing the rivalry renewed could play a small part in the continual healing process.
When the game does kick off, there will be plenty at stake.
For Virginia Tech, it is trying to gain bowl-eligibility in what will be its second attempt at doing so. The Hokies couldn’t get it done at home against N.C. State over the weekend in a 35-28 loss.
On the other side, Virginia wants to continue to show its turned a corner after playing solid football following an 0-5 start. The Cavaliers have beaten North Carolina and Duke and lost in overtime at Miami (Florida).
While the Cavaliers won’t get to a bowl game, finishing this season so strong would be a great springboard into 2024.
It would also help reverse recent dominance in the rivalry from Virginia Tech. The Hokies have beaten the Cavaliers 17 out of the last 18 meetings.
James Madison falls short in memorable atmosphere
Despite losing its first game of the year in overtime on Saturday to Appalachian State, it was a dream night for the upstart James Madison program.
ESPN’s “College GameDay” was on hand broadcasting its show on the campus, and the national exposure and attention couldn’t have been any better for the Dukes.
It also lessened the sting out of seeing a petition for bowl eligibility get denied a second time last week by the NCAA.
Teams making the transition from FBS to FCS aren’t able to play in the postseason for two years, but James Madison was hoping to get that window reduced to one year.
It didn’t happen, but getting all the national exposure on “College GameDay” should be a big boon for the program in the long term.
Liberty keeps hopes for New Year’s Six bowl game alive
The Liberty Flames keep rolling along, improving to 11-0 on the season with a 49-25 at home over Massachusetts.
The Flames finish the regular season on Saturday with a game at UTEP before meeting New Mexico State in the Conference USA championship game.
Win those two games, and the Flames could very much be in the hunt for an appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Other dominoes would have to fall with other bigger programs losing, but no doubt, the Flames are in the mix.