AT WAKE FOREST
Virginia +4 over Wake Forest - Virginia is a
perfect example of why season to date stats can be meaningless and
why you need to break seasons down into segments. The Cavs without a
doubt looked like one of the worst teams in college football to
start the year. Give them a pass for getting hammed by USC in the
opener, but following a win over Richmond, they then went on to get
hammered by Uconn and Duke. Naturally any season to date stats
reflect that horrendous start, but if you throw out that horrible
start and concentrate on the last 5 games Virginia has played, you
see a very different team. They now resemble last years bunch, which
went 9-4 and played more 1 and 2 point games than any other team in
the country, sporting a stingy defense that kept teams out of the
For example, if you take Virginia's season to date
points for and against you see a team getting outscored 17-22 on the
year. We love to use yards per point numbers as well to illustrate
how hard a team has to work to score 1 point. The lower the number
on offense the better. The Higher the number on defense, the better.
Virginia's year to date ypp numbers are 18 on offense and 15 on
defense. As we pointed out in a write up last week, when the offense
number is higher than the defense number, that's a bad thing. The 18
on offense means Virginia has had to travel 18 yards to score one
point. To compare, a team like Florida scores 1 point every 10
When we toss out those early season fiascos and
focus just on the last 5 games, we see a Virginia Team that is
outscoring it's opponents 24-14. They have an offensive ypp number
of 15 and a defensive ypp number of 22. Spectacular on the defensive
side of the ball. They have accomplished this against good ACC
teams. They beat Maryland 31-0. They beat non ACC East Carolina.
They beat North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and lost by a TD in overtime
to Miami. These are all teams that will contend for the ACC title
and Virginia beat them all but Miami.
WHO HAS THE BEST BONUSES?
Wake Forest would seem to be tailor made for
Virginia. At the very least this one has all the makings of a last
second field goal game which could go either way. It's definitely a
game Virginia can win. Wake Forest was averaging 10 points per game
over their 5 games previous to last weeks 33 against Duke and in
that time they hadn't scored more than 17 in that stretch. Don't
look at the Duke game and think Wake Forest rediscovered it's
offense. Duke has given up 24 or more points in 5 of their 8 games
Now Wake Forest must contend with a defense that has
held teams to 0, 20, 13, 17 and 24 points their last 5 times out and
the last one was really a 17 if you don't count overtime. For a team
not putting it in the end zone against good defenses, covering a 4
point spot would seem to be a tall order for Wake Forest this week.
With all that's on the line this week in the ACC you'd expect a
tough, close game here.
The last 4 times these two played the games were
decided by 4 points or less. Last year was the first time they had
played since 2003 and Virginia came away with a 1 point home win.
Interestingly enough Virginia is 12-1 straight up against Wake
Wake Forest still holding on to one trait that has
made them tough the last few years and that's the ability to create
turnovers. They are the #4 team in the Nation in that category. They
don't beat themselves and in a game likely to be decided by a
mistake, the lean would go to Wake Forest, but Virginia has done a
decent job in that category over the last 5 games, staying on the
plus side of the margin, just not as good as Wake who has only
turned the ball over twice in the last 4 games. (Virginia turned it
over 5 times their last 2 games).
But it's the Virginia season that looks to hold more
promise. One win away from being Bowl eligible after that terrible
start would be quite a story, and getting there is no guarantee with
Clemson and Virginia Tech on deck. Wake Forest seems to have lost
some of that magic we've been accustomed to seeing over the last few
We're counting on this one coming down to the wire,
in which case, the +4 looms large. 3*
Virginia +4 over Wake Forest.
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