The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Virginia Cavaliers.
No. 69: Virginia Cavaliers
Spring Practice Starts: March 27
Spring Game: April 28
Virginia Cavaliers Spring Status
It all might have ended with a crashing thud – nothing like the NCAA Tournament, though – but for long-suffering Virginia fans, just going to a bowl and showing a spark of life is a nice change of pace.
But still, losing the last four games, six of the last seven, and failing to show up – more like getting back on the bus after the opening kickoff – in the embarrassing 49-7 Military Bowl loss to Navy wasn’t great.
This year’s team loses a whole slew of key parts on both sides of the ball, starting with all-timers Micah Kiser at linebacker, DE Andrew Brown, and Quin Blanding at safety.
Seven starters are gone from the offense, but three are back on the O line. Replacing QB Kurt Benkert is the big key, and finding more reliable receiving targets is a must.
The defensive side isn’t in too bad a shape with seven starters back, but Kiser and Blanding are massive holes to fill.
Virginia Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. The hope and prayer is that Arizona State/JUCO transfer Bryce Perkins is good enough to step in and take over the starting job right away. He’s more of the mobile type of quarterback that Bronco Mendenhall prefers, but Lindell Stone might just be a better passer, and newbie Brennan Armstrong could be happy medium.
Virginia Biggest Issue
The running game needs to start working. It starts with having a more mobile quarterback than Kurt Benkert, but the running backs have to do their part, too. Almost all of the key parts are back, but they have to be far better after averaging just three yards per carry. The Cavaliers finished with just 1,216 yards and ten scores.
Virginia Biggest Positive
Veteran tacklers. Losing Kiser and Blanding hurts – they were more than just the top two tacklers – but the rest of the D is loaded with experience. After the top guys, the next seven top tacklers are back. In all, 14 of the top 17 return to a D that finished 40th in the country.
Really, Why Are The Virginia Cavaliers Ranked Here?
Virginia should be good enough to be back in the bowl mix and come up with a winning season, but it’ll be tough to get through an improved ACC. Bronco Mendenhall has improved the talent and the expectations, but the Cavs will have to battle to finish out of the ACC basement.