The Virginia Cavaliers could be among the most improved teams from last season given what we have seen from this program under Bronco Mendenhall. Up until 2020, Virginia has seen an improvement record-wise in all four years in this position.
Virginia finished 5-5 last season, but it would be a surprise to see the Cavaliers held out of a bowl game this year. Mendenhall is among the most underrated coaches in college football, and fans should be excited for what he has done and can do for the program.
The Cavaliers went a hot streak to end last season, winning four of their last five games, and it will be interesting to see how that big finish will translate heading into 2021.
2020 Season Review
- 5-5, 4-5 ACC (9th)
- Lost four of first five games, won four of last five, lost every road game on the schedule
2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 32
ESPN Returning Production: 66% overall (77th): 72% offense (63rd), 61% defense (95th)
Returning Talent Index: Negative, 11th in ACC
Returning starters: 8/11 offense, 6/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools
Quarterback: Brennan Armstrong (Junior)
Virginia will roll with Brennan Armstrong as the No. 1 quarterback for the second consecutive season. He struggled to not turn the ball over in 2020, especially early on in the season. Armstrong threw two interceptions in each of his first three games before settling down into the position. He has an experienced offensive line in front of him, and pass catchers will need to step up. A huge part of his game is running the ball, and he led Virginia in rushing with 552 yards on the ground last season.
Offense (non-QB): WR Billy Kemp (Senior)
Virginia suffered a hit to their passing game this spring when receiver Lavel Davis Jr. tore his ACL. He played a key role early in his college career in 2020, but Billy Kemp will likely have more coverage going his way. He caught 67 passes for 644 yards and a touchdown last season. He certainly developed a connection with Armstrong, and that should continue to grow.
Defense: LB Nick Jackson (Junior)
Virginia has one of the best linebackers in the conference with Nick Jackson, and he will be a key part of a defense that needs to be much better than it was last season. The Cavaliers allowed 6.3 yards per play in 2020, which ranked No. 105 in the country. The defensive side of the ball could be the X factor this season in determining whether this is a fringe bowl team or a division title contender.
Team Stats Projections
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
To win national title: +25000
To win ACC: +3300
Win total: 6 (Over -134, Under +106)
2020 Against The Spread: 7-3-0
2020 Point Total: Over 7-3-0
2021 Virginia Schedule
2021 Virginia Football Schedule
|Saturday, Sep. 4||William & Mary||7:30 pm/ESPN3||N/A|
|Saturday, Sep. 11||Illinois||11:00 am/ESPN||UVA -11|
|Saturday, Sep. 18||at North Carolina||7:30 pm/ACCN||N/A|
|Friday, Sep. 24||Wake Forest||7:00 pm/ESPN2||N/A|
|Thursday, Sep. 30||at Miami||7:30 pm/ESPN||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 9||at Louisville||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 16||Duke||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 23||Georgia Tech||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Oct. 30||at BYU||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 6||Open||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 13||Notre Dame||TBA||UVA +6|
|Saturday, Nov. 20||at Pitt||TBA||N/A|
|Saturday, Nov. 27||Virginia Tech||TBA||N/A|