2011 schedule analysis: Virginia


Nonconference opponents and 2010 records:

William & Mary (8-4)

At Indiana (5-7)

Southern Miss (8-5)

Idaho (6-7)

Cross-divisional schedule:

NC State

At Maryland

At Florida State

Gut-check game: Oct. 15 versus Georgia Tech. It's a home Coastal Division game, and should be a winnable one. If the Cavaliers are going to make it to the postseason, this is the kind of opportunity they can't let pass. Virginia will have had the bye week to prepare for the spread option offense and should have some confidence after back-to-back nonconference wins. Should ...

Trap game: Southern Miss. Quarterback Austin Davis returns from last season's bowl-bound team, along with receiver Kelvin Bolden. Running back Kendrick Hardy rushed for 903 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman last season. The Golden Eagles have 15 starters returning.

Snoozer: Virginia doesn't have that luxury. Not in the second season under coach Mike London, who is still trying to build something in Charlottesville. Until the program returns to the postseason, the Hoos can't afford to sleepwalk through any part of the schedule.

Good luck with that: Ending the regular season with back-to-back games against defending division champs Florida State and Virginia Tech. Virginia has to travel to Tallahassee on Nov. 19 before returning home to face their rivals.

Upset watch: William & Mary. It’s happened before in Charlottesville, and nothing is a given with this program until it’s on more proven ground. Home openers haven’t been to kind to the Cavs.

Analysis: With 10 starters returning on defense, expectations should be higher in Year 2 under London, but cross-divisional games against three of the top programs in the Atlantic Division won't make bowl eligibility easy. A four- or five-win season seems the most realistic, but Virginia could surprise some people if it goes 3-1 against nonconference opponents, redeems itself against Duke, and beats mid-level teams like Georgia Tech and Maryland.