Week 1 is in the books with a win in Pittsburgh, and it's time to take a quick look back at the takeaways from the game and reevaluate the coming week and remaining road ahead:
Quick Hit Thoughts from the Game
I got to attend this one in person. Mrs. StLouHoo is a Pitt alum and we always like getting to the Pitt-UVA football and hoops games when we can. Last time I attended the series at Heinz in 2013, the Hoos got shut out of the endzone. Glad to see the script flipped.
This was a road conference win against the defending Coastal champs. It wasn't always pretty, but first games of the season rarely are. Pitt had won 4 straight in this series, and UVA snapped that in hostile territory.
As it's the first game, hard to draw major conclusions as the staff may have been experimenting with some stuff, trying different guys out, different plays. Expect to see the experimentation continue against W&M.
O-Line had a rough first half but improved as the game went on. I wonder about 2J's musical chairs with the lineup in the days prior to the game, where Saturday saw guys line up at very different positions than they'd practiced much of the summer and even showed up on the pre-published depth chart.
With that said, given how the O-Line improved over the course of the game as adjustments were made and guys settled down (and Pitt has a very respectable defense), I came out optimistic that with this week's tune up, they'll be ready for FSU on the 14th.
I like our RBs, and we need to feed Wayne and PK more at the expense of Perkins' designed runs or run options. Bryce is best when breaking contain or when his draws are unexpected... At times Saturday they were too predictable, easily sniffed out. RBs are capable of handling the load instead.
Really loved the lack of many big mistakes, which I worried could be a negative X-factor. No turnovers, minimal penalities, no major special teams miscues. To play so clean on the road in game 1 was impressive.
Anae and Perkins have some work to do in putting together sustainable drives. All three touchdowns came on short fields. Never put together a real 80 yard march. Some of that was pass route timing that hopefully will iron out with reps.
Hate seeing Mack go down. Won't need him this week, so hope the staff rests him, and we've got good depth at MLB/BLB with ZZ, Snyder, Harrison, and Jackson. Hopefully unit is back at full strength soon, but concussions are no joke so hope they're conservative with his return.
Pitt is maybe the 5th best team on our schedule, with ND and Miami a tier above, and VT, FSU on par, maybe UNC. Coastal still looks like a realistic goal, but we'll face better offenses than Kenny "meh" Pickett behind four new O-linemen.
We played very clean. They did not. Better teams will not make the blunders, dropped passes, blown blitz pickups, that Pitt will. Expecting our team will rise to future challenges.
Two-score ACC road win (even before the garbage time TD) is important for maintaining fan excitement and engagement going into a big stretch in coming weeks that includes FSU, at ND, and at Miami.
Depth Chart Moves
The depth chart released Monday didn't have any real movement (a few changes to the "OR"s) anywhere except the Offensive Line, and injuries have yet to be reflected as the coaching staff awaits diagnoses. Expect guys who took some dings against Pitt to either sit entirely or have very limited appearances vs the Tribe, and maybe we see Dejon Brissett (injuries in August) finally make his debut.
Regarding the O-Line deployment, where the depth chart this week mirror's last week's starters (but not the depth chart published the Monday prior); the line played its best after getting reshuffled some after halftime, so expect it to be fluid again this week.
Coastal Power Rankings
1. Virginia (Prev: 2) - Double digit road conference win over a solid Pitt team keeps UVA in the driver's seat.
2. Miami (Prev: 1) - Came up short against a Top 10 ranked Florida team in Orlando. As expected, defense looks great, offense needs work.
3. North Carolina (Prev: 6) - Big riser this week after upsetting South Carolina in Charlotte. Good debut for freshman QB Sam Howell.
4. VT (Prev: 4) - Road loss at BC saw VT put up a lot of yards but struggle on defense and with turnovers. Has ODU, Furman, and a bye in coming weeks.
5. Pitt (Prev: 3) - Defense played well but got worn down as their offense couldn't stay on the field. Kenny Pickett still a pretty mediocre QB as a junior.
6. Duke (Prev: 5) - Blowout loss to Alabama was expected, but one can't help but feel the Cutliffe renaissance is on its back end.
7. GT (Prev: 7) - Every bit the ground-up rebuild we thought they'd be. Clemson beat GT like the Jackets were an FCS opponent.
Non-UVA Games to Watch this Weekend
Most teams are still playing their cupcakes this week, but here are a few that should be intriguing.
South Florida at Georgia Tech - 2:00 ET - ACC Network: Want to see what the new-look GT looks like against someone more their speed, someone other than Clemson?
12 Texas A&M at 1 Clemson - 3:30 ET - ABC: Important game for the ACC's chances at getting back into the CFP; a loss may damage Clemson's chances come December.
6 LSU at 10 Texas - 7:30 ET - ABC: Not relevant from an ACC perspective, but a good Top 10 game regardless.
Miami at North Carolina - 8:00 ET - ACC Network: New coaches for both, and UNC impressed against South Carolina, while Miami was inconsistent vs UF. Big game for Coastal standings.
The Remaining Schedule
Friday, Sept 6 - William and Mary: Win confidence 9.5 - Tribe now coached by Mike London, no reason to expect them to challenge.
Saturday, Sept 14 - Florida State: Win confidence 6 - FSU blew a big lead to lose at home to Boise State. Taggart still working to turn the corner.
Saturday, Sept 21 - Old Dominion: Win Confidence 9 - Monarchs struggled against Norfolk State; Hoos should handle easily.
Saturday, Sept 28 - at #9 Notre Dame: Win confidence 2.5 - Irish had a sluggish first half at Louisville but a strong second half, still a road game vs a Top 10 team.
Friday, Oct 11 - at Miami: Win confidence 4 - Defense looks elite, should be another low scoring one as both defenses dominate. On the road causes concerns.
Saturday, Oct 19 - Duke: Win confidence 7.5 - Bronco owns Duke even when Duke is "better." No reason to think UVA shouldn't win this one at home.
Saturday, Oct 26 - at Louisville: Win confidence 6.5 - Louisville came out strong vs Notre Dame but still ultimately has some work to do in their rebuild.
Saturday, Nov 2 - at North Carolina: Win confidence 5.5 - Impressive debut for the Sam Howell era. They'll be looking to cement bowl eligibility when we visit.
Saturday, Nov 9 - Georgia Tech: Win confidence 9 - Even by November, they'll still have more questions than answers. That Clemson loss was bad.
Saturday, Nov 23 - Liberty: Win confidence 9 - Shutout loss to Syracuse shows this isn't a team that belongs against a top-half ACC team.
Friday, Nov 29 - Virginia Tech: Win confidence 5 - Will continue to be at best a 50/50 tossup as long as the streak lives, though their road struggles vs BC were real.
Predicted final record: 9-3 (6-2)