Two desperate conference foes will meet for the first time since 2008 Saturday at Scott Stadium. The Wahoos are losers of five in a row, while Wake Forest has dropped three of four. UVA has won 20 of the last 22 meetings, but the two programs have played just twice in the last nine years because of ACC expansion.
And that might be a good thing for Virginia’s Cavaliers. Jim Grobe, the second-longest tenured coach in the ACC, has led the Demon Deacons to four bowl appearances in the last six years. A UVA graduate (’75, ’78) and former Cavalier football player, Grobe won the 2006 AP and ACC Coach of the Year awards after an 11-3 season in which the Deacs won their first conference championship since 1960. Wake won the teams’ last meeting, 28-17, four seasons ago in Winston-Salem, but UVA holds a 34-13 edge overall, and its 17 straight wins over WFU from 1984-2000 match the second-longest winning streak for one league team over another in ACC history.
Those days, sadly, are over. Virginia (2-5, 0-3 ACC) has been outscored by 94 points during its current slide, and a loss Saturday would equal the school’s longest losing streak in 30 years. Of 120 FBS teams, UVA ranks 88th in scoring offense, 99th in scoring defense, and 119th in turnover margin. The Cavalier offense has outgained its last three opponents, but costly giveaways and penalties have spelled doom for Mike London’s third season.
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3 ACC) is coming off of a bye week after losing 19-14 to Maryland, Virginia’s opponent a week ago. Since beginning the season 2-0 with narrow wins over Liberty and North Carolina, the Deacs have stumbled in recent weeks, averaging just 10 points per game in losses to FSU, Duke, and Maryland.
The Wahoos are a 3.5 point favorite, but beware: UVA is the only team in the nation that hasn’t covered the spread in 2012. Kickoff is set for 12:30pm.