In approximately 10 months, eager consumers around the nation will swarm retail stores on “Black Friday” to gobble up favorable discounts.
The Virginia football team, on the other hand, will be shopping for something unavailable on the shelves of Wal-Mart: a Commonwealth Cup.
For the first time since 1996, the Cavaliers will play Virginia Tech the day after Thanksgiving next season. Per Wednesday’s release of the full 2014 football schedule, Virginia will need to weather a daunting slate of opponents to enter that game with a respectable record.
The Cavaliers will face a whopping 10 opponents this fall who earned bowl berths in 2013, including a road tilt against defending national champion Florida State and home dates with UCLA and ACC newcomer Louisville. A year after playing a record eight home games, Virginia will play only seven this fall.
A season-opening three-game homestand begins against UCLA Aug. 30. Led by ballyhooed quarterback Brent Hundley, the Bruins — who dismantled Virginia Tech 42-12 in December’s Sun Bowl — are expected to compete for Pac-12 and national championship honors in 2013. Virginia will visit UCLA in 2015 as part of the schools’ home-and-home agreement.
After hosting Richmond — the school Cavaliers coach Mike London led to an FCS national championship in 2008 — on Sept. 6, Virginia will play new conference foe Louisville for just the third time ever and the first time in 25 years. The Cardinals have sported a 23-3 record the past two seasons and won the 2013 Sugar Bowl with now-departed head coach Charlie Strong and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
The grueling starting stretch continues for the Cavaliers with a Sept. 20 trip to Provo, Utah, to face Brigham Young. Virginia edged the Cougars 19-16 in 2013’s season opener, the team’s lone win against an FBS opponent.
Kent State, a team the Cavaliers have never played, visits Scott Stadium the next weekend, before Pittsburgh invades Charlottesville for the first time as an ACC rival Oct. 4.
Following the Oct. 11 bye week, Virginia travels to battle its recent bugaboo, Duke. Fresh off an ACC Championship game appearance and a 10-win season, the Blue Devils will aim to knot the all-time series with the Cavaliers at 33 with their fifth win in six tries.
Virginia hosts North Carolina, whom it has yet to defeat under Mike London, Oct. 25. Next, a road clash with Georgia Tech awaits Nov. 1.
The Cavaliers will then visit a Florida State team who is widely expected to begin 2014 ranked No. 1 and returns reigning Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Jameis Winston. Although the Seminoles have dominated the all-time series 14-3, Virginia did snatch a thrilling 14-13 victory at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2011.
Following their final home game of the season against Miami Nov. 22, the Cavaliers will conclude the season at Lane Stadium, yearning for their first victory in the rivalry with Virginia Tech since 2003.
Virginia endured one of its worst seasons in program history in 2013, finishing 2-10 and failing to win a single game in ACC play.