After a season cut short by tragedy, Virginia football this year will look to establish some sense of normalcy under second year coach Tony Elliott. The Cavaliers went 3-7 last year, cancelling their final two games in the wake of the shooting that killed linebacker D’Sean Perry and wide receivers Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr. as well as wounded running back Mike Hollins.
The season is obviously difficult to compartmentalize in wake of the off-the-field tragedy.
But numbers-wise, it was the team’s worst on field performance since they finished 2-10 in 2016 and still would have been even if they had played and won the cancelled games. Virginia ended tied for last place in the ACC Coastal division with in-state rival Virginia Tech and produced the lowest scoring offense in the conference at only 17 points per game.
With spring practice now over following Saturday’s Blue-White game, BetVirginia.com, home for the best coverage of sports betting in Virginia, took the time to assess how the Cavaliers look heading into the 2023 season.
Virginia Football Rankings
- Recruiting Ranking (247 Sports): 13th in ACC (21 commits)/64th nationally
- National Title Odds (FanDuel Sportsbook Virginia): +50000
2023 Virginia Football Schedule
- Sept. 2: Tennessee
- Sept. 9: James Madison
- Sept. 16: at Maryland
- Sept. 22: North Carolina State
- Sept. 30: at Boston College
- Oct. 7: William & Mary
- Oct. 21: at North Carolina
- Oct. 28: at Miami
- Nov. 4: Georgia Tech
- Nov. 9: at Louisville
- Nov. 18: Duke
- Nov. 25: Virginia Tech
QB Battle Top of Mind For UVA Football
The first step on the agenda for Elliott and company will be determining who replaces three-year starter Brennan Armstrong at quarterback after his transfer to NC State. Armstrong holds over a dozen Virginia passing records, including the single season and career passing yards and touchdowns records, but the program lacks a clear-cut successor.
Junior Jay Woolfolk and Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett appear set to compete throughout the summer for the right to start under center when the Cavaliers take on Tennessee in their season opener in Nashville on Sept. 2. Woolfolk served as Armstrong’s backup the last two years but has only attempted 43 career collegiate passes and has been in and out of spring practice due to his status as a reliever on Virginia’s baseball team. Safe to say, there's not much to go on to back a Woolfolk-led offense on Virginia sportsbook apps.
Meanwhile, Muskett started three years for the Hawks, throwing for 5,687 yards and 51 touchdowns in 23 games. In the spring game, he tossed for 149 yards and a touchdown with a 78.6% completion percentage (11/14). Early enrollee freshman Anthony Colandrea started opposite Muskett in the spring game with Woolfolk on baseball duty and impressed with his 218-yard performance.
Only four starters remain from last year’s offense, but the team is hoping to compensate with depth, particularly at the skill positions. They returned their top three running backs and added Northwestern’s leading receiver Malik Washington via the portal.
On the defensive side, things look brighter for the Cavaliers, as they bring seven starters back to a unit that finished 44th nationally in yards allowed per game. Leading tackler linebacker Nick Jackson has moved on, along with their top cornerbacks, but the entire starting defensive line returns as well as both starting safeties. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) currently projects Virginia will post 4.5 wins in 2023, with a 24.2% chance of reaching 6 wins and bowl eligibility.
Keep it here for Virginia sports betting promos once the Cavaliers take the field late this summer.