There is no postseason bowl game on the horizon for the Virginia football team this year. And unlike last year, there is no spot in the ACC title game at stake when the Cavaliers face Virginia Tech this Saturday.
But the Cavaliers say they've still got plenty to play for when they visit Blacksburg this weekend.
"It's basically our bowl game," junior quarterback Michael Rocco said Monday. "So, to go out on a winning note for our seniors, and just to win our last game is a big deal for us. So we're kind of taking this as the stakes are just as high as going to an ACC championship or going to a bowl game."
The Cavaliers lost any shot at a second straight bowl appearance when they dropped to 4-7 with last Thursday's 37-13 loss to North Carolina. The Hokies enter Saturday's regular season finale at 5-6, needing a sixth win to extend the program's streak of 19 straight bowl appearances.
"Right now they have five wins, and I'm quite sure that they look at this as a sixth win opportunity to extend a bowl streak and opportunities for themselves," Virginia coach Mike London said Monday. "So we look at it also as an opportunity for us to win a football game against a team that has beaten us at Virginia the last several times."
A season ago, the ACC Coastal Division title was at stake when the Hokies finished the regular season in Charlottesville. Virginia Tech came away with a one-sided 38-0 win, their eighth straight in the series against Virginia.
"The streak is there. You know about it; everybody knows about it," Virginia sophomore quarterback Phillip Sims said.
"We know that we're capable of winning this football game," Sims said. "We've just got to do the things that we're capable of doing. We've got to prepare this week like this means something."
"The competitive side in you wants to change those opportunities," said London. "And you have to play well. We have to play better than obviously we played last week. We have to play probably our best football to date for anything like that to change."