CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- This is the second straight year the Virginia football team is entering November on top of the ACC Coastal Division standings.
The Wahoos ended October alone in first place in the Coastal with a 4-1 conference record last season -- but finished the year tied for third in the division with a 4-4 record, after losing at home to Pitt, then finishing the season with back-to-back overtime losses at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
This year, UVA enters November tied with North Carolina on top of the division. Both teams are 3-2 in ACC play entering Saturday night's game in Chapel Hill. And the Cavaliers are aware of those stakes as they prepare to head to UNC.
"Two of our four goals is, one is to win the Coastal, one is to win the ACC. So without this game, those become two pretty dwindling goals," UVA junior cornerback Nick Grant said this week. "It's pretty much do or die at this point, so I would say this is the most important, obviously the most important game of the season."
Virginia is the only member of the seven-team Coastal that has never won the division. The Wahoos were the preseason pick to change that over the summer, then they opened the year by beating Pitt 30-14 at Heinz Field.
UVA's other two ACC wins have come at home -- against Florida State last month, and Duke two weeks ago. The 'Hoos are 4-0 overall at Scott Stadium, and following Saturday's visit to Chapel Hill, they'll play their final three in Charlottesville -- including division games against Georgia Tech and the Hokies.
But the Cavaliers have lost their last three games on the road, including two against conference opponents, Miami and Louisville. Virginia is just 4-11 in ACC road games under fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall, and the program hasn't won multiple conference road games in a season since 2011.
Yet just like last year, the Wahoos still enter the season's final month in control of a potential Coastal Division title. That thought has framed the Cavaliers' approach as they prepared to travel to UNC, according to quarterback Bryce Perkins.
"We have four more regular season games left, and we've got a great opportunity to flip the table and just win out. And that controls our own destiny," Perkins said. "We're one of the few teams that really have control of their own destiny, as far as if we win out, we're the number one."