Wahoos will spend first few weeks in prime time

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Starting at Heinz Field on August 31, Virginia's first three football games this fall will be played under the lights -- and televised on the brand new ACC Network.

With Wednesday marking 100 days until the launch of its new network, the ACC announced kickoff times for the first three weeks of the football schedule. UVA will appear on the ACC Network in each of the first three weekends of the season -- at Pitt at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, then at home against William and Mary at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 6, and against Florida State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 14.

That's two ACC games in the first three weeks for the Wahoos, and the first time UVA has opened up against a conference opponent since 2003. Pitt won last year's Coastal Division last year with a 6-2 conference record -- that included a win at Scott Stadium last November that knocked Virginia out of the top spot in the division.

Despite losing their final three conference games, the Cavaliers finished 8-5 overall in 2018, capped by shutting out South Carolina in the Belk Bowl for the program's first postseason win since 2005. Those eight wins were the most at UVA since the 2011 season.

That finish last season has raised expectations heading into Bronco Mendenhall's fourth season at UVA. The Cavaliers' head coach talked this spring about how he hoped those early conference games on the schedule would add to his team's urgency heading into the summer.

Two of the Cavaliers' veteran leaders agreed with that notion.

"We know that we've got to replace spots that people left. And we've got to do better than last year. We've got to build and we can't stay the same," said rising senior quarterback Bryce Perkins. "Last year was last year's team. This year is this year's team. So it's a sense of urgency, trying to find the identity of it."

"It's huge, because we have high expectations," said rising senior cornerback Bryce Hall. "We know what we did last year, which was 8-5, and we're trying to go even higher. We're trying to win the ACC. And so that's a different level of urgency. So every single day matters. That's the mindset we have, because we know how close we were last year."