No. 2 Virginia faced a tougher than expected challenge this past Sunday down in southwest Virginia, narrowly escaping the rebuilding Virginia Tech Hokies, 50-47, in a game that nearly went to overtime. Still, bitter in-state rivalries often serve a useful purpose for a contending team: toughening them up for the next test and, more importantly, reminding them that you’d better take care of your backyard neighbor before venturing out into greener pastures. Which brings us to this Saturday’s marquee game against Duke in Charlottesville. If Virginia’s smart, their humbling experience in Blacksburg will set up an intense, rigorous week of practice under Coach Tony Bennett who will not need to remind them about “drinking the Kool-aid,” which he most certainly would’ve done had Virginia won easily against Virginia Tech. The guess here is that Virginia should win easily against the Blue Devils this Super Bowl weekend who will be coming off a tough road trip to South Bend on Thursday night against another top-ten team in Notre Dame. As for the unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats, they continue to cruise, and so much for this writer’s prediction of a possible upset loss to South Carolina last weekend!