CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia coach Al Groh was meeting with the media on Tuesday, talking about the No. 16 Cavaliers game against No. 8 Virginia Tech when two students who looked like they’d been in a rousing Cheetos fight walked in with an envelope.

“Hi fellas,” Groh said cheerily, taking the envelope from the orange-painted students and reading an appeal that Cavaliers fans wear orange for the big game.

Groh and his captains also penned a letter to the school newspaper making a similar request, but amid their own efforts and much other hype for the game, the coach and the Cavaliers tried all week to insist they can’t afford to consider the magnitude.

“Obviously it’s the biggest game of the year,” tight end Tom Santi said with a wry smile, “because it’s the only one we have this week. We’re excited about it.”

Excited, for sure, but “we’re not even thinking about what’s at stake,” right guard Ian-Yates Cunningham insisted this week. “We’re just thinking about winning a game. It’s just one extra game. It was on our schedule at the beginning of the season.”

But isn’t there extra motivation because the Hokies have won three in a row in the series, and seven of the last eight? Or because only the winner moves on to play Boston College for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a BCS bowl berth?

Can’t think about it, Groh said.

“We appreciate what’s going on with it, but we’re not the ones that tailgate or cheer or do all those things,” he explained. “We’re the ones who play, and ... this is a different event for the participants than the other people. ...

“Everybody’s got a role to play, and ours is to prepare to play and to play well, so if something helps us, then we embrace it. If it doesn’t, then we try to keep it at arms length.”

The Hokies, meanwhile, take an entirely different tact, even celebrating the possibility that after dominating the series in recent years, Virginia is improved.

“That’s the whole point of having an in-state rivalry,” Hokies linebacker Vince Hall said. “The whole rivalry thing doesn’t really go good if only one team wins the whole time and the other team’s not winning. UVa has the caliber to make any kind of game a helluva game because right now, they’re what, 9-1? That’s hard to do.

“We know, come Saturday, we’re going to get the best team UVa’s got.”

Virginia Tech was an overwhelming favorite to win the ACC’s Coastal Division, and has won three in a row to be in line to do it after a stunning loss to the Eagles. In that game, Boston College scored two touchdowns in the final 2:11 to win 14-10.

“We’ve been talking about it since (a 27-3 victory against) Georgia Tech,” Hokies left tackle Duane Brown said. “Since that game, we’ve gone out and practiced our tails off, went out and executed and now we’re at this point. Our last game of the season, our in-state rival. It doesn’t get any better than this, really.”

The Hokies honored 20 seniors before their 44-14 victory against Miami last week, and Virginia’s 19 seniors will be recognized before the game. Virginia Tech wide receiver Justin Harper said the visitors are seeking a full-circle finish.

“Freshman year, we started off going to the ACC championship and winning that thing,” he said. “Right now UVa’s in our way and they feel the same thing.

“It’s for all the marbles right now. Ending this thing in Charlottesville, it’s going to be big.”

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