With teams like Texas, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Boise State and Utah on the horizon, the Cougars can hardly afford to stumble against the Cavaliers.
"Everybody has their favorite games, but we have to go out there and treat them with the respect that they deserve," said running back Jamaal Williams. "Virginia is a good school, and we have to go out there and play our game to win. We can't just go out there and think they're a lower school than us and expect to win."
Virginia is coming off a 4-8 season and has a new starting quarterback in David Watford. But the Cavaliers return eight starters on defense, led by a strong secondary.
"As a whole, they have a lot of game experience," said quarterback Taysom Hill. "I would that is their strength is their experience on defense."
The Cougars will be unveiling their new fast-paced offense against the Cavs. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae is confident, but is eager to find out how the Cougars will perform.
"Like everybody, you think you've got the answers going in," Anae said. "Will it be enough? Will it be fast enough? That's what we're trying to prepare and train for."
"It's our first game and everybody is going to be hyped," said Hill. "I expect everybody to play as hard as they possibly can."
BYU and Virginia kick off at 1:30 mountain time Saturday in Charlottesville.