October 21, 2014

Fire London Bandwagon?




Got a gchat from a good friend of mine today...

so are you officially back to being all in on the fire mike london bandwagon? or do you just have one leg in ready to get back on?


My answer is this:  I never really left the Fire London Bandwagon (caps, cause proper noun).  The 2013 loss to Ball State convinced me that we had to make a change; that we'd never really be worth a damn until there was a change.  2-10 hammered it home.  Virginia Football isn't good, but we should NEVER go 2-10.  Ever.

However...

Beating Louisville, beating Pitt, starting 4-2 this season... had me walking down the aisle where the kool-aid is located (credit to my friend Joe for this analogy).  But I hadn't bought the kool-aid, not completely (despite writing THIS during one day of perfect optimistic clarity), and I certainly hadn't begun drinking the kool-aid.



In general, I'm a positive-minded, optimistic person when it comes to sports.  Hell, I'm still a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan, having survived the '90s as a fan of that sad sack team.  As a sports fan, I work to keep expectations in line with reality, but I also allow that hope balloon to float into the sky.  In my old age, I've gotten better at telling the difference between money walking and bullshit talking.  And I just think, ultimately, that Mike London is bullshit talking, not money walking.  A good coach would have weaponized the 4-2 start and the bye week, gone down to Durham, and fucking vaporized that modestly-talented Blue Devils team.

Anyway, to be fair to the school I love and the process and whatnot, I'm willing to keep the jury at recess and take a "wait and see" approach down the stretch.  4-3 today.  Gotta find two more wins to get to 6-6 and a bowl game.  Gotta find another two wins after that for me to feel like I've been wrong for the last 13 months, and that Mike London might actually be the man for this job.

I'm not holding my breath.

Look, I know it's not easy to win at UVA.  I know it takes time to build a winner at a school like this.  I know there are hurdles - high hurdles - that need to be jumped.

I'll give you a list of just-built power programs we could emulate, even WITH whatever restrictions Virginia Football has placed on her:

Baylor

UCLA

Arizona

TCU

Ole Miss

Mississippi State

Oklahoma State

Stanford


Suddenly, college football is parity-driven and completely wide open. Yet here we are, scratching like hens for a lowly sixth win.

It's Tuesday morning, and here's a quick list of teams with a better record than UVA that Hoofans should look at and say, "holy crap, what we're getting is just not good enough."

Air Force... 5-2
Arizona... 5-1
Colorado State... 6-1
ECU... 5-1
*Kentucky... 5-2
Marshall... 7-0
*Maryland... 5-2
Minnesota... 6-1
Mississippi State... 6-0
MTSU... 5-3
Ole Miss... 7-0
*Rutgers... 5-2
Temple... 4-2
UCF... 4-2
Utah... 5-1

*particularly painful


We see improvement on the field, sure. But "improvement on the field" is relative, and it's specifically relative to a gawd-awful, never-should-have-happened 2-10 season.

I'm tired of Virginia Football being stuck in this Sarlacc Pit. There are coaches out there in the world who can win at UVA, and win quickly with the talent we have on hand.

Time to think big. And Mike London, good dude that he is, is decidedly small-time.




Did I answer the question, anonymous gchat friend?

Let me try again.  I'm officially back to being all-in on the fire London bandwagon, but I reserve the right to change my mind.  

He has five more games this season (maybe more) to potentially earn the 2015 season at the helm, and earn another season's chance to save / solidify his job and cool down his hotseat.  6-6 and a crappy bowl game doesn't move the needle for me personally, but I'm willing to give the dude another season beyond this one to see if the 6-6 season was a stepping stone or a ceiling.

Gotta beat UNC this weekend.  A loss in that game, and even a mediocre 6-6 season becomes a longshot.



October 20, 2014

Look Toward Kansas...



Maybe this ends up being totally irrelevant.

Or maybe it doesn't.

You might have heard that a few weeks ago, Kansas fired Charlie Weis, creating the first Power-5 opening in the 2014 coaching carousel.

Here are a few articles to review, so you're aware of some of the names floating around out there.  Call it homework.  Because if the Hoos lose to UNC on Saturday, next week I will uncork my long-awaited post, "The List, Part III."  And it will be a real humdinger.

















Names that stand out to me, the woeful Hoofan...

  • Mark Hudspeth
  • Scott Frost
  • Pete Lembo
  • Chad Morris
  • Pat Narduzzi
  • Phillip Montgomery
  • Jake Spavital


October 17, 2014

Nut Check




The Pitt game two weeks ago was the gut check... and the Hoos passed the test (barely).

This Duke game, well.  It's not a gut check so much as it is a nut check.  As in, what's the size of Virginia Football's meaty clackers?

Coming off the bye week at 4-2 (2-0 ACC) and with a real watershed victory in our sights, how will the Hoos play in Durham?

Yeah, I know, it's Duke.  It's hard to wrap one's mind around the fact that Duke Football is anything more than a guaranteed dubya on Virginia's schedule.  But, y'know, a funny thing happened during the last six years.  WE HAVE LOST FIVE OF OUR LAST SIX GAMES AGAINST THE DUKE BLUE DEVILS.  They pretty much own us.  Uggghhhhhh, they pretty much own us.

1995 thru 2007 -- Virginia: 12 wins, Duke: 1 win (24-17 in 1999, in overtime).

2008 thru 2013 -- Duke: 5 wins, Virginia: 1 win (31-21 in 2011).

2008 -- Duke 31, Virginia 3
2009 -- Duke 28, Virginia 17
2010 -- Duke 55, Virginia 48
2011 -- Virginia 31, Duke 21
2012 -- Duke 42, Virginia 17
2013 -- Duke 35, Virginia 22

The all-time series stands at 33-32, in favor of the Hoos.

Furthermore, with Maryland off to rot along with the rust belt in the Big Ten, I'd say Duke has climbed to the #3 spot on our annual rivalries list.  Virginia Tech #1, North Carolina #2, Duke #3.

So yeah, this game is a gut nut check for the Hoos.  Just exactly how big are our balls?  Are they big enough to swing around and knock that David Cutcliffe-sized monkey off our backs?  Or are they still so small that we get swamped and overrun buy the fucking Duke Blow Devils?



What a win would mean for the Hoos:
We climb to 5-2 (3-0 ACC), a virtual lock for a bowl game, and riding a wave of momentum down the stretch in what could quickly turn into a truly special season.  We'd be bonafide Coastal Division contenders.  Mike London's job, for all intents and purposes, would be safe.  The already-cooled hotseat would drop another 10 degrees or so.  We'd be ranked in the top 25.



What a loss would mean for the Hoos:
4-3 (2-1 ACC) looks and feels a lot different than 5-2, doesn't it?  The remaining schedule stacks up in a way that would make 6-6 and a bowl appearance feel like a real challenge.  It'd be a slog to the end of the season.  Mike London's job would once again be in great jeopardy, and recruiting would be back to being a real uphill struggle.  We'd no longer be receiving votes in the AP or USA Today Coaches' Poll.  "Same ol' Virginia," they'd say.  And they'd be right.  But maybe worst of all, once and for all, with no further shadow of a doubt, it would mean that Duke officially owns UVA in football.  I need IT help!  I just threw up on my keyboard.



So please, for the love of all things good and holy, let's go down to Durham and beat the Blow Devils tomorrow, m'kay?

Nut check time, Hoos.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After a week of betting, the line for the game is: Duke (-2.5), over/under 51.  So Vegas and the bettors are predicting a 27-24 Duke win.

I'm not predicting that.  My pick is...

Virginia 27, Duke 19

Our defense.  That's it, just... our defense.

GO HOOS!


October 5, 2014

Virginia 24, Pitt 19

A few things...

1) I was happy to remove the Countdown Clock (To the Firing of Mike London) and the Hire this Man (Pete Lembo) pic from the menu at the right.

2) Important to note: Lembo's Ball State team sits at 1-4 this morning, after losing to Army yesterday.  The Cardinals have also lost to Iowa, Toledo, and... Indiana State (ouch).  Their lone win is against Colgate.  This doesn't mean that I think Lembo is any less of a stellar coach, it just tells me that maybe I've been underestimating the power of on-field personnel, especially at the quarterback position.

3) I think those new helmets looked great under the lights last night.  Happy to eat crow on my "meh" from when they were unveiled.  It was a truly bad ass look for the Hoos.

4) Also bad ass: That Kevin Parks out-rushed James Conner.

5) More bad ass: Our pass rush, and the game that Jon Tenuta called.

6) I didn't like the scoreless second half -- damn near lost us the game.  But that second quarter was the best quarter of football I can remember a Virginia team ever playing. 50-yard touchdown run, beautiful 9-play drive, pick six from our stud DE/OLB hybrid, and great defense from the Orange Crush whenever the Panthers touched the ball.  It was fantastic.

7) Big win for London.  Huge.  4-2 (2-0 ACC), with the remaining schedule looking softer by the day.  I think we beat Duke, UNC, and at least one of GT/Miami/VT to get to 7+ wins and a bowl game.

8) Go Hoos!

October 3, 2014

Practice Begins

I know we have a huge night game against Pitt coming up tomorrow, but I just thought I'd leave this picture from VASports.com and Matt Riley from the first day of basketball practice to get you even more excited.


To quote one of my favorite sports casters Tony Kornheiser, "Welcome to the era of unbridled optimism."

More basketball coverage coming soon. Hoos open at JMU on November 14th.

October 2, 2014

New Helmet

A few quick things before I post the pics.

1) As a uniform geek, I celebrate newness of any sort.  So, hooray.

2) I think this helmet looks okay overall, but basically draws a "meh" from me.

3) It'll look pretty good over the all-white uni, which is what we're wearing Saturday night.

4) I would have preferred matte navy, white, or pure shiny chrome.

5) I also would have preferred a modestly-different new uniform to go along with the new helmet.

6) Make sure you wear white if you're going to the game Saturday night!