December 10, 2014

Orange Slices and Participation Awards

WARNING: Your head is about to explode.




If you are a UVA fan who cares about football, I love you and I'd like to officially beg you to NOT read this article.




NOOOOO!  You ignored my warning and read it, didn't you?  I tried to stop you!

Well, I'll let you take a 30-minute breather and try to calm down.  Let me know when you're back.

...

...

...

You're back?  Good!

It's an embarrassment, right?  Yeah, it's a fucking travesty.

Colin Cowherd was right about our football program.
"UVA is the softest bunch of creampuff, bowtie wearing, brie cheese eating, ascot wearing wussies I’ve ever seen in my life. There is not a softer bunch of cookie dough eating weenies than the UVA football program. Those guys wear makeup to games. That is the biggest bunch of fru fru, daiquiri drinking, non alcoholic beer chugging weenies I’ve ever seen in my life. Want to know the most popular drink at tailgating at UVA football? Zima! Under soft, they have a Cavalier football logo in the dictionary. They wear suits to games! That’s absurd!"



It pissed us off, and still does. But the reason it bothers us so much is because there's so much truth to it.



Craig Littlepage has three priorities that take precedent over everything else: 1) All coaches, particularly head coaches, must be competitors; 2) Coaches must embrace teaching and learning; 3) coaches must be exemplary representatives of UVA.

Let's break this down real quick, shall we?


Precedent #1) All coaches, particularly head coaches, must be competitors.

Jesus H. Christ, that's like saying, "all airline pilots, particularly pilots in command, must not be afraid of heights."  I mean, sheeeeesh.  Must be competitors?  That's your number one precedent?  God damn.  I'd hate to meet a football coach who isn't a competitor.

Banky: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, okay? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, okay? You following? 
Holden: Yeah. 
Banky: Good. Over here, we have an affectionate, easy to get along with, rah-rah, goodie-two-shoes football coach who isn't really a competitor. Down here, we have a hateful, angry as fuck, agenda of rage, bitter competitor of a football coach. Over here, we got Santa Claus, and up here the Easter Bunny. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? 
Holden: What is this supposed to prove? 
Banky: No, I'm serious. This is a serious exercise. It's like an SAT question. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first? The friendly, non-competitive coach, the hateful, competitive coach, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny? 
Holden: The competitive coach.  
Banky: Good! Why?
Holden: I don't know. 
Banky: BECAUSE THE OTHER THREE ARE FIGMENTS OF YOUR FUCKING IMAGINATION!

I will say this this in Littlepage's defense: If there were such a thing as a non-competitive head football coach, UVA would find him.


Precedent #2) Coaches must embrace teaching and learning.

Golly gee, you mean coaches need to actually COACH?  You mean they need to teach their players how to play the game at a higher level?  You mean they actually need to be concerned about keeping their players in school and eligible to compete?  Gosh.

I hope you are successfully reading my sarcasm, because I'm working hard to make it crystal fucking clear.


Precedent #3) Coaches must be exemplary representatives of UVA.

Okay, so we don't want any serial killers or animal sodomists, got it.


Seriously, has there ever been a lower bar set in the history of low-bar-setting?  Never mind, we just brought back a coach who went 5-7 after 2-10 and 4-8 seasons; a coach who is standing tall at 1-14 against our biggest rivals.  Like I said, it's an embarrassment and a fucking travesty.




I'll say it again: DO NOT buy tickets to football games through the UVA ticket office. If we keep buying what they're selling, they have no reason to change it. Let them suck on their orange slices and hand out their participation awards inside an empty stadium.


Oh, and here's some more fun news: Jamie Oakes at 247Sports (a must-subscribe for any self-respecting Hoofan) is reporting that Eli Harold and Max Valles are both planning to forego their remaining eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.



I'll have a basketball post for you soon, promise.


December 2, 2014

It finally makes sense!



The more I think about it, the more I believe Mike London's return in 2015 portends a change at the Athletics Director level.  UVA won't want a new AD to inherit a just-hired head football coach.

Craig Littlepage is 63 years old, and will be 64 by the time the 2015 football season starts.  In other words, ripe for retirement.

Doesn't it make sense that he wants to retire after the current academic / sports year, to see if he can go out with a Final Four appearance in basketball and a baseball national championship?

Doesn't it make sense that he doesn't want to make a big football hire now, then retire and saddle his successor with a newly-hired football coach that the new AD didn't hand-pick?  Instead, it makes much more sense to kick it down the road a year, and let the new AD pull the plug on Mike London and make his own hire in December 2015.

It sucks that Hoofans will have to suffer through a lame duck football season in 2015, but if there's a change at the AD level in the summer of 2015, it makes it all okay in my eyes.

Meanwhile, you need to understand that basketball is a tricky sport for an AD.  It's very high-risk, low-reward.  A bad basketball program at a place like UVA ruffles a lot of feathers and makes an AD's life very unpleasant, while a good program doesn't do a whole lot to pay the bills.  'Page has our basketball program positioned in a great place right now, with Tony Bennett happy and contract-extended --- Virginia Basketball is giftwrapped and ready to pass along to a replacement AD.

Now, all of that being said, a nightmare scenario: Jon Oliver replaces 'Page as Virginia's AD.  I don't think that's possible, not given Oliver's reputation as a total dickwad to those around him and his past legal transgressions (1991 DUI and 1992 cocaine possession).  But you never know.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I'm hanging my hat on this idea that London's return for 2015 is all about Littlepage's retirement plan... and I'm officially staking my Hoofan sanity on the concept.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure if I have it in me to do the research and give you a long, detailed list of potential Athletics Director candidates... but Mike has already done some legwork in unearthing John Currie, the current AD at Kansas State.



Hang in there, Hoofans.  It's all going to work out.


December 1, 2014

Here's the Post



No post when London's return was announced last Wednesday.  I was too busy doing family stuff and preparing for Thanksgiving.  But know, when I heard the news, I felt like kids must feel when they first find out that there's no such thing as Santa Claus.

No meltdown post when we lost to Tech.  I was too busy laying face down on my couch for 20 minutes, smelling the spot where my asshole just sat for three hours.  Then I stress-ate a tub of brownie bites and watched our basketball game against La Salle, which I had dutifully DVRed.

No post over the weekend.  Instead, I sought my catharsis by becoming a message board warrior on the Wahoos 247 forums.  I didn't find relief.

In the meantime, I was plotting course to this moment, when I would uncork this post for you, loyal Wahooze Nation, and Hoofans everywhere.  Some things I considered during the last five days:

-- Whether or not to take down the Countdown Clock, featured so predominantly on the top right of this blog.  I have decided to leave it up, for the next year-plus, or however long it takes UVA to fire Mike London.  What's the point?  To symbolize how the firing will be long past due, whenever it happens.

-- What's my message going to be?  Anger and vitriol toward our athletic department?  A half-hearted rah-rah "we'll always be fans" speech?  Urging you to take on a letter-writing campaign in an effort to catalyze change?  Frankly, it all feels like work to me, not fun.  And I write this blog for fun, not for work.  It can't be a chore.

-- Honestly, I considered shutting Wahooze down completely.  I mean, if UVA doesn't care about football, why should I care enough about football to write a fucking blog?  I'm at a point in my life where I don't have enough free time to keep up with the prolific pace I once set, anyway.  Kill the blog, end my guilt over not posting as much or as often, all while making a profound statement about the status of things.

But don't worry, I'm not killing Wahooze, nor will I try to convince you to write any letters.  Instead, I just want to touch on a few very specific topics that might help illustrate where my mind is right now.

A little soundtrack for your read:




DO NOT, under any circumstances, purchase football tickets from the UVA Athletics Department.

If you keep buying what they're selling, they have no reason to change it.

I hope enough Hoofans understand this [simple] equation and keep our money in our wallets.  If you feel the need to go witness the dumpster fire firsthand, buy tickets in the secondary market.

We're Hoofans and we love our team.  But now is the time for tough love.


Take a long, hard look at London's record at UVA.

Friday night hurt, right?  Losing to your rivals sucks.  Under London, we're 1-14 against Duke / UNC / VT.  ONE AND FREAKING FOURTEEN.  At some point, winning has to matter, and winning games against your biggest rivals has to matter the most.  London isn't doing it, nor do I see any evidence that he's capable of doing it.

The dude is 23-38 (.377) in his 61 games at UVA.  This mark drops to 17-38 (.309) if you remove the games against FCS foes.  He's 11-29 (.275) in the ACC.  Remove his weird ownership of Miami, and that record drops to 7-28 (.200) in conference.  London has won exactly ONE road game (@ NC State in 2012) in the last three seasons.

It's not just inappropriate to bring him back, it's downright negligent.


Myth: Mike London is a great recruiter.

His recruiting classes at UVA are ranked 32, 32, 29, 25, 23, and 64... so he's obviously not recruiting his way out of the hole to the point where Jimmys and Joes overcome the deficit of Xs and Os.

He's not a good enough recruiter to deliver top-15 classes, and he's not a good enough coach to win to a .500 level with top-30 aggregate recruiting.  To me, this is extremely damning.  To me, it sends the message loud and clear that Mike London will NEVER win at UVA.


All of that being said, I understand WHY London is coming back.

He sucks as a football coach, but Mike London is a good dude and a class act.  Our kids stay out of trouble and graduate.  I can understand why UVA doesn't want to make a change right now, given the current climate at the University (Rolling Stone article, faculty turnover, fundraising needs, etc.)

But c'mon.  Don't be so naïve as to think London's still learning on the job and might somehow be getting better and improving as a head coach.  I just don't see it.  He's a babysitter, and that's about it.

I think UVA punted on the decision to fire London for one year, to buy a little time and to save a little money.  That's fine, but Scott Stadium will (and should) be empty, and the program will lose even more of whatever imaginary credibility it might have had.


What now?

Basketball season.  Big, huge, nasty games this week against Maryland (Wednesday) and VCU (Saturday).

Men's Soccer is in the Elite Eight (vs. Georgetown on Saturday) and Women's Soccer is in the Final Four (vs. Texas A&M on Friday).

Baseball starts on February 14th.

Don't think about football.  Fuck football.


But if you MUST think about football...

You can track staff changes, if any are made.  Only Tenuta and Archer are under contract for 2015.  So there's a lot of extensions / assistant coach recruiting to occur.  Who wants to coach for a season on the Titanic?  Probably nobody with any real options.  But it'll be fun in a strictly masochistic way to watch the process unfold.

Oh, and there's a 2016 recruiting class to be completed.  Joy.


What to expect in 2015?

Another losing season against a beastly schedule, and FINALLY Mike London will be fired.  Until then...  Let Year Two of Lame Duck Coaching commence!

Good luck, Hoos!

November 25, 2014

Bring On Black Friday!



I have so much to say and so very little organization of thoughts in my mind.  So I'll just vomit it out through my fingertips, onto the keyboard, through the internet to this screen you are seeing now.

I'll do a numbered list, because who doesn't love a numbered list?


Number 1) You won't see a better catch.



EXCEPT ONE DAY LATER, YOU SAW A BETTER CATCH!




2) HUGE win over Miami, huh?  Really, really huge.  I thought the team played great.  I like the fact that they came out and won this game for their embattled coach.  I enjoyed being able to set aside my "FIRE LONDON" agenda for three hours and just enjoy that game as a Hoofan.




3) But the win, of course, sets up a really fucked-up Black Friday game against Virginia Tech, with literally everything on the line.

If Virginia Wins
-- We get to 6-6 (4-4 ACC), which means we get to a bowl game.
-- Mike London saves his job.
-- Not only that, but [because we can't have a head coach with anything less than a 4-year contract for recruiting purposes] Mike London earns a contract extension.  I assume that extension would be heavily front-loaded and include some decent buyout options... but, still... a fucking extension.
-- If he's the coach into the 2015 season, London earns a $500K "longevity bonus."  So UVA would spin a 180 from firing this guy to paying him more money.  God bless America.
-- The team gets the additional practice time afforded by making a bowl appearance.
-- Virginia goes bowling for the first time since 2011.
-- Virginia goes bowling in a season Virginia Tech does not for the first time since 1991.
-- We hand the Hokies their first losing season since 1992.
-- We end Virginia Tech's stupid-long string of bowl appearances at 21.
-- I don't really buy that they'd force Beamer out, but we'd certainly accelerate his departure... because beating Virginia is literally all they have left.
-- Most importantly, we end their reign of terror over us at ten games, giving us our first win in the rivalry since 2003.

If Virginia Tech Wins
-- We're home for the holidays, no bowl game.
-- Virginia Tech fans step back from the ledge a little bit.
-- More misery for Hoofans.  The win streak stands at 11.  (We're tough, we can take it.)
-- Mike London is MAYBE* fired.



4) Let's talk about the asterisk I put next to the word "MAYBE," above. According to Jamie Oakes at 247Sports...

"The more that I hear from sources close to those that would know, it doesn’t seem likely that UVa is looking to make a change (and that was before Saturday’s win)."

WAIT, WHATTTT???

I don't think Jamie's wrong.  There's no more connected media insider than Mr. Oakes.  In fact, if you're a real Hoofan, you need to be paying money to be a member of his site!  But anyway... it's a little bit disturbing to me that the administration wasn't already overtly locked and loaded to make a coaching change after this season.

Was UVA not looking to make a change due to wanting to wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds?  Or is it strictly a money thing?  Or is it continued belief in Mike London?  Or is it the need to focus attention elsewhere at this time?

Assuming a win over Tech and a bowl appearance, I'm ready to suck it up and climb on board for another season of London-led Virginia Football.  But won't there be an extension that [has to] go along with that (remember, you have to maintain a 4-year contract for recruiting purposes)?  And the $500K longevity bonus due in January?  UGGGHHHHHHH.



I can understand wanting to keep the guy around if he takes this team to a bowl game this season.  But I cannot understand or digest the concept of paying him more money at this point.  It sure feels like a 6-6 season and an appearance in the Massengill Douchebag Bowl is the ceiling under London, and not the floor.




5) I guess it's time to start thinking about talking about bowl games, huh?

Instead of doing all of the heavy lifting on this myself, I'll just kick it over to a couple of good ACC-centric articles I found out in the blogosphere.

ACC bowl projections: Notre Dame's fade could shake up postseason destinations for several teams

ACC Bowl Projections, Week 13: A Rather Crowded Bowl Picture With One Weekend To Go


Cliff's Notes:
-- We beat Tech, we're in a bowl game.
-- The game we'd be playing in would be one of the following: Independence (Shreveport, LA) Dec. 27 vs. SEC #10 (C-USA conditional) /// Military (Annapolis, MD) Dec. 27 vs. American /// Quick Lane (Detroit, MI) Dec. 26 vs. Big Ten /// BITCOIN (St. Petersburg, FL) Dec. 26 vs. American
-- My quick scan of the interwebs led me to discover the following bowl projections:

Quick Lane [Detroit, MI] -- Virginia vs. Maryland

Quick Lane [Detroit, MI] -- Virginia vs. Northwestern

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. Cincinnati

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. ECU

Military [Annapolis, MD] -- Virginia vs. Temple

Independence [Shreveport, LA] -- Virginia vs. UAB

Bitcoin [St. Petersburg, FL] -- Virginia vs. UCF





-- Nothing says "CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR .500 SEASON!" like a trip to [mother fucking] Detroit in late December.  But hey, beggars can't be choosers.  We'll take the Quick Lane Bowl, and we'll like it!
-- I hate that I don't hate the idea of playing Maryland in a bowl game.  Would be a nice matchup, and another last chance to stick it to the Terps as they go stink up the Big Ten.
-- ECU scares the crap out of me.  I think our D would stand tall, but that offense... with a month to prepare... yikes.  That one could get ugly.
-- None of the rest of those matchups make me nervous.  I think we'd have a decent-to-good chance at winning any of them.
-- I'll never, ever, ever, ever complain about a bowl game.  I love all of them.




6) Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  We have to beat Tech on Black Friday first.  But look, you have to know, if there's one fanbase that is more unhappy than ours right now, it's Hokie fans.  Poor, sweet, stupid, delusional Hokie fans.  All they have is football, and all their football team has left is the win streak over UVA.  Ultimately, I kind of think of Friday's game like we're George, getting ready to put the bullet in the back of Lennie's skull.  Poor, sweet, stupid, delusional Hokie fans.




7) Am I the only one who thinks it's incredibly fucked up that there stands a very real possibility that VT will be looking to replace Beamer before UVA looks to replace London?



8) I also wonder if I'm the only one who thinks Virginia Tech fans should be very careful about what they wish for.  Beamer probably needs to retire, yes. But we're talking about VT's Rumpelstiltskin, the one man who could spin hay (in this case, hog manure) into gold in Blacksburg.  It's a better job in 2014 than it was when Beams took over in 1991, but don't get it twisted.  Blacksburg is still a cow town, and in the ever-expanding college football universe, the VT job is still small potatoes.  I hear Hokie fans say names like Pep Hamilton, Rich-Rod, and even (seriously, I heard this one) Chip Kelly, and all I can do is laugh.  Careful, Hokie fans, because reality is about to bite you in the nuts, just like it bit down hard on Hoofans.  2014 Hokies = 2000 Hoos, is all I'm saying.  Why are you so eager to commence your version of the Al Groh and Mike London eras?




9) Hey, maybe I should talk about the actual football game about to be played on Friday night?  Tech's offense is... in a word... awful.  A picture is worth a 1000 words in this case:

Predictable that I would post this, but no less hilarious.

So their O is putting the O in OFFAL.  Ours isn't much better, but at least we have a pulse.  Our defenses are about the same, I'd say.  Ours might have a bit more legit talent up front, but theirs will be fueled by the VT/UVA psycho bloodlust they always seem to conjure up for this game, so I call it a wash.  Special teams are both horrendous, but I'd take Ian Frye over whatever #99-wearing shitbag little kicker they trot out, so it's a slight UVA edge.  Ultimately, I like our talent more than theirs, and I think their death spiral is spinning more dramatically than ours... so the Hoos win an ugly, interesting, horrendous game.  My pick:

Virginia 19, Virginia Tech 13


Offal.

10) What does Vegas think?  They opened things up at VT (-1), but since then the line was bet up to UVA (-2)... and then bet back down to UVA (-1) / pick-'em.  The over/under is 40.5, and I'm taking the Hoos and the under, at about 51% confidence in the pick and 101% confidence in the o/u.



11) It's Tech week. GO HOOS. Crush the Hokies.

Fuck it, I'm going deep.












November 14, 2014

Wahooze Tip-Off

Just a quick Q-n-A with the boys to help tip off college basketball season for the Hoos.



Question 1: What are your general expectations for this season?

Mike: Obviously the ACC is going to be tough this year (we are ranked 9 in the AP poll, putting us 4th in the ACC) but I fully expect us to compete and potentially win the league again this season. Virginia is, and I think will always be, a very unique case in the ACC and probably the entire country. We have a team laden with upperclassmen this season which is something you never see at Power 5 schools. I fully expect that to play into our hands and we win more than our fair share of games by not panicking when down by 10 or so and making a comeback and watching younger teams implode around us. We also play the kind of game that will bury those young teams who I don’t think will be equipped to handle it.

Pierce: My expectation is World Domination, obviously. But really, I think we've seen Bennett's system will/should produce a consistent and competitive product, now that the roster has talent (and players who have bought into the system). Yes we lost an incredible amount of talent in both Joe and Akil, but there's no reason there should be much of a step back. I expect that there will be a couple of annoying losses along the way (particularly, say, before Christmas), but this team should be top-4 in the ACC, challenge for the league title and hopefully a favorable route to another sweet 16 berth.

Kendall: My general expectation is to see another season of really great, entertaining, winning basketball.  It's weird to me that we've officially arrived.  I don't really know how to handle not having anything to bitch about!  No, but seriously, I won't say 'Sweet Sixteen or bust,' but I do think the dart will hit the board somewhere between the Round of 32 and the Final Four.  That's after another top-4 ACC finish and at least a decent run in the ACC Tournament.


Question 2: Malcolm Brogdon will be our leading scorer. Who is #2? #3?

Mike: I’ll get bold for a minute. I actually think Anthony Gill has a real chance to lead this team in scoring. He really impressed down the stretch, led mostly by his ability to score on the block and out in midrange. That kind of versatility is going to make him a real threat, especially with defenses focusing on Brogdon. I think Good London will be our #3 guy, especially with the confidence from deep he showed late in the year.

Pierce: For me, it's hard to say another wing here. Nolte's never done it consistently and while Justin Anderson should benefit from starting (despite being the greatest 6th man in the history of the sport...okay, well maybe just at the collegiate level), I'm not sure any part of the offense is regularly going to go through him. Naming two bigs is equally difficult, considering the obvious 3-man rotation that they'll go though, but if I had to guess, I'm actually going to go with #2 Gill and #3 Tobey. Both will play a ton every game, both have solid offensive ability, both make their free-throws, and really I think we'll see the front-court as a consistent and purposeful focus of the offense.

Kendall: I think Anthony Gill is the obvious answer.  However, I think he finishes #3 in scoring, behind Brogdon and... Justin Anderson.  There, I said it.  Simba becomes the Lion King this season.  I say he improves on last year's 29% shooting from deep, and turns increased playing time into increased scoring punch.  Mike Tobey is #4, by the way, and he'll have a number of 15-18+ point "boom" games.



Question 3: Will the defense be better or worse than last season? Explain.

Mike: Worse, but still awesome. Losing two guys with four years in the system will take its toll. As the season goes on I expect the defense to greatly improve, but replacing Joe and especially Akil on the defensive end is going to be tough. The keys in this area for me are Marial Shayock and Darion Atkins. Hopefully Atkins can shake the Eeyore mentality. Someone is going to need to replace the fire we lost with Akil.

Pierce: Worse. Record-breaking quality doesn't happen often. It's been said a million times by UVa fans/writers, but I'll say it again: Akil Mitchell played un-freaking-believable defense. I trust the packline and I still have faith in our talent, but no one is going to replicate what Akil brought - not to mention Joe Harris' ever-underrated defense. I suspect we'll still be great at defense, no reason not to think so, really - but last year may have been as close to the pinnacle as we'll see.

Kendall: No one on the current roster will be able to replicate Akil's ability to hedge at the top of the key and then teleport back under the basket, so I'll say the D will be a little bit worse.  Still, trading Joe for Justin Anderson in the starting lineup, and adding long, athletic players like Devon Hall and Marial Shayok to the mix could improve the peripherals of Packline.  Ultimately, I'll say the D will be about the same -- improved defensive rebounding (via JA seeing starter's minutes and these new bouncy athletes) equals improved defense in a lot of ways.


Question 4: Which games are you most looking forward to?

Mike: VCU and Maryland are obviously my top 2 out of conference games. Hope we beat them by a combined 40 points. In conference I really look forward to the games where TB has a chance to go up against the coaching legends. Duke, Syracuse and now Louisville. I love the idea that we have one of the bright young basketball minds who can go toe to toe with the titans of the game. Plus it’s fun to beat them.

Pierce: @VCU and @Maryland. Neither game matters in the grand scheme of things - won't affect the ACC at all and neither would be a résumé-damning loss (and honestly, neither would be that much of a résumé-boosting win). But both games are rivalries - one for obvious historic reasons and the other for state-supremacy-revenge reasons. I'm a petty braggart at heart in my basketball fandom - I'll be more nervous and anxious for these games than the league games - which I guess is my version of "excited?"

Kendall: You guys covered the hate games agaisnt VCU and Maryland, and Mike touched on the Duke/Cuse/L'Ville games, so I'll add my $0.02 by mentioning North Carolina on February 2 and Virginia Tech on January 25 and February 28.  UNC is just another game against a quality ACC rival.  Those games against VT are going to be a great opportunities to pound those turkeys into the ground, and I hope we shame and embarrass Buzz Williams as much as we possibly can.  Let's burn their barn to the ground on 1/25.  But the games I'm MOST looking forward to are the games we'll be playing in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, all six of them!


Question 5: Which newcomer(s) are you most looking forward to seeing?

Mike: Devon Hall. I assume he counts as a newcomer. Massively heralded prospect coming out of high school seems to have been forgotten about with the emergence of Good London last season. I think this is the first taste we will get of the future of UVA basketball with the dual point guard lineups, like we will See with Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome in the 2016 class. Devon Hall is a long point guard and could be an absolute monster defensively.

Pierce: Well, Shayok is rumored to be the best/most-ready now, Wilkins shatters backboards, Salt is 40 feet tall, and anyone with last name Stith is already UVA royalty - so that's a tough call. I'll have to go with Stith for nostalgia's sake. Plus he's so smiley, he's like mini-Justin Anderson. Can we play them at the same time? Would they have separate-but-related powers of optimism and charm a la The Carebears? Or maybe combine into some sort of good-vibes-Voltron? I'm excited to find out.

Kendall: The correct answer is B.J. Stith.  He might redshirt, but whatever.  It's Bryant Stith's son, man!  (Bryant Stith, FYI, is my favorite player of all time, regardless of sport, team, etc.  I love Bryant Stith.)  I'll hedge my bets by also mentioning Isaiah Wilkins, who could provide us with the same sort of athletic presence Akil Mitchell did --- but with a bit more offensive upside.


Question 6: Other than Brog, who will be UVA's MVP this season? Explain.

Mike: I haven’t swooned about Justin Anderson yet! He’s the answer for me. He can do it all for the team and will most likely be the one who will step in and take the vocal leadership role, even more so than he did last season.

Pierce: My first instinct was to say Gill, because he's the natural replacement to Akil's responsibilities. Then I thought Justin Anderson, who easily earned game-MVP nods many times last season with his will to win (to put it simply). The answer, though, is Perrantes. A point guard can make or break games more times than any other position - and assuming he stops doing whatever he did to earn a benching for the opener - London's going to put this team in position to win most of them

Kendall: I love both of your answers, but in a mild surprise, I'm going to go with Mike Tobey.  His skillset is totally unique, and it's only if Tobey realizes a bit more of his immense potential will Virginia make that Final Four run I think we're capable of making this season.



Question 7: Call it! ACC regular season finish / ACC Tournament finish / NCAA or NIT? / NCAA seed / NCAAT finish

Mike: Not sure this team has the talent to win it all, but they definitely have the talent to earn some Final Four hype in latter part of the season. I think we will see some bumps in the road as we try to fill Joe and Akil’s shoes, but by the end of the season we will be hitting on all cylinders. I think we get a 2-3 seed in the tournament, but are the sneaky good team no one wants to play (like Michigan State last year). I’d say we have a better shot at winning the ACC Tournament than we do the regular season, but I’m not sure we repeat.

Pierce: I'll hedge my bets and go: 3rd in the ACC / lose in ACC semis due to poor officiating / NCAA 3 seed / ...and with the added benefit of not facing Michigan State, we surpass last year and make it to the Elite 8, where we lose a terrible game to Wisconsin. This is the new normal, y'all. It's gonna be pretty great.

Kendall: 3rd behind Duke and Louisville / lose in the semifinals... to Duke or Louisville / NCAA Tournament, 4-seed / lose in the Elite Eight to 2-seed Florida after upsetting 1-seed Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen.


GO HOOS!


November 13, 2014

Forde-Yard Dash: Around the Coaching Carousel We Go

A great, relevant, pertinent read (and also one of my absolute favorite weekly columns):

Forde-Yard Dash: Around the coaching carousel we go


Great read, really entertaining.  The Ol' Woodchopper (Greg Schiano) would be an... interesting fit.  (Here's some clickbait if you want to do some reading up on Schiano, which I encourage you to do!  'Gotta Coach Somebody'  I'm not opposed to Schiano, especially after reading that piece from MMQB.)

Greg Schiano can be a real asshole,
but never forget how he elevated Rutgers - RUTGERS! - to relevance.

Assuming all of the jobs Pat Forde touched on open up (they won't), and assuming no other jobs open unexpectedly (they will) or via the coaching carousel domino effect (looking at Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, specifically), here's how I rank the openings:

~~~ elite jobs ~~~
#1 Florida
#2 Michigan

~~~ middling/good jobs ~~~
#3 Virginia Tech
#4 Virginia
#5 Illinois

~~~ tricky opportunities ~~~
#6 Rutgers
#7/8 Kansas / Iowa State

~~~ entry-level positions ~~~
#9 SMU
#10 Troy
#11 Tulsa
#12 Hawaii


I rank VT above us, and it hurts.  I actually think that as of December 2014, the two jobs are fairly equal, if you consider the long shadow Frank Beamer will cast over that program for the next decade-plus.  I nudge Tech just ahead of us in the above ranking thanks to their new Athletic Director, Whit Babcock, who I am sad to admit seems like a really good one.  Much better than our old conservative bowtie, Craig Littlepage.

Anyhoo... read those two articles I linked, Hoofans.  DO IT!


November 10, 2014

Meet Tom Herman

I just found a recent comment on The List, Part III from a poster named "Midlohoo" particularly compelling:

The more I look at it, the more I think Tom Herman might be a particularly good fit. I know you have him on the list, but his name doesn't seem to be getting much, if any, discussion here or elsewhere. He's 39, seems like a really smart (literally, a Mensa member), well-spoken guy, and gives off the same kind of class vibe that UVA likes and that you see with Bennett, O'Connor, etc. He's got a very successful offensive system - a no-huddle, spread "Jet" offense. He's been at Ohio State for the last three years under Urban Meyer. Another key factor: He also was OC/QB at Rice, where ran top 10 national offenses in a high-academic environment. Things I've read suggest he's one of those top assistants who is "ready to run a program," which could mean nothing, but I take to mean that he's considered well prepared for the management aspects of the job, not just for calling plays. I believe he's also considered a good recruiter. He really seems to check off just about every box I can think of and just feels like someone who would fit into UVA's preferred mold.




I loathe all things Ohio State Buckeyes, and that bias led me to kind of subconsciously dismiss Herman from Virginia's search (even though I included him on The List).  But Midlohoo's post rattled the cage a bit, and I went to work finding some reading materials on Herman.

Here's what I'll be reading today.  I hope that you'll join me!