September 30, 2009

Five.


Something profound dawned on me today: We want our football team to lose, to guarantee Al Groh's swift dismissal at the end of the season. But if we lose TOO MUCH, would it potentially hurt our ability to find a good replacement; to hire the slam dunk head coach to take us back to winning and eventually to the next level?

Let's say we follow the current trajectory and end up at 1-11 or 2-12 this season. Wouldn't that show the world that this program is at ground zero, lacking the basic foundational infrastructure to win, and probably almost completely devoid of talent? It would certainly damage our standing in the unspoken/unseen pecking order of BCS conference teams, taking us down to Duke / Iowa State / Baylor levels of hopelessness.

Now let's say Al Groh rallies the troops to a 5-7 finish. It's bad, he'll still definitely get fired, but we'll still be hanging in there as a potential sleeping giant in the college football world. There would be evidence of upside, and a sense that the floor is still fairly high here at UVA.

The risk is that if we rally too much and get to 6-6 and a bowl game, however unlikely that may be. Would Al Groh get another season? One more year of Al Groh would plunge this program into the dark ages, and I think the administration and BMDs ("big money donors" -- an acronym I'll use a lot on this blog) understand that. But going 6-3 down the stretch would certainly get certain short-sighted fans excited.

So now for the rest of the season I'm officially pulling for the football team to win... five games. No more, no less.

And I'll call my shot. We *should* win the following games: Indiana, @ Maryland (god they're awful), and Duke. I think we'll also beat Boston College here at home. That takes us to four wins, which leaves one more win for the finding. I think it comes either @ UNC this weekend or home against Georgia Tech later this month. (But we better not win both of those games, because that would be six wins.)

This team isn't nearly as bad as they've played to this point, and for everything I dislike about Al Groh right now, he's not that bad of a coach. We'll win some games this season. The key is how many.

Five. That's what we need. No more, no less.

Five.

September 29, 2009

2010 Baseball Schedule Announced!

With football swirling the stinkhole, I find myself daydreaming of February baseball. And now the schedule has been released! Check it out...

Bang it HERE for the press release.

And HERE for the schedule pdf.

If anyone ever wants to go to a game, please let me know. I know Diddy and the Keens will be going to a lot of games with us, and I'm sure Joe and the Rookie will want to catch one or two also.

September 25, 2009

The Cupboard Isn't Bare

This horrific 0-3 start to the season has successfully stripped me of any sort of enthusiasm I had for the 2009 edition of Virginia Football. The fact that Al Groh wasn't handed his walking papers this week (during the bye week) means that he's our coach until at least the end of the season... which is probably the most prudent move UVA could have made, although a solid "he's retiring at the end of the season" statement being released would have eased fan angst and made these next nine games at least potentially enjoyable. Now we're left to worry about whether or not any given win will be the win that saves Groh's job. (Seriously, imagine if we end up winning six of the last nine and going to a shitty bowl game --- can't you see the administration buying into the "whole new offense" excuse and giving ol' Groh one... more... season...?) So we're in the very weird, uncomfortable spot of needing to pull for our team to lose games. That just leaves a terrible taste in my mouth, and makes me feel depressed and a little bit dirty. Of course, in the heat of the moment logic will take a backseat to emotion, and I'll pull for the Hoos, but the best thing for the program is continued losing and Al Groh's swift exit stage left.

So I've been doing a lot of dwelling on the negatives and wallowing in misery over these last three weeks. But that has to stop. I love football too much to live like this, and I love Virginia Football too much to completely turn my back on it.

A few days ago, on the Hoo's Next message board on Cav's Corner, Jamie Oakes wrote a very simple message: "The cupboard isn't bare for UVA's next head coach." That message was exactly what I needed to snap myself out of my embarrassing loss-induced funk and get the gears of optimism turning again. Jamie is right! The cupboard most certainly IS NOT bare for UVA's next head coach! Consider...

We have a lot of underclassmen starting on this football team, and thus, we'll be returning a lot of starters for the 2010 season --- four on the o-line, all the wide receivers, Torrey Mack, Dominique Wallace, and Perry Jones at tailback, all of the tight ends, Matt Conrath, Kris Jenkins, Steve Greer, Cam Johnson, Corey Mosley, Rodney McLeod (who has been playing GREAT football so far this season), Chase Minnifield, and possibly Ras-I Dowling. We'd be naive to think there won't be some attrition with a coaching change, but this is still a lot of talent returning to the field next season. Given the right breaks, I count eight returning on offense and either five or six on defense. Not bad. And of the guys we're losing to graduation, there isn't a lot of star power. Guys like Chris Cook, Will Barker, and Nate Collins are good players, but far from irreplaceable. In a lot of spots, I think we'll see tangible upgrades with the roster turnover (quarterback!)

Take a look at the projected depth chart for 2010, assuming a switch back to a more traditional two-wide offense and a standard 4-3 defense...

QB) Marc Verica / Riko Smalls / Ross Metheny / Quintin Hunter
The QB battle will be an interesting one to watch unfold for a new coaching staff. We have two traditional pocket passers and two scramblers. All four have legit talent.

HB) Torrey Mack / Dominique Wallace / Perry Jones / Max Milien
Wallace's injury casts his future into doubt, but it's not a terribly serious injury, so a complete bounce-back should be in the works. He could be the bellcow for a power running game, with Mack and Jones providing the curveballs and change of pace.

WR) Jared Green / Javaris Brown / Tim Smith / Kris Burd / Dontrelle Inman / Staton Jobe / Matt Snyder / Kevin Royal / Bobby Smith
It's raw, but there is a lot of talent here. The end of the TCU game and the first half of the Southern Miss game proved this unit's upside. The right coaching, the right system, and the right quarterback could coax it out.

TE) Joe Torchia / Colter Phillips / Paul Freedman
All three of these guys were big-time recruits.

OL) Landon Bradley / Austin Pasztor / Jack Shields / B.J. Cabbell / Billy Cuffee / Anthony Mihota / Oday Aboushi / Matt Mihalik / Lamar Milstead / Aaron Van Kuiken / Luke Bowanko / Hunter Steward
Groh's regime did a great job of recruiting the o-line over the course of the last two seasons. There is a lot of talent left in the program, as this unit only loses the inconsistent play of RT Will Barker.

DE) Matt Conrath / Will Hill / Zane Parr / Justin Renfrow / Jake Snyder / Tory Allen-Ford
I'm not sure that there's a true edge rush terror in this group, but there is solid talent. I'm sure the new coach will move some of the 3-4 OLBs to 4-3 DEs.

DT) Kris Jenkins / Buddy Ruff / Brent Urban / John-Kevin Dolce
The numbers are a bit lean for the switch to a full-time 4-3, but Jenkins and Dolce could really excel given fewer blockers to absorb.

LB) Cam Johnson / Steve Greer / Darnell Carter / Bill Schautz / Terence Fells-Danzer / Aaron Taliaferro / Jared Detrick / Jeremiah Mathis / Tucker Windle / Connor McCartin
It's difficult to say exactly how these positions will shake out (other than Greer at MLB and Cam Johnson at OLB), but moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 leaves this position flooded with warm bodies. The cream will rise.

S) Rodney McLeod / Corey Mosley / Ausar Walcott / Matt Leemhuis / LoVante Battle / Corey Lillard / LaRoy Reynolds
The safety position is absolutely LOADED with returning talent. So much so that McLeod might even be able to move back to cornerback.

CB) Ras-I Dowling? / Chase Minnifield / Dom Joseph / Mike Parker / Devin Wallace / Trey Womack / Javanti Sparrow
If Ras-I's play doesn't improve this season, his option of leaving early for the NFL will go the way of Kevin Ogletree's. I don't count on him returning in '10, but it is a distinct possibility. I'm bullish on Minnifield's ability at the position, and I really like the upside of Joseph and Sparrow. Solid.

K/P) Jimmy Howell / Robert Randolph / Drew Jarrett / Chris Hinkebein
Yep, they're all back.


So yes, there is talent on hand. The cupboard is not empty. And there is a great mix of talent that can allow a new coach to step in and turn this thing around quickly. I think that will attract potential candidates, and I think we could see brighter days ahead.

So that's what I'll be doing during these next nine games -- cheering on our underclassmen, watching the develop on the field, and daydreaming of the 2010 season and the excitement of a fresh start.

Is it sad to be looking ahead to September 2010 in September 2009? You bet your ass it is. But that's where I have to go to find my football happiness right now, so that's where I'll go.

September 17, 2009

I'm hearing that...


I'm hearing that there's a new hot name amongst the *powers-that-be* surrounding the Virginia football program: Charlie Strong, defensive coordinator, Florida. Very interesting...

I'm also hearing that Al Groh won't survive the bye week as UVA's head coach if the team loses in Hattiesburg on Saturday. Southern Miss has been installed as 16-point favorites by Vegas oddsmakers. It will take Groh's greatest Houdini act to find a win this weekend.

I'm also hearing that Gregg Brandon has made some BIG changes to the offense for this game, mostly in an effort to mask major deficiencies along the offensive line. That's the unit, by the way, currently serving as the popular scapegoat for the offensive struggles against W&M and TCU.

Last one: I'm hearing that Tony Bennett's latest recruiting commitment, California big man James Johnson, is destined for stardom in the ACC.

September 16, 2009

If I Were In Charge...

I don't exactly know who has their hand on the rudder of the UVA football program right now. Casteen is on his way out, Littlepage has made it abundantly clear that he has no appetite for the comings and goings of big time college football, the Board of Visitors is deafeningly silent, and the BTDs ("big time donors") are surely huddled together in secret enclaves, gathering money and making plans. But who is out there taking the point? Who is putting together the plan of action to save Virginia Football; to rescue it from the abyss that has become the Al Groh regime?

Lord knows I'm not in charge of much of anything. I have to embark upon a hardcore grassroots political campaign just to decide what to eat for dinner. But If I WERE in charge of the current Virginia Football Predicament, this is what I'd do...

Step #1 -- Announce very publicly that Al Groh is retiring/stepping down at the end of the year. This 2009 season is his last at the helm of the Virginia Football program. This accomplishes three things: 1) The fans can back off the venomous "Groh Must Go" campaign and just focus on supporting the team as best they can, 2) the new coach search committee can assemble and operate without the need for extreme secrecy, and 3) it gives Groh a chance to rally his team around the Alamo for one last heroic stand. Who knows? Maybe the team can pull it together enough to send its coach out with some amount of pride and dignity left intact.

Step #2 -- Submit a public apology for the Scott Stadium reseating plan. It was a terrible idea, poorly timed, and ill conceived. I think a lot of wayward fans would be able to begin their reconciliation after receiving a simple apology. "Hey, we really screwed up on that one. We'll try to do better in the future."

Step #3 -- Find a new head coach. One with the following qualities as baseline MUSTS:
  • The charisma to establish and sell a new brand for Virginia Football.
  • A background on the offensive side of the football.
  • College-based coaching experience of some sort.
  • Proven skill as a talent evaluator and recruiter.
  • The ability to emotionally motivate his players.

We basically need a person who can single-handedly pump instant life into a completely stagnated program. It's a tall order, but I think all Xs and Os can take a back seat to the task of rebuilding Virginia Football as an exciting entity.

I think the new coach has to be an offensive guy. We need to get to the point where we're scoring a lot and playing in shootouts. It's the easiest way to make bad football still be fun for the fans. Once we get the program on the right track again, the athletes (and thus, the defense) will come together.

I don't know. I've just been completely shell-shocked and depressed after the first two games of this season. It baffles me how far we've fallen down the list of relevant football programs. We have to find out way back, and we have to start that climb NOW.

September 8, 2009

The List...

The only thing keeping me off the ledge right now is my potential head coaches list. I hope it can save you like it's saving me...

I encourage you to hunker down and dig up some info on these guys. Try to find a chance to read about their teams or better yet, watch their teams play.

If you have any other names to add to the list, please let me know.


Mike London, Richmond
Ideal in a lot of ways, but he's too aligned with Al Groh for my tastes. I'd like a complete and total clean break from the Groh regime. If you're going to clean the house, then clean the effing house.

Troy Calhoun, Air Force
I really like the idea of this guy. But could we ever pry him away from his "dream job" at the AFA?

Derek Dooley, Louisiana Tech
Hasn't really proven himself yet, but he'll be out of our league once he does.

Todd Graham, Tulsa
He's a spread guy with a nice history of success, but I've got a feeling some of the "big boys" will come calling after this season.

Turner Gill, Buffalo
I think he's just a pipe dream for us. Kind of like basketball coach Anthony Grant.

Skip Holtz, ECU
I'm no fan of the Holtz family, but Skip is getting it done at ECU. (Sort of.) I doubt the administration would like to screw over Terry Holland by stealing his head football coach.

Larry Fedora, Southern Miss
Another disciple of the almighty spread. He's pumping some real life into the USM program right now... (as we'll see when the Golden Eagles beat us down in two weeks.)

Kevin Sumlin, Houston
He's from the Stoops coaching tree, and is doing very good things at Houston.

Randy Edsall, UConn
A Tom Coughlin protege, he's done a solid job at UConn, ushering them into D-1A and into the Big East with some success. Can you label this guy a program builder? Maybe. He wouldn't come cheap, as his current reputation far exceeds his career .492 win percentage at UConn.

Mickey Matthews, JMU
He won that D-1AA national championship and has had good recent success with the Dukes. At this point, you have to think he knows the state pretty well, after 11 seasons at JMU. Can he recruit at the highest level of college football? I have my doubts.

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
He's the perfect fit, and there's a sliver of hope that he'd leave Wake to come home and coach his alma mater. But it's only a sliver. He has too much of a good thing going in Winston-Salem to take on this grease fire in Charlottesville.

Tommy Tuberville, (former) Auburn
Is this even a realistic possibility? I tend to doubt it. But Tuberville (one B, by the way) is a popular pick amongst the message board riff-raff, so I've thrown him onto my list to appease them. I personally think he's holding out for a marquee job and/or marquee cash.

Larry Coker, (former) Miami
I'd almost rather keep Al Groh, but Coker is a guy that Adam Gottschalk named from his "inside sources" last year, so he's on the list.

Steve Logan, (former) ECU
He had a decent run at ECU from '92-'02, and is now kicking around the NFL as a position coach. he wants to return to college coaching, but does he have the chops UVA needs after a .543 career at ECU?

Phil Fulmer, (former) Tennessee
Personally, I think this guy is a scumbag who couldn't coach his way out of a pair of flimsy Chuck-E-Cheez fingercuffs, but like Coker he's a former national championship winner with a splashy name. I'll always be a fan of Virginia Football, but seeing us hire Fulmer would really test my loyalty.

Gary Patterson, TCU
Heard on CavsCorner: "This week's game could be a job interview, according to some donors I know." Grain of salt, grain of salt, grain of salt. But Patterson is a helluva coach.

September 6, 2009

I'm Happy


Now there should be absolutely no confusion; no wiggle room for the Groh apologists. Year nine of his regime, and we lose to William & Mary at home. Time for a change at the top, and there's really no argument to be made against that fact.

Sure, some will say, "let it play out, give him his year to win his 7 or 8 games and save his job." Some will say, "seven turnovers! It wasn't Al Groh out there fumbling the ball and throwing picks!"

No excuses. He built this team, and this loss is squarely on Al Groh. This loss, which is unquestionably the worst Virginia Football loss I've ever seen (and I've seen some really bad ones.)

To me, the worst part was the three quarterbacks looking and playing like they had each received one third of the practice reps in our brand new, completely different offense. If you read between the lines, Gregg Brandon wanted to name his QB early so he could get him ready. Al Groh took that decision out of Brandon's hands and into his own, and his ultimate indecision cost the team.

Yep, there should be no confusion now. We're getting a new head coach. Al Groh will play out the season (it's the "UVA Way"), but he cannot survive this loss.


Time to tune in to Air Force, Richmond, and Louisiana Tech (and Buffalo -- even if Turner Gill is a pipe dream for UVA ) football. Also, peek in on Tulsa. I think Todd Graham might also be a strong candidate.

September 4, 2009

10 Things I Want to See Against W&M


Consider this to be a postscript to the "10 things" list from a couple of days ago. This is a list of things I want to see in the game against William & Mary. Consider this my realistic wish list for the game tomorrow.
#1 -- A blowout victory.
This is William & Mary. This is a D-2... errrr... FBS team. We should annihilate this team. I'm setting my baseline for satisfaction at a three TD margin. If we don't roll the Tribe by 21+ points, I will not be happy.
#2 -- A touchdown pass thrown by Vic Hall.
Honestly, I've been waiting four years for this. I think Vic's first TD toss will be a moment of pure elation for him and for all of the fans that have followed his career and his gross positional mis-slotting by Al Groh.
#3 -- Solid linebacker play.
If this year's defense has a glaring question mark, it's at the linebacker position, which will feature three new starters. Granted, three of the four projected starters are seniors, and should be able to avoid being exposed and deliver good performances against a smaller, slower W&M team. I need to see it before I can fully believe it.
#4 -- No [serious] injuries.
To me, any significant injury along the d-line would be the worst thing for this team coming out of the gates. But it would be great if we can get through this game and into TCU week at more or less full strength. We'll need all hands on deck to win next week.
#5 -- An offense that seems like it has a plan.
I'm not demanding a 450+ yard offensive explosion in the first game with Gregg Brandon's spread attack, but I would really like to see the O deliver the goods and move the ball consistently against the Tribe. I want to see an effective running game (4+ yards per carry), and a passing game that completes 60-65% of its throws.
#6 -- A coach fighting to save his job.
Al Groh is already burning redshirts in an attempt to win as many games as possible this season. I don't typically like seeing redshirts burned, but I do appreciate the fact that Groh is doing whatever he can to save his job. In this game, I want to see the team throw some haymakers. Take some shots downfield in the passing game, blitz like crazy on defense. Try to take command of the contest early, and get the fans pumped up with some explosive plays. Nonchalant Al Groh grind-it-out football will not excite me, nor will it send the correct message to the fanbase.
#7 -- Fans that get angry if we screw around and allow this game to stay close.
We've suffered through enough mediocrity; tolerated enough failure. Now is the time for us to be wooed back into our passion, and it all starts with what we see on the field tomorrow. If #1, #5, and #6 don't happen, I want to see unhappy fans. Nothing could be worse for this program than total fan apathy. If the product isn't there, we need to convey our displeasure in no uncertain terms.
#8 -- Successful placekicking.
Ideally, our kicker (Robert Randolph?) will only be kicking PATs tomorrow, and lots of them. But I'm not naive enough to think we won't see some drives stall in field goal territory. I want to see a competent kicking game putting points on the board reliably.
#9 -- The building of some momentum that could carry over into next week.
If we start slow, that's fine. It's been a long offseason. But I really want to see a fast finish and a killer instinct so the team can build some level of confidence heading into the pivotal TCU game.
#10 -- A team that plays mean.
I want big hits. I want jawing on the field. I want tough blocking and hard running and fighting for extra yards. I want backs who don't go down on first contact and receivers who make tough catches in traffic. I want linebackers battling through blocks, cornerbacks bumping hard at the line, ends attacking the line of scrimmage, safeties lighting up receivers over the middle. I want Dex and Latrell Scott jumping around on the sideline. I want gunners who blow up the wedge and impale the returners. I want to see a team that plays with confidence and walks around with a swagger. I want something to cheer about and a team that I can fully embrace. For too long, Virginia Football has been soft. Tomorrow is the first chance to start changing that perception.
Wow, I actually whipped myself up into a frenzy writing this.

September 2, 2009

10 Things to Expect Against William & Mary


They say "making lists is lazy journalism." Well guess what, I am lazy, and I'm not a journalist. So here's a list of ten things we as UVA football fans should expect to see against William & Mary on Saturday.


#1 -- A stadium that looks [and sounds] half empty.
Look, everyone is happy football season is here, and everyone is trying to be cautiously optimistic about the Hoos. But let's be realistic. W&M is not a marquee opponent (hell, they aren't even a Division 1... er, sorry... FBS opponent), and we're coming off of a worse-than-it-looks-on-paper 5-7 season. For most fans, myself included, the season really gets started next weekend against TCU. To me, this William & Mary game just feels like a preseason exhibition game. I don't think I'm alone in that feeling, and I think the atmosphere in Scott Stadium will bear that out. Al Groh fatigue + last year's dismal finish + a crappy team for our home opener = a dead stadium.
#2 -- Al Groh WILL NOT reveal his starting QB for this season.
I'm certain Vic Hall will start the game behind center. I'm also certain that Jameel Sewell will see a lot of game action. And frankly, I won't be surprised if Marc Verica gets some snaps. By the end of it all, we'll just be even more confused about the identity of our starting QB. It's a preseason exhibition game, and I honestly think Groh will use it to give the three QBs one last shot at a live action audition.
#3 -- Torrey Mack will make you forget about Cedric Peerman.
Now I'm not saying Mack will be better than Peerman, I'm just saying that I expect us to be totally amped about this young man's potential at running back. For all of Peerman's gifts, Mack is a better receiver, he's faster, and he's better in the open field. He might even make us forget about Mikell Simpson.
#4 -- The no huddle shotgun spread offense will be unveiled, but not entirely.
Gregg Brandon will give us vanilla this week, so it'll surprise the Frogs when he serves up the Chunky Monkey next week. We should be able to roll over the Tribe with a grinding running game, so I fully anticipate that's what we'll do. We'll save the fancy passing display for when we need it.
#5 -- This game will be closer than we would like.
Any BCS program worth its salt should be able to crush a FBS team in a season opener on its home field. (And please, spare me the Appalachian State / Michigan memories. That was a perfect storm type of fluke.) Here's the rub: W&M is a good D2 team, and UVA is a shaky BCS team. Consider a new offense, rusty QBs, a ton of new starters at key positions, and a quiet home crowd and it adds up to a closer-than-comfortable situation. I predicted a 31-7 win back in June, and I stand by that. But I could easily see us only up 14-7 late in the 3rd quarter. (Taking it one step further... The fact that we even have to sweat a game against WILLIAM AND FREAKING MARY is further testament to the fact that Al Groh isn't, hasn't, and most likely won't get it done as UVA's head coach. This is his ninth year... shouldn't he have his program humming along, ready to massacre a team like the Tribe? End anti-Groh rant.)
#6 -- At least once during the game, you'll wonder why/how Chris Long is back at UVA, playing defensive end.
And then you'll realize that the player is wearing #94, not #91. And then you'll realize that you're watching Matt Conrath blow up the backfield and terrorize the edge. You'll be very excited, and then you'll remember that he's only a sophomore, and you'll be even more excited. But then you'll remember that we're playing against William & Mary, whose offensive tackles probably average 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds. You'll still be excited.
#7 -- You'll wonder why Al Groh didn't bother to recruit the William & Mary quarterback.
His name is R.J. Archer, he's from Earlysville, he went to high school at Albemarle, he was a life-long UVA fan, he wanted to come to Virginia to play football, and he's very, very good. Al Groh turned him away, and our loss was W&M's gain. (In the 2005 recruiting class, Virginia signed two quarterbacks -- Jameel Sewell and Vic Hall -- but left two open scholarships on the table.)
#8 -- Corey Mosley will knock at least one W&M receiver out of the game.
The Tribe likes to work the short passing game as its primary method of ball control, which means the hitting ability of our safeties will be put on display. Corey Mosley will be licking his chops for this game. You can also expect to see Anthony Poindexter jumping around on the sideline like a crazy person.
#9 -- You'll leave the stadium as one of Aaron Clark's biggest fans.
His story aside, the guy just plays HARD. It's easy to notice and impossible not to love the kind of effort he'll put forth. Find #41 and keep your eyes on him during the Tribe's first offensive possession. You'll see what I mean.
#10 -- A Virginia WIN.
Look, beggars can't be choosers. This is a cupcake game on which our Hoos might choke a little bit. But in the end, I think the talent differential will be too much for the Tribe to overcome. It probably won't be impressive, but it'll be a win. At this point, we'll take what we can get.

September 1, 2009

09-10 Basketball Schedule Qwikpix...

I've had a chance to let the basketball schedule sink in and marinate for a week, and now it's time to tear this bitch apart and predict wins and losses for Tony Bennett's first season as Virginia's head man.

Longwood -- Easy win. 1-0, 0-0

@ USF -- I don't have a good feeling about this one, on the road, early in the season. Close loss. 1-1, 0-0

Rider -- Don't listen to Adam Gottschalk. The Broncs are a quality mid-major team. This game will be a battle, but I think the Hoos pull away late. 2-1, 0-0

Oral Roberts -- O-Rob is tough. Brace yourselves for a home loss. 2-2, 0-0

Stanford (in Cancun) -- Yikes. 2-3, 0-0

Kentucky or Cleveland State (in Cancun) -- Double yikes. Kentucky is loaded, and CSU is a bonafide bracketbuster. Another loss. 2-4, 0-0

Penn State -- The Nits have a good team, but I like our chances homestanding after a few losses pile up. Backs against the wall, we represent the ACC and pull out a win. 3-4, 0-0

@ Auburn -- Another tough road game. Auburn is looking pretty good this year. 3-5, 0-0

UNC Wilmington -- Time to get "healthy" against the soft part of the schedule. Win. 4-5, 0-0

NJIT -- Win. By 40+ points. 5-5, 0-0

Hampton -- Win. 6-5, 0-0

UAB -- This is a quality team, but we're surging a little bit at this point. Tough-fought win. 7-5, 0-0

Texas Pan-American -- Easy win. 8-5, 0-0

@ NC State -- Here's where the rubber meets the road. Raleigh isn't the toughest venue in the ACC, and State isn't one of the ACC's better teams. I like the Landesberg/Spurlock show to win the day. 9-5, 1-0

Georgia Tech -- I'm glad we're getting them earlier in the season, but they are loaded with talent this season, especially up front. It'll be our perimeter game vs. their interior game. I tend to favor the bigs, so I'm predicting a loss here. 9-6, 1-1

Miami -- Just a gut feeling on this one. Win. 10-6, 2-1

@ Wake Forest -- Hrmmm. Tough game. Loss. 10-7, 2-2

Virginia Tech -- Ha ha ha, you think I'll ever pick a loss against the turkeys at home? Hell no. 11-7, 3-2

@ North Carolina -- Ahem. 11-8, 3-3

NC State -- I love this game at home. 12-8, 4-3

Wake Forest -- And this one, too. 13-8, 5-3

@ Maryland -- Too much rivalry here to expect a road win. 13-9, 5-4

@ Virginia Tech -- Malcolm Delaney is good. Really good. He guns Tech to the close win in this win. 13-10, 5-5

Florida State -- On the surface, this looks like a ho-hum game. But I think it's actually the most pivotal game of our season. We'll likely need a win here to see the postseason. I think we'll get it done. 14-10, 6-5

@ Clemson -- Toughie. 14-11, 6-6

@ Miami -- Hard to see a win here. 14-12, 6-7

Duke -- Not this year. Not yet. 14-13, 6-8

@ Boston College -- I really don't ever understand how BC is good. But they almost always are. This is a loss. 14-14, 6-9

Maryland -- Here it is, all on the line. Win, and you go to the NIT. Lose, and you need two wins in the ACC tourney to get to the postseason. I think we'll prevail. 15-14, 7-9


15-14, 7-9 looks very unimpressive, but I think as the season unfolds we'll all be excited about what Coach Bennett is building in the JPJA. I can't wait.