December 19, 2013

Let's Talk About the Ticker

Received this piece of anonymous feedback last week, courtesy of the GIVE A YELL feature (look to the right, just below the "Hoos House" picture):

Guys, you have the 'The Firing of Mike London' ticker up - which is great. Only problem, what if the team somehow manages to win 5 next season? Hate to say this but I believe [Craig Littlepage] will consider that 'measurable success' and extend [Mike London's] obnoxious contract. God only knows what will happen if we somehow stumble to 6 wins. :(

Great piece of feedback.  Thanks anonymous.

Okay, let's talk about the ticker.

1) I know it's a low-class move.  At times, I feel a little ashamed that I can stoop so low.  But then I quickly remember that this man (and the administration that chose him) has methodically ruined something I care very deeply about -- Virginia Football.

2) I don't know for certain because I've never met the guy and I don't know him personally, but by all accounts, Mike London is an awesome dude.  Good guy all around.  Great in the community.  Just a fantastic person.  HOWEVER, this sad realization hit me this season: as a head football coach - as our head football coach - Mike London is a clown.

3) We just followed up a 4-8 season with a 2-10 season, and we did not fire our coaching staff.  There are maybe 10-15 schools out of the 123 in the Football Bowl Subdivision who might have also kept the coach in place.  Among BCS conference schools, I'd say maybe Iowa State, Kansas, Indiana, [pre-Cutcliffe] Duke, [pre-Grobe] Wake Forest, [current] Colorado, [pre-Franklin] Vanderbilt, and Kentucky would have retained a coach performing at the level London is currently performing.  From a "competitive spirit and expectations level," we have dropped to the bottom 10% among the 64 BCS-level schools.  To me, that is completely unacceptable.  Yes, Al Groh dug this grave, but it's Mike London that dropped us the six feet down.  And it's our administration making the football decisions that is dumping the shovels of dirt on top of us.

So yeah, there's a ticker.  There's a ticker because I think Virginia Football is dead in the water until there is a change at the top.  That's Mike London being fired, but it's also a complete scorched earth dismissal of the coaching staff, and the dismissal of Jon Oliver (possibly to also include Craig Littlepage).

So circling back to the anonymous feedback, from above...

What happens if we win 5 games in 2014?  Well, I really don't think we will.  Unless a miracle - like, a real-life miracle - happens at the quarterback position, 4 wins is the ceiling for this team.  I hope I'm wrong about that, but I'm not hoping too hard --- because if we do win 6+ games and go to a bowl game, it only further delays the inevitable coaching change we're going to need if we want to find our way to stable footing and achieve any level of sustainable long-term success.

I share your concern, Anonymous.  I share it to the point where I'm trying to reconcile whether or not to buy my season tickets for the 2014 season, knowing that there will be a fucked-up duality of me wanting to see the team win vs. knowing they need to lose in order to avoid further delaying the future health of the program.

It's a shitty situation, all the way around.  I'll end up buying the tickets and being at the games to support my team and to support the kids who are out there playing football.  But enthusiasm for the overall product?  That won't be there, not after our administration made the unforgivable mistake of not cleaning house after the 2-10 disaster.

UVA football is a joke.  Our head football coach is a clown.  And keeping him after a 6-18 run across two seasons is insanity.

One last thought:  Don't worry too much about it, Anonymous.  Ticket sales for the 2014 season will lead the admin in the right direction.  Nothing short of 8+ wins [a virtual impossibility] will move the needle, and even that is probably going to be too little, too late.

Do either of Quin Blanding or Andrew Brown play quarterback?

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