January 27, 2014

The Straight Scoop

As of this morning, I have it on very good authority...

Mike London must win at least six games in 2014.  If he fails, "EVERYONE" is gone.  This includes members of the athletic administration, specifically Jon Oliver and potentially Craig Littlepage.

As you'd expect, I have some thoughts on this.

#1 - I'm a little bit disappointed by the number six.  As Pierce said in one of our recent comments sections:

I want to comment here on something I've seen around twitter/boards. It's a thought summed up well with this tweet:

"Looking at the sked based on last year and who's coming back... Should #UVa make a bowl in '14, Mike London would deserve COY consideration."

To this I reply: Hellllllllllllllllllllllllllll no.

The only reasoning for this is because he'd be taking a 2-win team and then winning 6 games against a admittedly-difficult schedule. But this completely ignores the fact that COACHING is the reason we were a 2-win team last year. He's not inheriting it. Coaching took a team with 6/7 win talent and won 2 games. In his 5th year leading the program, no matter the schedule, 6/7 wins should be the average minimum expectation.

Were we to win 6 wins and make a bowl next season, then Mike London will have done an adequate job.

Exactly, Pierce.  Exactly.  And six wins doesn't erase the failure of going 4-8 in Year Three and 2-10 in Year Four.  London should have been canned in December 2013.  2-10 is inexcusable.  Retaining a coach who just went 2-10 is an absolute joke for any program with ambition beyond leeching a share of TV money from its conference (see also: Duke Football from 1996-2010).

In any case, a 6-6 season isn't nearly enough to win back the hearts and minds of die-hard fans like myself, who have soured on the program being run by London, on his systems (or lack thereof), on his ability to lead Virginia Football where we think it should be able to go.  A 6-6 season does nothing but cast this whole thing into some weird sort of static-type stasis.  It's neither progress nor regression.  It's just... nothingness.  I need 8+ wins in order to buy back in, and I'm not alone in that sentiment.

Again, he should have gotten canned after the 2013 season.  I think the reason London wasn't fired this past December is, simply, money.  As in, the total $11.6 million the school would have owed to these coaches in order to clean house, and that's hot on the heels of the $13 million shelled out for the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility.  There just wasn't enough BMDs (Big Money Donors) lined up to pay for a coaching staff to NOT coach the team this coming season.  That's a tough sell, I don't care how rich you are.

Anyway, here we are, aiming agonizingly low.  Six wins.  That's not even a good season.  That's a merely competent season.  Show some competence to save your job.  I guess it makes sense, but if we go 6-6 and get shellacked in a bad bowl game, I'll have a really hard time swallowing the idea of London returning in 2015.

#2 - It's exciting to me that Jon Oliver is included with this "EVERYONE" being gone.  It's pretty clear to most who closely follow Virginia Football that Oliver's influence on the program has been the administrative equivalent of poison.

#3 - I'm not sure how I feel about Craig Littlepage potentially being on the outs if Virginia Football fails to win six in 2014.  On one hand, he's the man ultimately responsible for the mess that Oliver and London have made.  But on the other hand, 'Page has done really well with the non-revs, and recently with basketball.  Is firing him a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?  I'm not sure.  I'm just not sure.

#4 - Take another look at the 2014 schedule.

Aug. 30 -- UCLA
Sept. 6 -- RICHMOND
Sept. 13 -- LOUISVILLE
Sept. 20 -- at BYU
Sept. 27 -- KENT STATE
Oct. 11 -- bye
Oct. 18 -- at Duke
Nov. 1 -- at Georgia Tech
Nov. 8 -- at Florida State
Nov. 15 -- bye
Nov. 22 -- MIAMI
Nov. 28 (Fri.) -- at Virginia Tech

There is no way in hell we're going to win six of these games.  Richmond, yes.  Kent State, probably.  Beyond that?  I guess I could see us beat Pitt, maybe UNC.  We don't beat Duke.  Miami is going to simply outclass us.  We don't have a prayer in the UCLA, Louisville, BYU, or FSU games.  That leaves two road games, against the two Techs.  I just don't see six wins here, no matter how hard I squint.

But here's the fucked-up thing.  I'm not sure I want to see six wins.  I'm so convinced that Oliver and London are the wrong guys to be leading Virginia Football, I don't want to waste another year delaying the inevitable change we need to make in order to get things moving in the right direction, toward some form of sustainable success.

These guys need to go.  And if it means 7+ losses to get us there... then... ugggghhhhhhhhhh.

I can't pull for us to lose, but this situation at least allows the losses to add up to something that could be considered constructive in the long term.

What a shitty situation.

Anyway, there's the scoop.  Discuss.


  1. Great scoop.

    I will say this to my previous comment and in light of some confirmation on 6 being the number.

    If we win 6 games vs that schedule, I will definitely support keeping CML - my response was to the idea that that'd be anything worthy of coach of the year accolades.

    I don't see it either - and certainly am rooting for the team to win. Stranger things have happened I suppose. Maybe Greyson turns it on and shock the world.

  2. At least the practice facility is helping the other sports in a big way.

    I can't put a number on wins that'd do me, it's the intangibles. If we won 10 games, I could still support getting rid of Mike London, and if we only win two, I could support keeping him, but both of those scenarios are three standard deviations past the mean on their respective sides in possibility.

    I can't root for us to lose, though. and I still hope Coach London can salvage things and make everything an unbridled success.

  3. That it's come to this makes me sad. I'm not sure I can come up with a win number that would do it for me either against this schedule. I would like to see no moronic coaching (non)moves though. Heck, if we win 10 games despite CML making ridiculous decisions I'd still want him gone.

    I can't say I'd be too upset with Oliver's dismissal, especially since Bennett is the one glowing mark on his resume and he was apparently delivered by Wally Walker. I would like Littlepage to stay.

    1. I can understand the equivocal feelings toward Littlepage, but in every department, the head needs to be responsible for the results of decisions. JO's role has been Littlepage's responsibility.

      Because JO's direct involvement in the program's management has been widely reported, it would be hard for me to envision a coach not being concerned about JO's past involvement in the program. Prospective coaches vet athletic departments and schools, especially coaches that are considered "in demand".

  4. How do experts expect Louisville to be this year without Bridgewater or Strong?

    It seems like we should at least play with them defensively before London finds a way to blow it.

  5. Boy, you guys are a bunch of haters! If CML wins 6 games after a 2 win season, Yes! I want him back. He's obviously done great with recruiting 5 Star Virginia talent (when is the last time we had that) and if he wins 6 games in 2014 and wins a bowl game I'm certain more good recruits will follow. However, if he doesn't win 6 games and a bowl - bye - bye.

    1. The only thing I hate is going 2-10 - our worst record since the early 80s - in a head coach's FOURTH SEASON at the helm. And we looked like crap in getting to that record. Literally zero signs of improvement. Zero reasons to get excited. Zero cause for optimism moving forward.

      You think about 6-6 in terms of the level of improvement from 2-10. I think about 6-6 in terms of what I expect to have happening in the 5th season of a coach's tenure. For example, take a look at what Tony Bennett is doing in his 5th season. We'd be [rightfully] furious if he went 16-16 this season, wouldn't we?

  6. Understand this-Kendall loves his Hoos more than any of you will ever know. It is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking for him to endure this travesty of a program. I know this because he told me the other night while we were spooning! You go GOD BOY!!!

  7. One of the things that bothers me most is that after going 2-10 I dont feel any better about our quarterback situation. It is practicaly the same as it was before last season. I hate to say it but I dont see Watford being our guy. Maybee this Cutler guy will take the reigns and run with it.

    Our D is our strongest spot and I think if they werent on the field the whole game could be one of the better D's in the ACC. I would hate to see the defensive staff go down and disrupt that progress as well.
    Concerned Hoo,