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.


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:





Ole Miss

Mississippi State

Oklahoma State


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.


  1. Digging that Sarlacc Pit is becoming a permanent member of your metaphor utility belt.

    1. I almost changed Pink Nightmare to Sarlacc Pit, and I'm trying to fit it in wherever possible. Write for three different, separate entities -- Wahooze, CKL, and Gridiron, so I use license to invoke any given metaphor three times!

  2. How about the "Hire Pete Lembo (2-5) wagon?

    I actually admire that you are willing to make predictions. Most fans only remain capable of armchair QBing postgame. Hmmm....I say "UNC will beat VA this week, and the differences in our two offensive philosophies will be apparent in that result. Our defense could prove me wrong, but we'll see.

    I think keeping London (as a recruiter and motivational guy) and hiring an OC for a few million who runs and updated system (how about East Carolina's OC) is the better option now, particularly due to past financial missteps.

    1. I'm still on the Pete Lembo bandwagon. He's having one bad season. Mike London had one GOOD season. Context, my friend. Context. Plus, argument could be made that it's harder to win at Ball State than at UVA.

      Meanwhile, I hear your plan to keep London around to recruit and motivate. Two things: 1) He's not the elite recruiter people make him out to be. Two five-star kids does not a five year run make. 2) He sucks as a motivator. How many times have you seen the London-led Cavaliers simply quit during a game? It happens a lot - waaaaaay too much - for me to continue to blindly believe the guy is some sort of master motivator.