December 28, 2014

Carousel Update

Hope y'all are having a nice holiday. Not to dump a lump of coal in your stocking but I thought we should take a minute to review what could have been for UVA football in a coaching search. Kendall did a beautiful job assembling a massive list of coaching candidates, but I've narrowed this down to 11 that I think realistically would have considered and potentially come to Virginia considering where they ended up. Additionally it will highlight some guys that are still out there we may be able to get our hands on after maybe next season, though who really knows with this administration.

Pat Narduzzi-Pittsburgh
In terms of winning right away, I thought Narduzzi would have been the best hire we could have made. Narduzzi was hired to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt and I think is going to do a great job up there. Complete no nonsense guy who can make a great defense out of scraps, which is what Pitt has at this point. With a returning QB and that James Conner guy still mauling people at running back, I think Pitt is going to get better next season with Narduzzi.

Chad Morris-SMU
Honestly I doubt UVA was ever really going to have a chance with Morris if he wanted to get back to Texas badly enough to take the SMU job, best of luck coach.

Mike Bobo-Colorado State
After losing Jim McElwain to Florida CSU went back to the SEC well with Georgia. Bobo probably wouldn't have lit up this fanbase, but he certainly knows how to win. CSU also does a great job as a stepping stone getting a nice date with Florida and a massive buyout for McElwain. Considering the Penn State rumors after the peach bowl season, this could explain why London's buyout was so huge too.

Tom Herman-Houston
My guess is Houston gets Braxton Miller with this one too. Nice package. I really liked Herman for the UVA job based on his intelligence and pedigree. If he can recruit athletes well enough (he'll be competing with Morris at SMU for second tier Texas kids.) I think he'll have a lot of success. Who knows if we keep treading water with London long enough maybe he can make the list part X.

Phil Montgomery-Tulsa
Total fartsound. The fact that Tulsa, SMU, and Houston are all going to have high flying offenses and we have another season of read "options" and bubble screens is just infuriating. Montgomery is known as a very quiet guy, but shockingly I can't imagine UVA is all that much louder than Tulsa. What in the world has happened here.

Still Available!
Luckily we still have the following guys available ranked based on my preference:
1. Mark Hudspeth
2. Matt Wells
3. Pete Lembo!
4. Rhett Lashlee
5. Scott Frost

Frost, Wells, and Lashlee all apparently were offered interviews for Tulsa. Hudspeth is still my top choice, but he is going to cost a fortune. Hopefully the ACC TV money can make that happen for us. My top priority still is getting a coach in here who has built a program before, however if we get a hotshot young OC from a big time program, I would be ok with that too.

So we missed out on some big guys, but there are still plenty left. THERE IS STILL TIME CRAIG!!!!!!

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. 

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.


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 na├»ve 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!