Breaking Down the Buzz: Virginia
Virginia fans are taking a look at the 2014 schedule and debating the most likely scenario for the Cavaliers and head coach Mike London.
Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Eye on College Football examines what current hot topic the fans of one BCS team are obsessing over -- rationally or not. Today's team: the Virginia Cavaliers.
What they're talking about...Virginia's record in 2014. The ACC announced kickoff times for the first few weeks of the season, including UCLA's visit to Charlottesville on the first Saturday of the football season. The Bruins will likely be nationally ranked, somewhere in the Top 10-15, and are led by quarterback Brett Hundley, a Heisman hopeful. But the season opener is one of several tough games on the 2014 schedule, and earlier this week fans over at Wahoos247, UVA's 247Sports site, were discussing how many games they should expect UVA to win in 2014.
What they're saying is...6-6 might be the ceiling with this schedule. Virginia fans have been pretty hard on Mike London as the win total dropped from 8-to-4-to-2 in the last three seasons. While fans are taking a level-headed approach to the game-by-game breakdown -- identifying Richmond, Kent State and home games against Pitt and Miami as the best opportunities for wins -- the discussion also includes talk of the future and what changes might be made given a certain finish.
-- I'm not discounting 6 wins and a bowl game. I think we certainly have the potential but it will require great OL play, good QB play, we would need to stay healthy, and we can't be getting in our own way. I'm hoping for a bowl game this year but I'm not holding my breath on it.
-- 6-6 is just short of guaranteed to bring London back. 5-7 with a win AT VPI will likely do it, too. Not saying it should, but you'd be a fool to bet against it.
-- If 6-6 is the goal for this team, that's shameful. The four best consecutive recuiting classes in program history, seniors at key positions all across the field...hell our entire secondary is seniors. We're praying for 6-6 and then next year we'll be talking about "rebuilding?"
-- In year 5 of the London era, we are praying for a .500 season. What the hell happened to this program?
What we're saying is...a win over Virginia Tech and/or an upset at home could help London's case. According to Jerry Palm's Strength of Schedule rankings posted earlier this week, Virginia's slate ranks as the No. 10 toughest schedule in the country. It trails only Miami (and Notre Dame, if we're including the Irish as partial members) in the ACC, thanks to UVA drawing a road game against Florida State as its cross-division rotating opponent and inheriting Louisville as the new cross-division rival (previously Maryland).
Virginia fans have a reason to be upset with the steady decline from London's 8-win season that resulted in ACC Coach of the Year honors to the 2-10 showing in 2013. The instability at the quarterback position has been a well-discussed issue, but with a few respectable recruiting classes now filling depth chart spots UVA fans have a right to demand better performance.
Mike London will be near the top of most "Hot Seat Rankings" you will see this summer, and that's unfortunate because most teams in the ACC finish 7-5 or 8-4, at best, with UVA's schedule. It sounds like winning against Virginia Tech and North Carolina could go a long way towards pleasing the fan base, and given the Cavaliers' strength in the defensive backfield there could be a good upset opportunity at home against Louisville on Sept. 13.
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