Ugh

I love watching the athletic programs of my undergraduate alma mater, the University of Virginia. One of the small joys in my life, generally. But if UVa disbanded their (American) football program tomorrow, I wouldn't shed a single tear. Generally, I watch one football game per week: the UVa game. It's no wonder I don't enjoy football any more. The Cavaliers just lost to the worst Virginia Tech team in two decades. What an embarrassment.

Kudos to the Hokies. Enjoy your bowl game.

I'm so glad that it's basketball season.

College Football Conference Expansion

Perhaps it's just my naturally pessimistic outlook when it comes to Virginia sports, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the ACC is going to end up getting screwed here. The Big Ten is looking to expand, and the dominoes are about to fall with respect to the other conferences, including the Big East, the Big Twelve, and the SEC, perhaps. Jerry Ratcliffe and David Teel have provided their takes on the subject. I dunno...the ACC has never had visionary leadership, so I'm expecting the worst.

NFL Wrap Up

Let's put the finishing touches on the NFL Draft and its aftermath. We all know that Chris Cook was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round. While Cook was the only Hoo drafted, several others have signed free agent contracts:

- Vic Hall signed a contract with the Chicago Bears -- published reports previously linked him to the Baltimore Ravens -- and he will play offense and special teams.

- Will Barker signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

- Mikell Simpson signed a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

- Rashawn Jackson signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers.

- Nate Collins signed a contract with the New York Giants.

- Jameel Sewell was invited to the Miami Dolphins' rookie mini-camp for a tryout.

- Denzel Burrell was invited to the Cleveland Browns' rookie mini-camp for a tryout.

I'm still surprised that Collins and Jackson weren't drafted, but I expect that each of those guys will craft a decent NFL career nonetheless.

One more reason to root for the Bengals, by the way: Cedric Peerman just signed a free agent contract to play for Cincinnati, as well. Hopefully he or Simpson, or both, can make the team.

Hoo will get picked in the NFL Draft?

As UVa fans, we've grown accustomed to seeing our guys picked early in the NFL Draft, despite less-than-stellar results for the team. Not seeing a Hoo picked in the first round last night was a bit of a shock to the system. Check out recent first and second round selections from Virginia: [table id=1 /]

The Draft continues tonight, and cornerback Chris Cook appears to be a good bet to be selected in the second round. Rashawn Jackson and Nate Collins are likely mid-to-late round picks, as well. Others, including Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell, are unlikely to be drafted but stand a decent chance of catching on as a free agent with a team. (On that note, the Redskins recently signed former UVa quarterback Marques Hagans, and we're hoping Biscuit will be able to stick this time.)

It'll be interesting to see where Cook, in particular, is selected. I was kinda hoping he'd sneak into the first round last night, but you have to believe he'll be picked fairly early tonight. My fingers are crossed.

On Michael Strauss

Jay Jenkins has this very interesting profile of Michael Strauss in the Daily Progress:

It is all about jockeying for a spot on a depth chart as a Cavalier now for the 6-foot-3 quarterback.

And based on his decision to ask and be allowed to enroll early at Virginia — typically a taboo thing for Virginia football players — Strauss is ahead of the game....

Strauss knows that he has to shine in practice to move up the pecking order, but is willing to bide his time and did not take it as a knock when he was the third signal caller to take a snap in the spring game.

“I try to do the best that I can when I get in there,” he said. “I just try to take it one play at a time and whoever plays is the guy that plays.

“That’s the coach’s decision.”

I love the fact that Mike London is able to get some guys into school early -- greyshirting, it's called -- to let them get a head start. It certainly has to help Strauss. There has never been a better time to be an incoming quarterback at UVa, because there is a great opportunity to win a spot.

Good luck, Derek Dooley

Down here in southwest Virginia, I'm forced to listen to blather from both Virginia Tech fans and University of Tennessee fans. Therefore, I'm looking forward to making sure all the Vol fans know that their new coach, Derek Dooley, is a Wahoo. I wish Dooley the best of luck; he's stepping into a big job, and I just hope he's ready for it. I admit that I didn't consider him one of the top candidates for our job when it was open (I've been a Mike London fan since day one). Seemed like he needed a little more experience before taking a high-major job.

Tennessee didn't agree, and I hope they're right. Then, when they're winning big, I can look at all the UT bandwagon homers around here and remind them that they had to look to UVa to bail their football program out. That'll be sweet. :)

Al Groh to Georgia Tech?

It appears that Georgia Tech has fired their defensive coordinator. One of the candidates to replace him: Al Groh. I don't like the sound of that one bit. For all his faults, Groh is a talented defensive coordinator, and he'd give us headaches were he to go to another ACC school. Particularly Georgia Tech, where they already feature an innovative offense.

No, I don't like this idea at all.

National Championship

I'm watching the BCS National Championship Game right now. The pageantry, the fireworks, the excitement. All I can think about is how incredible it would be if Virginia could somehow make it to a game like this someday. I know, I know...that's beyond anything we should even hope for. Probably not possible to reach those heights at UVa. Still....

More good news for the football program

Perhaps I'm just desperate for good news in the wake of two disastrous seasons, but I'm choosing to be an optimist. Sue me. Anyway, the outstanding hire of Mike London as head football coach appears to have resulted in the return of a couple of individuals who could have an impact on the UVa program. First, running back Keith Payne will be returning, rather than transferring to Liberty for his final season of eligibility. (Well, actually he will just be staying at UVa; he never actually left, but had planned to.) No, Payne isn't superman, as suggested (with tongue firmly in cheek) on various message boards, but he can help this team with depth in the backfield.

More interesting is the return of UVa legend Shawn Moore, who will be coaching either the QBs or WRs (pending further hires). As an alum who remembers those glory days (even though I was still in high school at the time), I think bringing Moore back into the fold is a great thing. I'm hopeful that Moore can be an asset in recruiting the DC area.

All Mike London, All The Time

The Virginia men's basketball team returns to the court tonight against Auburn, in what will be a very tough test on the road. Basketball is my favorite UVa sport, and we'll be getting back to discussion of hoops soon. Until then, however, we're in the tank for Mike London here.

I couldn't be more excited about the hiring of London to head the football program. This guy is a winner, and he's a recruiter, and I really don't think UVa was in a position to get anyone better to be the head coach.

If you are underwhelmed by the hire, go read this article by Jeff White. The quotes from Chris Long are very encouraging.

I'm very hopeful that London will help get Virginia into some recruits' homes in the 757, out there in Tidewater/Hampton Roads. For too long, UVa has lagged behind in that area, and if you want to recruit well in the Commonwealth, that's where it starts. Period.

Welcome back, Mike London

Welcome back to the University of Virginia, Mike London. I couldn't be happier that London is returning as the head coach of the football team at UVa. It's an inspired choice, and one that I'm very hopeful will pay dividends quickly. Especially on the recruiting front:

Just as important as London’s ties to Charlottesville are his recruiting connections within the state. He is a graduate of Hampson’s Bethel High, in the talent-rich Tidewater region and went on to play defensive back at Richmond. London served as the Cavaliers’ recruiting coordinator during his first coaching stint at UVa.

I may have to get season tickets again, after a one-year hiatus.