Following Virginia’s embarrassing 56-14 loss to Boise State on Sept. 25 in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers have to endure a two-week period of angst as they prepare to play Pittsburgh on the road Oct. 10.
Some might suggest the bye week comes at a great time for Virginia. They have a chance to lick their wounds a little bit after tough games with the likes of UCLA, Notre Dame, and BSU.
But on the other hand, they’ve got a whole extra week to think about exactly what happened on the field at Scott Stadium on that dreadful Friday night against Boise State, and how it could impact the immediate and long-term future of the UVa football program.
Most Virginia fans and supporters want Mike London gone at this point, especially after getting pummeled on national television. In fact, some UVa students went so far as to paint “Fire Mike London” on Charlottesville’s Beta Bridge over the weekend.
Those that are ready for a change in direction in Charlottesville have a valid point when looking at London’s 24-41 overall mark at Virginia, along with his 5-19 ACC record.
Talking with informed sources around the UVa program, it seems that the barometer set for London heading into the 2015 season was six victories. That, of course, would send the Wahoos bowling for the first time since 2011, when they lost to Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Sitting at 1-3 following the loss to Boise State, the Cavaliers will have to go 5-3 in ACC play in order to reach bowl eligibility.
While it’s not an impossible task, it’s certainly not going to be an easy one.
Following the Oct. 10 Coastal Division matchup with Pitt, the Cavaliers are staring at an absolute must-win game back in Scott Stadium Oct. 17 against Syracuse.
Should the Wahoos defeat the Panthers and Orange, they would be somewhat back on track at 3-3 heading into the meat of their ACC slate — a six-game stretch that includes road games at North Carolina (Oct. 24), Miami (Nov. 7), and Louisville (Nov. 14), and home matchups with Georgia Tech (Oct. 31), Duke (Nov. 21), and the season finale against Virginia Tech (Nov. 28).
Realistically, it’s going to be very difficult for the Cavaliers to produce six wins against that kind of competition, but that’s what it’s probably going to take to salvage London’s career at UVa.
If things continue to go downhill, and Virginia finds itself with only a couple victories heading into November, things could really fall off the cliff as far as team chemistry and the coaching staff’s ability to hold it all together.
Of course, if coaches themselves know they’re about to be walking out the door, that can lead to its own level of drama and indifference in practice and around the football offices.
The general feeling is that Mike London has done everything at Virginia but win enough football games. And that’s why he was given a sixth season this fall to try and get over the hump.
He’s produced high-character young men, most of which have graduated, and some of which have moved on to the NFL.
By all accounts, he’s run a squeaky-clean program.
Unlike a lot of college coaches, he’s served as an outstanding role model to his players by not making news himself with off-the-field transgressions.
But at the end of the day, that might not be enough for a Virginia administration and fanbase eager to be more competitive on the gridiron.
Author and documentarian Theodore White said in his award-winning 1963 film “The Making of the President” that Presidential politics have little time for losers.
Football — at least on the coaching side of things — is the exact same way.
For Mike London — a good man caught in a very challenging situation — the time has come to win quickly, or step out of the way.