Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports
After a hard-fought win against BYU, Virginia's season suddenly looks a lot brighter.
The working theme for this column series was supposed to be "Tuesday Tantrums." That theme doesn't fit this week for two reasons. First, I didn't get it this column done on time to publish it Tuesday. Second, I don't have anything to complain about this week as it pertains to Virginia football.
Heady times, I tell ya.
The way I see it, Virginia fans should be elated following Saturday's 19-16 win over BYU. The defense looked surprisingly solid given all of the staff changes and attrition. Anthony Harris manufactured two highlight-reel turnovers. Eli Harold
(writer flashes 757 hand-signal) wrought disruption everywhere he went. Brent Urban
had his hands in passing lanes all day. Henry Coley
looked like Angelo Crowell in spots. And we got a safety. A safety?! When was our last safety?!
Special teams impressed for the most part. A blocked punt and a 53-yard field goal? We'll take it.
The offense...well, there's work to do there. But David Watford
(757 hand signal again) managed the game well and made plays with his feet. The offensive line kept Watford off his back and created some nice holes in the running game.
Big picture, the most important thing is that Virginia found a way to get a win that it badly needed. This wasn't a must-win game, to be sure. But a quality season-opening win over a consistent, talented football team will certainly give the Cavalier reputation a shot in the arm. I said last week that a 6-6 record should be considered a success this season. BYU wasn't a must-have in order to get to 6-6, but it certainly makes the road easier.
Around the league, things also look a bit rosier for the Cavaliers than they did previously. Clemson and Florida State both look like legitimate national powers. If they keep winning, it will only raise the league's profile. Pittsburgh and North Carolina, meanwhile, look quite beatable. Both played tough opponents in Week 1, but I doubt either inspired a lot of fear around the Coastal division.
Virginia enters week 2 in a pretty nice situation. Oregon, one of the highest-profile foes in school history, comes to town Saturday for what should be a sellout. A national audience will watch on TV at home. Even if Virginia loses like most predict, they'll head into the bye week at 1-1 instead of 0-2. Given the questions surrounding the program coming into the season, that's a much better spot for Coach London and his recruiting efforts.
No one will hold it against the Hoos if they fall to the Ducks on Saturday. On paper, it looks like a middleweight fighting a heavyweight. But if they can make it an exciting fight, especially on national television, it will further the momentum they built in the rain and lightning against the Cougars.
Until next week, there aren't any complaints here.