Forget this season. It's no fun. Instead, we decided to discuss and predict how UVA finishes the 2020 football season. Because we've GOTTA be good by then, right? RIGHT?!?!
Sully Sparks (bluntly): 4-6 :(
Caroline Darney: I'm going to go optimistic. Let's say 10-2. We will have a stunning sophomore quarterback with a name something like Seamus O'Hoolihan (see what I did there?) and a three star junior running back who had a break out second year and earned the starting spot. We will lose an early season game to an out of conference foe, but a respectable one, and fall in a very close away game at Clemson. Virginia will still dance around in the low 20s, high teens for the rankings, but garner more respect.
Ok, that's a little ambitious. I think we will have a winning record. I won't speculate on who our coach is. Jake McGee will be playing in the NFL. When do we start basketball round tables?
Paul "Tiki" Guttman: Tough one. We're looking at 4-8 this year, which means anything other than a great year next year means London is done. I think we'll go 6-6 next year, which won't be good enough to keep London around. I think that will be the wrong decision, but unfortunately I don't have enough money to impact these decisions. Changing coaches every 5 years isn't going to get us anywhere. So we'll basically be back to square one in 2015. Which means 2020 is going to be about the same as 2014, so I'll say 6-6
Sully: That was fantastic logic.
Caroline: Yeah, I change mine. What Tiki said.
Matt Trogdon: II think Virginia finishes the 2020 season in the top half of the ACC and with a run to the Sweet Sixteen. BJ Stith will get his jersey retired at a ceremony before the Duke game, and Tony's boys will beat the Blue Devils for the fourth straight time at JPJ.
Oh...you meant football?
Will Campbell: After 2018, Nick Saban steps down from Alabama after winning 5 straight national titles. He's not done with coaching, but wants a new challenge. He gets on his G4 and flies to Charlottesville to meet with Brian O'Connor who has just been appointed AD after winning his third national championship in five years. Saban tells Oak that he wants to "really challenge himself this time" and wants to take over a program that "hasn't seen a (real) winner in this millennium." Oak ponders it over and tells him "Ok!" and proceeds to fire Tom O'Brien, who took over for Mike London after the 2014 season. Unfortunately, TOB hadn't had a better season than 5-7 up to that point, so the decision wasn't hard. Saban takes over in 2019, goes 8-4 and defeats Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. The next year, the team is a pre-season Top 15 team, but falters as UVa always does in their out of conference schedule, but still advances to the ACC Title game against Florida State. He loses to the Noles, but the bar has been set. UVa will be a top ten team entering 2021....
Paul Wiley: Fantastic, depressing logic.
The 2020 squad will benefit from coaching stability. Head coach D.J. Durkin will be entering his 6th season at the helm of the program; his aggressive, attacking defenses-coached by coordinator Travaris Robinson-and big-play special teams units will have become UVa's trademark through the latter half of the 2010s. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford will have installed the same smart-guy smashmouth style he coached at Stanford before joining Durkin's inaugural staff in 2015: a system that helped lift Greyson Lambert to a 2nd round draft pick. After several seasons finishing in between 12th and 25th in the final standings and a strong returning core, Hoos fans will be excited for continued success.
But what will that success look like? In the bad old days, a conference championship would have been considered a wildly successful season. But in the new era of the Big Four conferences-Atlantic Conference, Pacific Conference, Midwest Conference, and Southern Conference, sixteen teams apiece-just making it to the conference championship game is about the same. With North Division games against BC, UConn, Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia and VPISU, plus historic cross-over rival UNCCH and conference games against Kentucky and Cincinnati, the Cavaliers rip off nine Atlantic Conference wins, the only blemish a road stumble at WVU. 9-1 in Conference, 6-1 in Division, sets up an Atlantic Conference Championship Game showdown with three-time national champions Louisville. The Hoos block a punt late in the game, setting up a short field that Virginia converts into the game-winning score. The team goes into the College Football Playoff as the #3 seed, bowing out to Pacific Conference champion UCLA in a thrilling 3OT game.
WHAT MOM WHY DID YOU WAKE ME UP I DONT WANNA GO TO SCHOOL YET FIVE MORE MINUTES GOSH.
Tiki: Paul, I love your scenario except for the Sanford part. Not sure about him. His only real success came under Urban Meyer. With a defensive guy at the helm, I want a real offensive guru.
If we could get a DJ Durkin type, I'd be thrilled. I suspect that Will's scenario of replacing London with TOB is more realistic.
So...that was interesting. What have you guys got for us?