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Countdown to Kickoff: 16 Reasons to Get Excited for Virginia Football

The win/loss record may not be one of them, but there are still plenty of reasons to get excited for the upcoming football season!

Mike Ehrmann

Nobody panic at what I'm about to say.

There are only 16 days remaining until Virginia Football kicks off its 2014 campaign against UCLA on August 30.

Well, I see I've already lost some of my audience here. But for those of you reading on, presumably there's something about this upcoming season that has given you reason to get excited. The good news is that we've come up with 16 reasons. The bad news is that you may or may not like all of them.

In no particular order, here we go:

  1. Greyson Lambert. This one is actually in order, because at least for me, I am REALLY STOKED for this. The quarterback that saw minimal playing time last season, leading everyone to wonder just how bad he was given the 2-10 record, has shown tremendous growth over the past year and is ready to take over the reins and bring UVA's football program back to respectability.
  2. Exciting opponents. UVa fans get the pleasure of watching the Hoos take on UCLA, BYU, Florida State and Louisville, for starters. Not to mention, the annual contest against Coastal champions Duke! (There's more to football than the win-loss column, right?)
  3. Eli Harold. 8.5 sacks despite being the only real threat on the DL once Brent Urban was hurt.
  4. Tailgating. Let's face it -- tailgating alone is a reason to live for the Fall. Go ahead and put that Richmond game down on your calendar, because Streaking The Lawn will be hosting our annual tailgate before that game, thanks to the kindness from St. Maarten's, our tailgating sponsor!
  5. Andrew Brown/Quin Blanding! They're here and ready to make a difference!
  6. Defense! Defense! Virginia returns nine starters on defense, and if the offense can give them just a little bit of resting time, they should be in a great position to protect the Hoos' endzone.
  7. All-American Ant Harris. Reminiscent of former UVA great Ronde Barber, Harris let the nation with eight interceptions last year. He's on a million preseason watch lists, so keep an eye out for great things to come this season!
  8. Tre Nicholson Injury Free. Nicholson lost over half of his junior year last year due to a lower extremity injury, but he looks to be healthy and back in action, and will be instrumental in a pretty strong group of cornerbacks. [Edit: Nicholson was sidelined due to his turf toe injury still nagging him. According to reports, the team expects him to be back and ready to go by the UCLA game, but it's unclear as to how long it will be before doctors clear him for practice.]
  9. Coach Sintim. Former Cavalier star Clint Sintim is a Cavalier once again. Sintim had led the nation his senior year in most tackles by a linebacker. He was drafted in 2009 in the second round by the New York Giants, where he played healthy for two seasons. He twice tore his ACL in 2011 and eventually retired in 2013. He rejoins the Cavaliers this year as a graduate assistant and will be working with Marques Hagans and the wide receivers.
  10. Do or die. We can't ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room. For Mike London, he knows -- and the media at the ACC Media Kickoff made sure he knows -- that another abysmal season won't bode well for his immediate future. Get ready to watch the drama unfold!
  11. Kevin Parks. It will be interesting to see what Parks does for an encore after becoming the first UVA back to rush for 1000 yards in nearly a decade.
  12. Smoke. Might we have a real punt returner finally?
  13. Countdown. Each passing week is another week closer to the return of Virginia Basketball.
  14. Max Valles. Four sacks from the raw true freshman. What can he do with a year of seasoning and some pass rush techniques?
  15. Keeon Johnson. True freshman became the most dangerous receiver on the field the moment he stepped onto it. What might he do with a real QB and another year of experience?
  16. FlightAware. Don't pretend like you aren't secretly jealous about all the other schools out there get the opportunity to track every flight in and out of their city in hopes of figuring out who the next coach is. And while we're not saying that Mike London is getting fired this year, we're at least saying that this site is now bookmarked.

What about you guys? What gets you excited for the upcoming football season?