The national media has weighed in. If they’re right, Bronco Mendenhall will face another uphill battle in 2017. Outlets like SB Nation and ESPN have started previewing the 2017 football season, and their outlook on Virginia isn’t pretty. Here’s what’s been written lately.
SB Nation’s Bill Connelly released his preliminary projected S&P+ rankings in early February. His rankings take into account past recruiting rankings, returning production, and recent history. Connelly ranks Virginia 70th nationally and last in the ACC Coastal. Only two of Virginia’s 2017 FBS opponents rank lower: Boston College (76th) and UConn (125th).
ESPN also recently released its projected rankings for the 2017 season. It ranks Virginia 73rd in its Football Power Index (FPI). The FPI is similar to Connelly’s rankings, but also includes head coaching tenure as a component. UConn (120th) is the only 2017 FBS opponent with a lower ranking than UVA. BC comes in at 72nd.
Sticking with ESPN, ACC blogger David Hale previewed Virginia’s schedule this week and painted a gloomy picture. “The schedule doesn’t leave much margin for error if the Cavaliers want to make a bowl game,” Hale wrote. Almost as bad, he labeled William and Mary as the “trap” game on Virginia’s schedule. Hale listed W&M, Indiana, UConn, Duke, and BC as five potential wins, but ultimately predicted the Wahoos will finish 4-8.
It’s still early in the year, and Virginia fans will be seeing many more predictions between now and September. For now, though, the Hoos look to have their work cut out for them if they’re to raise expectations, both among the media and the fan base. Stay tuned to Streaking The Lawn for more Virginia football offseason coverage.