The Virginia Cavaliers have been playing football since 1888 in Charlottesville, VA. The university did a great job of building a beautiful stadium that opened in 1931 and now has a capacity of 61,500. The Virginia campus is a joy to look at and Harrison Field at Scott Stadium is one of the best venues in the ACC. When looking at the campus and the athletic facilities, one would think that Virginia is, or at least has had at one time, a successful football program, but they have not. Virginia fans are loyal, but the Cavaliers are a historically bad program. Virginia joined the ACC in 1954, and from that year all the way until 1984 Virginia finished with an ACC winning record only twice. Virginia has had some terrific players come through the program, but it has not translated into championships or double-digit win seasons. Since Virginia started playing football in 1888, they have won 10 games in a season just once (1989). Since joining the ACC, they have only won the conference twice, and both times they had to share the title with another team (1989, 1995).
Their bowl record is also poor as they are just 7-11 in bowl games. Perhaps more alarming than the losing bowl record is the fact that they have only been to 18 bowl games. This football program has really struggled throughout its existence and is still struggling today. They have been through 39 coaches, with only nine of those coaches holding the job for at least four seasons. Their has been no stability in this program, and the only coach that could do anything worth noting at Virginia is George Welsh. Welsh coached from 1982-2000 and captured the school’s only ACC titles in 1989 and 1995, both as co-champions. Welsh is also responsible for 12 of the program’s 18 bowl appearances and four of the program’s seven bowl victories.
Al Groh took over in 2001 and coached until the end of the 2009 season. He was responsible for the remaining three bowl victories. After Groh was let go, Mike London was hired after a successful stint at Richmond. There was a new, positive feel when London took the job, and in his second year he led the team to an 8-5, 5-3 ACC record with an appearance in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. However, since then, the honeymoon has ended as he followed the 2011 season with a 4-8 record in 2012. In his three-plus years as the head coach at Virginia, London is 18-27 and just 8-20 within the ACC.
This year his team is 2-6 and currently on a five-game losing streak, with their only wins coming against BYU and VMI. The situation looks even more grim when you look at their remaining schedule. They play Clemson this weekend, followed by North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech. A 2-10 season looks to be in store for the Cavs unless they can upset one of their four remaining opponents. This weekend when the Tigers come to town, they also bring an offense that ranks 18th in total offense averaging 495 ypg. Quarterback Tajh Boyd rebounded nicely last week against Maryland, and Clemson’s skill position players are far more talented than Virginia’s defense.
The Cavalier offense has been an adventure this year as well, ranking 83rd in total offense. They run a lot of plays throughout the course of a game, but it does not translate into points seeing as how they rank 97th in the nation in scoring offense. Virginia quarterback David Watford has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this year, including three against Oregon in Week 2. Even more discouraging than Virginia’s record is their fan support this year. There were a lot of empty seats during their home game against Georgia Tech last weekend, and the attendance will most likely drop again this week. It is tough to get fan support in any sport if a team is performing this poorly. The crowds at college football games love to be supportive and cheer, but at the end of the day the team must give their fans something to cheer about.
Travis Patterson, Writer For ACC Rantsports.com. Football Writers Association of America Member. Follow on Twitter @tpat20. https://twitter.com/tpat20