What happens when Mike London returns for a sixth season with UVA football?

london littlepageYou know it’s going to happen. Craig Littlepage, wise as he is heading up an athletics program at UVA that was an eighth inning away from a Director’s Cup last season, with a two-win football team weighing the rest of it down, is going to find reason to bring Mike London back for another year at the helm of the football program.

In-game decision issues, inconsistent game preparation by the staff, and continued slow development of highly sought after recruits into productive college players notwithstanding, Littlepage will cite some vague notion of “improvement” as the rationale for giving London yet another chance to get things turned around.

So what happens when that happens?

Nobody comes to games in Scott Stadium anymore Wait, that’s already happening. Through six home games in 2014, Virginia is averaging 39,355 fans, which wouldn’t have sold out Scott Stadium pre-2000 renovations, when capacity was 42,500. With capacity now at 61,500, and overflow boosting the single-game attendance record just shy of 65,000, Scott Stadium is already playing to half-capacity most weeks.

Attractive option for a throwback home football game in 2015: Lambeth Field. Which, maybe, UVA could actually play to capacity. (Maybe.)

Virginia football is another year closer to permanent irrelevance Two words: Wake Forest. Remember when jim grobe had that nice little run a few years back? Vaguely? Wake is the Wake of the ACC Atlantic Division, and Virginia is the Wake of the ACC Coastal. There’s talent in the program, as we all know in great detail what a solid recruiter London is, particularly given what he has to sell in terms of coaching bona fides, but the talent base is going to erode with another year of losing on the field and uncertainty off it.

One of the arguments against canning London last year that is being recycled this year is that firing the coach sets the program back as much as four to five years with the chaos that changing a coaching staff brings to operations, both to the staff and to personnel, since players may leave of their own accord or be run off by the new coaching staff in addition, adding to the disharmony.

If you happen to be of the mindset that London is not the man for the job, and in saying that, meaning you’re not Craig Littlepage or Jon Oliver, the last comics standing, the sacking of London is inevitable, this year, next year, the year after that. Every year added on to the end of his failing tenure is another year lost to the rebuilding job to be undertaken by the next next guy.

Or maybe you throw your arms up in the air, like Wake has done for decades, like Duke did for longer, before stumbling into David Cutcliffe, and say, hell with it, which actually is what Littlepage and UVA president teresa sullivan seem to have done already.

Wrestling, volleyball, fall baseball surge in popularity with the fan base There’s only so much you can do with soccer, a successful fall sport on Grounds, because God love it and the World Cup, it’s a game that you have to want to love. (Send your cards and letters to …)

I’ve taken in a UVA volleyball match. On the road. I missed on fall baseball last month, but that has to be better than another botched fourth quarter or another beatdown by Georgia Tech or UNC.

And then: it’s basketball season. Open practices to the public so the fans can see a tactician in action.

Apathy sets in, takes over, puts fan base in a rear naked choke, fan base taps out Even long-suffering UVA fans can only be expected to take but so much.

– Column by Chris Graham

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