Surprised at UVA move on Mike London?

london littlepageUVA Athletics Director Craig Littlepage made it official on Wednesday, telling Wahoo Nation that football coach Mike London would be back for 2015, cooling the hot seat talk, for now, anyway.

The timing of the announcement is interesting, to say the least – on the eve of the Cavs’ regular-season finale on Friday at Virginia Tech with a bowl bid on the line. There had been assumptions from some in the fan base and in the media room at JPJ that London might need to win that game to secure his job for 2015, though there had been indications in recent days that he had nothing to worry about.

Despite a four-game losing streak that reversed the momentum from a solid 4-2 start, Virginia had been competitive all season long, really only out of one of its 11 games to this point in the 2014 season, the 35-10 loss at Georgia Tech a few weeks back.

The ‘Hoos, meanwhile, own wins over Louisville and Miami, had a near-miss at home against Top 10 UCLA in the opener, and played well on the road at #3 Florida State earlier this month in a loss.

That wasn’t enough to satisfy those most vocal in the fan base clamoring for change at the top, with Virginia one loss away from what would be its fourth losing season in London’s five years at the helm in Charlottesville.

But it’s hard to argue with Littlepage in one respect. The AD said before the season that he wanted to see improvement from the 2014 Cavs. Now, the bar had been set low by the 2013 team, which finished 2-10 on a nine-game losing streak with a string of losses that were anything but competitive.

This year’s group is a couple of levels of play above that one, though. The offense is only marginally better, but it has been better, and the defense has been special, rated 13th nationally in the ESPN Power Index.

Continued stellar play in 2015 from the D, more improvement from the offense and special teams, and the talent base coming back should be in position to improve upon this year’s five (or six, or seven) wins.

As long as, ahem, cough, cough, Coach London continues to work on his game-management skills, where he and his staff seem to still have a lot of work to do.

– Column by Chris Graham

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