The big question: Does UVA off Mike London now, or later?

UVaHelmet_1Does UVA make a coaching change this week? Well, it’s obvious what will happen. It’s also obvious what should happen.

But first, to what did just happen. Virginia went into its nationally-televised Friday-night home game with Boise State knowing the stakes. After a 1-2 start, it was imperative to get a W. A 1-3 start would forebode another sub-.500 season, the fifth in six years for head coach Mike London, and that would seem to signal the end of the London era.

Vegas pretty clearly thought that Virginia had a chance to pull the upset. The line started the week at Boise State by two and a half, and it was still four at game time.

You just saw the result. That was max effort from the UVA football program for a national-TV game with a marquee opponent with the season and the coaching staff’s future on the line.

And so the message boards light up. Does UVA make a coaching change mid-season? The opportunity seems to be there. Virginia is heading into a bye week before beginning its eight-game ACC slate. Making a change would signal the change that is no doubt going to come after the Nov. 28 season finale at home against Virginia Tech, and give the administration a head start on finding the next man up. (Paging Butch Davis.)

But as we all know, that won’t happen. If you’re Texas, if you’re Alabama, if you’re Notre Dame, and things are going this bad, you don’t accept that your team utterly fails to show up for a must-win game, and you make a change, and you make it without concern for the blood that you’re spilling.

USC fired Lane Kiffin two years ago after a 3-2 start, for chrissakes, but that’s just it. If you take football seriously, if you take winning at football seriously, even 3-2 isn’t acceptable.

But, see, Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage just got handed a Capital One Cup a couple of weeks ago here at Scott Stadium, and that trophy was in his hands despite the program having the millstone that was a 5-7 football team dragging it down last year.

Which is to say, London has protection, in the form of the success of Tony Bennett, Brian O’Connor, Brian Boland and George Gelnovatch.

Those guys combined make a little more than what London takes home to oversee hot messes like that 56-14 crime scene that Boise State was allowed to perpetrate in front of 42,000 rain-soaked, depressed-as-hell fans at Scott Stadium.

You’re not going to want to hear this, but there are eight more of those displays to come before it’s all over.

That might not be the worst news of all time, and you don’t want to hear that, either, because think about it.

If Littlepage were to actually decide to guillotine London, you give the keys to who, exactly?

That’s how bad this is, folks. That’s how bad this is.

Basketball practice begins next Friday. Thank God.

– Column by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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