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Virginia Football: Tilting at windmills

uva football
Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia is 2-2. So are preseason ACC favorites Clemson and North Carolina.

Don’t try to point that second fact out to your UVA football friend. His misery doesn’t love company.

My misery: being saddled with perspective, yet surrounded by negativity.

Is it true that players and coaches received threatening voicemails after the loss to Wake the other night?

I’d suggest that the similar reports that circulated after the basketball loss to UMBC a few years back might be confirmation.

We know that fans are @’ing the hell out of team members with nonsense about how the defense isn’t doing well, as if they wouldn’t have known without hearing it from some doofus with HoosFan4Life in his Twitter handle.

I realize that the knuckledragging slackjaws who post to social media represent a tiny percentage of any team’s overall fan base, but that having been said …

Isn’t sports supposed to be … fun?

Like, you choose a favorite team, you watch the game – maybe you buy tickets and go.

You root, root, root for your team.

If they win, alright, that’s awesome!

They lose, bummer.

We’ll get ‘em next time.

A lot of folks don’t seem to get sad when their team loses anymore.

They want blood.

Fire this guy, cut this kid’s scholarship.

How can these guys sleep at night, take Sundays off?

They’re not real people, the players and coaches, in this rendering.

They don’t have families, school responsibilities.

They don’t already commit their lives to football as it is.

They’re losing games; they have to do more.

Bronco Mendenhall has yet to ask our forgiveness.

It will never be enough.

I’m not breaking any news here, but Virginia is never going to win a national championship in football.

What tells me that is: math.

To win a national title in football, you need a two-deep full of guys, roughly 50 in total, who can, together, score one more point over the course of four quarters than Alabama.

You can’t get 50 guys who can run with what Alabama puts out there into the University of Virginia at one time.

You can get five, maybe.

The goal at Virginia is getting 50 guys who can win eight or nine games a year against the likes of Wake, Carolina, the Techs, Duke, BC, Pitt.

It would be nice to be competitive in games with the Clemsons and top-tier SEC schools if you end up getting a game with one of them, but even that is a stretch.

If you start there, that the goal isn’t to go 12-1 or 13-0 to get into the playoff, because that ain’t happening, but winning eight or nine, giving the fans and alums some nice moments in the fall ahead of basketball season, back-to-back losses in September don’t get your blood pressure up too high.

Nine is probably out of reach now, but this team could still win eight, and if it doesn’t, what the hell, right?

Basketball season is around the corner, and we can compete there.

You need 50 kids to hang with ‘Bama. You need eight to beat Duke, UNC, Kentucky – and out of those eight, only two or three of them need to be future NBA prospects.

Give Tony Bennett two or three NBA guys, he’ll pair them up with a Jack Salt and a Kihei Clark and hang you a banner.

Bronco could be Walter Camp, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi all rolled into one, and he wouldn’t be able to take his five ‘Bama-quality guys and 45 three-stars and win 14 games between September and January.

Once we all get that, we see that leaving threatening voicemails for players and coaches makes no sense, that screaming to the mountaintops that this guy or that guy needs to be fired is tilting at windmills.

Virginia Football is about giving us something to do on Saturdays.

Every so often, they surprise us and go to a Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl.

The other years, we had fun with the occasional upset of a Florida State or Clemson, and the Pep Band making fun of whoever else we were playing.

That’s where this all went off the rails, when we put money into the Marching Band, and set our sights on throwing $180 million into playing catch-up with the rest of the Power 5.

Seriously, as soon as they cut the ribbon on whatever the new football training facility ends up coming on line, it’s going to be outdated.

We’re Wile E. Coyote, ordering back catalogue from Acme, trying to keep up with ‘Bama, Clemson, Oregon, who, if we ever get anywhere close, beep-beeps us into a trail of bust.

I realize that I’m a minority of probably one here in thinking this way, but give me Virginia Football with a guy like Bronco recruiting guys who want to play ACC football and get a degree from the University of Virginia, who can work hard and maybe win eight or nine games a year when it all goes well, and I’m happy.

Now, let’s go out and kick the bejeezus out of Miami next week.

Story by Chris Graham