Two quick items before the main thing.
First is that the mystery of who will fill out the last slot in the schedule has been solved. The ACC still has yet to release the full schedule, but at least we have the 12th opponent: Indiana. The Hoosiers will visit on October 10, and we'll return the favor and trip to Bloomington in September, 2011. We've never played IU in football before. My initial gut reaction? Excellent news: IU has a notoriously shitty defense.
Second is an interesting little blurb out of the mouth of Jon Gruden, recently fired from the Buccaneers:
"I want to go to Al Groh's camp in Virginia. I love the way Al Groh coaches that football team."
Gruden has time on his hands, so he's interviewing about what he's going to do with it all. I wish I wish I wish Gruden had elaborated, but I somehow doubt the media-types will ignore the chance for some sound bites if/when Gruden pokes his head into camp. So we'll likely forget all about this quote until Gruden does visit, at which point we may hear something interesting. Groh and Gruden are kindred souls in that they speak their own rather entertaining dialect of coachspeak and are good for a quote when they feel like giving one.
OK - Florida State. Wait, no: The ... Florida State University. (It's silly when Ohio State does it - it's downright stupid and comical when nouveau-riche goons like FSU parrot it to try to add some sorely lacking cachet to a renegade program.)
Virginia Cavaliers (7-12, 1-7) at Florida State Seminoles (18-5, 5-3)
Possible starting lineups:
PG: Sammy Zeglinski (9.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.4 apg)
SG: Calvin Baker (7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.6 apg)
SF: Sylven Landesberg (17.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (10.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.7 apg)
C: Assane Sene (3.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
PG: Toney Douglas (20.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 apg)
SG: Chris Singleton (8.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SF: Jordan DeMercy (3.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.0 apg)
PF: Ryan Reid (5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C: Solomon Alabi (7.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.2 apg)
I was having a really tough time motivating myself to write this. I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with a cold, and I don't know right know whether it's getting worse or better or if the Tylenol I took is going to help. Sounds kind of like our season right now - hey, an "angle"! That's what sportswriters are always looking for, right? Thus, my problem was solved.
Just like how tomorrow I'll find out if I'm actually sick, or just tired, I think tomorrow will be a big indicator for the rest of the season. If we get blown the hell up out of the water again, I can't see us winning any more games, period. But we put up a fight against UNC, and even though the talent gap won out, the same ol'-same ol' cycle was broken. We have a chance here to finally break the losing streak, or at least, play a game that helps to restore our confidence.
FSU is just the kind of team we need for that. They have a good record and they're a bubble team for the tournament. They're getting noticed, too: ranked in both polls. I don't think they'll go to the Dance, though. They have plenty of weaknesses, the biggest being turnovers. At 299th in the country in turnovers per game, they're occupying the same territory as powerhouses like High Point (6-17) and Yale (8-12). Not only that, but FSU tends to be even more of a one-man show than we are. Toney Douglas is carrying that team, and hasn't failed to score at least 20 points in a game for a month. If we play the kind of tenacious defense we're capable of playing when fired up to do so, the other guys on that team won't be up to the task of helping Douglas out. Every time he's taken more than 20 shots in a game, FSU has lost, and as with our team last year, it seems easier to take the whole rest of the team out of the game than the one star.
So I really think this is our last chance to salvage anything at all from the season. Win this one, or even put up enough of a fight, and I see enough winnable games on the schedule to claw out of the bottom two, which is nice because it means not playing Duke or UNC in the opening round of the ACC tournament. Revert to the same ol', and there's no reason to expect even one more win the rest of the way.