This is going to be kind of a short review and also late because I've been spending all day focusing on the positive. Thinking happy, positive thoughts. It's days like Saturday where I'm thankful to have two teams in my rooting satchel. It sucks we lost - really, it sucks that we lost 38-0, I would've been able to just let a 21-14 loss wash right over me - but fortunately it cannot dampen Michigan's win over Ohio State. That's the bonus - you'd think going 1-1 on Saturday would even things out, but a win over a rival is untouchably delicious. Nothing can ever ruin that.
Of course, the flipside is that nothing can make up for a 38-point loss to a rival, either, right? Wrong - we are 8-4 and going bowling. As I was hoping to be 6-6 at this point, I can't let myself be too disappointed. I think the bowl possibilities are narrowed down to two: the Department Store Bowl in Charlotte and the Music City Bowl in Nashville, with either Cincinnati or Vanderbilt, respectively, as opponents. In other words, we're not even stuck in some non-destination hole playing some glorified D-II Sun Belt squad, and there are beatable opponents waiting. Win this upcoming bowl game to go to 9-4 and I can call it, at worst, the second-best season of UVA football since I arrived on Grounds as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first-year. How can I complain? Besides the obvious, I mean.
Speaking of the obvious, let's take one last necessary look back on Saturday and then file it forever. Because we have to tally up the predictions, that's why. Otherwise, the only analysis you need is HOOS PLAY BAD. No need to anguish over things like the decision to forgo a field goal - wooo, it would've been 38-3 and besides that VT would've gotten the ball back in better field position than they did so maybe they'd've scored on that drive and then it would've been 45-3. Hoos play bad. Turn ball over. Not run block. Analyzing that game - so easy a caveman can do it. Let's analyze predictions instead:
- Either Jones or Parks tops 100 yards rushing.
You heard me: Not run block.
- Mike Rocco completes between 50 and 60 percent of his passes.
16 of 27 does in fact qualify. Unfortunately, he didn't do the other thing I said he needed to do, which is take care of the ball. Rocco actually moved the ball very well as long as he was on his own side of the field. When the Hokies had less ground to defend, they did it very well.
- So does Logan Thomas.
Thomas was 13/21, which is more than 60%, so I get nothing here. It's the only right call, as UVA failed in general to shut down Thomas through the air. The two things I most feared came to pass, and you see the result.
- David Wilson runs for 120+ yards.
Make that three things. Wilson got his yards alright, 153 of them.
- Perry Jones catches at least five. He is Superman.
Jones caught zero. Hello kryptonite.
- Whichever QB throws fewer interceptions, wins.
You know how this one went.
Three for six gives me 36-of-88 in the regular season, which is a shade under 41%. Considering how specific I make these predictions, I think that's not half bad. 6-6 in the score department, though, which literally is half bad, and 6-5-1 ATS. I have a chance to get over .500 on picks, and I suspect I'll do so if the Hoos win their bowl.
Losing means I didn't get to cast a vote for UVA in the Blogpoll after all. Maybe next year - or maybe in the final poll after the bowl. Anyway, this is the ballot. They're coming later these days because they take longer to do every week.
There's a lot of change because there were a lot of rivalry-game routs, and these rivalry games don't often match up a powerhouse against a patsy, so there was a lot of opportunity to make things happen.
I don't want to be ranking Southern Miss, by the way, but they are 10-2 (and UVA is kind of a marquee win) and the alternative is either Georgia Tech or dipping into the Big East turdbowl. So there you have it. And if it's any consolation, Saturday was clearly Virginia Tech's best win of the season - usually I just slot that one in the middle somewhere. (That's not consolation? Well, I tried.)
This marks this year's final installment of Senior Seasons - a few teams are still playing, so I'll toss the results out there if I remember, but only in news bullets. But have no fear - I expect the 2013 recruiting class to be absolutely outstanding, so next year this ought to be a fun section.
Piscataway 34, Franklin 19: Kye Morgan ran for 158 yards and a touchdown, which pushed him over 1,000 yards in just ten games, but Franklin lost their annual rivalry game and finished 6-4.
Buford 42, Elbert County 13 (C.J. Moore)
St. Joseph 32, Hammonton 3 (Max Valles)
St. Joseph Prep 30, Malvern Prep 14 (Michael Mooney)
Hermitage 10, L.C. Bird 0 (Andre Miles-Redmond)
Only three schools will play next week: St. Joseph and Max Valles, Buford and C.J. Moore, and Hermitage with Andre Miles-Redmond. St. Joseph won its rivalry game against crosstown public school Hammonton, and next week will play for New Jersey's Non-Public I championship. Buford and Hermitage are in the state semifinals, Georgia's AA division and Virginia's Level 6. Hermitage's opponent is Centreville, and the winner plays the winner of Oscar Smith and Battlefield at Scott Stadium.
All three have excellent chances; St. Joseph has outscored opponents 423 to 19 this year. Hermitage should be favored against Centreville and then would likely have a battle of the titans against Oscar Smith. Buford has been crushing everyone and is going for its fifth straight title; it would take an upset for them to lose.
-- I forgot to mention the demise of the soccer teams in their NCAA tournaments. The men, deprived of their best scorer, didn't get past the first round, losing at Klockner to Delaware, 1-0. The ladies carried a shutout streak into the quarterfinals (including a 4-0 win over VT) but lost to FSU in the quarters. Women's sports being what they are (which is to say, way fewer upsets) all four teams in the semis are 1 seeds; UVA was a 2 seed.
-- Someone tell me again why it's the ACC that always gets the bad football rap. We have nine bowl-eligible teams; the Pac-12 would have seven if one of them wasn't a dirty cheater. Seven Pac-12 teams have a losing record in-conference, and five overall, or they will once UCLA gets rocked in the Pac-12 championship. Only five ACC teams have losing conference records, and only three have losing records overall. And if you tell me that's because the ACC plays one fewer conference game and builds its record up on the nonconference schedule, I'll ask you why the SEC gets a pass on theirs.
At worst, the ACC has been the fourth-best conference this year behind the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 - and the Big 12 is being held together by duct tape and toothpicks. The Pac-12 has already fired three of its coaches (all in the putrid Pac-12 South) with more potentially on the way.
-- Speaking of fired coaches, it appears that the ACC will get through this offseason without a single coaching change. That hasn't happened since the 2005-2006 offseason. Although it's not for lack of trying on the part of the fanbases. Marylanders are already chomping at the bit, of course, to get rid of Randy Edsall. Can't imagine why. And Bostonites want Frank Spaziani gone, but he's not going anywhere. (Via BC Interruption.)
-- After the talk of being "Oregon of the East" during last year's uniform unveilings (and getting out-Oregonned so hard by Maryland - and come to think of it, VT as well, but much more quietly) that died down fast this year. UVA skipped two combinations entirely (white over blue and orange over orange, the latter of which THANK GOD) and only used two combinations more than once (orange over blue three times and white over white four times.) All that hype over fancy new unis and we roll with white on white as much as possible.
Everything else was used just once. I could go the rest of my life and be happy never seeing blue/blue in any uniform style ever, but the white jersey with orange pants is too sharp to ignore. And it's a little disappointing to see so little of the classic blue and whites. There's still the bowl game, though.
-- UVA got very solid representation on the all-ACC teams released today. I don't think I can complain about any snubs; I guess I would have liked to see Perry Jones (honorable mention) get more consideration than Andre Ellington (2nd team) simply because Jones is a much greater receiving threat than Ellington, but I think overall it's pretty decent. And ohbytheway, nobody had more players on the first team than UVA did. Only Florida State tied us, with three. Here's the breakdown as far as UVA is concerned:
1st team: Austin Pasztor, Matt Conrath, Chase Minnifield
2nd team: Oday Aboushi, Steve Greer
HM: Perry Jones, Rodney McLeod, Anthony Mihota
-- Big basketball game tomorrow. Big one. It's kind of a bittersweet moment in history for me; it'll be the first time I've ever cheered against Michigan in anything. (I've always said that if this ever happened, I'd choose sides based on who needs the win more; that is clearly Virginia. It'll make up for my answer to Gobbler Country about picking a U-M win over a UVA one on Saturday.) On the plus side, you can expect a pretty well-informed game preview.