I could've told Louisville fans that Bobby Petrino's QB switch wasn't going to work. You could've told them. Maybe you even did. It was obvious because we've seen that movie before. Louisville fans, they've been a bit spoiled what with Teddy Bridgewater running the show lately, and I think they've noticed. Reggie Bonnafon wasn't going to stop Max Valles from channeling Brent Urban, nor make Daquan Romero and Anthony Harris any worse at sniffing out screens, nor make Eli Harold turn off beast mode.
Watching someone else go through the quarterback gyrations, though, that by itself is satisfying enough. Especially since our own problems should be solved. (Should be, because the history of this staff doesn't allow for absolute pronunciations where this position is concerned.) One QB controversy starts, another (mostly) ends - such is the rankings-shuffling nature of college football in September. Just like that, the script is flipped.
I don't know if this is only temporary. It feels like the kind of win that you could point to, months later, and say, "that was the turning point, right there." It also feels like it could be fools' gold - but just the feeling that you did strike gold is good enough for now, and in deference to the pure positivity that should emanate from being 1-0 in the ACC after being 0-8, negative details are excised from this post and put off til later.
Last week, some Louisville sportswriter wrote a boilerplate column that called UVA "Northwestern with a larger stadium and lovelier campus." The whole thing would've been infuriating if it weren't so damn irrefutable. That's pretty much how folks have been viewing UVA lately, whether we wanted to believe it or not. Now instead of the ACC's worst team facing the #21 team in the country, UVA has more votes than Louisville in the media poll this week. Flip.
The general feeling these days is that there are seven teams in the Coastal and any one of them could win it. Actually, what interests me is this: Rare is the year in which all teams in a division are bowl-eligible (it's only happened once since 2002, in the ACC Atlantic) and it could certainly happen this year. For UVA to hold up its end of the bargain, the upcoming BYU game is a big one. Win it, and UVA should only need to find two more wins in ACC play (Kent State is horrendous.) Lose it, and we need three - the difference looms large.
-- No UVA RB tops 70 yards rushing. Correct, as Kevin Parks came closest with 66. Parks's run to seal up the win, though, was Manly Man Football at its finest. Have I mentioned I'm a fan?
-- Canaan Severin builds on his Richmond game, with at least five more catches. Severin had a nice little four-catch game, but only managed 19 yards. I probably got a little carried away with what constitutes a good game, but the fact remains that Severin looks like he's starting to live up to his four-star rating.
-- Greyson Lambert begins to take hold of the QB job, with stats that start to separate him from Johns. For one, he throws no picks while Johns throws at least one. Well, Lambert threw a pick, but I'm gonna break this up into two predictions because I think I deserve credit for the the first one. So that's a make and a miss. But a pretty big make.
-- Will Gardner completes 2/3 of his passes or more.
-- UVA's sack numbers fall to no more than two. On both of these, it's obvious I didn't give the pass defense enough credit. Gardner was something like 1-for-13 at one point. The Hoos had three sacks, two picks, and eleven PBUs. They're on pace to break up 92 passes. And everyone is getting in on the sacktion; Henry Coley, in case you're wondering, is on pace for 24 TFLs and 14 sacks. This is a good-ass defense, which, if they're not careful, might start to get some major national recognition for it.
-- Louisville has at least twice as many passing yards as running yards. Now you're talking. I mean, Louisville's pass offense wasn't much, but their run game was stuffed - this prediction comes true even when removing sacks from the equation.
Prediction stats on the year:
1-1 straight up
There are some negatives to take away that'll leak out probably in next week's game preview. Til then, bask in the ACC-undefeatedness of it all, and send a little love East Carolina's way while you're at it.