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Posts Tagged ‘Perry Jones’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 48: Virginia

    Here’s one thing to love about Mike London: he’s not intimidated by expectations. When told that most expected Virginia to finish last in the Coastal division heading into 2010, London replied, “We’ve got ‘em right where we want ‘em.” Throughout last season, as the Cavaliers added narrow upon narrow win to reach bowl play, London never seemed surprised by his team’s success; it was merely part of the “process,” which is one of his favorite words. This process continues in 2012, with a slight change. Instead of sneaking up on the A.C.C., Virginia will be expected to battle Virginia Tech for not only in-state supremacy but also a spot in the conference title game. The Al Groh-era teams, based on history, would have failed to reach these lofty expectations. Even if it’s too early to anoint Virginia as the league’s next in line, we can say one thing with certainty about these Cavaliers: they won’t shy away from the challenge.

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      No. 78: Virginia

      Four of the top 10 high school seniors in the State of Virginia, according to the list compiled by Rivals.com, signed with the hometown Cavaliers in February; two signed with Virginia Tech. What does this small example say to me? It says that Al Groh has left the building, taking with him the malaise that began on the field and, slowly but surely, crept into every facet of Virginia football under his watch. Mike London has been a breath of fresh air, on the sidelines and otherwise, and Virginia Tech is taking notice. Does this mean the Cavaliers are going to actually win a Commonwealth Cup at some point in the next five years? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that the playing field is being leveled, which is a start.

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        Spring Storylines: Virginia

        I don’t envy the rebuilding project lying ahead of Mike London, even if the worst is behind him. Hopefully, I should add: Virginia was simply awful in 2010, London’s first season back in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers lost to Duke, which should tell you all you need to know about last fall; overall, a beautiful victory over Miami (Fla.) provided the lone highlight of the season, as the team’s remaining three victories came against Richmond, V.M.I. and Eastern Michigan. So the hope — hopefully — is that rock bottom has been reached. If it hasn’t, we’ll know soon.

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          The Countdown

          A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.