The Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino. The Cubs had the curse of the goat. I am not sure what Virginia’s football curse is, but it’s there. Maybe it is the revenge of the “Huggable Hoo” – Virginia’s mascot abomination from 1983 that lasted less than half-a-season. It was justifiably pummeled with ridicule and bourbon & cokes during home games and pulled from the marketing plan fearing for the safety of the Hoo inside the costume. As curses go, it’s as good as any.
Virginia might have ended up with the same old result, but these are not the “same old ‘Hoos”.
You know…the ‘Hoos of the pre and post-George Welsh era. The Hoos that hit the opposing QB late turning victories into agonizing defeats. The ‘Hoos that blow all their timeouts because they can’t get the right players on the field. The ‘Hoos that break the huddle after a personnel timeout with 12 players on the field. The ‘Hoos defense that spawned the sentiment..3rd and long, they’ve got us right where they want us…before giving up a plethora of improbable first downs.
During his prime, I grew into an “anyone but Tiger Woods” fan of professional golf. Not because I didn’t appreciate his abilities and his tenacity, but because he ruined so many Sunday rounds of major championships. I never watched a lot of golf on TV, but the majors were always fun, especially on Sundays. It just wasn’t that much fun watching the field play for second place while Tiger held a 5-, 10-, or 15-stroke lead. Tiger wasn’t going to choke and no one else was good enough to catch him, so what’s the point when the potential drama was as exciting as a NASCAR battle for ninth place?
Bryce Hall’s touchdown-saving tackle on the 7 yard-line is all you need to know about the Virginia football team and how they upset No. 16 Miami in Charlottesville. Miami’s Travis Homer was on his way to a 77-yard touchdown run when Bryce Hall came streaking across the field to knock Homer out of bounds at the Virginia 7. Instead of a 77-yard touchdown run, Miami settled for a 28-yard field goal. Hall kept 4 points off the board, Virginia won by 3. While not quite that simple, this play was emblematic of how and why Virginia won.
The barometer for me continuing to watch Virginia football on TV when things go south used to be – is watching this game better than doing yard work? Not surprisingly, there have been many games when I was cutting grass as the final horn sounded.
Well, that was a pleasant Saturday afternoon. Delightful pre-autumn Charlottesville weather, a good tailgate with great friends, and a solid Virginia win that gets UVa halfway to bowl eligibility.
There was a lot to like about Virginia’s 27-3 win against the Louisville Cardinals. I would submit that the most encouraging thing about Virginia’s win was that the Cavaliers played a far from the flawless game and still won going away. While 27-3 sounds like a pretty thorough thrashing, the truth is, the game could and should have been an even more convincing beatdown.
Four weeks into the ACC season, a spin around the ACC reveals at least one thing we already knew…pre-season predictions are a ridiculous exercise in guesswork.
While Clemson is 4-0 with a nice road win at Texas A&M, I don’t think Clemson has hit their stride yet. The defense has not been as dominant as expected and the Tigers need to sort out their quarterback strategy, but Clemson is clearly the best team in the ACC. The second best team in the ACC is so far behind Clemson, it’s not really a relevant discussion.
I know, we’ve all said it a thousand times. Being a UVa fan is never easy. When it looks like it might be easy, it’s not. It’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s complicated. Even the location of Virginia’s game against Ohio wasn’t easy. Early in the week when it looked like Hurricane Florence would be churning over central Virginia all weekend, AD Carla Williams adeptly moved the game to Nashville, so Virginia could avoid a disruptive cancellation. Demonstrating that no good planning goes unpunished, Florence stayed well south of Virginia and game-time conditions in Charlottesville were not much different than those in Nashville.