2012 Virginia Cavaliers Football Preview
2011 Record: 8-5 (5-3 ACC)
Head Coach: Mike London, third season (12-13 at Virginia) (36-18 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 11
Spring Game: April 14th (Orange 20 Blue 17)
Notes: After starting his tenure in Charlottesville with four bowl games in five years (3-1 in those games), then-Coach Al Groh made only one bowl game in his final four seasons. Three of the final four seasons the Cavs had a losing record. Virginia made the decision to relieve Groh of his duties following a loss to rival Virginia Tech in 2009. Richmond coach (and Richmond alum) Mike London was hired as Virginia’s head coach. London previously was defensive line coach at Virginia under Groh in 2001, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 2002-2004, and defensive coordinator and defensive line coach from 2006-2007. Virginia bottomed out in London’s first season, finishing in last place in the ACC Coastal with a 4-8 record, 1-7 in the ACC. Last year Virginia overachieved, posting a record of 8-5, 5-3 in the ACC, which included wins over Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and Florida State.
BVTSB Take: Virginia was 5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less last season – a clear indicator that the win total should slide this season. Despite all their success last year, the Cavaliers were blown out in their last two games, to Virginia Tech (38-0) and Auburn (43-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl). Of all BCS conference teams, only two return fewer starters than Virginia (Arizona State and Wisconsin, both with 10). Three of five offensive line starters return – RG Luke Bowanko (13 starts in 2011), RT Morgan Moses (13 starts in 2011), and LT Oday Aboushi (13 starts). C Ross Burbank and LG Sean Cascarano fill out the rest of the offensive line. Cascarano played in six games last year. Quarterback Michael Rocco returns, but his starting role isn’t assured. Rocco threw for 2671 yards in 2011 and 13 touchdowns but 12 interceptions. Freshman Greyson Lambert has a shot at the position, but the real wild card is Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. Sims transferred from Alabama last season to Virginia and was recently ruled eligible to play in 2012. Normally, he would have to sit the season out, but he sought a hardship transfer for family reasons, which allows him the ability to play immediately. Running back Perry Jones returns – he rushed for 915 yards and five touchdowns – while backup Kevin Parks also returns – he rushed for 709 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. Leading receiver Kris Burd graduated (913 yards receiving and three touchdown catches), but Tim Smith will return, starting. Smith accounted for 565 yards receiving and three touchdown catches. Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell will start along side him. Virginia went 3-1 in non-conference last year, beating William & Mary, Indiana, and Idaho, but losing to Southern Miss. The non-conference schedule is tougher this year, with games against Richmond, Penn State, at TCU, and Louisiana Tech. The Cavaliers should go 3-1 in those games, but Penn State and Louisiana Tech are dangerous. The conference schedule is tough – especially the last four. Virginia will need to pick up five or six wins prior to their bye week, otherwise they risk missing the post-season for the fourth time in five seasons.
2012 Early Projection: 6-6
To see the 2012 ACC composite schedule, click here.
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