The Cavaliers also start spring practice today, and Cavs fans seem to have one burning question on their minds: Can Mike London get the program back to a bowl game in his first season? They have to take a few other steps forward first. Check out these early predictions:
Virginia will be spared any embarrassing nonconference losses. In other words, you won't find a repeat of last year's William & Mary loss. (And, no, that's not just because the Tribe isn't on the schedule this year.) The Richmond game will be interesting for obvious reasons, but London has graduated to the BCS level, which means the expectation is to beat your FCS opponents.
It won't be until the Florida State game that Virginia has figured out its identity. Even that might be pushing it, considering London will be switching to a new defensive scheme, and there are significant holes to fill on offense. He has a lot of options at quarterback, but not a lot of experience. It starts with Marc Verica, but he could be pushed into the summer and beyond. The team also needs to replace its four leading rushers, and the departure of center Jack Shields on the offensive line doesn't help.
Virginia fans will have to wait another year for a bowl game. There are just too many question marks this year with a new staff working to recruit players to fit their needs. The intangibles are there -- work ethic, renewed optimism and desire -- but it will take a while to get the right pieces in place. Early signs indicate Virginia has taken the first step by hiring the right coach.