We saw some great things from Virginia in the last-minute loss against Notre Dame (and we feel your pain). How had this game inspired your performance against William & Mary?
Apparently not at all. Other than a very strong third quarter, the entire team from players to coaches looked flat against W&M. A one-point lead at halftime? A fourth-quarter comeback that only failed because the Tribe QB clearly didn't have any juice left in his arm? These weren't the things any Wahoo expected to see after almost knocking off a top-ten opponent the week before. That inconsistency has been one of the most frustrating hallmarks of the past few seasons, so it was infuriating to see it rear its ugly head again.
Are there any matchups in this game that have you worried/confident?
Virginia's offensive line against Boise State's defensive front has me just about completely terrified. Although the Hoos have started to play the same guys in the rotation, the production hasn't been great. Virginia's running game is averaging fewer than 4 yards per carry, and even that number is bolstered by a few big runs here and there. Most of QB Matt Johns' success has come off the vertical passing game but offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild has insisted on pounding the rock. If the Hoos can't shake something loose up front, the Broncos' talented secondary could reap the rewards.
On the other hand, I'd like to think that Virginia could wreak some havoc on a new BSU QB. Jon Tenuta's defenses are premised on blitzing and applying pressure to the QB. That hasn't worked very well this year after UVa's top two pass rushers, Eli Harold and Max Valles, went to the NFL. I doubt Virginia will have much success if they continue to blitz, but if the deep, talented secondary plays coverage and forces a first-time starter to progress through his reads on the road, there's a chance to cause some turnovers or get coverage sacks.
How does the Boise State game rank in terms of the rest of your schedule?
Above the median but not drastically so. The Broncos are part of the murderous start to Virginia's schedule, as the Hoos were the only Power 5 team to play three teams ranked in the preseason top 25. If "the rest of [our] schedule" means all the teams we play, Boise State ranks top middle. If it means "remaining schedule," then closer to the top than the middle (#goacc). It's hard to know what to expect from Pitt, who has suffered some freak losses early, or the fact that Syracuse is 3-0 but Louisville is 0-3. Virginia needs five more wins to get bowl eligible. With BSU's QB questions, this game may be one of the ones the Hoos are more likely to steal.
Using Microsoft Paint, illustrate a scenario you envision playing out in this weekend's game. (You will not be graded on artistic prowess.)
At some point in this game, Mike London will make a decision that can only be described as crapping the bed. It may be an illegal substitution penalty, or it may be having only 10 defenders on the field for consecutive plays (both staples of the London Era). It may be totally botching timeouts late in the game, trying to freeze a kicker instead of give the offense a chance to score (see: Virginia Tech game, 2012). I don't know exactly when, and I don't know exactly how. But I feel safe predicting that at some point Friday night, we'll all get to revel in the re-emergence of Big Dumb Mike London Football (C)(TM).
On a scale of Terrible Movies, with Battlefield Earth being "not at all," and Batman and Robin being "supremely," how would you rate your confidence coming into this game?
Upon consulting with STL staff, we're gonna go with Deep Blue Sea. It was bad, and I went into it knowing it was gonna be bad, but I wasn't doing anything else that Friday night so why not watch it? Seems like about as close an analogue as any for this week.
Thank you, Paul for your hilarious/thought-provoking answers. Good luck on Friday, except not really!