2015 Virginia Football Predictions: 7th ACC Coastal (2014 record: 5-7)
Head Coach: Mike London
ACC Champion Odds: +10,000
National Championship Odds: +100,000
Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 4.5 (+145), Under 4.5 (-185)
A very tough 2014 schedule proved to be too much for the Cavaliers to handle. They played no fewer than nine teams that played in the post season, failing to make the postseason themselves. At least some of the blame can be placed on an offense that played rather uninspired ball at times. For the season, they averaged only 25.8 PPG while only picking up just over 374 YPG of total offense.
When a coach decides to platoon QBs and the team still struggles, one has to wonder about the value of making that decision. With the departure of the team’s primary starter Greyson Lambert (1,632 yards and 10 TDs), it will be interesting to see if Coach London hands over complete responsibility for the offense to the other QB in JR Matt Johns who finished the season as the primary starter. He finished the 2014 season with 1,109 yards passing and 8 TDs. Johns figure to have a difficult time getting his bearings as he faces the new season with an offense that will look new because of the graduation of 5 starters, including leading rusher Kevin Parks who had 745 yards and 4 TDs and leading receiver Canaan Severin who caught 42 passes for 578 yards and 5 TDs. Considering the 2014 offense lacked depth, it will be interesting to see who Coach London pegs to step in to try to rebuild this offense.
This is a pivotal season for the Cavs. The team’s recent fortunes have been anything but good. In a conference that figures to have a lot of depth, Virginia can ill-afford to have another disappointing season. In order to keep that from happening, this offense is going to have to show big improvement or plan on spending the postseason watching the action.
In spite of a very disappointing season, the Cavaliers more than held its own on the defensive side of the ball. They were able to limit opposing offenses to 24.1 PPG on a total of just under 354 YPG of offense. These numbers were greatly enhanced by the way the defense got after the ball and caused a total of 29 turnovers, which put an end to many drives.
This year’s defense is going to be a mixed bad of veterans and underclassmen. With 5 starters lost to graduation, it is going to put extra pressure on the returning players. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that both of the Cavs’ top two leading tacklers are among the returnees. Those players are SO safety Quin Blanding who led the team in tackles and interceptions with 123 and 3, respectively, in just his first season and JR DB Anthony Harris who contributed 108 tackles with 1 sack and 2 interceptions. While this is all good news, the fact the Cavs lose a total of 24 sacks from a vaunted pass rush is plenty of reason for concern.
Coach London has a lot of questions to answer about this team during the 2015 season. While they really need to star making big improvements to remain relevant, it would seem the prospects of that happening in a rebuilding season aren’t very good. The fact is the Cavaliers will be lucky to make the postseason in 2015 and 4-5 wins looks like what they will reach this year.