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Previewing TCU Opponents: Virginia Cavaliers

Virgina was not one of the ten teams to go bowling from the ACC and finished last year with a 5-7 record.  This year looks to be worse, however there is one publication that is predicting them to get to the mediocre level of 6-6 and celebrate a bowl berth, but that is on the most optimistic end.

The Cavaliers return five starts on offense and six on defense with little to be excited on offense.  Defense there is promise starting with cornerback Ras-I Dowling to go along with a six starters back, and the rest of the projected starting lineup is full of seniors.

Scoring point was a huge problem last year for Virigina as they managed a measly 16 points per game and only outscored four teams in 2008.   To make things even worse for the offense they do not return their starting running back or wide receiver, and their quarterback position is wobbly at best.  Al Groh did bring in a new offensive coordinator in Gregg Brandon to help improve off an offense that was ranked 100 or below in nearly every offensive category.

The ever so important quarterback position will come down to former cornerback Vic Hall who convereted to quarterback for the last two games and looked good enough to the coaches to stay at that position.  This looks bad because the Cavaliers return Marc Verica who was not great but is a quarterback and passed for over 2,000 yards.

Whoever is at quarterback will be protected well behind the wall that is the offensive line that is in the top third in career starts for offensive lineman in all of college football.  That stat of career starts typically does translate into success for teams, so there is hope for Virgina.

Now all they need to do is find a running back and a wide receiver, so good luck with that Cavs when you go up against TCU.

Defense returns six starters which was solid and in the top third of scoring defense, and second in the ACC, but they gave up a ton of yards.  They do lose cornerback Vic Hall to quarterback so the Cavs now need to replace another very good defender, plus Hall has the most tackles from a returning player.   Those other replacements are all upperclassmen with the exception for redshirt freshman Steve Greer.

The linebacking corp could be vulnerable because that position was hit the most and they need to repalce three of their four linebackers.  That is not a good sign since they were tenth in the conference in rushing defense, and also eighth in passing defense.

The expectations are not too high for Virginia, but they are expecting the offense to improve greatly under new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon who was previously under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green as the offensive coordinator and then the head coach for six years.   A bowl bid is the expectations for Virginia this year which would be a win one improvement from last year's 5-7 final record.