Conference Title Aspirations For UVa? Not So Fast

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Michael Rocco and the Hoos will try to post another winning season in 2012.

Optimism and Virginia football fans. It’s a pair we haven’t heard mentioned together in quite some time. Like many fans, I always look forward to a new year which offers a clean slate and injects a sense of hope for the upcoming season. It’s good to have optimism, and it’s great to finally hear it coming from the Wahoo fan base.

But when forecasting UVa’s football chances for 2012, some fans are suggesting a conference championship is possible. Perhaps some of this excitement is based on an improbable 8-win regular season in 2011 or the fact that Virginia finally got over the ‘losing season’ hump; now maybe it’s time to take it to another level is next jump. Who knows? But it may be a bit premature to start believing the Cavaliers can win the conference in 2012, let alone pull off another 8-win regular season. By now it’s no secret that I’m one of those ‘high optimistic’ type of fans – I drink the Kool-Aid by the gallon – but this 2012 conference title line of thinking is bordering on the ridiculous. Yep, the guy with the brightest shade of orange and blue glasses says, ‘Slow your roll.’

While Virginia’s coaches were able to achieve a lot in 2011, the building process is still in its infancy. There’s a long way to go to get this program back to its stable, winning days – something we were accustomed to for nearly a decade and a half under coach George Welsh. The problem coach Mike London faces is replacing senior leadership on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams. While the Cavaliers appear ready to improve on the offensive side of the ball, defense and special teams could take a step back, at least in the early going.

On defense, UVa must fill major holes on the defensive line and in the secondary. Gone from the line are Matt Conrath , Nick Jenkins