WIN, LOSE OR DRAW: Virginia

Part six of a 12-part series outlining Indiana football’s opponents this season.

rvdmduhqntapwzh20090408161040

Virginia offensive lineman Will Barker is the latest in a line of outstanding tackles for the Cavaliers. Pete Emerson | Virginia Media Relations

OPPONENT: at Virginia

DATE: Oct. 10

TIME: TBA

TV: TBA

TICKETS: Click here.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Virginia’s official site.

The media guide.

Coverage from the Charlottesville Daily Progress, the local newspaper.

HISTORY VS. INDIANA: Indiana and Virginia have never met on the football field.

WHO ARE THEY: Indiana fans probably know less about Virginia than just about any other opponent on the 2009 schedule. Perhaps that is because of location, or the the fact the Hoosiers and Cavaliers have never met on the football field. That said, many fans seem to have noticed a run of top-10 NFL Draft picks and decided this is an automatic loss. Not so fast, as a former Indiana coach is prone to say. Virginia was picked to finish fifth in the ACC’s Coastal Division, ahead of only Duke, in a preseason media poll. Coach Al Groh is under fire, and was very nearly fired at the end of a 5-7 season in 2008. The Cavaliers lost the final four games, spiraling them out of bowl contention. Take note of the quarterback position, a fight between 2008 starter Marc Verica, 2007 starter Jameel Sewell (academically ineligible in 2008) and converted cornerback Vic Hall.

OFFENSIVE STAR: Will Barker is a four-year starter at right tackle, with 37-straight starts under his belt. In recent years, Virginia has sent D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe to the NFL, and Barker could be the fourth in that line of outstanding offensive linemen. At 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds, Barker is a big kid that could go as high as the second round next April. He played better in 2008 after he was acquitted of a petty larceny charge. He and a teammate were accused of stealing beer from a nightclub’s cooler. Ah, college.

DEFENSIVE STAR: This distinction would very likely have gone to Hall, had he not been moved from cornerback to quarterback. Instead, we’ll go with nose tackle Nate Collins. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior shared snaps last season with Nate Jenkins, but still finished with 36 tackles, including six solo stops against Georgia Tech’s option-based offense. Having a nose tackle that can shed defenders and make tackles will greatly help Virginia to stop opponents during the 2009 season.

WHY INDIANA WILL WIN: Having just faced either Michigan’s Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson, and Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, the Indiana defense will be ready to defend a fast, athletic quarterback and a spread offense that looks to put people in space. The defense will be ready to see what the Cavaliers throw at them, and Indiana’s running backs could have a big day against a Virginia defense that is inexperienced.

WHY VIRGINIA WILL WIN: The Cavaliers will very likely be 3-1 (with the lone loss at North Carolina) heading into this game, and the team has been very good at home (four of the team’s five wins in 2008 were at Scott Stadium). Two of Virginia’s three options at quarterback are defined by the term “athleticism” and that could give an Indiana defense fits, having just come off games against Michigan and Ohio State’s athletic quarterbacks, and perhaps feeling a bit tired. Virginia will also have a a slight edge, having drawn an early bye week.

NOW YOU: Call it — win, lose or draw? Well, ok, just win or lose. State your reason, as well.

22 comments

  1. Well Hugh,

    You covered ACC, didn’t you, and you have obviously watched a lot of IU, what’s-the-word? What do you think of the Hoosiers’ chances?

  2. Playing at Virginia with the hot seat on Groh this season? He has to beat inferior opponents such as Indiana to keep his job

    Virginia rolls in this one – if not, Al Groh won’t be long for Virginia

  3. I’d rather continue the series with Kentucky than play Virginia. Nothing against UVA, I just look askance at discontinuing old rivalries with commemorative relics.

  4. Virginia is a middle of the road, respectable BCS program. We’d like to attain similar status in the near future, but we’re not there yet. Loss. My predicted record after this game: 4-2.

  5. Unsure,

    I’d say this is just about an even game. Virginia probably has better athletes overall, but is not very well-coached.

    and

    eric,

    Kentucky is currently playing a yearly series with Louisville, and that seems to be the only rivalry game it wants in its nonconference schedule.

  6. JeremyK,

    I went way out there and predicted an upset of Michigan. Anyway, what’s the point of being a fan if you can’t dream a little(vbg)?

  7. Hugh, I know, I just hate to see long-standing rivalries go dormant. But, I can understand them wanting to play Louisville, and they have plenty of tough SEC games,why throw in another rivalry they could sometimes lose to mess up their bowl eligibility. I wasn’t implying that IU wouldn’t play Kentucky. It’s just annoying when you play Murray St, Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, but not the actual Kentucky.

  8. Win! For what it’s worth, Dave Revson (sp) from the Big Ten Network was on the Dan Dakich show. He stated that he thought Indiana was a lot better than he thought they would be and “Indiana was no worse than Michigan.” Is that a compliment for Indiana or a knock on Michigan?

  9. Guys, I have to admit, I miss the IU/UK football game terribly. I loved it, as much as the PU game. It was almost always a close game and good game. It is too bad the IU admin did not fight harder to keep it…just what I heard and read. Take care.

  10. It’s my understanding that it’s Kentucky who won’t play Indiana. They consider Louisville their one tough non-conference opponent. I think that IU should bring back the single “I” on their helmets.

  11. Chad, that is what the media said and I trust it but if IU still wanted to play the game…they had a chance to make it happen and it was not important enough to the admin at the time to really go after it. Once you lose something like that, it is hard to get back. Look at how long IU played UK in football.

  12. Hoosier boy living here in Richmond, VA….

    I’ll be at this game for sure, especially since my wife went to UVA. I personally can’t wait. I’ve been to about 10 games @ C-ville and it’s a great place to watch a game. Seeing the Hoosiers out there is even better.

    First off, Al Groh is indeed on the hot seat, but it still does not mean he’s a worse coach than Lynch. As a rule, he’s done a great job of beating the teams in the ACC that he’s supposed to. Al also has had problems getting off to slow starts to the season. He’s had a horrible run of bad luck in the past 2 seasons with key players becoming ineligible for various reasons.

    Despite all this, they play pretty damn well at home. There is a chance this game will be a low-attended one since this is not the IU hoops team coming to town. This may work to the Hoosier’s advantage because the UVA faithful are nowhere near a rowdy and loud bunch, even when the place is packed (except vs. UNC and VATech).

    So there are some things working for the Hoosiers here, but I still can’t pick them. As has been pointed out, UVA still holds a talent advantage over the Hoosiers. Yes, playing second fiddle to Beamer and VATech in-state still can net them a good crop of recruits each year because VA is stacked with talent at the HS level. In addition I’m just flat-out down on Lynch and his ability to come through in a game like this on the road.

    UVA 24
    IU 13

  13. BillR,

    We’ve got tix to the game too. We live in Fairfax and coincidently my wife is a UVA alumnus too.

    The game should be well attended as it is homecoming weekend at UVA.

    The Washington DC IU alumni chapter is planning some events and has a block of tickets. You might want to look for us there. Web site link follows:

    http://alumni.indiana.edu/events/footballWeekend/

  14. GFDave and Bill, I know this would not help you, but the Varsity Club in Bloomington is sending buses, transportation to and from game, meal at game, and 2 nights stay for 179 bucks. You are responsible for your ticket. That is a steal!!!

  15. Last year could have been totally different if not for some academic problems and the NFL plucking some guys early. As a die hard Wahoo I will be extremely upset to lose this one. Al Groh is on the hot seat once again this season, but that is always when his teams play their best. Just look at 2007, ACC coach of the year and Gator Bowl berth. That year we were picked to finish fifth as well in the Coastal. Every year though, Groh has a very talented recruiting class, Top 30 in the country at least. We have leadership at quarterback and maybe the best defensive secondary in the ACC. Don’t overlook our O line and running back as well.

    Virginia pulls away in the 4th for a 10-13 point win.

  16. I am an iu alum who has a place in cville. I couldn’t get the dc alumni link to work. i just got a pair of tix which i think are behind the iu bench pretty easily and much better tix than iu or uva ticket ofice had. I probably only need 1 ticket (my spouse didn’t go to UVA or IU)so let me know if one of you guys are interested in the ticket. rather sell to IU fan than UVA. Here’s hoping we don’t get blown out….Ken

Comments are closed.