VIRGINIA

2013 | 2-10, 0-8 ACC

Last bowl | 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl (lost 43-24 to Auburn)

THE COACH

MIKE LONDON

7th year (42-36 overall, including 18-31 in last four seasons at U.Va.)

The further London gets away from his Football Championship Subdivision national championship-winning year at Richmond, his alma mater, in 2008, the more it must seem like it happened in another lifetime. Though his home is just an hour away from Richmond in Charlottesville these days, he's light years away from those halcyon days with the Spiders, which also included a trip to the FCS quarterfinals in '09. If not for his perpetually positive attitude, it could be easy to interpret the football life he's leading now as nightmarish. Entering the season with a nine-game losing streak at U.Va., and a 10-game skid in Atlantic Coast Conference games, London's job with the Cavaliers could be in serious jeopardy if things don't change in a hurry. This season's schedule – with home games against UCLA, Louisville, North Carolina and Miami and trips to Brigham Young, Florida State and Virginia Tech – doesn't show much opportunity for quick turnaround. Despite U.Va.'s struggles, London has assembled a coaching staff that has made some strong moves in recruiting. The trick is finding a way to get that talent to equal victories. Time may be running out for him to unearth a winning formula. London has an outstanding feel for the culture of U.Va. football, having served in the roles of defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for six years under former U.Va. coach Al Groh. London, who led U.Va. to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in his second season as head coach in 2011, also has a year of experience as the defensive line coach for the Houston Texans. Now, he needs to summon all his expertise from various levels of football to dig U.Va. out of the abyss it has resided in for most of the last six years.

THE STANDOUTS

ANTHONY HARRIS

Sr. | 6-1 | 190 | SS

He'll be hard-pressed to come up with an encore that can rival last season's effort, which included him leading the nation with eight interceptions. In addition to his ball-hawking ability, he was one of the more dependable tacklers on a defense that often struggled in that department. As a bona fide film room junkie, he's considered by U.Va.'s coaches and players another coach on the field during games. He's exactly the kind of player U.Va. would hope to have mentor promising freshman free safety Quin Blanding. Another season even close to the one Harris had last season will put him in first-round draft pick territory, if he's not already in the discussion.

KEVIN PARKS

Sr. | 5-8 | 205 | RB

Last season, he ran for 1,031 yards, becoming the first U.Va. running back since Alvin Pearman in 2004 to eclipse 1,000 yards (Pearman had 1,037). While surpassing Thomas Jones for the school career rushing yardage lead would require a highly improbable season of 1,525 yards by Parks, it's not inconceivable he could hit 1,000 yards again, but U.Va.'s offensive line will have to progress quite a bit. Parks lacks size, and he isn't the fastest back, but he's pound-for-pound one of the strongest players on U.Va.'s roster. He should benefit this season from having a healthy Taquan Mizzell in the backfield along with him to give Parks a breather.

ELI HAROLD

Jr. | 6-4 | 235 | DE

As one of the emotional leaders on U.Va.'s defense, he's a player everybody listens to when he speaks up. His quickness off the edge is right up the alley of defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, who never saw a blitz he didn't like. Harold led the team last season with 8 1/2 sacks. After putting on nearly 10 pounds in the offseason, he should be able to better handle engaging with offensive linemen, but that's not his game. He prefers to beat offensive tackles and running backs in protection with his speed. He'll have plenty of pressure on him to come up with sack numbers similar to or surpassing last season's total.

THE STORYLINES

WHAT WILL BE ENOUGH?

After enduring losing seasons in five of the last six seasons at U.Va., and three of London's first four seasons as coach, it's fair to wonder what kind of record U.Va. would have to achieve to put him in position to return next season to coach the Cavaliers? Would five wins be enough? Would it take six wins and bowl-eligibility? More wins? As expected, U.Va.'s players have mostly said London's job status isn't a distraction. With so much to prepare for against UCLA, the players may actually not be terribly sidetracked by all the hot seat chatter at this point, but how long will that last? If U.Va. continues to spiral, it seems inevitable that increased discussion regarding London's future would soon creep into the thoughts of players. So many questions, but answers may become apparent if U.Va. can't quickly pull itself out of the doldrums.