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December 30, 2005

Great Finish for the Hoos

I missed the first half of the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Presented By Bridgestone (This is the kind of name that makes me think about the impact of advertising in sports), so I was shocked when I came to find that, at the half, the score was 21-10 favoring Minnesota. Fortunately, the Hoos pulled a come from behind victory not seen since 2002. Behind a dazzling performance from quarterback Marques Hagans, UVa put up 24 second half points to win 34-31, with a finish that made me reminiscient of the game versus Florida State earlier this season. Ending this season, UVa finished a disappointing 7-5 (in the past three seasons, UVa did not finish with less than 8), including a 3-5 ACC record. While it is a minor victory that the team did not finish at .500 or worse, bigger things have been expected of this team, and it has been in a downward spiral for the last three seasons. Coach Groh has a lot of work ahead of him, losing much of his coaching staff and a number of seniors, including QB Hagans, RB Wali Lundy, and OL D'Brickshaw Ferguson (predicted by Mel Kiper of ESPN to be a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft). There is some potential on this team still, but Groh needs to harness it as UVa continues in a very challenging ACC (which is currently 3-1 in bowl games this postseason).

Now, the BCS and NFL are what remain for a football fix. Hopefully, the Redskins get the win on Sunday (chances are pretty good, Philadephia is starting Mike McMahon at QB) and advance to the playoffs. As it is, one ESPN analyst seems to think that the Redskins are the NFC's best hope against a tough AFC conference (go to #8 and #7 on the link). Maybe the Redskins will finish better than the Hoos did.