How bad have things gotten for Al Groh and the Viriginia Cavs? First, they lose by 45 points at home to USC. Then, they lose their quarterback for the season because of a probation violation. Now, they’re 6 1/2-point underdogs to friggin’ Duke.
Yes, Duke. The school that has lost 25 consecutive ACC games, is 3-61 in conference play this decade, and recently argued in a court of law that they are in fact the worst program in all of major college football. The Blue Devils haven’t made a bowl game since 1994, but are off to a 2-1 start this season after wins over James Madison and Navy and a narrow loss to Northwestern. This is reportedly the first time they’ve been favored in an ACC game since 2002.
The DAILY PRESS’ David Teel writes that Groh isn’t exactly brimming with confidence heading into this weekend:
“Our inventory’s a little bit lower than what we expected,” Groh understated.
Groh was last year’s ACC Coach of the Year after the Cavs made a surprise bid for a berth in the conference championship game. Only a loss to Virginia Tech in the final game of the season kept them out of that game. So it’s still a bit jarring that his team is expected to lose by a touchdown to the doormattiest of doormats.
A doormat that, just a few weeks back, argued in court that it was the “worst football team in Division I football.” And the judge agreed. The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Law Blog has the details:
I think the Court can absolutely positively take judicial notice that Duke is probably the worst football team in Division I football. Everybody knows that. That’s no secret. The longest losing streak, the inability to ever win games. . .We certainly don’t have to go out and take six months of discovery to establish that for you.
This is in response to a lawsuit from the University of Louisville that alleged that Duke shouldn’t have been allowed to back out of a four-game series contracted between the Cardinals and Blue Devils. But Duke was contending that they only violated the contract if Louisville wasn’t able to find a team of “similar stature” to play instead…and then argued that any group of 11 guys wearing pads probably qualified.
The court was convinced:
The term ‘team of similar stature’ simply means any team that competes at the same level of athletic performance as the Duke football team. At oral argument, Duke . . . persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower.
The ACC isn’t exactly showing itself to be a powerhouse so far this season, notes Tim Britton of the DUKE CHRONICLE:
Losing big in non-conference games on national TV has become old hat for the ACC the last two years. Virginia Tech’s 48-7 loss to LSU last season is the main reason the Hokies didn’t get a chance to play for the national title. Clemson failed to meet high expectations-again-in a 34-10 drubbing by Alabama the first Saturday of the season.
You know times are bad when you’re calling Miami’s 26-3 loss to Florida a moral victory.
This what it’s come to, Viriginia. From BCS contender to the worst team in a crappy conference. Quite a ride in just 12 months.