Virginia Cavaliers — 2015 Syracuse Football preview

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London is on the hot seat

As we countdown to kickoff in September, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Wednesday over the summer. SU will continue its 2015 ACC schedule when they play Virginia on Oct. 17.

HOT SEAT: Patience is running thin for head coach Mike London at Virginia. For the third straight season, London’s team failed to make the postseason, even though 2014’s 5-7 campaign was a marked improvement over Virginia’s disastrous 2-10 year in 2013. The Cavaliers’ 2014 season started with promise, with the team opening the season 4-2. But once UVa entered ACC play, things went bad quickly, and despite the five wins being the second highest total in London’s five seasons, he will need to get to the postseason to save his job.

» Related: Previewing SU’s non-conference game against USF

WHO TO WATCH FOR: At the very least, London will enter the 2015 season with some stability at quarterback. Last year, both Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns took turns under center, with Lambert starting nine games and Johns filling in for three when Lambert was hurt. Johns won the starting job coming out of spring ball, which led Lambert to transfer to Georgia in June. Of the two, Johns is more suited for the pro-style offense that the Cavaliers run, having rushed for 107 yards last season in spot duty. But Johns also only completed 54.9 percent of his passes last season, and will need to improve on his 8/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

PREDICTION: Though Virginia finished 33rd in the country in defense in 2014, allowing 24.1 points per game, the Cavaliers have lost plenty of talent in their pass rush. Still, while DE Eli Harold and LB Max Valles were early entries to the NFL Draft, they also return Freshman All-American safety Quin Blanding. A home game for the Cavaliers gives them the edge. VIRGINIA 24, SYRACUSE 21.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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