Before this football season, it's safe to say the hopes of UVA fans could be summed as "please just gimme a bowl." Actual expectations did not always go that far. They hovered around .500, and in many cases fell below it.
The season's not over, and Bronco has already bumped his head on the upper limit of those expectations. His team sits at seven wins - a winning season is guaranteed. If they do nothing but play tiddlywinks the next couple Saturdays they'll still go to the Independence Bowl. That would've been great in August. We'd've taken that deal 'n crawfish if offered it at the time.
But why settle for meeting expectations, even if at the upper limit of them? You don't improve if you don't beat expectations, and you don't get the chance to fill newspaper stories with chest-thumpery about "proving the doubters wrong," either. There's still work to do. Just because seven wins would've been good enough for August doesn't mean it's good enough for November.
In a slight spoiler of my comments in the upcoming bowl projections, I don't think UVA has locked down a spot in a "Tier 1" bowl yet. These are the four "pretty good" bowls, below the former Tangerine Bowl and above the "schedule for success" bowls that you get to go to if you suck but managed to put Bowling Green on your OOC four times in a row. NC State played their way out of the ex-Tangerine and into Tier 1, and Boston College and Pitt (reward for being the likely Coastal champ) are near-locks for three of the four spots. That means UVA is fighting with Duke and Georgia Tech for the last one.
It's not necessarily an even fight; having beaten both Duke and GT would do wonders for UVA's entry on the judges' cards. And just look at that - GT looms in just a couple days. Meaningful game alert. It's nice to be playing those in November.
Of course, one November game was meaningful ages ago. I don't need to spend paragraphs and paragraphs on it. It just is, and you know it. Bronco, as he should, is not hiding the emphasis on it. The Hoos may even be favored, and if so I don't care whether Vegas's number is 1 or 1 billion, the business of the season won't really be complete - and I won't be acting like it is - until the clock hits all zeroes and the Hoos have done what they've been talking about wanting to do all year long: