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Poll: How will Virginia fare against Duke?

By Steve Yanda

"We're finding our way as who we are, and I think the next couple games, this second half of the season, as I've tried to refer to it to (the players), will also tell a lot, whether we've grown up a lot, whether we're still just kind of immature in some spots and still in need of leadership. This second half, this game and the games that follow will be able to tell me a lot."

-- Virginia Coach Mike London

It's funny how many different times in a given season expectations can be reset for a team. Entering the season, most outsiders expected little out of a Cavaliers squad that tallied three wins in 2009 and was introducing a new coach, new offensive and defensive schemes and a new approach to just about every component of the program.

Then Virginia traveled to Southern California in the second week of the season and played well enough to win over the then-ranked Trojans. At that point, expectations shot up. Perhaps the rebuilding process wouldn't take so long, after all?

Then came three straight losses (by a combined 66 points) to open Virginia's ACC schedule, and it became clear that the rebuilding process would, indeed, take some time. This season started to look more and more like a giant opportunity to prepare for next season, when more tangible progress on the field might be realized.

And then came last Saturday. Virginia upset then-No. 22 Miami for Coach Mike London's first signature victory. The expectations rose yet again. A reporter asked London during his press conference earlier this week whether he had considered the possibility of the Cavaliers becoming bowl eligible.

A win Saturday at Duke would give Virginia five wins on the season with three games -- vs. Maryland, at Boston College and at Virginia Tech -- left to play. A loss would mean the Cavaliers would have to win out in order become bowl eligible. But the fact that we're even talking about this team as having a chance to win seven games this season speaks to the job London has done in less than a year on the job.

So, two questions this week. First, how do you think Virginia (4-4, 1-3 ACC) will fare Saturday against Duke (2-6, 0-4)? And second, what are your (updated) expectations for the Cavaliers the rest of this season? Feel free to expand on your choices in the comments section below and/or email me your thoughts at yandas@washpost.com.

By Steve Yanda  | November 5, 2010; 7:49 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Live from Wallace Wade Stadium: Virginia at Duke

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