Virginia Football: Coach Mike London Picks Starting Quarterback on Monday

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IAugust 26, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 08:  Phillip Sims #14 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It may not have all the national hype of The Decision by LeBron James a few years back, but one of the defining moments of the Virginia Cavalier football season will happen on Monday, August 27.

Coach Mike London has publicly stated that he will make an official decision on who will be the starting quarterback for the Virginia Cavalier football squad this season on Monday.

In truth, this was expected to be one of the easier decisions following Virginia's turnaround in 2011. Uncertainty at the position between Michael Rocco and David Watford caused tremendous offensive inconsistencies until London finally threw his weight behind Rocco.

The young man did not disappoint, and his burgeoning confidence led the Cavaliers to their first postseason since 2007 and their first Chick Fil A bowl since 1998.

Then came Phillip Sims.

Sims, the Alabama transfer, was a star at Oscar Smith High in Virginia Beach, which was home to other Virginia offensive stalwarts like running back Perry Jones and wide receiver Tim Smith.

Sims was granted a hardship waiver and became automatically eligible to play this season, and it appears he will be ready to do just that.

In what role, though, still remains a mystery.

As you might imagine, Virginia has been extremely quiet on the potential controversy. Sims has been lauded for his playmaking ability, something that Alabama fans were well-aware of when the young man cut ties with Saban's program.

Rocco has experience and a strong relationship with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The playbook is a complicated one, and Rocco has shown the ability to understand it and predict the play calls.

His comfort is only matched by the shakiness Sims undoubtedly has shown with the transition. His pure talent, though, makes Cavalier fans anxious with anticipation.

Of course, these two are not the only ones with questions left unanswered.

David Watford has become the odd man out. If he does finish third on the depth chart, as most expect, does this leave open the possibility of him changing positions to wide receiver?

After all, another Hampton native and current graduate assistant, Marques Hagans, had a similar career when he was a Cavalier. Hagans challenged incumbent quarterback Matt Schaub until he lost favor and found playing time as a receiver before returning under center for his final two seasons at Virgnia.

Hagans has taken Watford under his wing since joining the staff; could he be offering similar advice to the talented multi-purpose athlete?

The only problem with Watford's wait-and-see approach would be Greyson Lambert, a true freshman that appears to be redshirting this season.

Lambert has one of the better arms in recent Virginia history and a leadership style that goes well beyond his years. If he is the future, then the future looks bright.

We also should not leave out Matt Johns, another talented quarterback on the roster nor the top recruits coming in next year.

Virginia has an impressive crew to pick from, but ultimately, there can only be one.

While the decision may have little impact on who wins the opening game this week against Richmond, this decision will have severe short and long-term decisions for this program.

Coach London is picking a horse, and if he is smart, he will stick with it. Controversy can break teams apart, and creating a hostile environment can cost coaches their programs.

Fortunately, the players seem to be embracing the challenge, but it is easy to keep a positive attitude when hearts have yet to be broken and the ball has not been snapped in an actual game.

Coach London knows that this decision will select the face of the program and the player expected to keep the Cavaliers heading in the right direction.

So who will be taking their talents to the opening-day huddle in Charlottesville, Virginia?

We are hours away from finding out.