After three games, Virginia fans were about as happy as they could be.
Sure they were 2-1, but they looked solid in all three games and looked like they could make some noise in the ACC. With a strong effort on the road against the Trojans, surely Virginia could handle the mediocrity of their conference.
Well after two humbling ACC losses, the Virginia fans, players, and coaches have all been quieted as we all look for answers.
While all is not doomed for the Cavaliers, problems have definitely begun to appear as the level of competition has risen for the boys in blue and orange.
Here are ten things that have become all too clear for Virgina after five games this season.
So remember how good Verica looked through three games compared to the guy we saw for the two years prior to that?
Verica is one of the most frustrating players to watch, particularly Saturday against the Yellow Jackets. Not only was he inaccurate with his throws, he never looked down the field.
Throwing short passes would be one thing, but he was targeting running backs and not his top two receivers. Failure to get the ball to your playmakers is an easy way to lose ball games.
The fact is that in the past two games, Verica has been terrible in the first half. Now when the game has been decided, he decides to play better but that's simply not acceptable.
Coach Mike London has to recognize that Verica is in his final year at Virginia and he has reached his maximum potential. The season could very easily get away from the Cavaliers and London needs to look toward the future.
If redshirt freshman Ross Metheny or true freshman Michael Rocco do not see the field soon as quarterback, then London has made a terrible mistake.
I would really like Virginia's chances to win a championship.
That only caveat is we would have to play in the FCS and not the FBS.
I do not mean to be cruel, after all they could not beat William & Mary last year. This year Virginia humbled Richmond in the second half and took the VMI Keydets to task at home.
Now James Madison would probably give the Cavaliers some trouble but in one game they would certainly have a chance.
It's sad to have to say these things for a team in a power conference, but the shift in play from one level to the other has been even more dramatic than most could imagine.
The second Virginia entered ACC play it seemed like they forgot how to throw, block, tackle, and kick.
That's not a recipe for success.
In terms of yards, Virginia is the most penalized team in the ACC.
At the moment, the Cavaliers average over 70 yards of penalties.
When you are a team trying to pull off some upsets, you cannot help the competition. On offense, the Cavaliers cannot get behind schedule on their game plan because they rely heavily on their running game.
However, the truly frustrating part of these penalties have been the stupid extra-curricular activity on defense.
A late hit against USC gave the Trojans the lead at halftime.
Another late hit gave Florida State their first touchdown of the game and turned momentum.
Virginia needs to play smart and, despite the academic ranking, the Cavaliers cannot avoid making dumb decisions on a rather constant basis.
Penalties deal with discipline. Although Coach London has successfully taught the players to play with passion and intensity, he now needs to teach them common sense.
All this past week, Groh could not stop talking.
He said that Virginia had a big advantage coming in because he does not change his schemes. He realized that players he benched would have an axe to grind against their former coach and current defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech.
Well, Groh got the last laugh again.
As terrible as a head coach he may be, Groh can game plan with the best of them and he did it on Saturday.
He knew how timid and inexperienced quarterback Marc Verica was and he basically dared him to throw. He stacked the box and tried to pressure the fifth-year senior.
Verica did what Verica does, panic.
As a result, the Virginia offense was limited despite some big plays in the running game. They simply could not sustain drives and that wore down the defense and cost them a victory.
Actually, Groh should know a great deal about that too since he saw it every week as Virginia's head coach.
Maybe he was paying attention all along.
The front seven of Virginia's defense once looked impregnable.
Then they forgot to contain their gaps.
Georgia Tech's spread offense wears down opponents, particularly when your offense is mired in penalties and bad decisions by your quarterback.
Despite some great stops and plays that kept the Cavaliers in it for most of the game, Roddy Jones and Anthony Allen eventually made their way through the initial line of defense and gashed Virginia for big yards.
195 yards and three touchdowns for Allen spelled doom for Virginia and it provided a blueprint for future opponents. If Virginia cannot keep opponents in check between the tackles, it is going to be a long season.
You can make all the excuses you want, but something needs to change or Virginia football will experience its own version of "Groundhog's Day."
Although the offense has struggled in the past two games, the running game remains the biggest surprise of the season so far.
Now Virginia has certainly been unable to produce the yards against Florida State and Georgia Tech that they had earlier in the season, but do not blame Perry Jones and Keith Payne.
These two men are facing stacked defenses that are daring Virginia to throw. When Verica cannot stretch the field, it makes life much more difficult for the running backs.
These deficits have also forced Virginia to get away from the run. Balanced play-calling is what made the Cavaliers so formidable early on. If they abandon the run, they cannot expect to be successful.
While both men are far from perfect, Jones and Payne represent two dynamic running styles that have had flashes of brilliance.
Virginia cannot win without these two, but they need help. Better play-calling, better execution from the quarterback, and solid blocking from the offensive line would be a good start.
Virginia special teams this year has been awful.
There is no escaping that since Chris Gould graduated, the Cavalier kicking game has suffered. Sure, there have been some good years statistically, but that was a result of cashing in on chip shots.
The Cavaliers are dead last in field goals in the ACC, going a paltry 2-of-7 on the year.
Now as bad as that is, Virginia needs to recognize their weaknesses and be smarter in their play-calling when they are around the 30-40 yard line of their opponent.
Missing a long field goal is one thing, blindly believing they will make it is quite another.
Virginia missed a field goal early from over 50 yards away, an attempt that never should have taken place to begin with.
The Cavaliers need to use third down in those situations to set up a convertable fourth down. Zero gains cannot be acceptable.
Until then, expect special teams coordinator Anthony Poindexter to continue to feel the heat.
I know Virginia fans, it hurts.
Most of the Cavalier faithful had rather low expectations to begin the season, only to see it rise with each and every performance in the first three weeks.
However, just as soon as Virginia fans were proud enough to wear their colors, reality set in.
Everything we feared came true.
I know that we live in a "win now" culture. The good start made Cavalier fans think they could have their cake and eat it too.
However, it will take time to rebuild this program. The talent is simply not there at the moment.
How many times have we seen coaches flash with early success that never pans out in the long term?
Everything Virginia has done since hiring Mike London has been to build toward the long term. Fans must accept that and let London do what he needs to do to be successful.
It requires faith, but that faith has been earned by London's hard work and passion for the University.
Say what you want about the Cavaliers, they don't quit.
Even against more talented teams and even when the scoreboard forecasts doom for the team, Virginia keeps playing hard.
Now it is one thing to continue fighting for pride while the other team has packed it in, but the Cavaliers have done a good job of playing hard even when they have the game in hand as well.
Virginia is going to play with passion, something that was lacking in years past.
The turnovers, the big plays, and the big stops all brought forth big celebrations from the players. They want to play well for their new coach and they could have more opportunities as the season continues.
Virginia needs more talent at key positions to compete physically but mentally there are few better prepared teams out there.
It's easy to keep players motivated and focused when things are going well.
We all know the hardest part of building a program is turning around a losing attitude.
Let's face it, how many Virginia fans are already thinking "here we go again"?
The Cavaliers won three games last year and, despite the 2-1 start, it could be hard to do much better this year with all the parity in the ACC.
Coach London has fire in his belly, but can he keep his players believing if the losing continues.
How will Virginia respond to their first real adversity of the season?
That will be the first test for Coach London at Virginia.