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Howard football coach Mike London finally has the signature win he never earned at Virginia

The Bison coach’s debut featured a historic win.

Howard v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A Mike London-coached team finally delivered on the promise of opportunity when his Bison upset UNLV as a 45-point underdog. As far as we can tell, it’s the largest point spread upset in the history of the sport. It’s also, quite easily, the biggest win of London’s coaching career.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because London used to coach at Virginia.

Mike London’s brand was that of the enduring promise of hope at UVa. London, a DC-area lifer during his coaching career, crushed recruiting in the DMV while he was at Virginia. In his 2014 class alone, London signed five-stars Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown. Blanding blossomed into an All-American caliber talent. Brown is a borderline All-ACC player.

London’s problem was that of unfulfilled potential. During his tenure at UVa from 2010-2015, his team only made it to one bowl game. The Cavs were more often just cellar dwellers on a side of the ACC that’s notably easier without Florida State or Clemson in it.

After London resigned, he spent last season at Maryland. Howard hired him early this year to take over.

This is actually Mike London’s signature win.

He’s had others that can claim the mantle, certainly. London’s Cavs beat FSU in 2011 on the road. That 2011 Virginia team came within one win of winning the ACC Coastal, and was by far London’s best season at the helm in Charlottesville.

It could have also been a win over a Miami team that ended up going 7-6. Or maybe when London’s Virginia squad that beat Louisville in 2015. The Hoos had gone over 600 days by that point without beating an ACC opponent.

UVa also had other notable close shaves against heavyweights, like when they nearly beat Notre Dame in 2015.

But this is another level of upset, especially given what Howard is.

The Bison are an FCS team that’s only been to the playoffs once. Although they do claim five black national championships in program history, none have come since 1993, and the program is 3-19 in the last three seasons. And, again, in London’s debut this was literally the biggest upset in the history of the sport as far as point-spread is concerned as a more than six-touchdown dog.

Here’s what it looked like if you bet the money line.

A Virginia team with talent on it is one thing. Punching an entire level of the sport your weight for 60 minutes and coming out with a victory is a whole other thing entirely. UNLV paid to take the L.

There was, quantifiably, a near-zero chance of this happening.

Our own predictions had the Bison as a three-TD underdog.

Cam Newton’s brother Caylin (who is Howard’s QB) hinted that things were changing in D.C.

Whether you believe in momentum or not, it’s unquestionable that a win like this can give a program an indelible belief about what they can achieve.

London has the most signature of signature wins, and perhaps Howard has a positive future with him in place. It happened in Vegas, but the Bison hope the success doesn’t stay there.