November 11, 2006

The Curse of Expectations

When is a 9-3 season bad enough to fire somebody? When is a 9-3 season good enough to warrant a contract extension? When is a North division title just good enough and when is it expected?

This story has some hockey in it, so I apologize in advance to some of you who frown on that sort of thing. Stick with me though..I have a point.

The UNO hockey team went to the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in school history. The team returned all but one key player, including Scott Parse, who was a Hobey Baker finalist for Hockey's version of the Heisman Trophy. This year, the Mavericks have been sluggish, jumping out to a 3-3-3 record in their first nine games. Fans of the teams are ready to kill each other, because 1/2 the team is "realistic" and trusts in the current coaching staff; while the other half is completely besides themselves, because 3-3-3 is well below the level of play a team that returns this magnitude of player should be at right now.

So I got to thinking....What the hell is Husker fan thinking right about now? They've won the North, and that was the stated goal at the beginning of the season. (Thanks to a horrible call against KU at home and Gary Pinkel's idiotic offensive schemes...but that's beside the point.) However, the hicks are realistically starting at a 8-6 record, should they lose their bowl game. (Lose to A&M, beat CU, lose to Texas, lose bowl game against ACC or Pac 10 team in Jacksonville or San Diego). Is 8-6 good enough, even if you "won your goal". That would be two 6 loss seasons out of the last three.

Is THAT what Steve Pederson was talking about when he was making his "Restore the Order" t-shirts?

To me, this is where Husker fan finds himself in a pickle. Do they stay the course with a guy who has had a couple of mediocre seasons with his own guys? (But still won the shitty North). Or do you start over, because fewer than 9 wins and having 6 losses is completely unacceptable? The same sort of internal strife can be found with Missouri fan right now as well. The team is looking at a realistic 10-3 season if they win their bowl game, yet many see the season as a failure, because they couldn't beat a mediocre NU team and keep from choking at A&M and against OU.

It's all about the expectations and perception. Perhaps after the season is over, when Doc Sadler's team is losing their 15th straight, or when Manhattan or San Francisco is beating the mighty NU baseball team in the playoffs...fans will see things a bit differently. But at the moment, it seems we are in a major transition period in Husker hating times.

Is 8-6 (or even 9-5) worth crowing about? Isn't this the greatest amateur football team ever touched by the hand of God? Isn't this the coach who led the Raiders to the single greatest performance in a Super Bowl EVER by a losing team? (A guy at work, actually told me that once). Dunno...but it will be interesting how the next month or so plays out.

* Since I have a lot of KSU friends who read this blog and since we're talking about expectations..let's talk about KSU hoops for a moment. First off, let me say that overall, it's great that Bob Huggins is landing big-time recruits left and right to come play in Manhattan. It's good for the league, and if anything, it helps everybody's strength of schedule. However, I'm a bit concerned with the expectation level there. Don't get me wrong, 13,000 at the Bram is way better than 3,500 at the Bram. Pulling a top 5 recruiting class is better than pulling in a top 300 recruiting class. But exactly how fast do Cat fans expect to make major noise in the conference?

This year?
Next year?
Four years?



Personally, I think it's going to take Huggins some time to get his feet under him and to get everybody on the same page. It's going to be hard to generate sustained excitement in a place where basketball hasn't really mattered for a long time. However, there is really nowhere to go but up, so I would expect the transition to be fairly successful and fairly quick. Anything that brings down the evil that is KU basketball...I'm all for it.

All in all, this is a huge year of transition for Big 12 basketball, with new coaches at what seems to be nearly every school. But with that many big name coaches and that many upstart programs, somebody is going to fall flat on their face.

"Paging Dr. Sadler..."

Oh..and the answer to my question last post...How many NCAA tournament wins has Nebraska had in school history? The answer? The same as Peru State, Midland, Avila, College of St. Mary and DeVry....Big fat none.

The tradition continues.....

More tomorrow

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a K-State fan, i would say i expect us to start making noise in conference next year. i think we should finish about 5-6 in the league this year and (i hope) make the dance. i don't expect much noise in the dance this year, but by next year i think we should be among the league leaders, though i'm far from saying we're going to win it

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NU 28, aTm 27

aj:

It's time to hear some of your smack!

Think long and hard.

GBR

6:53 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

I was at the mall with my wife all afternoon, and I didn't see a down of football today. Then I see my pussy anonymous comment quote jump to two. Huskers must have won.

Congratulations. You won a game that meant absolutely nothing.

Feel free to read everything I write, so you can figure out that I encourage front-running Husker smack. I live on it. I thrive in it. I excel with it.

Winning is better than losing. Props to you. Order is restored. Now fucking act like you've been there before ya fucking hayseeds.

Have a nice night. More to come tomorrow after I've read up on what I missed.

8:13 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

PS - Think long and hard? What, harder than it is to post anonymously?

I bashed the fuck out of Nebraska teams that were 12-0 and won National titles...how in the FUCK am I supposed to be speechless when you beat an A&M team that barely beat Army?

Seriously...this is the same chest-thumping bullshit we had to deal with last year after the Alamo Bowl. You won a game. Congratulations. Don't burn your hands on the iron making up another t-shirt for it.

For somebody who acts like they invented college football, you sure get mouthy over the smallest of victories.

Idiots

Please...keep the anonymous chicken shit drivel coming....I've been way too soft on you guys anyway.

PS - JP and OHF have at least earned the right to pop-off.

8:15 PM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Shitload of parity in the Big 12 and college football in general. This week is really a testament to that. Parity is king.

Can Josh Freeman hang on against TexASS? The kid is good. Nebraska really lost a great kid when he decided to go to KState.

Nebraska's two minute drill was outstanding today. Afterwards, I went down to "the Bob" to watch Doc Sadler and company. Gonna be a long year for Husker hoops. Creighton may win in Lincoln by 50.

Go Big Red!!!

Fourth quarter underway in Manhattan. Go TexASS.

10:17 PM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

To answer your poorly thought out questions:

When is a 9-3 season bad enough to fire somebody?
WHEN YOU WERE 7-7 TO FINISH THE SEASON THE YEAR BEFORE AND YOU DIDN'T WIN THE BIG 12 NORTH FOR 4 STRAIGHT SEASONS AFTER INHERITING A TEAM WHO WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 3 OUT OF 4 SEASONS A SHORT TIME EARLIER.

When is a 9-3 season good enough to warrant a contract extension?
IT DEPENDS ON MANY CIRCUMSTANCES. POSE THIS QUESTION TO PINKEL'S BOSS IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW.

When is a North division title just good enough and when is it expected?
IT'S GOOD ENOUGH WHEN YOU HAVEN'T WON IT SINCE 1999.

Any more questions?

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Obsessed Husker Fan said...

AJ, my man. Thanks for the kudos bro! And like I said, 4-0 to finish and RESTORE THE ORDER TO THE GREATEST FANS OF ALL TIME!!! Anyways, my boys in scarlet and cream basketball lost to SIU-Edwardsville tonight. FUCK. But, we'll be back... next year... for a... ncaa tournament win... then Doc will be... the GREATEST COACH IN NEBRASKA BASKETBALL HISTORY... which the GREATEST FANS IN THE NATION DESERVE... GO BIG RED!!!!!

1:31 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Obsessed Husker fan = Fat guy in his footie pajamas soon to be floggin' his dolphin

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Section96 said...

That was a great KSU/Texas game last night. Freeman is going to be a superstar.

And AJ:

UNO misses Thomas. A lot.

'96

10:51 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

JP, you are the #1 reason I want to start a message board on this blog. God you're a prick.

Don't ever change. ;)

10:53 AM  
Blogger JP Anderson said...

Thank you very little.

11:34 AM  

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