September 14, 2009
Conquered favorites and other notables picking up the pieces of shattered ambition this week.
Sic transit in gloria Gundy. Remember how Oklahoma State was one of the trendiest sleeper picks of the preseason? Remember how they shrugged off a series of high-profile disappointments to throttle then-13th-ranked Georgia in their season opener? Remember how they rocketed into the top five in the AP poll and were poised to make a real run at the Big 12 title?
No? Well, after the Cowboys' 10-point loss to unranked Houston on Saturday, apparently nobody in Stillwater does, either:
We had everything going for us this season, and we just crapped it away. I've been let down for 25 straight years and keep coming back for more. I must be insane.
Great facilities. Favorable schedule. A ton of returning talent and experience.
And we lose to Houston?
HOUSTON! Its not 1979, UH won't be playing in the Cotton Bowl against Joe Montana this season.
How to remedy this? Forum poster "scotheocelot" has a suggestion: pessimism!
We will barely beat A&M. We will lose to Texas, OU, Tech and Mizzou. We will have 5 losses and be one of the biggest busts of 2009 season period. You can cut, copy and paste this in your sig. I called the Houston game as a potential loss to all my friends and I'm calling this. Sorry folks! But like always I'll be cheering on our team. If you all would just lower your expectations like me you wouldn't get so upset.
There's a stoic, almost terrifyingly icy logic to that philosophy, but the forum post of the weekend pops up just two comments later, courtesy of "Dpoke51": "[B]eing an osu football fan is like dating a stripper...no matter how much you love it, it will never love you back." I wish I could laugh, but ... I've been there, actually, and it's not funny.
Should Sweatervest be sweating? If you had "five" in the "How many high-profile non-conference losses will it take before Ohio State fans start calling for Jim Tressel's head?" pool, please collect your prize at the concierge desk. In a post imperiously titled "Moral Victories are for those that Delight in Fear," Buckeye blogger Jason from Eleven Warriors doesn't even mention Tressel by name, much less suggest he be shown the door, but you don't have to delve too far into the comments thread before some of his readers start doing it for him:
To Jason and everyone at 11W, the poll question is simple: Should Tressel be fired? Yes or No. What a disappointment saturday night. Iím so pissed that I'm going to boycott the Toledo game and find something else to do. Anyone up for some poker?
I don't know how many more choke jobs I can take from Tress. Go back to YSU, please.
I don't want Miles. We're not gonna get Carrol or Meyer. But Peterson, he's the reason I was about to post. He's the guy Iíd like to see the Bucks get. But the problem is, Tressel will be around for several more years, and by that time Peterson will have been snatched up by [another] big program.
Et cetera. One commenter even points to Saturday's upset in Ann Arbor ("Rich Rod has a program now") and invokes the specter of the Buckeyes surrendering their recent dominance over the hated Wolverines. If you can think of any other program where a three-point loss to the No. 3 team in the country would be greeted with this kind of recrimination, by all means, share.
Should Charlie Weis be ... oh, stupid question, sorry. Speaking of said upset, the coach abuse seemed almost muted by comparison at Notre Dame, probably because denigration of Charlie Weis has pretty much become an involuntary reflex among Irish fans at this point. And at Blue-Gray Sky's marathon pre-/in-/post-game comments thread, there was only so much vitriol to go around for Weis, Jon Tenuta, the special teams, the refs and the booth announcers who had the audacity to be impressed by Tate Forcier's coming-out party:
Millen might have to get a hotel room with Forcier.
are there announcers? I thought it was Forcier's parents in the booth.
GB...i say ND and the Refs won this game for UM...I can't stand the fact that Forcier just got more people [pleasuring] his [anatomy]..as if he doesnt [pleasure] it enough himself....biggest tool ever
the [sexual pleasuring] by the announcers on Forcier was nausiating [sic]. He did well but he wasn't the freakin second coming.
The hype over Forcier had to be particularly galling for Irish fans given the near-total obscurity in which plucky underdog Jimmy Clausen has toiled for more than three years now. Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins, you are hereby ordered not to do anything too awesome when the Spartans travel to South Bend this week, lest you incur ND fans' virtual wrath.
Ask not for whom the humiliating upset tolls. On September 26, 1998, Kansas State curb-stomped Northeast Louisiana (now UL-Monroe) 62-7 to complete a season-opening homestand in which they outscored their opponents by a total of 249 to 21. Eleven years later, with Bill Snyder back and loading up on gimme games just like the good ol' days, it was completely reasonable for K-State fans to expect a win over lowly UL-Lafayette on Saturday.
Such was their confidence, in fact, that this thread at Bring On the Cats began not with a breakdown of the Wildcats or Ragin' Cajuns but with chortle-y links to a Colorado site's tortured liveblogging of the Buffs' Friday meltdown against Toledo, replete with a Hindenburg photo as a visual aid. The commenter, "BracketCat," acknowledges the chances that KSU could lose to Lafayette and look just as bad, but the overall mood early on is lighthearted and carefree.
This lasts about 10 comments' worth, right up until KSU misses a chip-shot field goal early in the first quarter. Less than an hour later, Lafayette pulls ahead for the first time, 7-2. And less than 15 minutes later, here's BracketCat again [strategically redacted at your humble blogger's discretion]:
Final score, Ragin' Cajuns 17, Wildcats 15. And BracketCat's karma is the least of your problems at this point, State fans. You're stuck with those players aaaaaaallllll season.
"Yup, we beat the Gamecocks. By 10 points. Huh? No, the other Gamecocks." Disillusion does not live by embarrassing defeats alone: It can also be fueled by plug-ugly, altogether-too-close victories over teams that should've been worm food from the opening kickoff. Such is the case with Florida State's win over I-AA Jacksonville State by the misleading score of 19-9, a pair of numbers FSU fans will spend the rest of the season regarding on their schedule like a decomposing chipmunk that the cat has deposited on the back porch. Tomahawk Nation's commenters seem more interested in how they can convince Bobby Bowden to just frickin' retire already than they do in the actual game "action"; the site Chantrant takes the game as an opportunity to relive the ugliest wins of the Bowden era against opponents who were supposed to be cupcakes. ScalpEm.com, however, sees a silver lining:
1. Payback!!! Finally, for that 7-0 loss to Jacksonville State in 1947 that Iím sure every FSU fan was just chomping at the bit to even the score on.
See? Set reasonable goals and you'll be fine. Oklahoma State fans, hope you're taking notes.