b_dog (Regular+; 11074)
Posted on: 11-14-2010.
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I won't dispute any of the legitimate concerns about this team.
We're not getting enough d-line pressure, the d-backs are shaky, and we give up bonus yardage on missed tackles. Didn't care for Adam Grant celebrating a big hit on a play that resulted in a first down. The o-line can't drive block, and a running game that pretty much consists of change-ups on draws doesn't strike much fear in anybody's heart. We still manage to move the ball between the 20's with the short passing game, but it's a high-wire act without a net, and when we run out of spacing in the red zone, we run into a brick wall. The kicking game is pretty much a disaster. Using Zendejas to angle pooch-punts out of bounds on the sideline is okay, but it shouldn't take until the 10th game to figure that out, and then you don't use him when you need to blast a punt into the wind. 30 lousy yards from that. Meanwhile, a kickoff specialist who can't reach the end zone with a stiff tailwind? Gotta think Crier could at least kick the ball off a tee harder. A number of other issues there. John Baxter coached here, but now he's at USC. Joe Robinson coached here, but now he's at LSU.
Okay, so hopefully I've placated all of those who only post to vent their frustration during games or after losses and think anybody with positions that deviate from theirs are hopelessly blinded by red and blue glasses.
We were pre-season picked fifth in the Pac-10 behind Oregon, USC, a healthy Oregon State, and varying opinions about the fourth-place team. We had a number of question marks. Prior to the season, on this board and others, those looking at the schedule made comments that we could jump out to a big start, maybe even be undefeated, going into the Stanford game. After a two-point loss to OSU (that cost them their second-best player and probably their season, as they've since lost 3 out of 4), we were 7-1. Cue the less-informed fans and the news media types looking for an angle: Rose Bowl or bust! Now it's fine with me if somebody has an Al Davis carpe diem mindset, just as long as they don't run full-speed over the edge of cliffs with it like mindless lemmings.
Despite that 7-1 "almost undefeated" record, we were STILL the pre-season 5th-place pick in the Pac-10 with that back-loaded schedule and the various question marks. And, after playing two of the top three teams, and probably the two most physical teams in the Pac-10 back-to-back, we're 7-3 and pretty banged-up. Fans of that other Pac-10 team in this state with the 2 whole wins against FBS teams must be pretty excited about that bit of misfortune befalling us. We're still going to a bowl, but we face the daunting task of playing #1 in the country on the road, and probably losing three straight games. We'll take the bye week, and we'll see if we can get healthy, how many problems we can fix, and how many wrinkles we can throw in. Then, we'll take the opportunity to go after #1, with all that pressure building on them and nobody giving us any chance, and we'll see what happens. And then, we'll see if we can keep that Territorial Cup (the real one, not the insurance company sponsored thing) for a third straight year and lock down at least an 8-win season, which has been the mark of a reasonably successful season for most teams for about as long as I can remember. And then we'll go to another Las Vegas Bowl, Sun Bowl, Holiday Bowl, or Alamo Bowl and see what happens there.
And anybody who wants to can choose to complain about it, rather than enjoying it. Eventually everybody dies, but the amount of happiness one experiences in life is a choice.
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