Sunday, October 18, 2009

Managing Rutgers Expectations

No matter how you spin it, Fridays 24-17 loss to the Panthers seals the fate of the Scarlet Knights to a December bowl appearance assuming they are able to achieve the seven wins required to become bowl eligible (Since only one FCS win can count towards bowl eligibility). The difference between championship teams (see Florida’s 23-20 win vs Arkansas) and the “also ran’s” is that the coaching staff and players on championship teams find a way to win games like Friday night so that they don’t have to spend their offseason thinking about things that could have been. While there are still some “nice” things we can achieve this year in spite of the 0-2 Big East start, how long we as are fans can tolerate 7-5 seasons followed by the St. Petersburg Bowl remains the be seen, especially for a team that entered the season with BCS dreams but is effectively eliminated from the running by middle of October.

Expectations are a very dangerous thing, but its managing them, meeting them and exceeding them that separates top flight programs from everyone else. Right now, this team is trying to do too many things at once, constantly tinkering with personnel as it struggles to find it’s offensive identity both on and off the field. While changes surely need to be made, it seems that we are falling into the trap of mistaking these changes for actual progress and not making the kind of changes that give us the “best chance to win”. The decisions made along the sideline this year have at times left many fans wondering if 2006 was just an anomaly and whether or not it is realistic to think that we can ever get back there (or further) again. The bottom line is this….Just because we’re doing something doesn’t mean we’ve done anything. As the great John Wooden once said “don’t ever mistake activity for achievement.”


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