On Expectations

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We have received a boatload of advice this year from commenters – all of it welcome, I might add. Expectations are a popular topic. 

There is a large segment of the fanbase who earnestly feel that expectations are to low at UGA. This group holds to the theory that if Georgia had a coach, administration and fanbase that demanded national titles all would be right with the world.

The following are excerpt from a post by friend and Oregon blogger Dale Newton. Dale injects some sobering thoughts into the expectation drama after Oregon beat Oregon State to finish with a 10-2 record.

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If we’re being honest, most of us didn’t go 10-2 in our lives this year. At our jobs, as fathers, husbands or boyfriends, most of us were lucky if we managed 8-4.Psychologically, it’s probably part of the reason we’re so hard on Mark Helfrich and the Oregon Ducks. Watching football is our chance to expect excellence. We live through the kids, mentally rewriting the record of our own glory days, the passes we dropped, the trophies claimed, the kisses stolen and missed.

Supreme effort, impossible standards: how many times do we achieve this kind of excellence, where we work, relate and dream?  A lot of the comments and criticism of the Ducks these last few weeks should have been ruled out of bounds.

Expectations at Oregon have grown to a point where many fans think anything less than 12 wins and a BCS bowl is failure. When the season began, many felt this was the deepest and most talented Oregon team ever, the best chance in a great run of recent success to win a national championship.

Still others remember a relatively short time ago when a winning season was a big accomplishment, and any bowl was a cause for jubilation. After a $68 million dollar locker room, lounge, study center and dining hall, a billboard in Times Square and four straight BCS bowls, fans still love the Ducks, but some love them way more when they win every game by 30.

I wrote two preseason stories about the outlook, one at the start of camp where I predicted Mark Helfrich’s first year would cause the Ducks to slip back a little, that they’d fall at Stanford and falter in one other game, probably at Washington, where the Huskies had a senior quarterback, a great downhill running back and an improved offensive line and defense. 10-2 seemed likely.

A couple of weeks into fall camp I reconsidered, buoyed by reports of great practices and progress. Byron Marshall and De’Anthony Thomas could handle the load at running back, spelled by promising freshman Thomas Tyner.

This was the year Oregon would go undefeated and win a national championship, I wrote. It was a ridiculous level of unqualified optimism, but when they handled an ACC road game and big SEC offensive and defensive lines, dispatched the Huskies on the road in convincing fashion and roadgraded UCLA to reach #2, 8-0 and the cover of Sports Illustrated, I felt vindicated and incredibly astute.

Then came November and a four-game stretch of the worst kind of tentative, disorganized, unfocused football in recent memory.

The first prediction was closer to correct.

This afternoon I went to a small college playoff game today at Linfield, 4-time National Champions in NCAA Division II and Division III.

Thomas Tyner was there, watching with a cluster of friends outside the ropes at the ten yard line. In a stocking cap, his Oregon letterman’s jacket and black skinny jeans, he looked unremarkable, just another college kid, except for the heads that turned and the necks that craned when he walked by the grandstands.

Most of us can barely fathom the attention and scrutiny those kids live with every day of their lives. Sure, they’re pampered and celebrated, working, studying and practicing in a football Taj Mahal. But hanging out with some buddies on the sideline at a small college football game in McMinnville, every pair of eyes in the stadium turned to see if Tyner was winning the day.

His team beat Oregon State Friday night with an incredible effort, displaying heart and poise to win a classic…

Fans aren’t likely to stop expecting more, from him or his teammates. It’s the price of fame, and sometimes, we can be cruel about it, forgetting that most of us went 8-4 this year. I cheated and made two predictions, and finished 1-1.

41 comments
South FL Dawg
South FL Dawg

I agree with the quoted story that many fans apply a standard to coaches (and sometimes players) that they do not apply to themselves in their jobs. Sports by their nature provoke this second guessing but that's ok. What isn't ok is taking things to a personal level, being offensive, being unwilling to see things from another person's side, and so on.

Junkyardawg41
Junkyardawg41

Expectations: Ed Thomas published the article of the year when he broke down our defensive performance against BCS, Top 25 teamsm etc. Basically, I am happy with UGA football when 1) we beat the teams with less talent and 2) are competitive against the teams that are at least talent wise equal or better. I have no problem with a team beats us by 21 b/c they have more talent. I hated Spurrier in the 90's but his offense and defense was vastly superior in talent and scheme... I hated losing but not angry. The loss to Vandy and Mizzou were painful.., to Clempson not as much but still painful, if we truely have talent then we should expect to play to our level of competition.

ZippyMorocco
ZippyMorocco

I can only speak for myself, but here are my expectations. I expect to compete for the East every year. I expect to win the SEC every 4-5 years. I expect us to field a sound football team. We haven't done that in years. The Vandy loss is inexcusable.

I'm not advocating the dismissal of anyone, but I expect more than I got in 2013.

CharlestowneDawg
CharlestowneDawg

The Ole Miss fan-base demands national championships.  Just sayin'...

Sargent Shultz
Sargent Shultz

Expectations generate Hope.  Hope is that required emotion that generates enthusiasm which in turn sells tickets, merchandise (and btw, drives internet board traffic).Hope builds interest and binds the fan to the team, creates moment by moment interest. Fans gotta have hope!  Failure to meet expectations, on the other hand, just plain hurts, hope is crushed....and the fan withdraws.  So....high expectations are good even though not meeting them hurts.  Want to know why the bugs cant sell out their matchbox statduim, their fan base doesnt expect to win, they have no expectation of winning and no hope of doing so.

Real world example, Sargent Shultz is not a baseball fan, but got caught up in the Braves run of the early 90's.  Must see tv. Except for 95, hope for a WC were dashed annually.  BUT...each year was a new opportunity with new (high) expectations.  So I followed the Braves until John Shurholtz began his annual "we consider this season to be a success" crap after another first round playoff loss to a wild card team.  If he wasnt going to set high expectations and be disappointed in not reaching them, then I wasnt gonna waste my time (and emotion) on them.  I wasnt alone, the crowds really began to dwindle around 2000 even though Shurholtz was having his successfull seasons.  I havent watched 10 braves game in the last 10 years.  No expections, no interest.

Bottom line, Dawgs gotta have high expectations, every year.  Fans gotta love big wins, gotta hurt on bad loses.....And gotta see the coaches and admin sharing this passion for achieving this level of hope.  Otherwise, tickets will become easier to get, like at Tech.

meansonny
meansonny

In life, we need constant reminding that it isn't the destination but the journey that matters.

In college football where the goal is winning each week, it is frowned upon to take that approach. It is considered weak to be expected to enjoy something less than excellent. It is such a hypocrisy to real life.

This has been the most enjoyable season for me since 1980. And I don't reference 1980 because of a mythical championship. The 1980 season gave us game after game after game that went down to the wire. There wasn't a more exciting team to watch in college football.

I know that the national media has a new bride after the past 2 weeks. But there hasn't been a more exciting team to watch in 2013 than the Georgia Bulldawgs. Going back to 1980, I can't remember a season with more finishes going to the final whistle.

As Gladiator says, "Are you not entertained?"

Thanks to the kids, coaches, and families for their sacrifices and efforts for the Bulldawg Nation.

rugbydawg79
rugbydawg79

Perfect timing on this post--As for me beat fla more often than not ,squish the bugs , be competitive and it is Great to be a Georgia Bulldog !

EdThomas
EdThomas moderator

For today's fan base, BCS or bust is the mindset. It's now going to be playoff or get fired.

## who wants to go to a bowl game if we're not one of the 4 best teams in the country? Fire everybody! ##

Red Dawn
Red Dawn

The best and worst thing to happen to CFB is the BCS.  I remember thinking that going to the Outback bowl and being 10-2 in '97 was a great season.  After Corch Myer successfully argued that a 1 loss SEC team should play in the title game over 1 loss Big 10 team and started the run of 7 straight SEC BCS champs it made UGA fans believe that it was just a matter of time before we got ours.  Now anything less is viewed as failure and none of the younger generation cares about going to Outback or lesser bowls.  It doesn't help that Bama and the Barn have made it look easy.

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@ZippyMorocco How is the Vandy loss inexcusable? Why? I mean, was the defense worse than had been in the other 12 games? Did Murray have the worst game of the season then? Should Georgia have been as good without their 2 best RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, there 4 best WRs in Mitchell, JSW, Conley, and Bennett? Despite those 6 injuries to the offense and playing walk-ons at WR and the 3rd and 4th string RBs, Georgia still almost won.

Georgia has lost to Vandy 19 times since 1893; so, does that mean that every loss to Vandy is inexcusable, and Georgia shouldn't have ever lost to Vandy in 75 games in 120 years?

Vince Dooley's 1973 Bulldawgs lost to Vandy 18-14 and Vandy finished 5-6 that year. I would also argue that that 1973 Vandy team was not even close to as good as this 2013 Vandy team.

And in 1985 Vince Dooley's team nearly lost to Vandy, but ended up in a 13-13 all tie, this was before the 1996 overtime rule implementation. That 1985 Vandy squad was not good at all, 3-7-1.

Is the 2013 loss to Vandy more inexcusable than the 1985 tie or the 1973 loss? What about the losses in 1991 and 1994 when Goff was head coach? What about the homecoming loss in 2006?

The fact is, that no matter how good a football program is, no matter how talented and powerful, if said team plays another team enough times, statistically, the team that shouldn't win will do so on occasion whatever mine or your expectations maybe.

Jesse1
Jesse1

@ZippyMorocco  Fact is Vanderbilt isn't exactly chopped liver anymore. A school with their money has zero reason not to be a factor. If Stanford, Northwestern, TCU, to name a few plus Duke this year, can field good teams, why not Vanderbilt? And actually in the Vandy game, "We wuz robbed."

Reddawg13
Reddawg13

@Sargent Shultz Thanks for the Shultz, that is a great perspective and explains a hell of a lot about those wanting to raise the bar and those that are glad it's high as it is.......

Jesse1
Jesse1

@meansonny Although the season didn't turn out as we had hoped, we were easily the most "entertaining" team in the USA. I doubt very many casual football fans changed the channel during a Bulldawg game this year, cause you just didn't know what you might miss, good or bad. We gave the networks interest on whatever we were paid. Never a dull moment. Only 4 touchdowns from being 12-0. Did I hope for more? Of course. Always do. Was I entertained? Most definitely. UGA-2013 defined the old expression "Cardiac Kids."

JTUGA
JTUGA

I respect your comment but it's that kind of comment that makes my blood boil. Your ok with going 8-4 and playing in a bowl. Your just like the administration. We should be competing for championships every year. It's a shame that we haven't played for a NC under Richt. The amount of money that is pumped into the program, and the recruiting classes we've pulled in. There is no excuse to have 25 losses since 2008!!

JTUGA
JTUGA

The biggest issue I have with all this is people are too scared to get rid of Richt because what happens if we hire someone and actually do better? Their is enough money, the recruiting base is one of the best in the nation. Te problem is most of the fans and administration are ok with the results of the last 5 years. 22 losses the past 5 seasons is unacceptable given that most want to believe were one of the top 10 programs in the country.

MoePritchett
MoePritchett

@Red Dawn  the Barn made it look easy because Gus Malzahn went to a proctologist back in August and had a horseshoe surgically implanted, other than that, yes, the Barn made it look easy.

ZippyMorocco
ZippyMorocco

@Jesse1 @ZippyMorocco  We were three TDs better than Vandy, and yes they are chopped liver. They have improved from awful to mediocre. They barely beat Wake.

Jesse1
Jesse1

@JTUGA We did play for a national championship. Last December 7th. in the SECCG.

Reddawg13
Reddawg13

@JTUGA I so agree, I can not stand being satisfied with where one is at, low or no expectations are always met.

meansonny
meansonny

We played for a national championship in 2012. It was the first time in Richt's tenure to have that play-in.

It stinks that we lost, but it's great to have that opportunity determined on the field.

rugbydawg79
rugbydawg79

@JTUGA And I respect your opinion and the way you voiced it in a civilized manner !  I also want to go undefeated and win it all and I am certain our Coaches and players want that as well. I am not happy with 8-4, but we did beat LSU fla Tenn. Sakerlina and Tech--and man did we have bad luck with injuries---Listen to the Bama fans this morning--I never want to sound like them !  I just Love my school and want our players to know I am proud of them


ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@JTUGA 

I doubt that you have an accurate handle on the thought of "most" of the fanbase or any of the administration. You actually come across as saying that you are right and anyone who disagrees or does not share your view completely is "scared".

As you should know, firing is not the end of the process and can not be taken lightly. Don't believe me? Take a look at Bama's history between Stallings and Saban.

JTUGA
JTUGA

Well if they play for a national championship then Gus has done more at auburn that richt has done here in 13 years.

MoePritchett
MoePritchett

@Red Dawn  let me be more specific; Gus had a horseshoe surgically implanted in his COLON!

Lakedawg
Lakedawg

@JTUGA Man you are going to have to get over it. Coach Mark Richt is not going anywhere for the next 7-8 years. Believe he is 87 wins shy of Dooleys recor at UGA.

You do not get rid of the best football coach your school has ever had, and a winning % in the top 5 of active coaches in the country.  Sheesh

Jesse1
Jesse1

@ecdawg @Jesse1   Speaking of fairly young coaches, the Gundy fellow at Okie Lite might be worth a roll of the dice. I became a fan when he stood up at the presser,  and defended his quarterback after a loss passionately. 

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@Jesse1

I'm nor sure. I'd like to see UGA go with someone young and aggressive (much like CMR was in 2001). One reason is that I think older coaches have more trouble identifying with and relating to players today.

Of course, the younger (an more unproven) the coach, the greater the risk.

Jesse1
Jesse1

@ecdawg @JTUGA  And think where the Gumps would be had Rich Rod taken the gig. Other than Gary Patterson, who do you believe could turn UGA into a football "Death Star?" Who is good enough while antsy enough at their current school to leave and come here? Were CMR to retire, Patterson would come to Athens in a drop of a hat. But who else would you take odds on coming to UGA and going to the top of the football food chain? 

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@JTUGA 

My point was not about what you believe but whether you actual have an accurate grasp on fanbase opinion.

There is good reason to believe that UGA or any other school that fires a coach MAY not get a home-run hire. As in my previous comment, I suggest you investigate Alabama's history between Stallings and Saban.

As for your analogous mention of your job, I have no idea of your profession and I'll bet you are the best at whatever it is. However, I doubt that you would be nearly as difficult to successfully replace as a D1 football coach who has won over 70% of his games. The pool of candidates would be significantly larger.

I am only trying to get you to entertain the possibility that there are many things that must be considered when firing a coach like CMR. Reasonable people should be able to disagree with you without drawing a rant.

BTW I, and many of the people here at BI, do not disagree with your conclusion but your arguments are not advancing the cause.

JTUGA
JTUGA

I respect everyone's opinion but in my argument the proof is in the pudding. Richt gets a free pass for what he did from 2001-2005 or because he's a nice guy. No I truly believe most of the fan base is scared to fire Richt. I've seen people post it on here that we will be like Tennessee if we fire Richt. We could be like Alabama or auburn this year. All I know is if I under perform I will lose my job. I will not be allowed to continue the same excuses year after year.

Reddawg13
Reddawg13

@ecdawg @Reddawg13 No, I think Auburn thought they had hired a good coach and he lucked up with Malzahn and Newton. And in our case we have an above average HC, with great athletes, but not all the right AC's in place to go further than we have!

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@Reddawg13

You think that was Auburn's strategy? Hire a crappy head coach but really work hard to hire great assistants. 

Reddawg13
Reddawg13

@ecdawg @JTUGA I would like a shot at where Chizik fits in...... he proved that a sorry head coach with great assistants and great athlets can win a natty, but when those assistants and athletes are gone so goes the natty.

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@JTUGA

Your statement above was "Gus has done more at auburn that richt has done here in 13 years".

My question is - do you think that Chizik was more valuable to them than Richt to UGA due to Chizik's one good year (BCSNCG)? 

JTUGA
JTUGA

He doesn't at all. I'm talking about this year.

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@JTUGA 

How does Gene Chizik fit into that thought process?