Fan expectations are a fickle thing. Sometimes winning is everything. Other times even winning isn’t enough. Take the case of Lloyd Carr, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan was a consensus preseason top 5 team, but the Wolverines have “M Go Blown” in the early season, losing in two stunning upsets to a Hot Hot Hot Appalachian State and then to a middle of the Pac-10 Oregon. Without even a Big Tenleven conference game played, Coach Carr’s career is over. The Wolverines season is over and it is unlikely that anything short of winning the mythical MNC, even winning out and going 10-2 with a conference championship, can change the clamoring din that are calling for his head.
Next consider Texas A&M’s Dennis Franchione. The Aggies were preseason consensus nothings. Not ranked in any preseason polls, the were not even considered a threat in the Big 12 South division, predicted by most to finish third behind highly touted University of Texas and Oklahoma University. The Aggies surprise, they come out 2-0 beating a Montana State team that was within reach of beating the previously aforementioned Appy State in last year’s 1-AA playoffs, Appy St. eventually won that title. The second victory was a heart stopping, heat stroking triple overtime win against a pretty fair Fresno State team.
Yet Fran shares the same fate as Carr. A&M fans are clamoring for his immediate release. In Fran’s case, victory was not enough. The expectation was that an Oklahoma-UNT style whipping would be administered to both of these opponents. The A&M fan boards are full of people now predicting that not only will the Aggies have trouble next week with lowly University of Louisiana-Monroe, but are all but dead for the season with little hope of success.
I’m certainly not blind to the Aggies deficiencies, defense is giving up a lot of yards and the offense does not have much of a passing attack outside of the occasional swing pass. But so far the Aggies have done what it takes to win. Will they be able to continue doing that with more talented teams? Time will tell. Miami is on the horizon as is a tough conference schedule. But I’m not willing to concede a single one of those games as unwinnable based on the performance of the past two weeks.
But I guess fan’s come by their attitudes honestly. One need only look at the pollsters pummeling of TCU which dropped out of the polls this week after a loss to Texas. Beaten by a team ranked significantly higher than they and playing on the road to boot, the Frogs went from 19 to out. However consider Texas, who on the strength of beating ranked team move up.