From the diaries. Building on T's great post below. GO BRUINS. -N
As we close in on 100 days until football season, a familiar refrain can be heard in the air around Bruins nation. Once again, we're talking expectations.
As you know, Nestor articulated our expectations for this coming football season, namely a Pac-10 championship and a win over Southern Cal. For what it's worth, I think these expectations are imminently reasonable, for all the reasons previously mentioned and more. But my point isn't to detail why I think that Karl Dorrell should be held to this sensible standard going into his fifth year, with soft schedule and about as many returning veterans as a college coach could ever hope for. For now, I'll just borrow from a colleague of mine here, Ajax, who summed it up nicely: If not this season, when?
My point is to talk about how, as in years past, our discussion of expectations has again gotten a few folks bogged down in semantics. What is an expectation? How is that different from a prediction? Or is it a hope, or a forecast, or a best case scenario or whatever?
This discussion always puzzles me a bit, as I think the answers are pretty clear. When we at BN talk about our expectations, we're talking about what we think one should reasonably expect UCLA's football team to accomplish in a given year based upon the schedule, the level of talent, the amount of time the coach has had to establish the system, our football potential and tradition, the resources available to the program, etc. Of course, we're not prophesizing about what will happen, even though many of us have some very learned guesses (8-6 with a loss in the Las Vegas bowl, anyone?).
So what gives? Are we just so bored with our day jobs that we are resorting to a debate about linguistics?
Whatever the answer, I think I've found a solution. I've done some research, and come up with an alternative definition of "expectations" for use going forward. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "expectation," in the college football context means:A statement of the goals that a college football team could reasonably be assumed to achieve if its head coach was virtually anyone besides Karl Dorrell.
Isn't that really it? Wouldn't all this talk about expectations versus predictions versus whatever just evaporate if we had something more than a mediocre coach who was still spinning cliches, churning through assistants, and learning on the job in his fifth season?
In my humble opinion, we torture ourselves with these semantics as a polite proxy for something else. It's our way of quantifying the Dorrell factor. Of accounting for the bad playcalling, poor preparation, and lousy (non-existent, some would say) in-game adjustments. I'd even go so far as to say that these expectations are indeed a kind of prediction: a prediction of what our team would accomplish sans Karl Dorrell.
Yes, this is harsh. And, I know some of the kool-aid drinkers are going to bash me for not "supporting the team." I'll be reminded that there won't be a coaching change before the end of the season. Whatever. It's true, in my humble opinion, and I just thought I'd say it.