After last night's game, I went back to see where we sit with respect to Achilles' 10 scenarios. We will wind up either 5 or 6, depending on how we do in our bowl game, most likely the Karl Dorrell Hyundai Sun Bowl against Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is 8-4, with a 5-3 record in conference, despite managing to skip Florida State and Clemson in conference play. Virginia Tech would normally be down a notch in terms of bowl matchups, but with Florida State most likely in the BCS championship game, everybody else in the conference moves up one.
It was obviously fantastic to end the regular season by reminding Coach Ogre and his minions that bringing the enemy inside the gates didn't work for the Trojans in the Iliad and it didn't work last night. This assumes that Coach Ogre or any player on $C even knows that the Iliad even exists, and that it was a not a book derived from the script for Troy.
But I digress. I also went back to look at Bellepheron's expectations post in August. For 2013, the suggestion was 9 wins, beat $C, play (and lose) the Pac-12 title game, and return to the Holiday Bowl. And the suggestion for 2014 was 10 wins, win the Pac-12 title game, and play in the Rose Bowl for the first time in this millenium.
For 2013, we met 2 out of 4 expectations- 9 wins and beat $C. But we did not win the Pac-12 South. Arizona State was a surprise, having been ranked 30th in the AP preseason poll and 32nd in the Coaches' preseason poll. But Arizona State beat an okay Wisconsin team at home only because of the incompetent SPTR's and lost to a very ordinary Notre Dame team. And we lost to them by less than a touchdown, despite completely wasting the talents of Myles Jack. So losing the Pac-12 South is still a head-shaking experience.
All in all, despite the good vibes from last night, winding up in scenario 5 or 6 seems less than satisfying.
And, more importantly, there should be no reason based on this season to lower our expectations for 2014. It seems like a sizable portion of the fan base (fortunately not the astute BN commentators) recalibrates expectations every year, based on what happened the prior year. Recalibration next year would lead to excitement if we got to the Pac-12 championship game in 2014, even if we lost.
"Hey, we are on the right track. We did better than last year. Things are looking up." Actually, no. We would not be on the right track. We would be right back where we were in 2012. I think that Bellepheron was right on the mark with the suggestion that the 2015 Rose Bowl should be in our future.
Last night was big fun, but let's not readjust our sights for the future.