Now that football camps have gotten well underway across the country and preseason talk is heating up like the oceanic waters around the equator. And just like El Nino has far-reaching effects, so too do things like preseason polls and season previews.
As much as these things are there to prepare and excite us for the upcoming season, they actually work more like sharing an 8 ball of cocaine with some friends before you go out to the club for the night. Sure, YOU’RE FUCKING FIRED UP AND READY TO ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT BROSEPH- but in a short while after reaching the club your stomach starts hurting and you’re in the bathroom licking the top of toilet paper dispenser that has some type of white powder residue on top pf it (it’s probably Borax).
As long as the offseason is in college football, and for as much as we all discuss it year round, August is the preparty that determines most of our emotional future in the fall. For almost 25 years, Irish fans have been subjected to a familiar bait and switch before most seasons where the expectations never quite meet the actual results. It’s surprising to me that Notre Dame didn’t make this list:
— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) August 10, 2015
In the last 15 years, there have been 4 Notre Dame teams with this little QB experience; 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2010. The Irish are a combined 25-24 in those years.
No, I do not have any cocaine for you kind sir.
Now, with another new quarterback, the Irish are hovering just outside the top 10 in the polls, and Sports Illustrated has them at #4 with a playoff spot in the future. The expectations in South Bend are quite astronomical- even for Irish fans. This team is being hailed as the most talented and most balanced team in the Brian Kelly era (which makes this the most talented team in 20 plus years). So, of course predictions have surfaced from media outlets placing the Irish damn near the top of the mountain.
I am here to neither sell you on the possible greatness of the season or curb your enthusiasm. The great and terrible thing about 2012 was how surprising it really was. It was great, but I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop to derail the season. In many ways, that ominous vibe hindered some of my enjoyment from the season. However, we have seen these type of predictions before i.e. in 2006 the Irish were ranked #2 in the country and ended up 10-3 with blowout losses to Michigan, USC, and LSU. It sucked ass.
So, where is the outline on how to feel about it all? The other team goals outside of winning it all are truly just steps for the the main goal. There is no manual and there is no law. There is no justice in how our emotional well-being will be tossed around like a rolled up dollar bill at the preparty.
And that’s okay. That’s what makes college football and being a Notre Dame fan both incredible and awful in the best of ways. Enjoy the moments. Suck the life out of each win and, I won’t go as far as to say “a win is a win,” there is something far worse than winning a close game- and that’s losing a game and the season in the process.
The expectations are there, and we have a duty to enjoy those expectations while they last.