Last season was amazing. It was the most exciting season I've seen as a Tech fan. Coach Johnson exceeded everyone's expectations, and has definitely found a place in the hearts of the Yellow Jacket faithful.
With that said, I'm going to be a Negative Nancy for a little while. We ran the train on a few of our opponents... JSU, Duke, Mississippi State, and Miami. I'm proud that we crushed these teams like we did, but let's not pretend that those large margins of victory qualify us as a good team. We defintely got donkey punched ourselves... UNC was embarrassing, and I don't even want to bring up what happened - you know what? Nevermind.
While last year's 9-4 season eclipsed any under Gailey, I cannot shake the feeling that we probably should have lost 3 of those games.
Boston College: We played pretty clutch D at the end of this game, but I honestly thought they were going to march down and not leave us any time on the clock. Even then, Nesbitt has to go superhuman to keep us from a 3rd and 'oh crap,' preventing BC from getting the ball back. Even ingoring the fact that this was a genuine scramble, not a run by design, it was still pretty darn close.
Gardner-Webb: A freakin' I-AA team held us to 79 rushing yards. Yes, this year, those kinks should be worked out. We should have dominated these guys, though, it just like with LSU, it shows that we can easily get shut down with good defensive line play.
FSU: I'm glad the game went down like it did, searing it into my memory. However, I know that I now exist in Bizarro Tech world with an alternate history, because in the normal universe FSU rans right into our endzone and I go home and cry myself to sleep. I know, I know, if Nesbitt was in, this game wouldn't have been a problem. (However, Nesbitt does seem pretty injury prone - do we expect him to show up for every game in 2009?)
Of course, there is always the counter argument... what about the close games we lost, that we should have won? These would be VPI and UVa.
It's hard not to blame losing to the Hokies on the refs; however, we did play some stupid ball. Maybe we should have won it, but we didn't. We had some bad turnovers, including an awful throwaway from Josh that was picked off.
With UVa, it was once again a matter of turnovers - this time, fumbling during what should be scoring possessions. Maybe we should have seen the debacle at UNC coming, because we managed to fumble at the worst possible times during both games.
We were fourth in the nation last year for rushing output, and our backfield is stacked. However, teams that we should be able to slice and dice were able to render our rushing attack completely impotent. Are we going to get stuffed like some people are predicting? Are we going to fumble away a double-digit season? Do we really even have a reason to expect better? Even if we play more consistently, it means that we swap the UNC and Virginia losses with the FSU and BC wins... not necessarily a better product (how does it go? "I'd rather be lucky than good any day.") Do Tech fans have any reason to expect more wins this season?
I think the fairest answer that I can give is that no - we shouldn't. This year, we should expect to win the games we should win, and lose the ones to better teams. Duh, right?
We haven't made it to the next level, where we are expected to win everything but the national championship game ever year. Maybe this is the year we finally start down the path to join teams like Oklahoma, WVU, uga, VPI, and other top schools that put big seasons together every year. Then, we can move to the tip top. Do we honestly think we are going to bring home a National Title anytime in the immediate future? Hold on.
*Puts his glasses back on*
Well, now that I step back and look at it, there isn't a game on this season's schedule that we should lose. It's going to be a good one.