I woke up this morning in a good mood intending to write an article about why A&M fans should be positive/not panic about the past two games. It was going to come from a good place. Then I get to work, and I see an overwhelming amount of angst from so called media pundits regarding A&M's performance thus far. A great example is this from noted Aggie Football scholar Brent Zwerneman
It takes more than talk to be among SEC's elite -- time for Aggies to back off bluster and dial up substance: http://t.co/IHlxy6X5dZ
— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) October 13, 2014
In the article, Brent makes some ok points about our performance thus far, takes a few pot shots, talks about how Sumlin was rumored to hang out with rapper Duece Stalley, and uses words like "swagxperiment". But his overall conclusion is this
More bite and less bark at this point would certainly help reassure those old, deep-pocketed Aggies who've spent a lifetime actually producing results instead of simply yapping about things to date unachieved.
I'm not sure that I'm old enough to be included in Brent's grandstanding there, but good job good effort on trying to speak on behalf of a fan base that you think you have a pulse on.
I dont mean to pick on Brent, but here's my issue. Many pundits are claiming that we've done nothing to date to warrant the attention that we're receiving, when really, aren't they themselves the reason that we're getting this much attention? Flawed pre-season rankings put South Carolina in the top 10 when they clearly did not deserve to be there. A&M beats SC, and all of a sudden A&M becomes the media darling and a supposed playoff contender. The team itself (strengths, weaknesses, abilities) did not change, but the expectations somehow did for no real reason whatsoever.
And now we're on a two game slide (to two top 3 teams mind you), and somehow our failure to live up to the inflated expectations bestowed upon us by folks covering the program is indicative of a flawed program.
Are there areas of concern? Absolutely. Our offensive inconsistency and outright ineptitude is concerning. Our defensive alignments can be baffling. Our OL has not been the strength we thought it would be. Two straight blowout losses. But while those things are concerning, they shouldn't be surprising in what was termed as a rebuilding year.
Take a look at the Good Bull Hunting author season predictions. Most all of us predicted 8 or so wins. Brent Z himself predicted a 7-5 season. So why are folks surprised and wanting to point fingers at our program when we are 5-2 with two losses to top 3 teams, with at least three winnable games left on the schedule?
In some sense the South Carolina win was the worst thing that could have happened to this team. Expectations flew through the roof, and now that we are demonstrating that we are who most of us thought we'd be, somehow it's a failure. The only failure here is on folks who had unrealistic expectations of how well this team was going to perform in the immediate post-Johnny era.
So here's my advice. Reset your expectations. The polls have already done that for us in that we are back to where we started prior to the South Carolina Game. We are at 5 wins. The goal is to get to at least 8. Refocus your expectations away from how good this team can be, and focus instead on how good they are. And maybe I'm a hopeless optimistic but I think that this team, as it stands right now, is good enough to get 3 more wins (not including the bowl).
8 wins in a rebuilding season is pretty solid, no?