My eyes are still on fire.
I mean that literally. We pulled into the B-Lot to set up around 8:00 am yesterday, and while there were several jokes about the air quality throughout the tailgate, it wasn’t until about two hours after the game that my eyes just started to burn. I grabbed my wife’s eye drops and I’m pretty sure I used the entire bottle up on the first eye (mostly because I’m super-fidgety).
Brian #1 already wrote something eloquent about why yesterday happened, and I’m sure Brian #2 will write something even more to that effect. I’m still just super pissed off that it happened at all. I’ve been running off pure id for the past 24 hours and I will apologize in advance for when I go too far.
I’ve been reading everything I can find about this game. I can't stop. I’ve read every one of your comments. The negative ones twice, because part of being a Coug fan is being a tad masochistic. I then moved on to read every one of the message board posts on Cougfan. Eventually most of you moved on to the Arizona/Oregon game, but I just couldn’t stop. I’ve been joking (?) about the idea of becoming a Beaver fan on twitter overnight (conclusion: I’m too fat to pull off wearing orange). I kept the e-mail chain among the Cougcenter writers going when it should have stopped hours prior specifically because my only chance at catharsis is still talking about what happened. If I’m still talking about it that means it’s not yet over and I don’t actually have to deal with the realities here.
The first reality is that we’re still at square one. We pretended for the past ten months that while it may not be the overnight change we’re watching at the Arizona schools and UCLA go through, we were going to be taking a step in the right direction. Last year’s poorly coached team won four games, so surely this season with its more favorable home schedule should be able to at least match that, right? If we’re truly being honest here, how many people who have access to a time machine have gone back to talk to themselves from a month ago and thought we’d see something this bad? I can tell you for sure that August-Kyle would not have been able to fathom the idea of ANOTHER 2-10 season. But August-Kyle refused to believe that even after all the weeding out of the bad apples and the fun press conferences, this is still a terrible, terrible, terrible football team. August-Kyle would then tell me that there are literally thousands of better uses for a time machine.
The other reality is that while we may bemoan the talent gap between us and most of the other Pac-12 schools right now, we certainly matched up with Colorado and we certainly blew a 17 point lead with 8 minutes left in the game. THAT can’t be shrugged off for lack of talent. Our multi-million dollar coaching staff was outcoached and outclassed by a staff that lost to Sacramento State two weeks prior. That was probably the most embarrassing team to defeat WSU since we had a losing streak to Idaho. (Also, we had a losing streak to Idaho!) While I can accept not going to a bowl game….again… I refuse to pass off the last eight minutes of yesterday’s game as part of some crazy roller coaster ride I’m supposed to strap into and enjoy.
A roller coaster implies that there will be some downs and some ups, but you’re having fun the whole time and can’t wait to get back in line. Cougar football for the better part of the decade has been the Gravitron ride at your local carnival. You know, the one where they spin you around so fast that you get pinned up against a dirty gym pad while watching a Debbie Gibson video until somebody on the ride pukes? The thing was: SOMEONE ALWAYS PUKES. WHY DO THEY HAVE THIS RIDE? This was the ride your parents put you on at the end of the evening when you’re bugging them too much about funnel cake and they just want to go home and watch Roseanne (no hands? Just mine? OK, enough about my warped childhood then).
If someone tells me one more time that we need to be patient, I am just going to snap (in advance, you are all hilarious commenters). We have been lining up for that damn Gravitron over and over and over again and just when I couldn’t take one more run on that thing, Bill Moos runs over and buys all-day bracelets for each and every one of us. And by buying them for us, I mean charging us double.
I’m writing this in a Word document on one screen and have my Outlook Calendar open in another one. We have eight games left (well, nine if you count the Rose Bowl). I am going to all eight of them. When I bought plane tickets for these games, I was excited to be witnessing the dawn of the Mike Leach era; now I’m trying to avoid the reality that these road trips aren’t going to be any different than those during the Paul Wulff era, where I just tried to enjoy the local food and bars and ignore our impending 40 point beat down.
So now I keep talking about it. Because as soon as I stop, I have to admit that this happened. And it’s probably going to happen again next year, too. On my way out of the stadium yesterday heading back to the tailgate, I heard three separate times "I’m not saying we should fire Mike Leach, but…" and obviously they were overreacting. But the honeymoon is probably over for most of us. Now we just want him to win some damn football games.
Until then, I’ve got this all-day bracelet for the Gravitron that I’m going to keep riding until somebody builds me that roller coaster.