It is a little hard to put your finger on.
I mean, I thought this team would be 1-3 at this point, so in that sense, we are where I thought we would be.
I guess what has people strung out in the Nation today (and it isn't pretty) is that we didn't think we would be this kind of 1-3.
Would people feel differently if:
- We had beaten Idaho by as many as we did last year
- Did better against Toledo than we did last year (or at least as well), maybe losing a nail-biter.
- We had at least scored a few TD's in Blacksburg today?
Maybe. Maybe not....would they be saying we still couldn't win the close game?
No way to know.
What we can tell is this. Even if you throw out the Florida and Va Tech games, you are left with a pretty soft win against Idaho and a game against Toledo in which, charitably, the outcome of the game was in doubt for one play.
Coach said that early on today we chose to stop the run and you have to "pick your poison" which infers that we can't stop a team that can run and pass. (He made the same point during the UT game). And, for that matter, they did run on us (5.7 yards/carry).
And we missed another FG. Back with Stein, trying what might have been a career long (43 yards) and he missed. BG has now missed 4 out of 5 FG attempts.
But the most angst and disappointment is focused on the offense. BG came into the game averaging 15 points per game and might leave it as the worst scoring offense in FBS. The offense was poor against Idaho, good in spots against Toledo but not good until the game was 24-0, and then something today that was hard to recognize.
Coach said that our receivers didn't get open, our QB did throw accurate passes, we dropped balls, had false start penalties and ran the ball OK in spots but without any big plays.
During the time Schilz played, BG was 9-25 for 85 yards. Matt Johnson came in to try and see if he would "give us a spark" and he did at first a little but the numbers didn't end up very pretty.
BG finished with a 33% completion rate, no TDs, 1 INT, and 3.1 yards per passing attempt. The team has 1 passing TD for the season.
Here's the final thing frustrating BG fans. I raised something recently--that BG had gotten better but other teams in the MAC had improved by more and in relative sense we might be slipping.
So...the MAC has 3 wins over the Big Ten. As I write this WMU is beating UConn and Ball State is beating South Florida...and EMU is beating WMU. Football in the MAC seems to be coming back and we seem stuck.
Two things. First, Coach was pretty testy in his presser and I don't think he's under any illusions about where things are. He also has to know that at some point the excuses (and the Clawson turnaround record) have to start to wear a little thin in the face of actual results. There is nowhere to hide on the offense. He recruited those guys, and in the case of the QB position he chased off other guys to double down on the current starter.
All is not lost. The next 8 games are winnable. BG would need to go 6-2 to be a bowl team. To do that, you would beat Rhode Island, EMU, Buffalo, UMass, Kent and Akron and lose to OU and Miami. Even today, I submit that is something that could easily happen. We could beat Miami, too, but we could also lose one of the others. If that happens, if the team finishes that strong, I think we forget that we felt this way today.
We have seen nothing to date that would suggest to us that the team is capable of making that kind of run, and (let's say) we were to split those games and end up 5-7 again. That would be pretty disappointing.