Here is what I keep telling myself...
We were a 6ish win team heading into the Maryland game and we are a 6ish win team coming out of it.
It is important to note that the statement above goes both ways. Let me explain.
I know what many of you are saying right now. “Are you crayz? We’ll be lucky to get across the 50 when we play Wisconsin. We’ll be lucky to win another game this year.”
But here is the deal, sometimes you have a bad game. Even a really bad game. Last Saturday in College Park, that was a really bad game. Look at the week prior when Maryland hosted Temple and was absolutely terrible. They had 195 total yards just a week before they thoroughly dominated our club.
Look at the Vikings on Sunday as another prime example. Is Buffalo that much better than Minnesota? No. But some games you make a few mistakes, aren’t riding that competitive edge and you get beat.
Week to week, bad things can happen. We sucked on Saturday. The offensive line was consistently beat, which led to the freshman quarterback never feeling safe and the offense couldn’t do much of anything. Defensively they were solid for a few plays before a blown assignment would lead to a huge gain for Maryland, despite often being pinned deep in their own territory.
And in no way is this meant to be chalked up a fluke. Even if Minnesota plays a better game, they may still lose at Maryland. And that is not the end of the world. It will be OK.
This is the type of game that you learn from. Especially when you are so young on offense and this is your first road game of the year. There is far more to be learned about how you get yourself mentally prepared for a conference road game than there is from Xs and Os in this game. Experienced teams know better how to do this (and they are susceptible to not playing with the same level of intensity as their opponent too).
My point is that this team is not as bad as they showed last Saturday. They will not play at that exact level for their remaining 8 games. I know it is easy to assume so, and there may be other low points, but this team was a 6 win caliber team before and they will be still.
On the flip side of my original statement, it is important to note that this game wasn’t just a fluke. It is incorrect to assume that this was an 8 or 9 win team that came crashing back down to reality. People who were in this camp were few.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve typed this, I’d be buying much better bourbons but...improvement is not always linear.
Personally I like the direction of this program. I have never been too concerned about the particular outcomes of this season. You don’t want to see beat downs like this, but how they react and how they grow is far more important to me this year.
There is no guarantee of future success for this program and this Maryland loss is no guarantee of certain failure.