Getting caught up in the huge win against Stanford and the Ducks' rise through the rankings through the first 5 weeks of the season, I took some time to think about my expectations and hopes for the season. I figured I'd share with the community in case anyone finds themselves in the same boat as me.
Before the first game, after Darron Thomas was announced as the starter, I thought some about what would be a good, satisfying season. Considering the returning starters (and backups, don't forget) that we had returning I started to think of a pretty big number. With a first year starter at QB, however, I came to the realization that most teams with first-year starting QB's go through some growing pains. I thought about it in terms of how my company does performance reviews:
10-2 or 11-1 Exceeds Expectations
9-3 Achieves Expectations
7-5 or 8-4 Needs Improvement
6-6 or worse Unacceptable
You may or may not agree with my initial expectations, but that's not really what this post is about. I had several conversations with fellow Duck fans today where I felt like "Debbie Downer" as I tried to lower expectations somewhat. This is where the title of my post comes into play: Expectations vs Hopes.
For me, going forward from what I've seen so far, I expect that we finish the season no worse than 10-2. My expectations have risen from my pre-season expectations because Darron Thomas doesn't look nearly as shaky as I thought a first-year starter would. Now, 10-2 is achieving expectations, 11-1 is exceeding expectations, and 12-0 is still outstanding. Getting through games at USC, at Cal, at Oregon State, and Arizona at home undefeated is asking a lot to be expected of any team (not to mention the fuskies & UCLA).
However, I've only talked about expectations; what about hopes? I hope we finish 12-0. I don't think there's anything wrong whatsoever, as a fan, to hope and cheer for a 12-0 season this year. I come to ATQ for rational discussion about the Ducks, but I'm still a fan, so I don't have to think only about WSU next week. I get to think about things like, "would I rather go to the NCG and lose, or beat down the Donkeys in the Rose Bowl?" and "how sick would it be for LMJ to win the Heisman?"
So, what's the point of all this nonsense? The point goes back to the title of my post: Expectations vs Hopes. If you've gotten so carried away hoping for a 12-0 season that it's become your expectation, you are putting yourself in a bad position...if I told you at the beginning of the season that we'd finish 11-1, you almost certainly would have taken that. Enjoy the season, and try not to let yourself get so carried away that an 11-1 season becomes a serious disappointment. Hope all you want, just don't let that hope ruin the fun season ahead for you.