There is an issue I want to address with all you fine readers before this season begins. On Twitter and on the blog, there has been some criticism passed around for being too negative about the BC football team. Many of you in the commentariat have also voiced your honest opinion on the Eagles, whether it be positive or negative. Some are skeptical about the Eagles chances this season. But there are fans out there that until they see otherwise are expecting BC to win the ACC easily, beat every team on their schedule and get a bid to their first BCS bowl. There is no right or wrong answer, but the question remains: Should you be a realist or idealist?
Realists have seen what the Eagles have produced in the past and have lived with the ebb and flow of the BC Eagles. Good times and bad times ... all just part of rooting for BC. Realists see 2010 as the year they should have done it, and may think:
"They had all the tools there and even with an easy schedule, they failed ... barely making a bowl game. Why, with a much more difficult schedule, would 2011 be any different? Frank Spaziani hasn't given us anything to prove us otherwise. Rettig looked scared last season. He is going to struggle against the more imposing defensive units on the schedule. The defense is good, but as we have seen in the past, a good defense and bad offense can only take you so far."
Being realistic about BC's chances makes it easier to handle the bumps in the road when they inevitably occur. Realists understand that althought they would love to see Boston College beat Virginia Tech, Florida State and Notre Dame, the odds the Eagles will win all three are pretty slim. Most realists expect a 6-6 or 7-5 season out of BC this season.
Idealists, on the other hand, have loftier goals for the Eagles. No matter what happened in years past, this year will be different. Every year is a clean slate for BC, and just like years past magical things can happen and excitement is high for the 2011 campaign.
"Chase Rettig will shake off the freshman jitters and could become the next Matt Ryan. Kevin Rogers and the return of Colin Larmond Jr. will help BC's offense improve dramatically year-over-year. And the BC defense? The best in the country! Luke Kuechly will easily win the Butkus Award! There is no team BC can't beat, and who knows BC could easily go 10-2, 11-1 or 12-0. Weirder things have happened!"
Being an idealist isn't easy. When BC struggles, it's these fans that take it the hardest. They may have to take back some of their bravado they pushed upon opposing fanbases. They have to figure out how to temper expectations in the midst of a season. And what is tougher than watching your team go to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl when you had their ticket to the Orange Bowl punched in August.
There is no right or wrong way to view BC football. It's a personal decision that only you the fan can make. How should fans program themselves for the 2011 season? Should they expect the best until they see the worst? Or should they temper expectations to prevent a heartbreaking letdown? How do you view your fandom? Are you a realist or an idealist? Or is the answer somewhere in the middle?