I went into this season hopeful - hopeful that Iowa would be better than 6-6 like the previous two years. I allowed myself to fantasize that with the weak schedule, Iowa had a chance at playing for a National Championship. 2002-2004 had given us a taste of what was possible, and I held on to hope, beyond evidence to the contrary (RB, QB, LB, KOK and secondary situation) that this team could surprise everybody.
I read and posted here and elsewhere that 8-4 would be OK (it would be an improvement) but that the record will be better. I held strong to my convictions even after the Iowa State game, and blamed weather and little brother syndrome on the poor offensive showing.
Then I watched @Pitt and finally succumbed to all of the negativity and reality I'd been ignoring. Doubt crept in. Maybe Kirk is lost, afraid to fire a friend, outmatched and outcoached playing an outdated style of football. And thankfully after the jNW loss I was out of town at a bachelor party, unable to see the horror and allowed to wipe my tear-soaked cheeks on the supple bosom of a stripper.
You all know the emotional roller-coaster which has been the 2008 season thus far, and damned if I don't believe you all agree with me that 8-4 feels pretty freaking great right now. 8-4 was actually pretty fun. 8-4 and bullying the neighbor states and taking their trophies lets me hold my head up high in the office. 8-4 and being "The Team Nobody Wants To Face" rocks.
I don't ever again want to get full of myself as an Iowa fan and feel like 8-4 isn't good enough. Yes, there will be years where expectations are high, and maybe a National Championship is something we can allow ourselves to think about. But that won't be EVERY year. And saying so isn't like accepting mediocrity. I don't want to be like tOSU or Nebraska fans. I want to be an IOWA fan, and right now I'm 8-4 proud.
Thank you Shonn Greene, Kirk KOK, and Norm Parker for reminding me of this. With special thanks to Time Brewster.