You may have wondered exactly why a guy writing about UNC got swept up into a football blogging consortium. As the press never fails to remind us, Carolina is a basketball school, while the blogging here is decidedly football focused. (Don't believe me? Look at the sidebar and ask yourself exactly in how many sports Notre Dame is an independent.) But I'm not the odd man out; I'm an integral part of the SportsBlog Nation media empire. The masterminds behind this enterprise were forward-looking enough to expect weeks and seasons like this, when teams are having their championship dreams crushed by upstarts, seasons are unravelling and fans used to undefeated Septembers are faced with the unfamiliar sight of the other team cheering.
This can be quite a shock to the psyche of a neophyte football blogger. Despondency can set in. Kitten pictures can be posted. SportsBlog Nation needed someone on staff who was used to losing in football (It was either that or shell out for a health plan), and since no one wants to be associated with Duke, that leaves me. I'm here to talk people off the ledge. The doctor is in.
Let's begin with the folks still in shock. So you lost to a lesser Big 12 team. Or a really lesser Big 12 team. Turn that to your advantage. You're a conference that just beats up on themselves. LSU and USC would be lucky to go 4-4 against your conference slate. It's not like you're playing soft ACC teams or anything.
Now some of you folks who tossed aside your undefeated seasons on the East Coast don't have that excuse. Y'all need to look at this as a positioning move. Losing early, to a traditional football power, a regional titan, or an strong interdivision team is just away of dodging the media attention of an undefeated season. the tiger strikes best from the shadows, and you'll have plenty of time to move back up in the polls as the other teams falter. Relish the spoiler role, vie for your conference championship and start brushing up on your math skills to overanalyze the BCS rankings for the next two months.
Oregon, you're just hosed. I'm sorry, but we set up this lockstep East Coast Media Bias for a reason. We can't stay up late watching your games all season long. Just get back to designing really ugly uniforms, and wake us if Cal (Northern or Southern - we really can't tell them apart anyway) starts losing games.
Now to those teams that have lost two straight, to teams you're used to seeing at the bottom of the standings. You need to take the longer view. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, so start looking for those guys holding little cups of water out for you. In this case the little cups of water are ACC teams, as Louisville has already learned. If your athletic department wasn't smart enough to schedule an ACC team (What on earth could they have been thinking?) then it's obvious the athletic director should be fired. Start advocating that. Frankly, you should have been advocating that a long time ago - there's no problem in college athletics, no matter how small, that can't be fixed by firing the AD. It's like a video game cheat code. Sure you could lobby for the coach to be fired as well, but really, does anyone ever blame the coach?
Now if you've lost three, four, or God help you all five games, well now we're in my are of expertise. You've got quite a few options at this point. Is your basketball team any good? Because that first midnight not-really-a-practice is only like sixteen days away, so you can start running profiles, scouting opponents, and analyzing schedules. Hell, you could have been doing that months ago. Have I mentioned UNC is the consensus preseason number one?
No luck in basketball? Start covering the strongest team you have, in the following order: baseball, women's soccer, men's soccer, women's volleyball (tight shorts!), field hockey (skirts!) swimming (duh!), diving, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, women's tennis (underwear with pockets! Um, and skirts.), men's tennis, softball, water polo, lacrosse players in the legal system, lacrosse players playing lacrosse, any sport I may have forgotten, any academic achievement by a football player, any academic achievement by an actual student, and any random actress you may be have an unhealthy fixation on.
There are some computer tricks you can do to help out here as well. A nice macro save you a lot of time in typing "Just wait 'til next year." If you haven't already grabbed the fireyourcoachesname.com domain, you may want to do that. You could also keep an image of a beloved former coach saying he doesn't want to talk about on hand for losses, but really, who would be stupid enough to have one of those?
The important thing to do is not lose hope. Tens of people every day count on you to divert them from whatever they're supposed to be doing while still allowing them to look like productive members of society. It is a heavy mantle to bear, but your extended qualifications as some guy on the internet makes you up to the task. So go out there and type! Type like your team cares about it!