by Tom Stosberg
Okay, so now the University of Louisville football team is 4-6 having just pulled off a win against an actual Big East team. Forget that U of L is only one point better than the leagueâ€™s worst team because they are now in position to finish the season 6-6.
Hmmâ€¦Â Doesnâ€™t seem to be a lot of cheering. Hello?
Do you find it surprising when fans accept 6-6 as a winning season? It seems more like a disappointment than something to get excited about. Itâ€™s hard to imagine anyone being pleased with that kind of finish. Yet in America we tend to reward mediocrity. Then we wonder why our schools lag behind so many other countries.
But 6-6 teams can actually end up in bowl games.Â At last count there were 34 bowl games. That means that 56% of Division I teams (68 of 120) get to go to bowl games even if some of those teams had basically crummy seasons.Â Oh, and even though, in most cases, four of the six wins came against cream puffs.Â If the shoe fits â€¦
Last bowl season, nine participating teams were 6-6. These teams mostly went to lower tier bowls where paid attendances were less than 30,000. No big purse money with which to cover travel expenses. In fact, some schools opted not to take the band and/or cheerleaders to these lesser bowls because of the cost.Â Some even cut stays short to save on hotel rooms.
Itâ€™s true that bowl appearances can help with exposure and recruiting because the games are televised. Bowl participation also allows teams extra practice time. But rewarding lackluster performance can send a message to players, coaches and fans that mediocre performance is acceptable.
Okay, so U of L is not yet 6-6. And itâ€™s going to take two more Big East victories to get to the top of that mountain against two teams who are far better. It seems a shame to be so desperate for a win. Especially when going into the 11th game of the third year of the so-called turnaround.