This weekend I get to take in my first away game as a CSU fan. The Rams head down to take on #25 Air Force Falcons. I love my team and will root to the end for them, but a chance at a win is slim. It got me thinking, what kind of loss might it be? Hell, if they pull it out how great would it be? So I made a little list from my time as a Rams fan on my expectations to how the Rams actually performed and then ranked the games on a 1-10 scale of my enjoyment. Remember these are based of my personal experience, but I would say I am your run of the mill MWC fan so I would expect most of you could easily relate to this piece. Let's start with the worst possible combo of expectations and reality.
Expect to win, play bad: This has to be the worst. Maybe your team just got out to an 3-0 start and after a rough patch of playing three ranked teams in four games you as a fan are ready to get a win. Your at home against a team that hasn't won on the road all year and has two wins against weak opponents. You still have confidence in your team to put away a low level team. Your team stinks up the joint and loses 42-28. They didn't play well the last three quarters and had some record numbers put on them to throw some salt in the wound. Ruins your weekend as you were planning on celebrating a solid win since you should have beaten them. SDSU victory at Hughes Stadium 2009 sucked for Ram fans. Ranking: 1 out of 10 Think of it this way. Your at a bar with your best friend, he needs a wing man and your are camo'd up and ready to jump on any grenade that might stop your buddy from landing the best looking girl in the place. Your opportunity comes. She has a average looking friend and your feeling confident you can help your buddy seal the deal. Then what happens? The average looking and very drunk friend turns you down. Not cause shes a prude or lack of alcohol in her veins, you just weren't good enough that night for whatever reason. Every other night you get her, just not tonight. And that means your buddy loses out too. That's the worst.
Check out the rest of the list after The Jump...
Expect a close game, play bad: I almost went with the 2009 Idaho game, but the Rams didn't play that bad. They just didn't close out the game. So here is the mind set of a fan in this situation. The game is close so you cheer a little harder, wear your lucky shirt all week, and talk yourself into your 2nd stringers being good enough in case of an injury. Someone will make a play and your team will win. Not the Rams against bottom feeder Ball State. It was ugly even for a young team making their third start on the road. Ball State played awful mistake filled football and won 31-10. You expect a tight fun game and you get a slap in the face. Ranking 2 out of 10 Think of it this way. You are playing beer pong with your buddy and have been playing against sorority girls all night for easy wins. Well along come some girls who have awful form but seem to sink shots. You should win, but it will be close. Next thing you know they are jumping around screaming cause they beat you and you still got 5 cups left. This one hurts the manhood just like getting blown out of what should have been a close game.
Expect to lose, play bad: The game of inevitability. The #5 team in the nation walks in to your 1-3 team's house. You are optimistic cause you are a good fan, but your not an idiot. A game where you root not to win, but to beat the spread to help save face. And the Rams did beat the 33 point spread with their 0-27 loss. But losing 0-27 sucks even when you know your out matched. It is a long 2 hours and 41 minutes of fan loathing. What can you do? No lucky shirt will save you here. The only thing that saves this game is that you had set yourself up for a loss, there is no heart break after a week of telling yourself you will finish with another tick in the loss column. Watching your team play bad sucks, knowing that even if they played good they would probably still come up short helps in a weird way. Ranking 4 out of 10 It's finals week and as every good student does you plan your slacking near the end of the semester. Along comes finals week and you need 105 out of 100 to raise your grade, but there is a tiny glimmer of hope because there is ten points of extra credit available. Of course you also know that you would have to get under a 38 to drop your grade. You take your loss, care a little enough to study so you don't lose face by dropping a grade and come in with a mid 60s grade. Greatness isn't for everyone but you didn't fail completely.
Expect to win, play good: This game has a false sense to me. You were suppose to win, it takes out some of the joy of winning. Two games came to mind, the 2008 UNLV and UNM games where the Rams had home field advantage. The New Mexico game a little more so because we knew who the Rams were at that point in the season. You load up your truck with all your tailgating gear and head to the stadium early to get a good spot. The game is important but your suppose to win so you try to heighten the experience by breaking out your best mixed drinks and fanciest recipe for the grill. Not only do you want to win, you want your whole day to be perfect. Winning easy is never the top feeling for a fan. Ask a Yankee fan, it gets boring. Ranking 6 out of 10 This is like calling up an old booty call. You are pretty sure she will be up for it and you know it's going to be fun. But it loses that something certain when it all goes down the same exact way. Late night barely readable drunk texts, sloppy drunk sex, and overall fun times. But that is it, and it was expected to happen that way. Everybody wins, but not awesome.
Expect close game, play good: This is the game you really get up for, just like the expect a close game and play bad. You don't know that your team is going to play bad though. Your full of optimism and are ready to buy a jersey of the guy who makes the next big play. Yes I confess I liked Grant Stucker for a couple games after that needle threading pass against CU in 2009 at Folsom. Once your team plays good your lucky shirt just got luckier, your chants and cheering payed off. You feel apart of the victory, your team came together. 2008 new Mexico Bowl. Yes, Gartrell Johnson was the man and ran for 285 yards and grew his CSU legend. A bowl victory is sweet, and much sweeter when it is a tight game your team pulls out. Ranking 8 out of 10 Same situation as last time except this is the first encounter. Its your turn to get the girl at the bar. You peruse the bar and find a girl, shes not a 10 but a solid 8.5. You have a good shot but nothing in the bank yet. You spit your corny jokes and buy all the right drinks. Your wing man flies like Goose and at the end of the night you get her to leave with you. You played your cards right and your game came together that night and you have found your self a new booty call. Job well done.
Expect to lose, play good: Your team surprises you. That is the best feeling as a fan. They don't even need to win, just show you something that you didn't think they could. Of course this has to be the Joey Porter Chest Bump Game(614,000 google results). Yes the Rams lost 42-45. But they were suppose to get blown out by BYU. Not only did they play good, they surprised the fans. Optimism grew after every play and every touchdown culminating in "The Chest Bump". Four weeks earlier they lost to TCU by just 6 points, but they were dominated and couldn't move the ball. BYU did put up 45, but they did that to a lot of teams. That game was great because the Rams stuck with a team they had no business sticking with. They did it with style and a slice of awesomeness. Ranking 10 out of 10 I changed this to a 10 even with the loss. Just like going to that party or bar, picking out the best looking girl in the place and going for it. For awhile you are the alpha dog of the pack and everyone in the bar is confused why she is even talking to you. And when you leave with her you might even strike out after that, but for a few hours you surprised yourself and everyone who saw. That is a great feeling.