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Great Expectations: Why 2008's close call still lingers

Can we be honest with you?

We are not over Boise State's 2008 postseason yet - not by a long shot.

Our heart still breaks every time we think of the Poinsettia Bowl, and we still boil with rage every time BCS games are brought up. It is a tortured, menial existence that we have crafted for ourselves, and it more often than not leads to ice cream binging and listening to Dashboard Confessional in the dark. We now know what emo kids must feel like.

Why the gloom? Because Boise State has created a monster for 2009 and beyond. And we preferred the tiny, preemie baby of 2008.

Not sure what we mean? Let us try to explain what has gone through our warped, wracked minds over the past few weeks.

This year was great. No doubt about it. But it was great because we didn't expect any of it to happen. All the regular season wins and the dominace of the defense were above and beyond what anyone had dreamed of for this season.

Next year, though, we expect nothing short of perfection. And we expect the same thing the year after that and the year after that. We've consoled ourselves following the P-Bowl loss with the fact that "the Broncos will be better next year," but we've failed to notice that if the team is improved but the record is not, we will consider the season a failure. The 2009 Broncos can't win unless they never lose.

What's fun about that? Not only will the Broncos have high expectations, they will have loads of pressure. If they lose, we will be crushed - crushed to a much greater degree than we were following the Poinsettia Bowl. There are no givens in major college football no matter how weak your conference is, and winning every single game is something that very few teams can do any more. Utah and Boise State are the only ones in the last three years to finish undefeated. The Broncos were on the precipice this year; can you imagine how hard it will be to do it again this fall?

The Oregon game is no gimme. If the Broncos lose that, it will be a death blow to their BCS chances in 2009, effectively ending their season in Week One. There are road games against Toledo and Tulsa that could be traps, too. And even though we put the WAC down all the time on this website, we would not be at all surprised if a WAC team actually beats the Broncos at some point. It's called attrition. Ask USC.

We don't say all this to belittle the Broncos' chances next year. By all means, they should be excellent, and they will be fully capable of running the table through their schedule.

We say all this to point out how completely different the experience will be from the 2008 season to the 2009 season for Boise State fans and for the Boise State team.

And we are simply not yet ready to let the good vibes of last season go.

Hopefully, the rest of you are. And more likely, many of you have already moved on. Good for you. We're glad you're normal people with boundaries and sensibility. You probably eat your meals at the dinner table and don't rely on OTC medication to fall sleep. Sounds like a wonderful life.

We would have been a little closer to that ideal place if this season had ended differently. But to see one of our favorite Bronco teams ever fall just short of perfection and history just makes it that much harder on us.

We thought we'd be feeling different right about now. We even wrote as much when we reminded everyone that there is so much to look forward to and that moving on to 2009 and beyond is the best solution for everyone. We lied. Or at least, we lied to ourselves.

Looking ahead may be the right response to BSU's postseason, but three weeks after the season ended, it is not our response. Call us pessimists or call us realists, but looking ahead to 2009 and the weight of the world resting on the Broncos' shoulders is simply not appealing enough to help us forget the close call of 2008. We're just trying to prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best.

We had the best for 12 games this season. Having the best for 13 next year simply won't feel the same.

Now if you'll excuse us, Dashboard Confessional and a Cymbalta are calling.