Ask any serious football fan if they can afford to overlook an opposing team, and you're almost guaranteed to hear some variation of "I'm just not good enough to overlook any opponent" as a reply. Psychologists have long hypothesized such fanspeak as a pathetic attempt to absolve fanatics of the guilt inevitably associated with an unexpected loss. As every fan knows, a careless approach to "the next game" can leave even the most optimistic fan wracked with questions of accountability.
"Could I have done more?"
"Did I wear enough orange?"
"Did I watch enough film?"
"Was I focused in my forum responses all week?"
Fans who have ever attempted to answer such questions – often amidst promises to "never drink again" - have been imbued with a valuable life-lesson; namely, real fans take every opponent seriously. This admonition holds especially true when a bye-week or Thursday kickoff is involved.
Which is why the most recent polling data is so troubling. When asked "Which game are you currently most focused on?", 85% of Oklahoma State fans responded with next week's opponent, Iowa State - while only 12% cited Taco Tech (13% were unsure). Stated one respondent, "The Cyclones have really been bringing their 'B' game recently. Can't overlook those guys." Another fan replied, "My son was not even alive the last time we lost to the sand farmers – and he is about to turn six. This week is a 'gimme'."
What do you think? Can Oklahoma State fans afford to overlook the Tortilla Tossers from Lubbock? If so, how have you learned to cope with the unexpected? Sound off in the comments section below.