Let’s get real here for a minute — disappointment sucks. It sucks when we don’t get that promotion we have worked so hard for. It sucks when we don’t get that close parking stall at the grocery store. It sucks when we have unexpected bills come up. No matter how you slice it, disappointment sucks all around.
It seems to hit even harder when our favorite sports teams disappoint us. We tend to live vicariously through our beloved sports teams and players, so when they fail to live up to (or exceed) expectations, we take it personally. To put it in perspective, I was disappointed last year when the Utah Jazz missed going to the NBA Playoffs by just one game. I was disappointed when Rudy Gobert got hurt within the first few seconds of their game against the LA Clippers(Okay, maybe disappointed isn’t the right word. More appropriately, I was upset, angry, sad, etc.).
A while ago, I wrote about how sports teams in Utah never seem to perform as people expect — they either go above and beyond or fizzle out and fail spectacularly, and with the school year ending, it’s time to take a look at how the men’s basketball and football teams performed in comparison to each other at the University of Utah. It’s time to take a look at which team disappointed more, and there is one clear-cut winner — the Utah football team.
Yes, it really is the football team, and no, it’s not even close. The Utah football team is the clear-cut leader by a country mile. That’s not to say that the team didn’t have a good season or that it was terrible. It’s just that the football team had the more disappointing season.
Two years ago, the Utes struggled down the final stretch of the season as they lost two of their last three games. The Utes were having a pretty good season, but those last two losses guaranteed that they lost the chance to win their division outright. They ended up getting a share of the Pac-12 South division title with USC.
As disappointing as that was, the hype was clear — this was a team that could compete with any team and win their division.
Cut to the most recent season, and the excitement was still palpable. Fans all over the state knew that this could easily be Utah’s year. A 10-3 season could be followed up with an even better winning campaign. There was talk of Utah not only winning its division, but winning the Rose Bowl and being a part of the College Football Playoff. The hype was real.
Then the Utes did something all fans hate, they came up short. They lost a hard-fought game against Cal on the road, but that didn’t matter, because the Utes still had a shot to take their division. After all, they had by far the easiest schedule they’ve enjoyed since joining the conference. There was a real belief they could rebound from the tough loss and do better.
Four weeks later as they played hard and found themselves up against Washington in Salt Lake City, the Utes somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Following that stunning loss, the Utes had a woeful repeat of the previous year as they finished the regular season by losing two of their final three games.
This article might make it sound like I am picking on the football team. I’m not; I’m just pointing out what an underwhelming year the Utes had. I have no ideas as to why they struggled, or what they can do better — that’s better left to the football experts — but the football team disappointed more precisely because people expected more from it. The men’s basketball team may not have played so well, but after losing two starters to the NBA Draft in the past couple of years, no one expected the Runnin’ Utes to match up with previous seasons.
The Utes can certainly improve, and they can work their way back into the College Football Playoff talks. Until then, I’ll end where I started — disappointment sucks.