There used to be a sketch on MadTV titled "Lowered Expectations." In it, characters who haven't had luck in the dating scene decide that the only way to finally find "The One" would be to go on TV and talk about what they're willing to settle for.
That's this football season for me.
At the beginning of the season, we were Rose Bowl bound. After the loss to Notre Dame, it was that we could still make a New Year's Day bowl. Before the Iowa game, it was back to win out and make the Rose Bowl.
Now our best case scenario is a middle-tiered bowl game.
At the beginning of the season, the predictions were that MSU would go 10-2 or 9-3. The lowest available selection in one media poll was 7-5 - predictions below that being dismissed as wild, pessimistic antifantasies or the results of some online Wolverine trolls.
Now we've got to win out for 7-5. Just to make a bowl game we'll have to either beat a surging Purdue team on the road or take out #11 Penn State at home, not to mention take care of Western Michigan on Saturday.
Michigan State football is like that pudgy guy at the bar who only has eyes for the former cheerleader in the far corner. Well, she shot him down, her two friends followed suit and now, an hour before last call, he's slumping in a corner, beer spilled on his shirt, talking about the banalities of his job to some poor sop who couldn't find another open seat.
But there's still time left on the clock. This season, like that poor guy's night, can still be a success. Just with lowered expectations.