We rode a roller coaster the first weekend, and it has reminded me of the unknowns, the uncontrollable, and the unpredictable weeks that lie ahead. No wonder there is not more longevity in the coaching career. It can be an emotional whirlwind. It makes me think sometimes it is not about how you play but who you play.
Even though we lost, I was so proud of the quality of soccer Friday night. I could not tell it was our first game. It set a high standard for the team, and I immediately raised my expectations. Even though we won on Sunday, I was disappointed in how we played. I don't think we could beat many teams on our schedule if we played the same as we did in our last game.
It is early in the season, and we do not have all the pieces in place. Some people will change positions. We have not spent much time on set pieces. Many players are getting small windows of playing time to give them a chance to improve or prove themselves. We will tweak our system of play. We will lack consistency for a few weeks, while we work out the kinks. It is probably too early for me to get all worked up about it, but I could not hide my disappointment on Sunday.
I have found that after a win, I can be more honest with the team than I can after a loss. If we play terribly and lose, I will say very little because the team is so down. If we play terribly and win, I can be more critical of the team, because the win will provide balance to how they feel about themselves.
The NCAA begins publishing the RPI about midway through the season. I have never known why it does not start immediately, but evidently, many games must be played before the RPI model gives an accurate ranking. There is a person who is showing an example of the early rankings and the evolution of the RPI through the season. Going into tonight's game, we are ranked #11! Yes, #11!
I have never been sure how the RPI works, but who cares when you're ranked #11. I know it weighs your opponents' records, and UAB has a very impressive 4-0 record with wins against Alabama, Ole Miss, and Clemson. Losing to them on their field by one goal gives us a high ranking. Not bad for a team with 10 scholarships and no field for a year. Here is the link if you want to see for yourself. It will change after this weekend: