Rooting In ’06 With An Eye on 2007

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Fans should root for as many wins as possible in 2006, while keeping an eye on ’07.

Let’s start with the most obvious statement ever uttered by a sports fan: I’ll be rooting for my team to win every single game next season. Of course! However, I’ll be multitasking. While I root for the Hoos in 2006, I’ll be doing so with an eye squarely on 2007.

After all, 2007 looks like a potentially big year for the Cavaliers on the field – a breakthrough into the upper-echelon is possible if things break right. And that starts with 2006. So on top of the wins and losses, the developments that will determine our season, our postseason, our attractiveness to recruits, and so on, I’ll be watching and rooting for some important factors that will impact the team’s prospects for the following season.

You may be wondering if I’m looking past the 2006 season. A pre-emptive “There’s always next year,” if you will. Don’t worry – I haven’t written next season off. With most of our swing conference games at home, we could make some serious noise in the ACC this year. However, the consensus and conventional wisdom is stacked against the Hoos for ’06. The team is facing almost every dilemma that faces rebuilding teams – acclimating a new coaching staff with the players and system, gearing up new coordinators on both sides of the ball, breaking in a new quarterback and starting running back, and reconstructing the offensive and defensive lines in addition to the linebacking unit and the secondary and the special teams that all lost key starters and backups.

Most pigskin pundits don’t expect much out of the Hoos next year, fueling my own natural tendency to downplay expectations (read some EDGE proof here) for the 2006 season.

But 2007? I’m already getting excited about the year-after-next. The staff and many of the players should return with valuable experience. The roster