As I contemplated the results of the 2011 Gator Bowl earlier, and their implications, something I once heard occured to me and it seemed to have some relation to the state of the program and the jorney that lies ahead.
During a sermon, a pastor once said that when you ask God for something, there are three possible answers; Yes, No, and Wait. I couldn't argue with this statement. That's logical for a request made of anyone or any being. The requestee can either say "yes", and provide, say "no" and refuse to provide, or say "wait, maybe later", and put something off till a later time. The implication of all this was to help understand God's answers, so on and so forth. That isn't really the part that hit me as far as the game and the program are concerned. The part that hit me was in the answer "wait".
It occurs to me that this answer is only acceptable so long as the requester is convinced of the requestees ability to provide, should they so choose. A person with faith in a deity or spirit or supernatural power of whatever variety finds this answer acceptable because, in their view, that being is supremely capable of providing. Children accept this answer from their parents because they have no reason to question their parents' ability, even if the answer was actually provided simply as a way to delay the inevitable whining that goes along with "no". Accepting this answer is an act of faith. You cannot be okay with waiting unless you are convinced that waiting can possibly lead to a yes answer. Nobody would wait knowing that the later answer would be no.
As it relates to football, the question we are all asking, at the most basic level is, "Can the team achieve perpetuated success of X level?" 'X level' is a varying placeholder value depending on each person's own view. Some may see success as so many wins. Some may see it as Big Ten Championships. Others as National Championships. And so far, since the end of 2007, the answer we have been given is, "wait".
I have done my share of praying, as I'm sure many of you have, that we should achieve success as a team. But I know in all truth that no God or deity is going to intervene and effect the outcome of a college football game, leastways not for my entirely disconnected benefit. A supernatural being might provide the tools of the motivation to effect an outcome, but they're not going to reach down with a pillar of fire from a ten thousand foot bank of clouds to smite Jim Tressel where he stands. And so, we must turn to the next authority who can answer that question. The head coach.
And he, too, has been giving us the answer of wait.
I'm not going to tell you what to think about the future of the team, our coach, or any other coaches. I don't know any better than you. But it would serve us all, people on every side of the argument, to step back and ask themselves what they have faith in.
Do you have faith that Rich Rodriguez can still provide perpetuated success of "X level"?
Do you have faith that any other candidate can provide perpetuated success of "X level"?
How long are you prepared to hear "wait" and have faith that the answer could end up being yes this time?
As for myself, I'm deeply conflicted. My answer to the first question is now, finally, changed. I must now answer no. I have lost my faith. The trouble is, I also can't answer yes to the second question, and I have no idea how to address the third. And so, I am a fan without faith. The final question is, where shall I look for it?