By Tim Akimoff
Within 20 minutes of the end of an undefeated streak, your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature return to normal.
After 8 hours, the remaining competitiveness in your bloodstream has fallen to 3.25 percent of normal. After 48 hours, damaged nerve endings start to regrow and your sense of finality and despair begins to melt away.
In 5-8 days after the first loss, the average fan of a formerly undefeated college football team will encounter short bouts of regretful hysteria, but it is unlikely that any episode lasts longer than 3 minutes at a time.
Within 10 days of suffering a catastrophic loss, the average fan of a formerly undefeated team is down to 1 or possibly 2 bouts of nausea-inducing regret and bitterness a day.
By two weeks, your risk of heart attack has dropped substantially, and your lung capacity and voice control have improved to pre-football season levels.
After 8 weeks, nearly all evidence of physical suffering from a single loss on your formerly undefeated college football team has disappeared. However, doctors warn that if your team lost late in the season, then there is a crucial window of time wherein the severely flawed BCS can bring symptoms back to fatal proportions, especially in a scenario where other one loss teams are picked ahead of your team for bowl consideration. Doctors warn that recovering from a second round of this type of stress can last as long as hockey season.
Life after undefeated is a tough time for any sports fan, but it seems in college football these days, it’s particularly stressful as teams jockey for position by dominating lesser opponents for 5, 6, 7 and even 8 games into the season before finally testing their true ability against worthy opponents.
I, for one, rather enjoy the less pressured idea of the NFL, where a team with even 5 losses can make the playoffs and even the Super Bowl.
For 9 years I’ve watched my Oregon Ducks get tantalizingly close to the National Championship. Within a field goal, in fact.
My wife said Stanford got in their heads the last two years, as the Ducks have dropped two-in-a-row, late-in-the-season, to dash their national title hopes. Stanford got in my head the last two years. Like two kids from two different schools. One is middle class and the other comes from money. They are essentially equal, playing to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Yet one will always win, like Malfoy tormenting Potter through seven books.
At some point I must give up this pointless obsession with a national championship, and I suppose this is the year. Next year we’ll have a playoff system, and there is a chance that at least a few of the top schools will have a better shot at playing for it all.
For now, I’m still suffering short bouts of regretful hysteria and nausea-inducing regret and bitterness. Looking forward to the 8-week mark.