Wow. Many people expected we would be right where we are. Winless. Depressed. On the brink of revolt. Then again, those people predict that almost every year as I have stated previously, predicting the worst is a gutless and no-lose proposition. Here we sit in a rebuilding year still looking for more than we expected. Much more than a win is necessary. This team lacks an identity. That was not supposed to be the problem. The new regime was supposed to bring clarity of purpose.
Hard-nosed. Physical. Run first. Throw off of play action. That was the charter. We have not seen that yet.
This week, one of the “rivalry” teams comes into Raymond James stadium. We have a long (relatively) and storied history with Carolina. During our big run, the Panthers who were built in our image, consistently gave us problems. When we were running over other teams in the league, the hatred on the field bubbled up from Sapp and Jenkins to Sauerbrun and Gramatica. Tough games, usually won by Carolina, created a rivalry which was the idea in the NFC South restructure. Build regional rivalries that allow the fans to travel and support their teams. Well done Der Commissar!
Fast forward a little and, at least here, the hatred on the field has subsided. It had been replaced by a healthy respect. The fanbases discovered a great number of similarities and thanks to the Al Gore and the advent of the internet, the fanbases were able to interact mor regularly. This week, we expect a great time with Panther fans and Buc fans getting together to discuss our cumulative shitty seasons.
The Panthers pulled a win out last week against the Redskins which has triggered conjecture about a turnaround for their season and the familiar cries of “Bring on the Bucs” (with various colorful while normally stale and unoriginal variants). I was surprised how much that win bolstered the spirits of our Carolina brethren, but all it did was inspire me more. These games are circled on my calendar every year. This year, after seeing how the Panthers started out, they were circled as WINNABLE. Yea, I know, I pick the Bucs every week. You guys know why and what the rationale behind that attempt at swaying karma is. This week when I pick the Bucs to win it will be because I feel we legitimately should be able to beat this team. It is not a stretch nor a hailmary attempt at pulling in favor from the universe. It does NOT require a perfect game by all aspects of our squad (though that would surely be nice). The Panthers are just not that good this year, in fact, the Panthers are a bad team. They had some outstanding individual players. They have yet to put a solid 4 quarters together and despite having a significant number of talented pieces, cannot get the puzzle put together. Sound familiar? This team is one that we should have hopes of competing with as, once again, they are a mirror of our team. The picture in the mirror is not as pretty this time around.
Tonight we will cover the game with a couple of guests. John White, of Cat Crave Radio, is a long time friend and diehard Panther fan. Though I met him first as a Dolphin fan, I know his Carolina blood is the real deal. He will be on with us via the Studio Line representing his Panthers. Before that segment (we think), will be my favorite Buccaneer, Chris Hovan. His boss (not Raheem or Jim, but Jamie) has confirmed that he will be calling in, so we will do the best we cna to get that lined up. The topics for tonight will include:
- News from around the league
- Injury updates
- Whatever Chris Hovan wants to talk about!
- The Panthers and why we will have our first victory Sunday
- Why Carolina feels their season was turned around by a narrow defeat of the equally (to both of us) hapless Redskins
As always, get your questions, comments, pontifications and predictive MVP’s along with your score predictions to questions [AT] whatthebuc [DOT] net (I saw someone else do that to avoid SPAM and so I figured I would give it a shot). See you tonight at 7:00 PM, Wesley Chapel Time!