COMMENTARY: The singular best moment in San Antonio football last season was the moment UTSA ran out of the Alamodome tunnel. It gave me chills, and I wasn't even there. I saw it on videotape a few hours after it happened. What can I say? Sports is not my life, but it is a passion, and that moment almost moved me to tears. Call me lame all you want - it was a special moment for sure.
I came to San Antonio a little over a year ago from Tucson, Arizona. We always joked, after John Mackovic destroyed the program and they suffered several losing seasons in a row, that Southern Arizona was a college football sleeping giant - that was to say, if the program could ever get good again, and the Wildcats had been around forever. Forever? Forever!
UTSA ran out of that tunnel as a recognized NCAA program for the first time ever in 2011. The first time ever? The first time ever! And what did they do? Oh nothing. They only set a new NCAA record for attendance for a brand new football program. You want proof that San Antonio can be a college football sleeping giant? Well, you got it.
So here we are, on the cusp of year number two in the program, the 2012 preseason officially just a few days away. And if I was Roadrunner head coach Larry Coker, I would preach caution to my hungry, and apparently already beloved, fan base.
The Runners went four and six in their inaugural campaign. That's a huge taste of success for a first year program. And I couldn't care less about who was on the schedule. It wasn't even close to anything FBS or BCS-worthy, but then again that wasn't the point.
The focus of last season was to instill some confidence, some belief, some hope for the future in what is a very tough way of life at the NCAA athletic level.
UTSA played as an independent last season, but that will change this September. They will play in the WAC, a legit Division One college football conference. And OK, the WAC maybe isn't SEC or Big XII or PAC-12 legit, but compared to the Northeastern State, Bacone and Minot State's of the world, it's very legit.
The realistic part of all this is that it will continue to take time.
No disrespect meant. It's just the fact of the matter. I can list tons of college football teams that have been in business for 75 or 100 years and still average seven or eight wins a season.
UTSA had four victories last year. Things aren't that bad. Now, are they going to roll their way to eight wins by the end of November this year? I wouldn't think so, but then again, they line up and play the games for a reason.
UTSA plays four non-conference games this year. Two of those are opponents from last year: South Alabama and Georgia State. The Roadrunners played both games to overtime, one loss and one win. So you have to feel good about victories in either one or both of those games this year.
And after four non-conference games, UTSA plays eight of the next nine weeks in the WAC. The fellas played ten games last year. They play twelve this year, eight against D-1 schools - something they've never experienced.
This is going to be exciting, but I caution everybody to understand the process.
This thing, according to the world historical football clock, is going to take some time.
Nobody wants to talk baby steps or moral victories, but that's where the program is in some ways. We have to be fair about this. This is season number two.
UTSA football is an infant, in fact, it's probably still in the womb.
And the fact that they won four games last season should be applauded huge, in my opinion. So let's all be excited to see what happens, but no need for bummed out Saturday stress-eating or tapping the tailgate keg if another losing season starts to formulate.
It's all part of the bigger picture down the road!