As we near the start of camp, more and more voices are starting to sound off on their predictions of how they see the season going. The oddity though is that most prognosticators are picking the Bucs somewhere in the 5-9 win range, while it seems as though the overwhelming expectation from the organization and it’s fans is more in the 8-11 win range.
So we must wonder, are we expecting to much, or are the experts picking the Buccaneers too low?
The Vegas oddsmakers have the over/under set at 7.5 games. Popular fantasy football website WalterFootball.com has the Bucs coming in well lower are 5-11. The most recent prediction I’ve seen is from a local Boston radio station in which both hosts have the Bucs under 7.5. Even a run through the random people who post on Yahoo Answers shows almost every amateur prognosticator picks the Buccaneers at 8 or fewer.
And I’m sure when the big wigs at ESPN, CBS, FOX, etc. release their guesses the Buccaneers will probably fall into the same boat, around seven or eight wins.
But expectations are clearly quite a bit higher. We here at TPP think the Bucs can be in the nine plus win category. We’ve had comments post numbers as high as 11, and fans across the Tampa Bay area seem to be gobbling up tickets at a slightly improved rate indicating their expectation of success.
So who’s going to be right? It’s obviously impossible to tell until the toe hits the leather come September 8th, but I can tell you this, in-house expectations are likely more in line with the fans.
The Buccaneers have spent a lot of money upgrading their roster. They’ve brought in a new head coach and new coordinators. And they have a lot of young pieces added through the draft they really like. So I can guarantee seven wins will not be enough for Buccaneer brass.
It’s a big year for the franchise as they look to take that huge step from contending in October to being in the mix and eventually qualifying for the playoffs come late December. They seem to have a coach they believe in, and a general manager who just keeps pouring talent into the lineup. So they have no choice but to expect better results.
Organizations usually look at growth or decline. In the past two years the Buccaneers won four games followed by seven. That’s why the 7.5 number placed by Vegas, and seemingly echoed by most, is probably a lot lower than the one set at One Buc.
This is a great scenario to be in as a fan. You want your franchise to expect greatness. You want this organization to expect to be in the playoffs year in and year out. And while the experts don’t seem to expect to see Tampa Bay football in January, the Buccaneers’ players and front office all do. Sometimes the underdog role is just what a team needs to get over the hump. Let’s hope that’s the case with this group.