With the regular season officially over teams are beginning to hold their end of the year banquets celebrating individuals for their prowess on the field and excellence in the classroom. Some teams are holding their banquets in midst of bowl preparation while others are holding theirs coming off of a win or loss that concluded the season.
I'm sure the teams that are holding their banquets who aren't going bowling but ended the season with a win are a lot more welcoming than the teams who are getting together after finishing the season with a loss. But aside from the benefits of having a much more joyful banquet, is the value of finishing the season with a win the same for all teams across the board?
Well for starters coaching staffs who finished the season with a win will have an easier time on the recruiting trail as they finalize their incoming recruiting class. Ending the season on a winning note is a much easier sell to prospects than coming off of a season-ending loss.
Another benefit for coaches is that a win to conclude the regular season is not only a sign of progress despite a season filled with losses, but is also a way to get the fan base off their back.
For the second straight season, Charlie Partridge has finished the season 3-9 at Florida Atlantic but the vibe around the football program is that the team is in a much better place compared to last year.
Last season FAU finished the season with a five-game losing streak. This year after an overtime loss to Florida, the Owls finished the season with a win over Old Dominion.
Look, guys, tangible progress!
Whether Partridge can springboard this win into bigger things heading into next year remains to be seen but to operate under the notion that the win has no potential value would be silly.
A year ago the New Mexico Lobos finished the season with a win a win over Wyoming to finish the season 4-8 in Bob Davie's third season. Davie capitalized on that momentum by leading New Mexico to their first winning season and first bowl game since 2007 with a 7-5 year.
Of course, it helps when you have a boatload of starters coming back to the team like Davie did. And that's where you should draw the line in determining whether you should put much stock in finishing the season with a win during a losing year.
If your team relied on a bunch of seniors it would be ridiculous to expect a season-finale win to translate to much of anything for next year's team other than good morale heading into winter workouts.
Similar to FAU, the Idaho Vandals finished the season with a win in a game that featured contributions from players that will be back on next season's team.
With key contributors on offense and defense expected to return for coaches such as Paul Petrino and Charlie Partridge, the season-finale win does more than cool off the talk surrounding their jobs, it provides evidence that there actually is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for next year's team.
A team that could reach a bowl game.
For coaches who must start next season looking for new faces to make key contributions, the win provides a cheerful end of the year feast before the pressure to avoid another losing season kicks in.