Who goes into a game expecting to lose? What sort of a competitor believes he'll fail, even as a deep, double-digit underdog?
The answer is nobody -- nobody worth rooting for, that's who.
Bear that in mind when evaluating Weber State's troublesome 70-7 loss to Utah on Saturday, the second-worst loss in school history.
Let's be clear, nobody here thinks the Wildcats wanted to lose by 63 points; nobody here thinks they expected to lose that badly, even to a team with more size, strength, speed and athleticism.
And yet for those associated with Weber State, the loss has to be disappointing, not because of the 49 points the Utes scored in the first half but because of the 21 they scored in the second.
And the measly seven the 'Cats managed in the third quarter.
"That score should not have been that out of hand, and that's my fault," coach Jody Sears said afterward.
He's right, of course. As the head coach, the loss goes on his record and ultimately it's his responsibility. At the same time, his players are big boys and it's up to them to compete and execute, even against a team like the Utes in a hostile environment.
Truthfully, everyone needs to accept responsibility and hopefully they will as they look toward next week's game at Utah State, which will be every bit as challenging.
Sears and his team will most certainly want to move ahead, and they should. But in looking back on Saturday's loss they should feel a sense of disappointment in the way they played in the second half when they fell 21-7 to Utah's reserves.
See, even though they were playing against a superior opponent -- and even though they got a healthy payout for playing the Utes on their home field -- the 'Cats realistically could have expected more from themselves playing against Utah's second and third-team players.
The Utes' top players probably could have scored as many points as they wanted. They put up only 14 in the first quarter but added a sizzling 35 in the second and went into halftime leading 49-0. Of the 35 scored in the second quarter, 21 were scored in the 3:08 before the break.
It was shocking to see how quickly the game got out of hand, but hardly unexpected.
Watching the two teams make their way toward their respective locker rooms, it was easy to wonder how the 'Cats would respond in the second half.
Even though they'd been beaten badly in the closing minutes of the second quarter there was plenty of time left in the second half, not necessarily to win the game but at least to put up a fight.
Sears was thinking the same thing.
"I (wanted) to see the energy level and the corrections and I (wanted) to see leadership," he said. "I've been down 49-nothing before and it's not a lot of fun. But that doesn't matter, you're trying to grow these young men because these are real life lessons and nothing's easy."
Sears said his expectation was that his team would come out and win the second half.
"That was our goal, (to) lead, play with energy, play hard, execute," he said.
The Utes came out for the third quarter and scored quickly using essentially their second-team offense. Led by backup quarterback Adam Schulz, they marched 67 yards in eight plays, eventually scoring on Lucky Radley's 17-yard run.
Impressively, the 'Cats responded with with a nice drive of their own, moving 75 yards in 13 plays and taking more than five minutes off the clock. For those wearing purple and white that easily was the best part of the day. Weber State's offense played with rhythm and pace and frustrated defensive Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Satake to the point of slamming his headset to the ground.
For the 'Cats and their fans, that's when the good times ended. Seeing their offense briefly put the Utes on their heels offered a glimpse of perhaps how good WSU can in the future.
Unfortunately, seeing them surrender two more TDs while failing on their next four possessions also showed their weaknesses.
"The margin of error against a quality, quality, quality, really good football team is nil," Sears said.
Again, he's right.
Let's once again be clear, nobody here thinks the 'Cats wanted to lose by 63 on Saturday; nobody here thinks they quit before the game even began.
On the other hand, they should have been much better in the second half.
Contact Standard-Examiner sports columnist Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jmb247