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Linking Laconically isn't exactly over this one yet

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Bonus non-laconical commentary on that last link: While hanging our heads obviously doesn't do any good, I really have a hard time seeing Saturday's outcome as a fluke.  Sure, the events of the final 30 seconds all broke in the Chippewas' favor.  But we'd been outplayed by a significant margin for the 59 minutes and 30 seconds that preceded those 30 seconds--outgained by 74 yards and outconverted by 8 first downs.  And when it mattered most, we couldn't stop them.  Central gained a total of 147 yards to reach the endzone on both of its final two non-onside-kick-commenced drives.  We were lucky to be in position to win the game with 30 seconds to go.

Maybe CMU's a top-40 team and this loss isn't quite as bad as it looks right now.  But they certainly didn't look like a top-40 team against Arizona a week ago.  And you have to beat top 40 teams at home to get to a New Years Day bowl.

Four weeks ago, the headline in this space was "Linking Laconically is wondering what it's good at."  The headline was (mostly) facetious, but it captured a lurking fear about this team: For all the pieces that seemed to be in place on paper (15 returning starters off a 9-win season, two starter-quality QBs, young/talented RBs, depth at TE/receiver and in the secondary, preseason conference defensive POTY, top-notch kicking specialists), it hasn't been clear (1) whether the team really had any oustanding non-Ringer components last season and (2) where the big improvement(s) would happen this season.

After 120 minutes of football in the 2009 season, those questions remain answered.  Kirk Cousins looks pretty darn efficient.  Greg Jones is still a tackling machine.  Blair Whie just keeps getting better.  Beyond that, there's just not much there to hang your hat on.

So cheer me up: What am I missing?  Is there hope?  Or was this all just a plot to suck me in to the MSU Football Heightened Expectations Vortex of Doom?