No, it really isn't an excuse it is a reality. 2001 comes to mind. We simply disagree on the player talent then. I think you underestimate the value and learning that players (especially young ones) go through by winning and particularly by gaining momentum at the end of the year going into next year. Losing out and having players with the mindset of "we suck and we are going to suck next year" from January-August is not good imo.