Eight wins not enough to get Middle Tennessee State back to a bowl

Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9:52pm
Staff reports

Middle Tennessee State learned the hard way Sunday that there is a difference between being bowl-eligible and actually going to a bowl.

With an 8-4 record and a notable victory over Georgia Tech, the Blue Raiders did not get an invitation to any of the 35 postseason contests, which begin Dec. 15 and continue through the BCS title contest on Jan. 7.

“This is devastating for those seniors and our entire team,” coach Rick Stockstill said in a statement released by the athletics department. "They did what they had to do on the football field and were not rewarded.

“It was very tough facing my team and telling them their season was over. We had a great year and we will not let the momentum of our 8-4 season be derailed by other people's decisions that I don't agree with.”

MTSU had chance to win the Sun Belt Conference championship right up to the final game of the season, which was Saturday. It lost that one 45-0 to Arkansas State, which won the title outright and got a bid to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

The Blue Raiders, who won just two games a year ago, finished tied for second with Louisiana and Louisiana-Monroe, both of which also received bowl bids. Fifth-place Western Kentucky (7-5) became the fourth Sun Belt team in the postseason when it accepted an invitation from the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.

MTSU defeated WKU 34-29 on Nov. 1, a little more than a month after a 49-28 rout of Georgia Tech, which played in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday.

School officials believed that was more than enough for the program to make its third bowl appearance in four seasons.

"I am so proud of this football team and what they have accomplished this season and the turnaround they have made," director of athletics Chris Massaro said. "This incredibly frustrating turn of events won't define us or our season. I think it is clear that the bowl system needs improvement and should be better than this. I believe in this football team, the momentum we have built, and the future is bright.”

4 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 12/3/12 at 1:05

I agree, but the drubbing by Arkansas State was just too much luggage.

By: jwk6179 on 12/3/12 at 10:33

I counted 27 teams (28 if you include Wisconsin @ 8-5, 29 if Army defeats Navy on Saturday) that are going to a bowl game with a worse record than MTSU. That includes a 6-7 Georgia Tech, which MTSU defeated in October and a 7-5 Western Kentucky, which finished behind MTSU in the Sun Belt Conference. When you add the teams that finished also finished 8-4 (the same record that MTSU finished with) that brings the total up to 38 teams. That why I hate the conference tie-ins with so many of the bowls, especially when you are going 7,8 or 9 teams deep in a conference. Several conferences (Big 10, SEC, ACC, etc.) didn't have enough eligible teams to meet all their bowl commitments. If Georgia Tech had not gotten a waiver from the NCAA to play in a bowl game this year, if was very likely that the Music City Bowl would have had to go outside the ACC for an opponnent for Vanderbilt.

The bowls are not about rewarding a team for a good season anymore but more about how many fans can a school bring into their city for the bowl games. The sad thing is, a 6-7 Georgia Tech would probably bring more fans into El Paso for the Sun Bowl than a 8-4 MTSU or a 9-3 Louisiana Tech would.

By: truebluefan on 12/3/12 at 1:35

MTSU has only itself to blame for the failure to get a bowl bid. Rather than permitting the team to focus on the Sun Belt championship game, the administration upstaged the football team with an ill timed announcement of a move to CUSA. An announcement that could have been made after the game and after bowl bids had been issued. How can MTSU be surprised that the Sun Belt did not push for its inclusion in a bowl? Only a junior high school boy could be so naive to expect that he can break up with one girl, publicly ask another girl out and then be surprised that the first girl turns him down on Saturday night.

By: 4gold on 12/4/12 at 7:33

Nail on the head? Its all about money and fan base. Which is so sad. Bowls are nothng but a fan scalping sceam for big bucks. I don't blame it on MTSU fans or VU fans. I blame it on the middle TN football fans that dont support the local teams. Pumping their money into teams in other regiions. Bad or Middle TN economy. I think this scenerio makes the bowls a pure and simple joke. VU 41-UT 18 was my bowl game. I need no other. But MTSU's problem was the same as VU. They don't have the big fan base and we no who's fault that is.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!