MTSU coach still "sick" over bowl snub
The Blue Raiders finished the regular season with just two wins and had hit rock bottom in the Sun Belt Conference.
Still, expectations were high heading into fall of 2012. MTSU coach Rick Stockstill felt as if the team had a lot of talent and “expected to win.”
And they did.
Middle Tennessee State won eight games this past season and placed third overall in the Sun Belt with a 6-2 conference record.
But somehow, someway, the Blue Raiders slipped through the cracks and were not selected to participate in postseason festivities.
“It still makes me sick to just think about it,” said Stockstill. “We are all trying to move on, but it’s not easy. When I was around all those coaches earlier this month at the (National Coaches’ Convention) they would bring it up and say, 'Man, how could you guys gets shafted like that?'”
Even Western Kentucky – which MTSU beat in Week 10 – was selected for a bowl bid at 7-5 and just four wins in the Sun Belt. The Hilltoppers were eventually beat by 6-6 Central Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Bowl.
“It eats at me still but the positive is the bowl games are over and I don't have to see any more games,” added a frustrated Stockstill.
It’s almost incomprehensible how MTSU was left out here, especially after Louisiana Tech declined its option to play in a bowl game.
It’s not like the Blue Raiders didn’t have a good enough resume – they also beat Georgia Tech on the road by 21 and kept Troy (5-7) from becoming bowl eligible.
But the only thing they can do from here is cling to the positives, move on and look forward to next fall.
“I love the way our players responded and committed themselves from day one,” Stockstill said. “They improved in all areas of the game, but what I like the most is they played with toughness. You have to be the tougher team every Saturday and we were in 2012.
“I expect more in 2013.”
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