Rick Stockstill Is a Huge Fan of the C-USA, and for Good Reason
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it is—the Blue Raiders went 8-4 (6-2) In the Sun Belt Conference last season. But instead of being left home for the postseason like it was in 2012, MTSU was invited to play in the Armed Forces Bowl against the Navy Midshipmen.
“That was one of the things I was most excited about going into the C-USA,” coach Rick Stockstill told FanIQ in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “We have more opportunities to play in a bowl game. There were six [bowl teams from the C-USA] compared to two from the Sun Belt.
“It was a travesty last year in the Sun Belt and I’m glad we didn’t have to experience it again,” he continued. “The C-USA is first class in everything it does and I’m so glad to be a part of it.”
The C-USA had eight bowl-eligible teams following the conclusion of the 2013 regular season and got six in, while five of the seven bowl-eligible programs in the Sun Belt were kept off the list.
Middle Tennessee was left out of bowl festivities last season despite beating Georgia Tech by 21 points on the road, which infuriated Stockstill and the rest of the coaching staff.
But thanks to an undefeated month of November that featured a five-game conference winning streak, no one was worried about what would be a horrendous deja vu.
“We knew before the season was over that we’d be in a bowl game,” said Stockstill. “With where we were at in bowl affiliation with the C-USA, it wasn’t a surprise. We anticipated it. The sixth win felt good, then the seventh locked us in, and then the eighth was the icing on the cake.
“It wasn’t a shock. We knew we’d be playing somewhere.”
Middle Tennessee fell to Navy 24-6 in the Armed Forces Bowl, but will be looking to win its first bowl game since 2009 this upcoming season.
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