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Kent State 28, EMU 22: thoughts from the morning after

November 20, 2011

I was going to start this post by observing that my pre-season expectation for EMU was five or six wins, and they’ve already done that.

I was going to start this post by pointing out that I figured EMU was a year away from contending for a division title, but after 11 weeks of football they were still (barely) in the hunt.

I was going to suggest that maybe this years’ team succeeded so much, so fast, that we got out hopes up too quickly and forgot that the Eagles are still relatively early in a major rebuilding project.

I was going to say that these things take time, especially at a place like EMU, where successfull football hasn’t happened in so long that many people have forgetten it ever happened at all, and that some don’t even think it’s possible here.

I was going to write all that, but I’m not.

To put it bluntly, I am tired of the excuses.

There is no reason that EMU can’t have a top-notch football program. I’m not talking about a winning season here and there, and I’m not talking one MAC championship in a decade, which would still be a huge improvement.

So many times we hear about the struggles facing EMU. We hear about how we’re in the shadow of Ann Arbor and have no traditional fan base, how EMU students aren’t really invested in the school and how alumni are still embittered about the mascot change twenty years ago.

I’m tired of hearing it. From now on, there are no excuses. NO EXCUSES.

It’s too late for this year, but this is a football team that should be contending for a West Division title on the last weekend of the year next year — and I’m not talking about hoping someone else loses, I’m talking about win-and-get-in — and knowing they’ll get a bowl invitation after the season — knowing, not just hoping. There are no excuses for that not to be the case.

The 2012 recruiting class is well underway, but EMU should have at least a mid-MAC quality class, chock-full of athletes who fit Ron English’s system and can compete in the MAC. Classes full of students with no other FBS (or even Division I) offers should be a thing of the past; there are no excuses for that at EMU today.

This year’s win total was partly a result of an easy schedule, featuring two FCS opponents and most of the worst teams in the MAC. Next year won’t be as easy, but EMU should continue to improve their win total; there are no excuses for not winning at least seven games in 2012.

I think we — the entire EMU community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and fans — have been told that we can’t compete, that we’re a second-rate school, that students only come here because they couldn’t get into a better school, that Ypsilanti is nothing but Ann Arbor’s crime-ridden neighbor, that EMU football is in a “kill-zone” being so close to the Michigan Wolverines, that Eastern Michigan is little more than a glorified community college, and that we’re just generally not as good. We’ve been told all this so many times, by so many different people, in so many different ways, that we’ve come to believe it ourselves, and in our belief it’s become the truth.

There is no reason for that to be the case, and there are no excuses for it to continue.

From now on, there is no excuse for failure. We know losses will happen, we know not everything will go the way we want, but we don’t expect it and we don’t accept it.

No excuses.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Ralph48 permalink
    November 20, 2011 4:09 pm

    I have never thought of Eastern as second rate. I’ve seen Rynearson full and know that the school offers a quality education. However, I do agree with you that the overall EMU community seems to have a self loathing attitude – “We don’t deserve to win and never will, and we’re overall second rate.” Students, alumni, faculty, etc. need to to take pride in our institution. Once you graduate, you’re stuck with it for better or worse. Make it for the better and people will start to change their perception.

  2. November 20, 2011 5:09 pm

    I actually appreciate the education I got at Eastern. I actually appreciate the fact that I can pop in on my old professors and they will remember. Yes, I wish I would have gotten in to the school down the road but whatever….when life throws you a curve, you hit it out of the park. If nothing else, I think we can look back at this season and hope that it was the start of something good.

  3. Bobby Wicks permalink
    November 21, 2011 9:06 am

    Woh, I’m actually kind of bummed out now. EMU is a great school that unfortunately is situated in an ugly town, a downriverish kind of town with no support from its residents, most of whom are WalMart wolverines, but I digress. I’ve never said this before, but wait til next year! Both the football and basketball teams are going to be really good and if you like baseball, the EMU baseball program is pretty darn good too.

  4. November 21, 2011 9:18 pm

    There are parts of Ypsi that are ugly, but the old houses down Huron aren’t too bad. Some of the areas around campus are pretty nice. EMU’s campus looks nicer than Central or Toledo.

  5. Bobby Wicks permalink
    November 22, 2011 8:38 am

    Ken, I just moved back to Michigan after 8 (great) years in Iowa. I decided to move back by the old alma mater–on Huron Street and I love it. Beautiful old houses, Riverside Park, Depot town all right outside my window. The campus is getting better and better, I love what they’re doing with Cross Street. Overall, I love the area.

    What I don’t love is that the bad reputation EMU gets is from the general lack of support from Ypsilanti and the residents, Michigan Ave is an absolute eyesore, and the overall ugliness of the SE side of Ypsi. Some parts of Ypsilanti resemble a depressed southern ghetto.

    I took a trip to Toledo’s campus this summer and I found it beautiful. It is a much bigger campus and the athletic facilities are all on campus. CMU is nothing special, reminds me of Iowa State-lot’s of cement, very early 70’s aesthetic. However, the town of Mount Pleasant gets behind their Chips. The college kids love their teams and support them. There are no slummy areas of Mt. Pleasant. I’ve visited several times because my 2 sisters graduated there as well as several of my friends…To be honest, my sisters NEVER considered EMU due to the bad areas of Ypsilanti and the perception of it being unsafe.

  6. November 22, 2011 10:11 am

    My freshman year was in 1987 and I will admit that there were parts of campus that were an eyesore. Welch Hall looked it was burnt out. The Stadium looked like an overgrown high school stadium (especially with the East Bleachers). But there were nice parts of campus and over the years they have improved the looks of campus considerably and in the spring it looks pleasant.

    Now Ypsi, I will agree with you on the SE part of Ypsi but still, Depot Town looks nice.


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