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