YPSILANTI — Looking at the calendar which is setting on Uncle Mel’s desk, nieces and nephews it seems impossible that the holiday season arrived.
A time to rest and relax and reflect the 2011 football season at Eastern Michigan University, the football program made tremendous strides in gaining respectability.
The Eagles finished the season with an overall record of 6-6 and 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English named the coach of the year in the conference says his program is still working toward gain even more success.
English said everybody associated with the program especially the players that stuck with him is the reason for the success of the program.
Yes, the Eagles did finish with a winning record for the first time since 1995 but Eastern Michigan University needed to win the final two games to receive a bowl bid.
December 19, 2011 the air felt brisk but the 28-22 defeat at Kent State University truly a hard defeat for English and his squad.
A short week to prepare but another chance to gain that allusive bowl bid, the Eagles traveled to DeKalb, Illinois and faced a strong Northern Illinois University football squad but also a strong prairie wind.
The day after Thanksgiving Day, Friday November 26, 2011 the Eagles fought hard but fell short 18-12 against the Huskies and like the ever present wind that slashed across northern Illinois so did Eastern Michigan University’s dream of playing in a bowl game drifted away.
So the Eagles finished the season on a two-game losing skid.
Here is where Uncle Mel has two questions for the NCAA.
Why did UCLA get a chance to petition the NCAA to play in a bowl game even with a losing record?
If Uncle Mel represented a Football Championship Subdivision program he would be asking the NCAA, why is the FCS being treated like a second-rated program?
Eastern Michigan University played and defeated Howard University and Alabama State University both schools are a member of a competitive conference but according to the NCAA these programs are substandard.
The wins against Howard University and Alabama State did not measure up to the NCAA, in fact it hurt Eastern Michigan University so playing schools from the FCS can be a double edge sword – if you defeat the FCS you can be penalized but if you lose to a FCS it does your program no good either.
The schedule for the Eagles had two FCS schools and the Eagles defeated both of them so why are they on the schedule on the first place?
Eastern Michigan played not one program from the vaulted Big Ten Conference but two teams and the Eagles played them with a sense of pride but the Eagles took the defeat on the chin and placed the checks in the bank.
The University of Michigan defeated the Eagles 31-3 on a bright sunny September 17, 2011 and the following week at Sept 24, 2011 Penn State University defeated Eastern Michigan 34-6 and yet both schools are going to play in a bowl game despite the problems in Happy Valley.
The Wolverines have a date to play Virginia Tech University in the prestigious Sugar Bowl in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, January 3, 2012.
Penn State University will play and represent the Big Ten Conference against the University of Houston in Dallas, Texas at the TicketCity Bowl being played January 2, 2012.
The NCAA says that one school from the FCS on the schedule is okay but two schools from the FCS not acceptable.
Why did UCLA get a bowl bid after being defeated 50-0 against Southern California University but also were defeated by the University of Oregon 49-31 in the title game for the Pac-12 but yet with an overall record of 6-7, the Bruins will play in a bowl game for the 31st time.
On December 31, 2011 from San Francisco, California the Burins will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against the University of Illinois.
Uncle Mel want to know from the NCAA why?
How does the petition work and could’ve Eastern Michigan University petition the NCAA?
English says you play the schedule that your team is faced with and some of the schedules are put together years in advance.
English told Uncle Mel that let the sour grapes go and just remember were this program is heading for and that the past is now ancient history.
The 2012 football season is being shaped and spring practice is just a couple of months away.
Uncle Mel would like to say first of all to cousin Jim Streeter you sir is the reason why Uncle Mel does what he does, the pride of following Eastern Michigan University is a passion that we both share and the next step you take Uncle Mel’s prayer is that the grace of God be with you and your awesome family.
Uncle Mel says to cousin Jeff Fulton who came back after having a very important health issue to be back in the press box for football but your presence on press row during the basketball season is a testament to you and your commitment to Eastern Michigan University but most of all your inspiration and your friendship is all ways looked upon as a gift from God.
Finally, Uncle Mel wants to say thank you to all of the nieces and nephews and hope that Santa Clause full fills your dreams and all of your wishes come true and that 2012 is filled with great things.
Merry Christmas, Eastern Michigan University!
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.