KENT, Ohio – For the second time this year, the Kent State Campus is buzzing over one of its sports teams.
First, the baseball team made it to the College World Series for the first time ever. Now, the football team is nationally ranked 17th in the BCS and could play in a BCS Bowl Game.
First year head coach Darrell Hazell insists his team must focus on Friday’s MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois at 7 p.m., not the national hype and a possible BCS bid.
Still, Hazell can’t help but notice the buzz.
“I just got an e-mail today from a guy, I think he was from Florida. His dentist put a “K” on the crown of his tooth. He’s a Kent State graduate,” said Hazell.
The Kent State football team welcomed fans to the MAC Center for a championship sendoff before they left for Ford Field in Detroit Thursday morning.
Hazell is really turning this team around. The Kent State football team hasn’t been to a bowl game in 40 years. Their last and only bowl appearance was the 1972 Tangerine Bowl. The team is really pumped for the rare opportunity.
“Everybody looks forward to a MAC championship and a big bowl game, but it’s incredible to know there’s a possibility like they said, it’s one step at a time,” Kent State Tight End Kyle Payton said.
In fact, the Golden Flashes have vastly improved from the 90s where they only won 15 games for the entire decade. This includes two seasons where they failed to win a single game.
But that was in the past. Now a win against Northern Illinois could mean a trip to the Orange Bowl. If the Golden Flashes win on Friday and jump to #16 or higher, Orange Bowl Officials, who will attend the MAC Championship Game, could ask Kent State to play in Miami on New Year’s Day.