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Is a Bowl Win Important Enough?
Feel the excitement as EMU closes out the season with Akron and Buffalo.
Tonight could go one of two ways.
The first is pretty obvious. Eastern Michigan, which hosts Akron tonight for the team’s final game at home this season, woke up this morning as favorites over the Zips. EMU underachieved this year, but still has a chance to go to a bowl game if and only if EMU finishes strong tonight on Midweek MACtion and next week at Buffalo.
The second is also very obvious, because after watching the ways EMU (4-6 overall, 2-4 MAC) gave up 94 points over the last two games to find itself still fighting for a bowl. The Western game was uninspiring from the moment the Broncos took a 7-0 lead, and some early repeats of that game happened at the Glass Bowl for Toledo to be up 21-0 through the first quarter. Neither Akron nor Buffalo have bowl games to play for this December, they only get to play spoiler. If the final two games of this year’s team start to look and play like last year’s team did after it suffered its devastating Toledo loss, then there’s a shot that this year’s EMU can still try to make the most of this season. But EMU’s also very capable of looking like a rug against teams it absolutely should beat.
I think EMU would’ve been a double-digit favorite for this game in August. Now? Vegas decided to open this game with EMU as 8-point favorites, but the line has since moved closer to 4.
Did Vegas receive a landfill’s worth of cash towards the Zips to cover?
Did Vegas get a hint that maybe EMU’s offense won’t actually play up to that spread?
Or maybe Vegas is seeing a house of cards on the field fall apart.
These are hard times for EMU football. Not tough, but hard. It’s not tough, to me, because the losses this year weren’t exactly well-played, and this team never fully clicked. Plus, none of the losses this year felt stolen, they were well-deserved. It’s hard times because through all of the misfortunes, the players and coaches going through the grind of the season still have to wake up each morning and study for its final midweek MACtion tests of — not a rival and not a divisional fake rival — the Akron Zips and Buffalo Bulls.
If we’re playing the helmet game, EMU ought to win out.
But at the expense of me sounding like an old man yelling at clouds in the sky, tonight’s game (and the rest of this season) really will come down to EMU collectively figuring out just how badly everybody in the room wants to win a bowl game this year. If the idea of a bowl win excites this program, then this team should be thinking about playing its best 12 quarters of football of the season.
If the idea of a bowl game isn’t cool or fun or exciting to anybody, then tonight’s going to be a long 60 minutes.