WKU has a proud football history, from their nine Ohio Valley Conference championships to the 2002 I-AA national championship. Their move up to the I-A ranks hasn’t been quite as glorious. Part of that futility has certainly come from the schedule; WKU has made $50 million in facilities improvements to support the I-A move, and paying for them has meant hitting the road to play Florida, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee over the last few years. It would be hard for a lot of teams to build up some winning momentum against that group, never mind a program in its I-A infancy. The Hilltoppers have gone 4-32 over the last 3 seasons, including an 0-12 campaign in 2009. They haven’t won a home game since 2008.
While the bright spots have been few and far between for WKU, last week offered a glimpse of what school administrators and supporters were probably thinking when they decided to jump to I-A. There was WKU, going toe-to-toe against the in-state SEC powerhouse (relatively speaking), on national TV, in a big stadium, and playing with swagger.
“They supposed to be SEC” is without a doubt my favorite moment of the young 2011 season. There are no moral victories. I understand that. You can, however, recognize improvement when you see it, and build on it. Considering that last season’s game against Kentucky was a 63-28 blowout, I’d say that this year’s 14-3 slugfest was indeed an improvement. Constant improvement will eventually lead to wins, but Navy rolls into Bowling Green looking to ensure that “eventually” is at least a week away.
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