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Dreams For MAC Teams Do Come True

Who'd have thunk Frank Solich and Steve Addazio would be responsible for stoking the fires of hope

I have the seen the light. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (that is actually the name) showed us that a MAC team can have their one shining moment on the football field.

Watching Ohio’s win over Utah State made me realize two things: my lack of a social life on a Saturday night, and that should have been Ball State.

It was hard to visualize what Ball State missed out on by not going to a bowl game. I saw it once Coach Frank Solich was nervously trying to answer questions in an interview while his players held a Gatorade bucket with his name on it.

The Ohio Bobcats won a bowl game for the first time in school history. They won during primetime TV on ESPN. On a Saturday with little else happening in the world of sports.

Ohio’s win is easy to downplay. The only fans there were the marching band and cheerleaders. The title of “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions” is not something fans can be proud of with a straight face.

For a Ball State fan I am happy to see a MAC school like Ohio and Temple win a bowl game. It is great for the conference especially if it is a win over BCS team (Get it done Western Michigan).

But for Ohio, a team Ball State beat on their field, I felt jealous. I did not think the Cardinals win over the Bobcats was even among its top three performances of the season (Army, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Ohio in that order) as the offense sputtered in the Ohio game.

Watching Ohio players splash their coach just made me picture Ball State in the same spot. Imagine Sean Baker and Joshua Howard trying to dunk Coach Pete Lembo after an amazing bowl win. Travis Freeman and Briggs Orsbon holding up the trophy while wearing “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions” hats.

Before Ball State fans start spiking the eggnog it’s important to note Ohio threw away the MAC Championship game in the same way Congress trashes tax dollars. They bounced back in a smaller scale of what Ball State did from two years of Stan Parrish. It took Solich seven years to build the program in Athens to where it is now compared to one year for Lembo in Muncie.

I am still in college and I know for a fact that Ball State will win a bowl game in my life time. It may be some crazy sounding title that does not exist yet like the “Waste Management Bowl,” but Ball State will win a bowl game. No matter the name it will be a glorious moment where students, alumni, and random people in Muncie will say “That’s my school.” What Ohio and Temple fans felt Saturday is coming towards Ball State.

For God sakes I hope it is sooner rather than later.

(Note: The first column by Nathan Pace as a staff writer. If they only get better from here we’re all in for a treat – Ed.)

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