The Dallas Cowboys are in the doldrums. LSU failed to avenge their loss to Alabama in last year’s championship game. My least favorite team in college football is going to win another BCS championship. And now this.
My alma mater Louisiana Tech had the best season in the history of the school’s football program. They finished the season with the nation’s number one offense. They went 9-3 and spent several weeks in the BCS rankings. They beat two teams from automatic qualifying BCS conferences and came within a whisker of beating Texas A&M (final score 59-57). It was the absolute best season Tech has ever had. And yet they are not going to a bowl, and it is their own fault.
Tech received an invitation to the Independence Bowl, and they turned it down. Why? Because the guys running the program got too big for their breeches. They thought it would be better to gamble on an invitation to the Liberty Bowl (which did not come through) rather than stoop to play in the Independence Bowl against an old rival ULM. Tech has now become like the high school kid who is too cool to hang out with his best buddies from junior high. It’s that arrogant kid who doesn’t want to sully his newfound popularity by hanging with the social pariahs he used to call his best friends. Tech is the Ronald Miller of college football.
Well, pride goes before a fall. Now no other bowl has issued an invitation to Tech, and the Bulldogs will be sitting out the post season after the best season they’ve ever had. This is a disaster for the program, a disaster for recruiting, a disaster for revenue, and most of all a disaster for the 31 senior athletes who put together a brilliant season and who were counting on administrators to land them a spot in a bowl. I feel most sorry for these players who didn’t know before today that their last game was two weeks ago. Head Coach Sonny Dykes tweeted earlier this evening:
I’m heartbroken for our 31 seniors that have given so much for Louisiana Tech. They deserve to finish their careers in a bowl game.
I’m heartbroken too, coach. You and this team deserve better than this. Thank you for the best season in the history of the program.
Yes, there are other parties at fault in all of this. An unfair bowl system that gives bids to 6-6 teams over 9-3 teams is to blame. An Independence Bowl forcing Tech to commit early is also to blame. But for me, Tech administrators are most to blame. No matter what happens, it’s their job not to make frivolous gambles with the program. It seems to me that that’s what happened here, and it blew up in their face.
The Associated Press is reporting on Karl Malone’s response to this sad fiasco. There are many who share his frustration. Here he is in his own words:
“I am Bulldog to the core, I am heart broken and embarrassed that our university would do this to Tech Nation. To our football and staff this … is exactly what is wrong with our university. Now it’s time to get former athletes to run our program. I’m (6-foot-9) and not hard to find,” Malone wrote.
Malone demanded to know the reason behind turning down the Independence Bowl and called for a change in leadership.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to hire a person doing it for university, and not somebody doing it for a bigger and better job in their mind?” he wrote.
“To Bleed tech Blue, you got to be Tech.”