Western Kentucky Is Giving MTSU An Incurable Complex

It may be a bad idea to write when bitter, but it worked for Alanis Morissette in 1995, so why not?

First of all, I am a life-long Alabama fan. I did not attend Alabama so I constantly have to fight this lame battle that I’m not allowed to like a team because I didn’t use the school’s library as a student. But this post is about Middle Tennessee State University and I am, in fact, an alumnus of the school.

Much like a Tennessee Titans PSL holder, being an alumnus of a given school gives the person bearing this honor unalienable rights to make declarative statements as if there is no higher authority.

MTSU is a suitcase college and basketball is a great suitcase college sport because many of the games take place during the week. My student fandom goes back to the days of head coach Randy Wiel and players such as Malachi Allen, Freddie Martinez, Nod Carter and Roni Bailey.

So there’s my fan resume for your approval.

With that being said, let’s discuss Sunday night’s “upset” loss to Florida International. I enclose “upset” in quotes because on paper this appears to be an unexpected loss. Anyone paying attention to basketball in March since 1990 will notice a large void on MTSU’s resume in the column titled “NCAA Tournament Results.” Would the upset not have been MTSU actually advancing to the finals of a conference tournament and winning it?

MTSU is to March what the Atlanta Braves are to October.

For some reason, there are people who want to debate if MTSU will get an at-large bid. What have the Blue Raiders done to earn any benefit of the doubt from the selection committee? Win 17 straight games in the Sun Belt? Win the regular season Sun Belt championship? Beat Ole Miss? Okay, fine, but Mississippi State beat Ole Miss as well so that argument seems weak at best. 

The question begs to be asked —  why is Western Kentucky preparing to play in the Sun Belt Tournament championship game – AGAIN — while MTSU sits in the ‘Boro crafting yet another Powerpoint presentation on why they should get in the NCAA Tournament despite the fact they haven’t won a conference tournament since 1989?

The Hilltopper fan base is much better and the alumni are tied much stronger to Bowling Green while MTSU alum — me included– tie themselves to Nashville and the areas in and around the mid-state. “MTSU” and “fan base” are two terms rarely used in a sentence employing any form of optimism.

I Tweeted (I still can’t write this and feel like I own any form of manhood) this morning saying that if Western does indeed win the tournament tonight, MTSU should just overnight the keys of the athletic department to Bowling Green, KY, care of 1989. The replies ranged from “Worst tweet of the day” to “Is he wrong?”

Am I wrong?

Maybe I’m shipping the keys too far up I-65 North. Belmont is in closer proximity to Murfreesboro and the cost to overnight the keys would more than likely be less. I enjoy seeing Belmont succeed, but not without a tinge of head scratching and jealousy. At least Western Kentucky has rich tradition and history on which to stand. Belmont didn’t join the NCAA until the 1999-2000 season, which makes the next paragraph infuriating to write and/or read for any MTSU alum or fan.

The Bruins have appeared in five NCAA tournments since joining the NCAA — in 1999. MTSU has been to six… SINCE 1958. Don’t bother getting your iPhone out to use the calculator app. That’s 55 seasons. FIFTY-FIVE!

Let’s get back to the Western Kentucky comparison — comparison is a very generous term. To add insult to injury in this entire narrative is MTSU hired Edgar Diddle in the late ’50s to bring lore and greatness to MTSU’s campus through tremendous and exciting hoops action. If the name Diddle sounds familiar, it should. It’s the son of former Western Kentucky head coach, E.A. Diddle. Diddle is one of the winningest coaches of all time.

Edgar is not.

Edgar put in six seasons at Middle and  finished his career at 56-80.

This MTSU grad — and the rest of you out there – just need to face the facts. Western Kentucky is E.A. Diddle and we are son, Edgar.

Western is and always will be our daddy.

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11 Comments

  1. John says:

    Why would you care at this point if MTSU is leaving the Sun Belt and will no longer have to face them?

  2. Harold says:

    Eric, great post but let me give you this. I am a WKU fan and alum. I have 255 undergrad hours from that institution.

    Don’t ask.

    They should name a building after me. I feel completely qualified and entitled to speak on behalf of that university.

    Sorry Gary Ransdell.

    We LOVE to hate MTSU or the MUTS as we lovingly refer to you guys. We have a NEED to hate you. You are as important to our identity as many things more likely “heralded” as truly WKU.

    We honestly want to see you in the big dance but have roughly the same success as Chaz Bono on DWTS.

    We were sad when we heard you were heading off to the USA. Sincerely sad. When you remove the one you love to HATE from your life, it hurts.

    So it is with a sincere and full heart that I wish you the best of luck in failing in the near future and for decades to come.

    BTW, Dennis Felton’s son will be a student at WKU next year and wants to be a coach. I think his first name is Edgar.

  3. Ashley says:

    So if WKU loses the championship tonight and doesn’t get an invite to the NCAA (which I honestly see happening), can we reverse this and be Western’s daddy? Beating them in football, home and away in basketball, and them possibly (fingers crossed) losing to FIU (the same team we failed against) would definitely make us own them. Just my point of view. I haven’t given up all hope on the big dance for Middle just yet. We do have an impressive resume no matter how you look at it. My main argument is, if losing in the SunBelt Tourney keeps us out of the NCAA Tourney, then why have a regular season? Let’s just practice 6-7 months and then compete in the 3-4 day SB Tounrament. Saves the university money, fans don’t get their hopes up, and everyone has a fair shot.

  4. Dave says:

    Why do you care? You said yourself that you were an Alabama fan. Idiot!

  5. Eric Taylor says:

    Ashely, you hit the nail on the head. Why does a 3-day tourney decide who plays for the national championship? Why play November-February? The tv ratings pretty much ask the same question.

  6. Eric Taylor says:

    Chaz Bono on DWTS. Now we’re talking! Honestly, I thought MTSU and WKU would be a package deal Conf USA. It’s been in the stars for years, but I guess not. Hopefully we’ll end up in the same conference again. MTSU’s fan base is where it is because we’ve had WKU to hate. I’m scared a Horizon will come after WKU and Belmont.

  7. Casey Brown says:

    Leaving aside the WKU commentary, Belmont is by no means a fair comparison.

    A. They are a private school with deeper pockets.

    B. Up until this year they competed in a league that was weaker than the SBC.

    C. Most importantly, THEY DON’T HAVE A FOOTBALL TEAM. Ever notice that the vast majority of schools that are considered mid-major powers (Gonzaga, Butler, Creighton, VCU, Wichita State, I could go on and on) either don’t have football at all, or it competes in FCS? It is incredibly difficult to be consistently relevant in both basketball and FBS football within the confines of a mid-major budget, conference, etc.

    Belmont is not a fair barometer for this team.

  8. murf-dogg says:

    Dont forget tailgating all day for the return of Bubba Wells to light us up, but then on his return trip being partially responsible for holding him to 6 points and getting a finger from him! That will make the resume shine!!!

  9. Gunz says:

    Ashley if the NCAA bid went to the regular season champ…

    the muts would have 2 NCAA bids over the last 25 years instead of one. But answer me this how do you get a true conference champion when there isn’t a true round robin? This is the 1st year the SBC played each other twice.

    So the muts are the true champions this season but that’s it. I would also add that is the real problem the muts are a bubble team and maybe on the outside looking in. Play a 14-16 conference schedules gives the better tradition (I use that term lightly…outside of WKU, USA) college basketball schools in the conference more chances to schedule OOC for a better seed or at large bid.

    That’s where the problem lies not the conference tourney.

  10. RickShaw says:

    It may be just a bad idea in general that you write at all Eric, regradless of who you wrote for. Your logic is ridiculous, flawed and infantile. Western is barley over 500 and they eekk out a few wins to propel them into the NCAA tourney only to get waxed by a #1 seed and this is what middle should shoot for? HAAA You clearly haven’t a clue. Middle has had two stellar seasons, conference champs, attendance up, interests up, support up, recruits up. Could it be you just like being bitter and want to whine so you use the tournament as your only barometer for a team? Come on man, “you oughta know” better than that. For the record I am a MTSU alum but my allegiance is with Ohio State. I have never been to Ohio, cant even point it out on a map, not sure who the coach is now, but I did hear they are back. Oh, and I have loved them for like ever and ever and then ever again…one more ever, there!

    • Eric Taylor says:

      Well said. Love to read more of your writings. Feel free to leave your website in the comments and I’ll give it some free pub so the people that come here won’t be subjected to my bitterness and can go directly to your worldwide ray of sunlight.

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