Right on, Phil Steele

Sean Ammerman

The Flashes worked to get their creaks out in games one and two. Those losses may have done more to help them in the long run.

But ever since then, the Kent State football team has come out of nowhere to play exciting football that is completely at odds with the unpleasant mess the team fielded last year.

The players and coaches will all say they aren’t surprised by their record. Kent State coach Doug Martin told reporters after the 44-0 loss to Minnesota that his team is good and will win a lot of games.

It takes a lot of gall to tell a bunch of reporters your team is good after a loss like that, and sound like you mean it. His job is to be optimistic, few would guess that he would actually be right.

For the average Kent State fan, this football season has morphed into Bizarro World, a place where only opposites are true. Our perception of reality has been inverted and the Flashes are merely a shadow of their former selves.

Hardly anyone outside the organization predicted the Flashes to be 3-2 at this point. Hardly anyone except the all-knowing Phil Steele, that is.

Steele puts out an annual college football preview magazine in the summer. In this season’s edition he picked the Flashes to be the most improved team in the Mid-American Conference and to win the East Division.

The pick caused some to flaunt the possibility of rejuvenation, but most just rolled their eyes or ignored it all together.

When every other magazine and coaches poll picked Kent State to fall to the bottom of the MAC, Steele had the courage to pick them to play in the MAC Championship game. What did Mr. Steele see that no one else could?

Before the season I picked up a copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview; I was curious as to how he came to his conclusion. There is a wealth of information in his magazine, but mostly just stats and rosters.

He mentioned an improved running game and more experience on defense, but that was about it. Just a couple sentences and then he threw out his prediction of a turn-around.

What future-unlocking secret is Steele keeping to himself?

Whether Steele is the prophet of prognosticators or just a forecasting fake, one thing is apparent now: The Flashes no longer suck.

Kent State will have to deal with being a favorite this Saturday at Temple, a role it has been unfamiliar with in the past few decades. Sportsbook.com actually has them as 24-point favorite, as of Wednesday.

Contact assistant sports editor Sean Ammerman at [email protected].