Column: Flashes need to dig deep

Sean Joseph

When I came to Kent State in 2003, I wanted to see one thing — besides decent grades and parties: the men’s basketball team to go to the NCAA Tournament.

Well, it happened last year; do I dare ask for anything more from this semi-major university?

How about one winning football season?

The preseason optimism has fallen short every year I’ve been here. In 2003 and 2004, the club posted five-win seasons, falling short of the .500 mark. Despite winning its last four games in 2004, the team won one game, none against a Division I-A opponent.

The Flashes’ schedule definitely won’t help them out this season. They open it up at home against Minnesota and aren’t likely to become the first Mid-American Conference team in recent history — possibly ever — to beat a Big Ten team.

In their next three games, the Flashes have road games against Army and MAC powers Miami and Bowling Green. Then they return home only to face reigning MAC Champion Akron in the annual “Battle for the Wagon Wheel” (which Kent has lost two years in a row).

An 0-for-5 start would total a 14-game, 392-day losing streak for the Flashes heading into Oct. 7’s match up against Temple, which finished without a win last season. According to’s Bottom 10 poll, this could be a battle between two of the worst three teams in the NCAA.

Temple is tied for No. 1 with New Mexico State for the dubious distinction of the worst team in the nation, and ESPN lists the Flashes as the third worst. Buffalo, which got its only win of the season against Kent last year, came in at No. 6 in that poll. The two teams face off again on Nov. 4 in Buffalo.

A winning season is a lot to ask, but it would do a lot to help out the university, which is struggling to fill the minimum amount of seats required to keep the football team a Division I-A program. But more likely, freshmen will go to the obligatory one game of their college career early in the season before it gets cold, see the Flashes hardly look competitive and never come back.

The back end of the schedule actually looks manageable for the Flashes. Minus Nov. 11’s date with Virginia Tech, they could have a repeat of 2004. So if students are willing to bundle up, they might see some pretty good action at Dix Stadium in late October and November.

Suppose coach Doug Martin can get the ball rolling with this touted healthier, bigger and tougher group; if this team pulls of a win in one of its first five games, the Flashes could flirt with .500, the MAC East Division crown — and dare I say it? — a winning season.

Contact sports editor Sean Joseph at [email protected].