After Georgia Tech received its waiver to play in a bowl game from the NCAA, Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos thought he might be home for the holidays.
“Quite honestly, I kind of had it in my mind there was a good chance we would not make it (after the waiver),” Enos said. “I woke up Sunday and did not think it looked good for us.”
Then Sunday, while at his daughter’s AAU game, he received a text from CMU Athletics Director Dave Heeke saying, “we’re still in this thing.”
“We all got excited after I got that text,” Enos said. “I’m faith-based, and I told my family earlier in the week if it’s suppose to be, it will be. And we were blessed enough for the opportunity.”
For the seniors, it won’t be their first time in a bowl game. After the 2009 season, which would have been their freshman season, the Chippewas played in the GMAC Bowl and won in overtime, 44-41 over Troy.
“We left the field at Gillette (Stadium) not knowing what was going on,” senior wide receiver Cody Wilson said. “For the seniors, no one was guaranteed another game. I love these seniors, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to go out and play with them one more time.”
Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff said he is excited to have an opportunity at finishing with a winning record.
“We had goals at the beginning of the season to win the (Mid-American Conference) and win all of our home games, which didn’t happen,” Radcliff said. “But we can still win a bowl game and accomplish that. Winning a bowl game is a very symbolic ending to a winning season.”
Even though Enos and Radcliff did not know they would end up in a bowl game Sunday, they always thought they deserved the chance.
“Absolutely,” Enos said. “Anytime you win your last three games and you are getting better when the season ends, people see that. Look at the NFL and teams that make the Wild Card and then win the Super Bowl.”
Radcliff said he had an obvious bias but that being 3-6 needing to win out and winning the last three games shows the team is deserving of a bowl game.
ESPN rated the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in last place out of the 35 bowls. That didn’t seem to bother CMU.
Enos laughed when he heard about the ESPN rating but reiterated how happy he is to play in the game and said people have opinions but you don’t have to agree with them.
“I couldn’t care less,” Radcliff said. “I don’t focus on that stuff. Something that did get me hot was ESPN talking about how NIU shouldn’t be in the BCS. That’s putting the MAC down and what we do and how hard we work. But that’s ESPN just trying to make a story.”
Radcliff will lead the Chippewas against Western Kentucky on Dec. 26 at Ford Field.