OPINION: CMU football fans should not settle for mediocrity and a bowl game
For the third consecutive season, the Central Michigan football team will make a bowl game appearance.
For most programs, including CMU, going to a bowl game is considered a successful season.
But has this really been a successful program this season?
After winning five of its first seven games, the team sputtered to a 1-4 finish to close out the season.
Following CMU's 26-21 loss to Eastern Michigan on Nov. 22, Head Coach John Bonamego said the season was a let down.
"(I'm) pretty disappointed," he said. "I don't see how you answer that question any other way. I'm proud of the team, but disappointed in the outcome. They played hard. They prepared hard. We just didn't execute when we needed to."
Senior quarterback Cooper Rush said winning a bowl game would make up for this year's lackluster season.
The Chippewas have a combined record of 20-18 since 2014. The team hasn't won more than seven games since 2009 when the team finished 12-2 and beat Troy in the GMAC Bowl.
How many top-notch programs around the country would consider seven years of mediocrity and bowl game appearances successful?
Charlie Strong just got fired as Texas' head coach for having a 16-21 record over three seasons. Les Miles lost his job mid-season at LSU despite carrying a 114-34 career record there.
Granted, CMU is not a Power Five program that should expect to be a ranked team competing for College Playoff Appearance. However, middling in mediocrity shouldn't be acceptable either.
As long as CMU continues to make bowl game appearances and wins one every decade, fans have been happy to blindly support the team for the sake of supporting their Chippewas.
Fans should demand to see improvement from their team. Being a fan and yet still being critical of on-field results don't have to be mutually exclusive. People who love this university should demand excellence.
Head Coach John Bonamego has been through two seasons of his first head coaching job. Although he hasn't gotten a team of his own recruits yet, two years is enough time to install a system. After one of the program's best starts in years, his staff allowed this season to crumble.
Year three is where improvement should be demanded from Bonamego and the team — even with Rush's departure.
The Chippewas will return multiple starters at every position next season, which will help whoever the next starting quarterback is.
If CMU is unable to eclipse the seven-win mark for an eighth straight year next season, it's time for fans to raise concern.
Is the program on an ascending path? Are the right people in place to help the team become a winning program like Boise State or Western Michigan?
Only time will tell.
Until then, do not accept mediocrity. Demand excellence.