Hear Me Out: MTSU Needs to Move to the American Athletic Conference

Okay listen… I know that this is a long shot. Let me dream. This isn’t going to change anything, and I’m probably going to sound like a MTSU homer, but i believe every word you are about to read. So just hear me out.

1.) We are coming off of our best season of football in years!

No, we did not win the conference championship game. BUT it was by our own doing. I’m sure you are wondering how is that a positive. Without that mistake, we would have won the game. we had a championship caliber team. The only reason we didn’t keep the trophy in Murfreesboro, was because a series of calls didn’t go our way. NOT because we weren’t the better team.

For anyone who wants to say,*insert mocking whiny voice here* “But we don’t have Brent anymore! We won’t be as good!”, please do me a favor and never open your mouth to let out a football opinion again. Not trying to be rude by any means, but if you were actually a fan and actually watched the team we had last season, you would know that our defense was our highlight last year. And to add to that sentiment, they only got better this offseason. If we take a step back at QB this year(and that’s a huge if, we have no clue who will be playing or how good they are) so be it. we got better and deeper at basically every other position.

2.) Our women’s basketball team is about to be a mid-major POWERHOUSE.

In a Daily News Journal article by Joe Spears, Assistant Coach Matt Insell said, “You know the Gonzaga men’s program? That’s us. We’re that program that can compete against the best teams.” But why are they that program? Since joining the Lady Raiders, Matt Insell has brought in two top-10 players in the 2017 class and the number 2 JUCO player in the nation. Who knows what top ranked players will be on their way to MT in the 2020 class?

3.) The men’s basketball team may be rebuilding, but not for long.

There weren’t many highlights from last season. We finished the season in 12th in the conference, posting a 11-20 record with a 8-10 conference record. Not great at all. However when you consider that we lost the majority of our team and our head coach from the previous season, it could have been much worse. Head Coach Nick McDevitt’s squad finished the season with a 8-6 record to make the conference tournament after starting 3-14(0-4), with 13 of those losses coming consecutively in a 60 day span.

If we are being honest, those stats don’t give reason for hope. But you have to know that there is something stirring in that locker room for that team to turn the worst start in program history, into being in the conference tournament. Something significantly changed in that team. This year they will be looking to build on the strong finish to last season.

4.) Have you seen the softball team play?

If you haven’t, you should. While our previous two season’s records haven’t looked like we are running through every team we face, we have made it to the double elimination portion of the conference tournament(the final four teams) both years. We even won the tournament in 2018. Those girls are nowhere near done either. I would put them in any conference tournament and expect them to give any team they face a run for their money.

5.) All other sports

There is not a single team, from track and field to volleyball, that couldn’t be competitive in the American Athletic Conference. We have everything it takes to compete and succeed at the next level.

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I know that we are capable of more than we are being challenged with right now. My dad told me when i was growing up, “You become who you hang around. Be a leader, not a follower.” I truly believe that applies to our current conference competition. We are only playing at the level of who we regularly face. If we want to go further as individual teams, an athletic department(i.e. facilities and attendance), and as a school, we need to make the jump to the AAC. Our university and athletic department has grown and matured in Conference USA, but its time to move on.

So here is my grand declaration:

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee and Mr. Chris Massaro, I would like to implore you to consider the thought of moving to the American Athletic Conference. This move will change the trajectory of our athletics department for generations to come. We are already on such a great path, but I believe that this could propel us to the next level. Both of you speak so fondly of how MTSU students strive for greatness, so please help us continue to strive for even more success on an even greater scale. We have some of the most loyal fans in all of college athletics, let’s reward them with new opportunities this move could make. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, this move would come with a great financial benefit as well. I, a student and fan, know nothing about the business side of things of moving conferences. But I do know that the exposure via TV and other news outlets bring a good bit of revenue to the school as well. All things considered, this is a very beneficial and profitable move that the school needs to make. I, along with the rest of the Blue Raider faithful, will continue to support faithfully, no matter your decision. Go Blue Raiders!

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