Friday, August 15, 2008

Barnhouse's Bottom 25: Middle Tennessee

Legendary sportswriter Wendell Barnhouse recently left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is now a correspondent for Big 12 With 30 years experience of observing the college scene, his expertise is unmatched. In the spirit of Steve Harvey's Bottom Ten, Wendell will provide us a capsule look at college football's less fortunate, counting down the Bottom 25 teams in Division I-A football.

No. 16 Middle Tennessee
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Nickname: Blue Raiders.
Conference: Sun Belt.
Coach: Rick Stockstill, 12-13 in two seasons.
Division I-A history: 46-58 in nine seasons, .442 winning percentage.
Last bowl season: 2006.
Best record last five years: 7-6 in 2006.
Rank(ed) because: Entering the 2008 season, Middle Tennessee is lacking depth and has to play too many inexperienced players. Even in the Sun Belt Conference, that's a losing combination.
Negative number: Middle Tennessee has only 74 scholarship players, 11 under the NCAA limit for I-A programs. The program has lost scholarships because of poor Academic Progress Report numbers.
Possible victory: North Texas, Nov. 22. The Eagles are also in the Bottom 25 so this is a mega-matchup in terms of the polls. The Blue Raiders will have the home-field edge.
Biggest blowout: At Kentucky, Sept. 13. Middle Tennessee also plays at Louisville on Oct. 18. Either of these games against BCS foes could get ugly.
Is there hope?: Stockstill took the Blue Raiders to the only bowl in team history in his first season. If he can keep Middle Tennessee from sliding too much this season, the future looks brighter.

Thanks to the Helmet Project.

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