Column: Is EMU's check worth playing OSU?

There is nothing wrong with losing to Ohio State (3-0). The No. 2 Buckeyes (as much as it pains me to say it) Have been the class of the Big Ten, and a perennial contender for the BCS title the last few seasons.

They have top-level talent, and a fan base that would frighten the Bloods and Crypts, or Al Capone’s ruthless mobsters. More than 100,000 will be on hand to watch the Buckeyes savagely take apart the Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-3), and you have to ask, “Why even play this game?”

Yes, EMU does earn a fat pay check just for showing up for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff on national TV (ABC) . The business side of college football is not lost on me. Is $850,000 (according to the Big Ten Network) really worth sending your already disheartened and frankly pathetic football team down to the Horseshoe? Is the money worth the virtual guarantee that Eastern will leave with a bruised ego, and a few more pounds added to the gorilla, who wears a T-shirt that says “winless,” on its back.

You can’t give the current regime much credit for anything, but you cannot pin this scheduling debacle on it, either. I am not making excuses, because obviously 0-15 speaks for itself, but I have a feeling when (IF) the current regime gets a chance to make its schedule you will see less of the Ohio States and more beatable opponents. Coach Ron English might or might not be the right guy, but he is not dumb. English must know to get this program any support, it must win a few games. He must know the fan base at this point would rather beat an equally bad team, than lose by 50 to a powerhouse. Right?

It’s too late to do anything about it now. On Saturday when the national powerhouse that is Ohio State plays its game, and everyone asks “Who is this punching bag?”and “How come EMU cannot even cover a 44-point spread?” You and I will be left to stop making eye-contact with the others in the room, and try to sound convincing when we say English is on the right track, and in a couple years the Eagles will be competitive (or some of you will simply put on your Michigan hats).

The truth is a healthy football program would benefit EMU more than a lot of people realize, and part of getting the program back is to stop being such an embarrassment.

Saturday’s game, coupled with the scheduling of Michigan State down the line, are examples of the short-sited vision the school has for football. Quick money grabs seem to take priority over building a solid program, giving the school something to be proud of, and making money in the long term. Eastern Michigan has already been stuck with a generic mascot, an apathetic fan base and a bad football team, We prefer not take over for Western Kentucky (23 straight losses) in the “Who can lose more games” column.

Want to hear more? Ryan Larimore hosts the “Tower Sports Hour” Thursday Nights from 5-6 p.m. on www.eagleradio.org


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