2022 has been a season of historic achievements for the Eastern Michigan University football team. Through a display of grit, hope, and determination, the Eagles will hear their name called during the NCAA bowl game selections.
Having only finished with two wins in the 2020 season, the Eagles have rejuvenated their presence in the MAC for the 2022 season at 8-4. The 2022 season marks their first eight-win season since 1987. The Eagles won share of the MAC West division as well as the Michigan MAC trophy, their first Michigan MAC trophy since 2012.
The 2022-23 Eagles showed everyone that they are no joke.
The MAC just recently announced their yearly season awards; EMU had a total of nine players who received postseason awards, which is the third-highest total of postseason award winners in the program's history.
EMU earned first team All-MAC selections in senior offensive lineman Sidy Sow, graduate student defensive end Jose Ramirez, junior running back and returner Jaylon Jackson, and sophomore punter Mitchell Tomasek. The four first team selections ties the program's record with first team selections in one season.
Speaking of program records, defensive end Jose Ramirez obtained a couple of those this season after having a historic season of his own. Along with his first team All-MAC selection, Ramirez won the MAC’s defensive MVP award this season as he finished the year with 12.0 total sacks, which is first in the nation, and the teams third-leading tackler with 63 total tackles. With 12 sacks this year, Ramirez now holds the all-time record at Eastern Michigan for total sacks in a season.
He also became the first EMU football player to ever win a MAC MVP award.
The team also earned second team selections in senior running back Samson Evans and senior offensive lineman Brian Dooley, as well as third team selections in senior wide receiver Hassan Beydoun, junior wide receiver Tanner Knue, and sophomore kicker Jesus Gomez.
Why is Kempton Shine not on an All-MAC team? Don’t ask me.
Let’s not forget, this team also knocked off Arizone State in Tempe, Arizona, marking the first time the EMU football team has defeated a power 5 school. Following that loss, Arizona State fired their head coach, Herm Edwards.
So after all of this year’s history making, where do the Eagles fall in terms of bowl projections? Down the road in Detroit at the Quick Lane Bowl? Travel to Idaho for the Idaho Potato Bowl? Maybe even the Boca Raton Bowl in the sunshine state?
I’ve mapped out all three bowls where EMU is projected to play, who the team would potentially play and my thoughts on those bowl.
Quick Lane Bowl
One bowl that has been in the projections for the Eagles is the Quick Lane Bowl, which features a bowl-eligible team from the Big Ten Conference competing against a team from the Mid-American Conference. It has been speculated by fans that this is a bowl that EMU could potentially compete in, but mostly from CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm who is a college football bowl expert with CBS.
A team that would be a potential opponent for EMU in the bowl would be the Maryland Terrapins. Although Palm currently has New Mexico State as their opponent.
To me, Maryland wouldn’t really be an ideal opponent for EMU as shades of last year’s Lendingtree Bowl creep in, and that’s why i’m not too high on this bowl. That’s right, like facing NFL-talent Malik Willis last season with Liberty, it could be the same story all over again this year with Maryland as Taulia Tagavaloia is behind center for the Terrapins. Tagavaloia is the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback and potential NFL MVP finalist. Maryland has been a strong team this season and I got to see them compete against the second ranked team in the nation, the Michigan Wolverines, where Maryland played them very,very tough.
Another reason this bowl isn’t the best option is because the Quick Lane Bowl is played in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field. Now, hear me out, it’s understood that with this bowl being so close to Ypsilanti, it would have a great turnout with fans and the community. But let’s look at the players’ perspective a little bit, I’m not sure that they would want to stay in Michigan for their last game of the season, and for some, last game of their careers.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Another bowl that has been mentioned with EMU is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which has been played annually since 1997 at Alberstons Stadium on the campus of Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, who is a college football insider, has EMU projected to play in this bowl against a potential opponent in Utah State.
Now this would be an interesting matchup and bowl for the Eagles to me. For one, like EMU and their gray turf, Boise State has blue turf on their field and you have to admit, that would be pretty cool to see. I also like the matchup between EMU and Utah State, both teams average around 25 points per game this season, and both teams with 4,000 total yards of offense, it would be a great matchup.
This also gives the Eagles somewhere to travel to and not having to stay in-state. And yes, Idaho isn’t ideal, but it should be a good team-bonding experience for their last ride of the 2022 season.
BRING HOME THE POTATOES!
Boca Raton Bowl
The Boca Raton Bowl, which is an annual college football bowl game played in Boca Raton, Florida, at FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. It’s been projected that EMU could play Georgia Southern if they compete in this bowl.
Honestly, I like the matchup against Georgia Southern and competing against a Sun Belt team, but with the way that this EMU team has been playing, I can see a blowout happening if it is Georgia Southern. Although, a team that averages 33 points this season with 5,600 total yards of offense, Georgia Southern can be dangerous.
Regardless of the bowl game EMU makes, the opponent the team plays, and whatever location it will happen in, nothing will takeaway from the season that this team had this year.
You can figure out what bowl game the EMU football team will be playing in tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 4, when the schedule will be released starting at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
To hear more analysis about the football team and the projections on the bowl selection, check out the latest episode of TheBlockE Podcast.