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September 24, 2008For the first time in program history, the bright lights of major national television will shine on Floyd Stadium Tuesday night when ESPN2 comes to Murfreesboro.
GoMiddle.com takes a look back at the history of Middle Tennessee football on national TV and examines the importance of next week's game against FAU.
Next Tuesday's home game against Florida Atlantic is arguably the most important national television game the program has had for at least three reasons:
1) It will be the most eyes to ever see the Blue Raiders play at Floyd Stadium. While Middle Tennessee has played a home game on ESPNU before, having a mid-week game on ESPN2 puts the program before many more viewers. There could be more watch this game than watched the Motor City Bowl in 2006, at which time many casual fans were likely more concerned with family holiday gatherings than college football. The game against the Owls presents Blue Raider football and the university a rare chance to showcase what it's all about before millions of onlookers.
2) With just a couple of exceptions, Middle Tennessee has been a considerable underdog in its other national television appearances and the program's 2-5 record in national TV appearances is evidence to that fact. This game against FAU provides the program a chance to not only be on a big stage but to be in a position to succeed on the big stage. Capitalizing on the opportunity would go a very long way to helping Stockstill and his staff take the next leap forward in building the program.
3) Few people have forgotten the up and down track meet that took place in last year's 58-42 loss to Louisville. Despite the defeat, it is fondly remembered as one of the most exciting games of 2007 and certainly generated a lot of buzz for ESPN. It's not realistic to expect that type of outburst again against FAU, but the Blue Raiders need to seize another chance to showcase their exciting brand of football. Recruits will be watching, casual mid-state fans will be watching, and ESPN and other networks will continue to evaluate the program's value for future telecasts.
Middle Tennessee NEWS