MTSU Notes

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Ready or not, the 2020 college football season is here and though a lot of leagues and teams shut down football  operations, there is still a lot to play for in terms of crowning the king of eastern football. Considering BYU and UTEP are by far the two westernmost teams this year, this would be a great year for Army to take it personal and win back the Lambert Trophy.

The last time college football had such an eastern center of gravity was probably some time in the 1916-1919 range. Here is an article highlighting the end-of-season rankings for the 1917 season.  Included is an interesting description of Denver University's 9-0 season - from which you can see how even winning teams out west were received.

We have another token (sic) team, 9-0 Denver University, Rocky Mountain champs, but they were almost completely ignored by the national press this season, and I suspect that most writers would have known nothing about them until they read the football annuals after the season. Furthermore, Denver repeatedly struggled to beat mediocre-to-bad teams, including an egregious 20-19 win at 0-8-1 Tulsa, a team that lost to Oklahoma State by 39 and to Oklahoma by 80 over the following 2 weeks.

At this point, the Pacific Coast Conference was just starting to expand adding Washington State and Stanford in 1917 and 1918. Idaho, Stanford and USC would all join the league by 1922. 

Though Cal and USC would go on to become legit powerhouses in the coming years, the young Pacific Coast league was less competitive back then and wasn't really that influential in terms of national football. You can look at the All-America rosters for those years and you will detect an eastern selection bias.

If the Lambert trophy is meant to honor the glory days of eastern football, then this season should further heighten the importance of the award. It's a lot of time and a lot of football between now and when the Lambert trophy is awarded. I don't know how things are going to play out this year, but I will let you know that I really like the idea of Eastern-only college football, and I hope the trend sticks. 

Anyway the journey starts here. Available now are the Middle Tennessee game notes for their trip to West Point. 

Update: Army game notes are up. 


Yearbook: Middle Tennessee State Midlander

We're lucky enough to have access to MTSU's online yearbooks. I figured I would squeeze this yearbook entry in since it will be a while before the Blue Raiders come back around on the schedule. 

MTSU's library and digital collections presents the Midlander yearbook online collection. The university's .pdf interface is a little bit clunky, but usable, but the deal breaker is that searching within each yearbook leaves a lot to be desired. I saw that Lyrasis digitized the collection, so I checked the internet archive and found a searchable collection of Midlanders.  That one is going to be better for all-around use. 

Thrill-a-minute I know.

The yearbook has some solid writing from student-journalists that followed school sports closely. They have nice spotlight stories about those in the sports programs and the takeaway is that of a collection that offers a very polished history of Middle Tennessee's sporting legacy. 

You can find a list of other college yearbooks along with the Middle Tennessee State Midlander under the Yearbooks tab above.

It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.
Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.
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