When: Saturday, September 10, 6 PM
Where: Tucker Stadium, Cookeville, TN
2021 Record: 3-8
Overview: Almost 70 years ago, these two squads faced off for the first and only time. Both were respective Champions of their conferences. They met in Orlando, Florida in the Tangerine Bowl, the de-facto national championship game for small colleges. The Lions, led by Milburn Smith and undefeated, steamrolled the Eagles 33-0 to finish up an undefeated season at 11-0. I have written about how we should claim the 1952 title but that is for another time and another day. Let’s take a broad look at what we face off with this September.
The Eagles finished the 2021 season with a 3-8 record. Their culture is not what I would call one conducive to football. They have only won 10 conference titles compared to our 25, have never won a bowl or a national championship, and have an overall losing record since they first started in 1922. They have not had a winning season in over a decade, and they usually play some pretty middle of the road FBS schools. For example, while we are playing Lincoln U to open the season, they will be playing Kansas. They have typically not fared very well against any school bigger than them and they are not exactly a power in the Ohio Valley conference either. Dewayne Alexander is the head coach of the Eagles and he is a Tenn Tech product. You can tell he loves his school but has not had the best of success with it. He has run into some hard things to overcome such as young coaching staffs leaving to take better positions. Its not an easy task and the last time the school had a winning record or a conference title was under Watson Brown in 2011, where they were promptly bounced from the first round of the FCS playoffs, but that been about all the success they have had recently. The Lions have a VERY good shot to win their first game as a Division I school against an opponent.
Cookeville, TN to Commerce, TX-687 Miles
Been There, Done That-If I had the chance to make this as a trip on a long weekend, I would easily go. As much as I love my home state of Texas, Eastern Tennessee is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire United States. It reminds me of my hometown of Tyler just more wooded and with beautiful hills and lakes. My family vacationed there the summer before I started I high school. Tennessee is just a beautiful state and so full of natural treasures. If I had a long weekend, I would take it
About Tennessee Tech:
Endowment: 74.1 Million
Has never won a National Championship in any sport.