BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University football team received a final measure of respect, earning a spot in the final Division I-A polls for the first time in school history.
The Falcons, who beat Northwestern 28-24 in the Motor City Bowl to finish 11-3, were ranked 23rd in both the Associated Press media poll and the ESPN coaches poll released yesterday.
And that return to the Top 25 pleased Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon.
“I would have been disappointed if we hadn t [returned to the Top 25] because I didn t think we should have dropped out,” he said.
The Falcons were ranked 20th in the AP poll before falling out of the Top 25 after losing to Miami in the MAC Championship on Dec. 4. During the season BG was ranked as high as 15th - the highest ranking in school history.
“No question this [final ranking] is a reward for the kids in our program,” Brandon said. “An 11-3 record is special; you don t do that every year unless you re Oklahoma.”
The Falcons open the 2004 season against the Sooners in Norman, Okla., on Sept. 4.
- JOHN WAGNER