BOWLING GREEN - Dave Clawson declined to offer a letter grade to define his first season as the Bowling Green State University football coach yesterday during a news conference at the Sebo Center.
The Falcons finished 7-5 overall, winning six of their final seven contests to position themselves for a potential bowl berth. Of 11 new coaches at non-Bowl Championship Series colleges this fall, only Clawson finished with a winning record.
Nevertheless, the coach's assessment of this season, which included finishing second in the Mid-American Conference's East Division with a 6-2 conference record, might best be observed as an incomplete.
"The goal was to win the MAC championship," Clawson said. "Even though we're happy we won six out of our last seven and we finished 6-2 in the conference, we ultimately fell short of our ultimate goal of winning the East and winning the MAC.
"But from where we were two months ago and how we finished the season I'm really proud of how we finished and how our guys fought. Finishing 6-2 in the MAC is something that's not a small feat and we're proud of it."
Clawson's inaugural season included beating rivals Miami (35-14) and Toledo (38-24). It opened with a home victory over Troy (31-14) and ended with a strong four-game win streak that has the Falcons awaiting word on a possible bowl game.
Every team with at least seven victories received an invitation from a bowl a year ago. The Falcons have been approached by a few bowls and hope to receive an invitation this weekend.
"We're kind of in a wait-and-see mode that we think the invitations will hopefully come out Sunday," Clawson said. "It sounds like Boise (Humanitarian Bowl), Toronto (International Bowl), and D.C. (EagleBank Bowl) are the three most likely scenarios. Depending on what happens this week with the (conference) championship games we think that will clear up."
The MAC is directly tied in with three bowls; the Little Caesars Bowl (Dec. 26), GMAC Bowl (Jan. 6) and the International Bowl (Jan. 2). The Falcons may be in line for one of those bowl options, as well as the EagleBank Bowl (Dec. 29) or Humanitarian
Bowl (Dec. 30).
Clawson denied the Humanitarian Bowl had already offered an invite after a local television reporter said that Humanitarian Bowl officials had contacted the station about placing an advertisement about the bowl.
"We're excited to go to a bowl and whoever invites us - whatever the location - I'm sure we'll be thrilled," Clawson said.
But BG's season isn't ending without some concern after redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Alvarado was charged earlier this week for allegedly assaulting a female in mid-November.
Clawson said Alvarado has been "suspended from competition depending the outcome of the case."
It's an issue not being taken lightly, Clawson said.
"It's disappointing and it's not a pleasant part of the job," he said. "I can't sit here and tell you it's never going to happen again. We want to limit how many times that happens and we'll deal with it appropriately.
"Unfortunately in football when somebody puts themselves in a bad position it reflects on the whole program, so players need to understand that's just the way it is and when they're out of the classroom they don't just represent themselves. They represent the whole program."