Chip Walters, the longtime voice of Middle Tennessee State, is an excellent announcer and gives us his thoughts about Saturday’s Blue Raiders-Bulldogs battle. He’s a fellow “old-school” college football fan and Chip’s insights and answers are outstanding.
What is the big goal for the Blue Raiders this season?
I think the big goal is to be playing on the first weekend in December for the conference championship. Getting in that game has been something that has eluded Middle since moving to Conference USA. Getting back to and winning another bowl game is also an annual goal.
This program has had such great success through the years in various conferences and going back to the Division 1-AA days, talk about the proud heritage of the Blue Raiders history …
The 1-AA days were tons of fun when Middle was really good and had great games with Erk and Georgia Southern, along with annual battles with Eastern Kentucky and memorable playoff games with Marshall, Boise State, and others. The move to 1-A had to be made … and it’s been good. The Sun Belt was a perfect home for a dozen years and the logical next move was Conference-USA. It’s been interesting that some of the rivalries have continued from one conference to another. Being bowl eligible nine of the last 12 years and being able to knock off a few Power Five’s along the way is a testament to the consistency of the program.
How does this challenging schedule this season, with Georgia being the second of three SEC teams the Blue Raiders will play this season, prepare you for Conference-USA play?
I’m a believer that you always get better when you play top competition and we will certainly have the opportunity to do that with Vanderbilt and Georgia in the first three. MTSU will need to be battle-tested with the conference opener against the defending champion, FAU, and this schedule does that. On the flip side, there’s something to be said for momentum going into your conference schedule, and facing the national runner-up makes that a challenge.
Are you with me in hoping that conference hopping, expansion, etc., has stopped for a while, or at least slowed down greatly?
Goodness, yes! I’m old school and I like rivalries and tradition. I think you’re probably right … that the best we can hope for is for it to take a breath and slow down. Growing up, I couldn’t imagine schools changing conferences but now it’s the world we live in.
What does MTSU need to do well to beat Georgia?
The Blue Raiders will need to be at their best and keep mistakes to a minimum. They need to be balanced offensively. Defensively, MTSU will need to do all they can to try and take something away from Georgia’s offense and make them a little more predictable.
What is your take on Georgia?
Going back to my last answer … doing the things Middle Tennessee would need to do to beat Georgia will be difficult because the Bulldogs are a complete football team with no glaring weaknesses to exploit. They have power and speed at all positions. It’s hard not to imagine them in the playoff mix again this year.
What is the score going to be?
The game has never been more athletic and fast and entertaining on that level. However, I think some of the teaching has gone from the game and has been replaced with simply getting more reps. I enjoy watching well-schooled, disciplined, talented football players and teams playing against each other at any level.