Tops of the Sun Belt Moment #28 – 2011 Football Season


As we reflect on Western Kentucky’s time in the Sun Belt, one moment we can’t forget is the 2011 football season.

The 2011 season for WKU was very similar to what the Tops’ experienced this year; they had a good season with quite a few wins and they managed to finish in a position to qualify for a bowl game. Lets take a look at their season and see just where they managed to slip up and not get chosen.

Like we saw this past fall, the Hilltoppers started their season off against SEC foe Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville. Western would drop their only match to UK in the three game series they would play by a score of 14-3 (although, while still a close score, the game was even closer). Following WKU’s loss to Kentucky they would return to the supposed to be “warm” confines of L.T. Houchens Stadium and take on a three game home stretch. With the three home games, Western lost all three by a combined score of 110-52. Those games they lost were to Navy, Indiana State (yes, Indiana freaking State), and Arkansas State in a game the Tops nearly won. However, the turnaround that no one saw coming was more impressive.

Following the A-State loss WKU went to work belting out seven wins in eight games, the only loss coming to then top-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge (a game that Willie T. and co. actually had a lead in). They didn’t blow people away by any means, but they found ways to win. This turn of events would put WKU in the driving seat to experience a playoff birth for the first time in WKU history.

That being said however WKU’s three losses at the beginning of the season would spurn voters and WKU would have to wait yet another year to experience post season NCAA play. But it wasn’t in vain, as 2011 became a cornerstone season for WKU’s D1 history, and has turned into a program that is expected to win.