KENT: Darrell Hazell really doesn’t want to talk about national rankings.
The second-year Kent State coach wasn’t in the mood to do so Sunday afternoon even after learning that his football team had earned a spot in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time in nearly four decades.
Sure, Hazell and the Golden Flashes (9-1 overall, 6-0 in the Mid-American Conference) appreciate what the love from the national media can do for the surging program moving forward, especially considering the last time the Flashes were ranked came in 1973 when KSU was No. 19.
The problem with the current No. 25 ranking is all the attention it brings in the present, potentially distracting the players from the goals they set at the beginning of the season.
“(Being ranked) wasn’t a goal we set out to do, so you don’t wrap your mind around that,” Hazell said. “It’s a heck of an accomplishment, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for us and I’m happy for the MAC. But there’s more things to accomplish.”
The two goals continue to be to win a MAC championship and go to a bowl game.
The first goal is within reach as the Flashes travel to Bowling Green Saturday with the opportunity to clinch the MAC East Division title and a spot in the MAC Championship game Nov. 30 at Detroit’s Ford Field.
The Kent State athletic department is making it easy for students (free) and fans ($25) to support the team Saturday by providing three buses that will make the trip to Bowling Green. For more information, call the ticket office at 330-672-2244.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.