Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Monday, November 01, 2010

Preoccupied with 1985

Way before Nirvana
There was U2
And music still on MTV

Those are the lyrics from the chorus of the Bowling for Soup song "1985". You could also add to that list Hillsdale College winning an NAIA national championship.

The song is all about a lady who can't let go of her past, "Where's the mini skirt made out of snakeskin? Who's that other guy singing in Van Halen?".

The Hillsdale football program holds onto 1985 too, not for living in past glory but as the measuring stick of what is ultimately possible. Once you win a national championship, you are always trying to get another one. This marks the 25th anniversary of Hillsdale achieving that feat.

Times have changed, but the goal remains the same. Hillsdale won that title as an NAIA school. In 1990 the program switched to NCAA Division II. Many of the NAIA schools in 1985 have also since migrated over to D2. Names like Pitt State, Mesa State, and Carson Newman are familiar D2 names that were NAIA members with the Chargers at the time of the title. Hillsdale actually was co-champs with Central Arkansas that year. The game ended in a 10-10 tie. There was no overtime in college football at the time except in earlier playoff rounds that were settled with sudden death. For the championship game there was none. Since making the move in 1990, it took Hillsdale 20 seasons to return to the playoffs with last year's appearance. Although the NAIA showcased good college football and contained many of the same members, NCAA Division II and the GLIAC has gotten increasingly more competitive over that stretch. The academics at Hillsdale were above average in 1985 compared to other top football programs, but pale in comparison to how tough Hillsdale is academically today.

Hillsdale has not shied away from the challenge and peaked this season at #6 in the American Football Coaches Association D2 poll. Keith Otterbein and his team have made the progress over 9 nines years but continue to show Charger alumni and fans that they are built for the long haul. This year's team is loaded with seniors and experience but its younger players are not afraid of the starring roles, giving the Hillsdale faithful hope that we just might have our own 1985 to talk about soon. Maybe we will take a run at it this year if things play out right.

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