Student support is key to football’s success

Lilly Casolaro

News Editor

#RankTroy is a success.

As I was cheering on the Trojans at the UMass game on Saturday, Nov. 5, I looked around and noticed stickers, banners and fliers proclaiming “Rank Troy.”

My hopes were escalating that Troy would rise in the polls, but I had slight doubts in my mind that Troy could and actually would be ranked nationally.  As Troy’s football team won games, students and announcers alike joined the movement that petitioned to see the Trojans enter national rankings for the first time.

All doubts escaped me after the win against Appalachian State, 28-24, on Saturday. The stands were packed, and the student section remained filled all four quarters—something I had yet to experience during my time thus far at Troy.

To my shock and sheer joy, Troy was ranked 25th according to the Associated Press (AP) NCAA College Football Poll released Sunday.

AP’s website explains the polling methodology, which is “determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college football’s best teams.”

Word began to spread on campus that Troy had done it. It was ranked among the best teams in the land for the first time and became the only Sun Belt team to ever be ranked in a poll.

Like many of my fellow students, I was highly disappointed and disgusted with the game against Clemson—not because of Troy’s performance, but because of the play calls and referee’s judgments.

The week two AP poll, released on Sept. 6, ranked Clemson No. 2, but after its win over Troy, Clemson dropped to fifth.

If a Sun Belt team can knock a team such as Clemson down by three places, how could you not consider them one of the better teams in the land?

Troy did not let that one blemish on the record affect its drive and ability to perform well. Perhaps this loss put Troy on the radar.

Rather than taking it (the loss against Clemson) as a defeat, the team used this an opportunity to excel.

As I considered what a big feat this was, I choose to believe that it is the combined effort of head coach Neal Brown and his coaching staff, the players, the Troy students, the employees and the community that propelled Troy to this point.

I skimmed the stadium during the Appalachian State game to find white towels waving, fans cheering and the student section completely filled down to the last play.

“Our fans were great, especially our students,” Head Coach Neal Brown said at a postgame press conference. “That was the loudest I’ve ever heard Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

“I’ve coached a lot of games here and that was the loudest I’ve heard it in the fourth quarter.”

Our student body will need to bring that same presence and energy Thursday to help our Trojans bring home another win.

This season has truly embodied what it means to be “One Troy”: everyone rallying around a common cause and common goal as Trojans one and all.

It will take more of this support from all involved in order to help Troy continue to rewrite history.

I am proud of our team. I am proud of our school. I am proud to be a Troy Trojan.

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