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By Allen Moff | Staff Writer
Darrell Hazell and his Kent State football players and coaches spent a day apart on Saturday, still lamenting Friday's gut-wrenching 44-37 double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit.
"I literally did not see one person that was associated with Kent State football today," said Hazell. "I let the players have the next three days off, they're off until Tuesday. All the coaches are starting to go out on the road recruiting. That's been the (Saturday) plan for a week."
Hazell is always contacted the evening following gameday for the Record-Courier's "Inside the Film Room With Darrell Hazell" feature, but that piece could not be completed Saturday night.
"I didn't watch it," said Hazell, referring to the tape from Friday's game.
Hazell did make his way to the football office for a brief period of time.
"It's been a quiet day," he said. "Nobody was in the office while I was there. I went in and cleaned some things up, put all the Northern Illinois stuff away and started making some notes for the bowl, the bowl practice schedule. Once we find out what (our bowl) will be, we'll tighten those things down."
The Flashes will learn their postseason fate tonight when pairings for all 35 bowl games are announced on the BCS Bowl Selection Show, which will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 8:30 p.m.
According to the KSU athletic department, no watch party will be held downtown for the bowl announcement.
Kent State will make its first bowl appearance since 1972 this season, and only the third in program history.
Possible destinations include the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26 in Detroit), the GoDaddy.com Bowl (Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.), the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 15 in Boise, Idaho) and the Military Bowl (Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C.).
The Flashes had a shot at the Orange Bowl and its $8 million dollar payout if they could have pulled out a victory in the MAC title game. While these other bowls pale in comparison to a BCS bowl, Kent State is still just grateful to go bowling, after being shut out of the postseason for 39 straight years.
"Our guys will be extremely excited to be traveling to a bowl," said Hazell, in a statement sent to media on Saturday. "They will continue to work extremely hard to be ready to go, wherever we kick off. For now, we want them to rest for a few days. They'll get a lift in on Tuesday and we'll practice on Wednesday."
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl has the first pick of any bowl-eligible MAC team, followed by the Go-Daddy.com Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the Military Bowl -- in that order.
Assuming Northern Illinois does not crack the BCS' top-16 spots and automatically qualify for a BCS bowl, it's hard to believe the Little Caesars Bowl officials would turn away the nationally ranked Huskies.
However, Detroit officials typically pick the bowl-eligible MAC team that they believe will bring the most fans. Last year they chose Western Michigan, even though the Broncos were just 7-5 and finished third in the MAC West Division.
So while Northern Illinois to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and Kent State to the GoDaddy.com Bowl seem like good bets, they're far from sure bets.
DOEREN GONE, HAZELL NEXT?
The day after leading Northern Illinois to its second consecutive MAC championship, head coach Dave Doeren moved on to North Carolina State
Doeren, who went 23-4 in two seasons with the Huskies, left immediately and will not coach NIU in its upcoming bowl game.
Flashes fans have to be wondering if Hazell will make a similar move. His name has been mentioned prominently in association with the Boston College and Purdue openings, and several other tempting jobs are still available -- and those schools may add Hazell to their lists of candidates.
Hazell has shied away from talking about other jobs for the most part, but it's an issue he'll have to address as the rumor mill heats up this week.
Several Flashes made emotional tweets after Friday's heartbreaking setback.
n "Hurtin tough loss ... Not really in the talkin mood ... Thanks to everybody who attended the game last night or watched it ... " -- Dri Archer (@Dri_Archer1)
n "Its hard to hold your head high when the burden of pain makes you feel so low ... Just feeling so much hurt and pain" -- Dylan Farrington (@GuidFeelin_dyLaN)
n "I can't even (stomach) watching football right now" -- Dana Brown (@HIMdotBrown)
n "Really don't know how to feel right now" -- Malcolm Pannell (@DresWorld20)
n "It hurts more today than what it did last night, wish this wasn't true!!" -- Freddy Cortez (@fcortez45)
n "Just wanna thank everyone for the support. It's truly humbling and something im (sic) extremely grateful for. Sorry we couldn't do it for y'all." -- Luke Wollet (@BigDaddyWol)
"sorry" -- Roosevelt Nix (@Dat_Dude_Nix)
To KSU players, I know it hurts, but you do NOT have to be sorry. You have brought so much happiness and pride to the community and alumni. We feel your pain but please do not forget what you have accomplished. And unlike so many teams before you, YOU have one more game to go. So whoever the opponent will be, let's go get them. Thanks again and remember your motto, "One Team, One Destiny".