No bowling for WKU: Toppers miss bowl game for second time in three years.

Western Kentucky University coach Bobby Petrino reacts after losing a challenge to maintain possession with less than two minutes left in the game. Western would go on to lose 32-26 at home on Saturday, October 26, 2013. 

Elliott Pratt

For the second time in three years, WKU will not play in a postseason bowl game. 

The Toppers were left out of the bowl picture despite posting their best regular season record at 8-4 since joining the FBS in 2009.

Athletic director Todd Stewart called it a “personal loss” to end a historic season early, and that he felt bad for a senior class whose collegiate careers were cut short. 

“For our football program, it’s a very disappointing day,” Stewart said. “I don’t think there is any question this years team had a tremendous season in many ways and certainly a resume that is bowl worthy.” 

Through out the week, it appeared the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. were WKU’s best two options at a bowl game after Arkansas State accepted a bid to the Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The Sun Belt Conference only has two guaranteed bowl tie-ins with the New Orleans Bowl and the Bowl. WKU would have had to convince bowl representatives that it deserved an at-large bid. 

Stewart said he learned during the middle of the day Sunday that the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl would chose Pittsburgh instead of WKU to play Bowling Green State. Stewart said Little Caesars Bowl CEO Ken Hoffman made it clear as to why Pittsburgh was more appealing to Detroit, and said if they didn’t take Pitt, WKU would have been selected.

“I asked what was appealing about Pittsburgh, and he said it’s an (American Coastal Conference) team that’s four hours away and they beat Notre Dame and Duke, so those were obvious selling points there,” Stewart said. 

While Stewart said it’s disappointing as a program to not earn a bowl this year, the future is looking up for WKU.

“I hope when we get past the disappointment of today about not making a bowl game that the legacy of this team and of these seniors is how far this program has come over the last five years and all that was accomplished this year,” Stewart said. “It positions us very, very well as we move forward.”

“When you have success you want people to be rewarded with another game,” Stewart said. “We had that success, and it’s just disappointing that group doesn’t get rewarded with another game.”