Pride on the line for Flyer football

With Saturday’s stunning 28-13 upset of a Drake team that was previously unbeaten in Pioneer Football League play, the Dayton Flyers, now 5-5, can have a winning season with a victory this Saturday at Marist.

While it would be a significant achievement after a 1-4 start, don’t expect a celebration to erupt across Flyer Nation. UD has enjoyed incredible football success the last four decades, winning Division III national championships and 11 Pioneer Football League titles.

This has created a “car alarm” effect when Dayton wins, and the response to a down year like this one is an occasional “what happened?”

The simple answer is that, more than UD declining, the competition has gotten better. The PFL is a good match for the Flyers, with the other schools, for the most part, being similar academically and athletically. So operating on an even playing field, there is no reason Dayton should not compete for the league title every year.

This season the Flyers dominated the bottom half of the PFL (38-3 over Davidson, 45-0 over Valparaiso), had games they should have won against Butler and Jacksonville, got whipped by San Diego, and then beat a Drake team they perhaps had no business beating.

Keeping things in perspective, this year’s disappointing campaign is only two years removed from a championship, but championships are what Dayton football should be about. The football Flyers may not operate in the same spotlight as their basketball brethren, but the expectations for excellence need to be the same.

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