NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- After a 1-6 start for the Old Dominion football team, athletic director Wood Selig knew the Monarchs were going to win some games, but he may not have expected to team to rattle off five straight victories and earn a postseason berth.
"As much as I hate to admit it, yes, I'm very surprised," Selig said on Monday afternoon. "When we were sitting at 1-6, I knew we had some wins ahead of us, didn't know how many. I didn't realize we would run the table in the dramatic fashion that we did."
Old Dominion won its final five games to earn bowl eligibility, capping it off with a 56-34 victory over Charlotte on November 26. It was a turnaround that Selig calls a "Disney-type story."
"If it was a heavyweight fight, we were on the mat and the ref was counting it out and it almost hit ten," said Selig. "We got up off the mat and ran off five straight games. I've never been a part of anything like this, I've never experienced anything like this."
The Monarchs will face Tulsa in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on December 20 at 2:30 PM. That's a much more geographically-friendly draw than the squad received back in 2016, when ODU played in the Bahamas Bowl.
"That really isn't a good barometer of fan support," Selig noted of the event in the Bahamas. "That game was held December 23, you find out very late in the season that you're going to the Bahamas, you have to have a passport, you have to have no plans for the holidays, which most people do."
ODU defeated Eastern Michigan in that game, 24-20.
With Myrtle Beach a little more than five hours away by car, the head of Monarch Athletics expects some more silver and blue in the stands.
"My personal goal would be to see 7,500 and 10,000 ODU fans in Myrtle Beach and I include a lot of students because I really do think that this is going to be one of those college memories for students that they'll remember for their lifetime."
Tulsa, which also enters at 6-6, hails from the American Athletic Conference and faced quite the schedule. Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Houston and Cincinnati were among the Golden Hurricanes' defeats. ODU and Tulsa have never met in football.