It’s the second week of the season and time once again for the MAC blogs to gather and kibitz about the various ins and outs of the college football landscape. We hit on the MAC, we hit on the nation, we hit on it all. We are the question poser this week, and our participating blogs were Falcon Blog, Hustle Belt, Eagle Totem, and The Chip Report. Off we go…
1.) Week one in the books for the MAC. A fairly major upset, several close calls, and several bloodbaths. What was your biggest surprise and your biggest disappointment across the conference landscape?
The Chip Report: The biggest surprise for me in week 1 had to be how handily Ball State took care of Eastern Michigan. Keith Wenning is developing into a real threat in the MAC. 26 of 41 for 267 yards is a good start to the season. Look out for Ball State.
The biggest disappointment most definitely was the close loss for Toledo. They seem to be knocking on the door of the big, week 1 upset every season yet have the inability to close. As Chippewa fans know, the window to do so can close in a hurry… I hope they didn’t miss their chance.
HustleBelt: I could go with several options here for both surprise or disappointment – Ohio’s Jekyll and Hyde showing, Toledo and Northern Illinois’ ultimate inability to close out…whom to choose?
In true MAC fashion, I shall go with a tie for both. I’d say for surprise I’d go with the Alexes – Zordich and Gillett. In both cases, I did not see opening week what I saw last year. Did Alex Zordich look talented last year? Yes, did he look like a guy who could account for 230+ yards of offense, two scores, and keep his team in the game against a much better Georgia squad for more than a drive or two? No. This bodes well for the Bulls I think. As for Gillett, the kid had 20 or fewer pass attempts in 8 of 11 starts last season and threw the ball thirty four times in the Eagles’ opener. Let’s hope that isn’t a trend, because that just isn’t who EMU is.
For disappointment, another tie between Alex Carder and the UMass Minutemen. Alex Carder is supposed to be a longshot Heisman hopeful this season, but against a “not that much better than you” opponent in Illinois, he tossed two interceptions in the first quarter. Let’s hope Illinois’ defense is actualy much improved this season, because if not it might be another long, mediocre year for the Broncos. The Minutemen…I know, I know, you don’t pick on the new guy when he skips a grade and starts anew, but come on. They gave up 37 points and only created 59 yards. 13 offensive drives, 9 three-and-outs, two drives that gained more than 9 total yards. I fear their matchup with Michigan in two weeks.
EagleTotem: My biggest disappointment, of course, was the embarrassment that was EMU’s performance. Looking to other schools, however, Toledo and Northern Illinois narrowly missed upsetting Arizona (Rich Rod!) and Iowa, respectively. Winning either of those games, much less both, would have given a huge boost to the national reputations of those schools, not to mention the MAC as a whole. Plus, oh yeah, Ohio beat Penn State. Not the school that sometimes calls itself “Ohio” even though that’s not really who they are and they lost in court, the actual school called Ohio. Sure, they were favored, but still, a MAC team over a B1G team, especially a big-name team like Penn State, is something that comes along once in a blue moon.
FalconBlog: I’d say the biggest surprise is the MAC nearly surpassing its BCS wins from last year on the first week. At a minimum, NIU and UT had real shots to win and BG was in the game last at Florida and of course OU won in Happy Valley. The biggest disappointment was probably NIU getting Iowa on a neutral field and nearly having them polished off before losing.
OverThePylon: My biggest surprise was Miami struggling the way they did against Ohio State. While I didn’t expect a win for the Red Hawks, I did expect a non-shellacking. That wasn’t so much the case. The way Ohio handled Penn State was not shocking but was a bit surprising.
2.) For your own team, how has your week one performance changed your opinion and/or perspective about what to expect from your squad as the year rolls on?
TCR: The first game against a weak, 1AA team was the story of 2 halves. The first half was frustrating and scary. The second half was utter dominance. For me, this has not changed my outlook on the Chippewas season—I think we’re still looking a 5-7 win team. The game against MSU this weekend will give us more insight as to how high the ceiling is for this Chippewa team.
HB: My squad (by re-default after the pathetic defection of Temple last season) is located in Athens, OH – and I’m not sure their performance this week really changed anything in terms of my expectations. Who is the real OHIO? The squad that got shut down for a half, or the squad that did the shutting down? I know the truth is somewhere in between, but I can’t really make a definitive adjustment in expectations until I see them play a team they should manhandle – like, say, New Mexico State?
ET: You watched the same game I did; do we really need to rehash it? That one game might have taken the Eagles out of contention in the MAC West.
I do still have high hopes for this EMU team, particularly after they get a home game against Illinois State to try to iron out some of the wrinkles. There’s enough talent and experience there, particularly on offense but defense to, that they should be in the game against any remaining opponents except probably Michigan State.
Finally, the offensive play-calling still sucks. Seriously, the EMU offensive play-book — at least the parts of it that fans see on the field — should be retitled “How to play to your weaknesses and ignore your strengths” with a subtitle of “Really? How can this many veterans possibly be this bad?”
FB: As it relates to the Falcons, we were optimistic before and we are a little more so right now. Certainly there are still large areas that need improvement, but having said that we did play a strong and tough game on the offensive line and the defensive line, and that was one of the things the team really needed this year. It was an encouraging start.
OTP: I can safely say I’m considerably more optimistic now than I was ten days ago. EMU was allegedly the team that BSU would match up the best with and was most similar to. Having revisited that game, it wasn’t as close as the score indicated. To start conference play with a big unexpected win means great things for this season.
3.) Outside of the MAC, what was your favorite moment from opening weekend and why?
TCR: I had the chance to watch American football in Dublin so without a doubt, the the Navy vs. Notre Dame game was the non Chippewa highlight for me. Ireland is one of the most welcoming countries on Earth.
HB: Living in southeast Michigan, surrounded by Wolverine fans, after listening to them brag all summer about how they’re “back”, the beating Alabama put on Michigan was pretty delicious. In fact, that’s the only game I watched that I’d care to talk about, all the rest were pretty disappointing.
ET: Living in southeast Michigan, surrounded by Wolverine fans, after listening to them brag all summer about how they’re “back”, the beating Alabama put on Michigan was pretty delicious. In fact, that’s the only game I watched that I’d care to talk about, all the rest were pretty disappointing.
FB: So, if I am talking outside of the MAC, I can’t include the wrong-way Kent State manuever that happened in the Towson game, which was downright hilarious. Out of pure malevolence I’ll take the pasting that Marshall took at the hands of WVU, their in-state nemesis.
To which I say.
OTP: As weird as it sounds, it was nice to see Happy Valley be about football again. I was getting tired of every news item coming out of Penn State being about everything but football. Court cases, sentencing, and statue removal aren’t what gets my juices flowing. Football and a rallying fan base are.
Filed under: MAC Roundtable |