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MAC Roundtable: Week 4

From time to time we get to be a part of something that’s sweeping… nay… swiffering the blogosphere. And what might that be, you ask? The MAC Blogger Roundtable. It’s a collection of the best and brightest of the MAC blogs that cover MACtion like none other. This week’s post creator and master of virtual ceremonies so to speak is BJ from FalconBlog, one of the forefathers of MAC blog coverage and your go-to spot for BG news and commentary. Take it away, good sir…

1.  There was an excellent article in Grantland about “paycheck” games. The author, Michael Weinreb, makes a couple interesting points that I’d like the group’s reaction to.  First: “There used to be little difference between a season opener against Toledo and a season opener against Eastern Kentucky, but that’s not true anymore. The gulf between the Mid-American Conference and the Big Ten has narrowed to the point that I’m starting to think the entire Leaders division should be relegated to the MAC West.” Discuss.

In some respects, I can see that and in other ways I can’t. The onfield product is becomingly increasingly closer in terms of quality but only at the very bottom of the Big 10 and the top of the MAC. This year’s BSU beat Indiana and could hang with several others, but the overwhelming majority of the Big 10 would put up some impressive numbers on their way to an impressive win. I think the main thing is about money and support though, as it always seems to be more about the dollars and cents than the x’s and o’s. Even as arguably the worst team in the Big 10, IU still was 44,000+ against BSU. I think in the last decade, we’ve cracked 20k maybe three times at home. That gulf is still present and maybe more prevalent than ever and that’s a shame. I think when you have that kind of support, it makes little sense to schedule a team like a BG, BSU or NIU that could actually beat you. Pay your money to a much more submissive whore and get your W.

2.  Secondly, his point is that the advent of a playoff will make paycheck games a thing of the past. Do you agree and how will the advent of a playoff impact the MAC?

In some ways, I think it depends on how the playoff is organized and what exactly the selection criteria and committee impact who is selected. For example, playing an FCS school may make getting to the playoff impossible. Playing a good FBS team and losing makes that even more so. So to me, it seems like lower tier FBS schools that look for those paycheck type games could come in very handy. So the Wisconsin’s, Michigan’s, and Ohio State’s of the world will be looking for close FBS teams that won’t likely beat them but won’t drag their standing down. Seems to me like the MAC would have about 13 of those said teas happy to make that work. From a selfish standpoint, I hope it doesn’t stop the paycheck games. If it does, I think I’ll have to get President Gora an account on 5Dimes so she can buy new uniforms for the women’s track team.

3.  Is MAC football stronger than it was three years ago?  Is it as strong as it was in the Marshall/Rothlisberger era?

I think at it’s core, it is. At least for those that know the conference well. Three years ago we had more marquee names like Chandler Harnish, Nate Davis, and Dan Lefevour, but there was very little parity. Now though there aren’t household names like then, there is a much more considerable feeling that the conference from top to bottom is better as a whole. Well… assuming you don’t count UMass.

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