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Better Know: Buffalo

So, this past weekend didn’t go as expected for the Cardinals, but Saturday is (at least in my mind) far more important as a game than the USF contest. Saturday marks the first MAC game for the Cards, the first home game, and in all honesty, this game is going to speak volumes about what to expect for the rest of the season. How the Cards look against a MAC opponent will give tremendous insight as to whether or not believing this team can compete for a MAC Championship is something that’s possible or simply fool’s gold. Additionally, it should tell us just how many big of a deal the win over Indiana was in terms of fan support and attendance. A large student showing and it could be the start of something special in Muncie in 2011. For Buffalo, their record is the same as BSU’s 1-1, but not all 1-1’s are created equal. Whereas BSU got the good 1 by defeating Indiana, a bad but still FBS team, the Bulls got their victory over mighty Stony Brook. They were also defeated 35-16 by Pitt, a team nowhere near as good as USF. Disclaimer: I’m still bitter about the MAC Championship in 2008. Now that you know that, it’s time to better know Buffalo…

Team: Buffalo Bulls
Record: 1-1 (0-0 MAC)
Head Coach: Jeff Quinn
Series: 7-1, BSU leads the Bulls
Last Meeting: 2010, a BSU 20-7 victory in Buffalo

Buffalo Head Coach Jeff Quinn:
… Jeff Quinn (Elmhurst ‘84) is in his second season as the head coach at Buffalo
… Quinn led the Bulls to a 2-10 record in 2010
… Quinn came to Buffalo after spending the previous three seasons at Cincinnati.

Buffalo Stats & Randomness:
… Buffalo is averaging 146.0 rushing yards and 226.5 passing yards per contest, while allowing 207.5 rushing yards and 146.5 passing yards per contest
… Chazz Anderson has completed 47-of-71 passes for 440 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions this season
… Branden Oliver is leading the Buffalo rushing attack with 120.0 rushing yards per contest and four rushing TDs

Buffalo News & Trends:
… Buffalo evened its record at 1-1 overall with a 35-7 home victory over Stony Brook
… The Bulls opened the 2011 season with a 35-16 loss at Pittsburgh

Better Know: South Florida

In recent memory, whenever the Cards squared off against an opponent from a BCS automatic qualifying conference, many assumed (and rightly so) that BSU was simply road kill fodder on another team’s journey to bowl eligibility. After all, it wasn’t until 2008 until the Cards were able to defeat a BCS AQ opponent. Their second victory last weekend was much like the first, as the IU Hoosiers fell at the hands of the Fighting Football Cardinals… again. Back in ’08, the Cards ran off 11 straight victories after that one, but the test in ’11 is a bit different. To get their 3rd BCS AQ win in program history, the Cards will need to knock off the South Florida Bulls, coming off a gigantic win at Notre Dame, in the second straight NFL stadium the Cards will play in. USF is getting attention from the national polls, ranked 22nd in the latest AP poll, and the majority of the nation is loving the Bulls after they beat the polarizing Fighting Irish. Saturday the Cards square off in the first true road test of the season, and it’s time to better know South Florida…

Team: South Florida Bulls
Record: (1-0)
Head Coach: Skip Holtz
Series: (0-0)
Last Meeting: This Saturday marks the first ever meeting between the Cardinals and Bulls

USF Head Coach Skip Holtz
… Skip Holtz (Notre Dame ‘86) is in his second year as the head coach at USF and in his 11th season as a collegiate head coach
… Holtz managed a 38-27 record as the head coach at East Carolina from 2005-09, and a 34-23 mark as the head mentor at Connecticut from 1994-98.

USF Stats & Randomness…
… B.J. Daniels completed 18-of-30 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown in the opener, while Sterli Griffin managed eight catches for 75 yards
… Demetri Murray rushed 14 times for 40 yards.

USF News & Trends…
… USF began its 2011 season with a 23-20 victory over Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind
… The Bulls return 45 letterwinners, including 12 starters from a 2010 team that posted an 8-5 overall record and 3-4 mark in the Big East Conference
… USF defeated Clemson 31-26 in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Better Know: Akron

Well, if there ever was a gift horse, this one rides into Scheumann Stadium on Saturday. Let’s try not to look it in the mouth, shall we? Akron comes into the contest with the Cardinals at 0-9, and I pray to the Footballor, the God of pigskin, that we don’t allow yet another opponent this season to break their victory cherry against the Cards. Should we win? Absolutely. Will we win? Oh, who the hell knows. The Zips’ closest loss this season was a 1-point OT L to FCS Gardner Webb… they’re 3-5, unlike BSU’s FCS conqueror Liberty, who clocks in at 6-2. Outside of that, Akron lost by 11 to Kent and 15 to Indiana. Past those games, it’s been bloody and brutal on their trek to 0-9. Time to better know the ins and outs of the Akron Zips.

Team: Akron
Record: 0-9 (0-5 MAC)
Head Coach: Rob Ianello
Series: Akron leads the series 10-8-1
Last Meeting: 2008, Ball State won 41-24 behind Sean Baker’s soul feasting and Nate Davis’ 300 yard game.

Akron Head Coach Rob Ianello
…Rob Ianello (Catholic ‘87) is in his first year as the head coach at Akron and his first year as a collegiate head coach
…Ianello came to Akron after spending the 2005-09 seasons as an assistant coach at Notre Dame
…He has also worked at Alabama, Wisconsin and Arizona

Akron Stats & Randomness
… Akron scores 13.4 points per game, while allowing 39.0 per game
… The Zips are rushing for 104.8 yards and passing for 141.9 yards per game, while allowing 173.9 rushing and 269.1 passing yards a contest
… Patrick Nicely has completed 118-of-240 passes for 1,182 yards with three touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.
… Akron plays on the road for the fourth time in five weeks, traveling to MAC West Division opponent Ball State (2-7, 1-4) on Saturday.
… Saturday’s matchup with Ball State completes a two-game road swing for UA (its third two-game away stretch of the season) and closes out the Zips traveling for the 2010 campaign. UA will enjoy its bye week next week, with its next competition date coming on Nov. 17 versus Miami (Ohio).
… Akron closes out the regular season with home matchups against Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 17 (a Wednesday) and Buffalo on Nov. 26 (a Friday). This is the first time since 2005 that the Zips have finished the regular season with consecutive home games, winning both that year (27-3 versus Ohio on Nov. 15 and 35-3 versus Kent State on Nov. 24).
… The Zips look for their first road win since a 42-35 victory over league opponent Eastern Michigan on Oct. 18, 2008 in Ypsilanti, Mich., (stretch of 13-straight away losses).
… UA posted a 3-3 record at home last season, and is now 3-7 all-time in one-year-old InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field. The program closed out the 2009 season with a 28-21 home victory over league foe Eastern Michigan (Nov. 27).
… During the first five weeks of the season, Akron faced three programs from automatic qualifying BCS conferences and opened its conference schedule against the favorite to win the MAC’s West Division in Northern Illinois (NIU won 50-14 on Oct. 2 in Akron). The Zips opened the campaign at home against Big East Conference foe Syracuse (29-3 loss on Sept. 4), suffered a 47-10 road defeat at Southeastern Conference opponent Kentucky on Sept. 18 and fell 35-20 at Indiana, out of the Big Ten Conference, on Sept. 25.
… 2010 marks the 110th season of Akron football.

Akron News & Trends
… Last Saturday’s Temple game marked the first time this season that an Akron opponent has not scored a touchdown in the first half. The Owls converted two field goals.
… Sophomore LB Brian Wagner leads the team with 93 tackles (48 unassisted). His 10.3 tackles per game rank second in the MAC and tied for 13th nationally. He returned a fumble recovery 57 yards for a touchdown against Western Michigan on Oct. 23 (his second career TD). He also has one interception, one sack and three pass break-ups this season. Wagner has tallied double-figure tackles five times this season and 11 times in his career (10 at Temple last Saturday). He was a freshman All-American in 2009, tallying a team-high 132 stops.
… Senior DE Shawn Lemon leads Akron, ranks second in the MAC and 24th nationally in sacks, with seven (0.78 sacks per game). He also leads the squad in tackles for loss (nine for 48 yards). Lemon has forced three fumbles and has two fumble recoveries in 2010.
… Senior offensive linemen Mike Ward (C/OG) and Corey Woods (LT) have started all 45 games of their career.
… Ten true freshmen have played for the Zips thus far this year and UA has called upon the services of 14 first-year players, with five redshirt freshmen also seeing the field.
… Eight of Akron’s 14 touchdowns this season have come on the ground and six of those are courtesy of senior RB Alex Allen. Allen has two multiple touchdown games in 2010 (versus Northern Illinois on Oct. 2, against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 11) and four in his career. His 53.3 yards per carry leads the team.
… Allen was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after he suffered a season-ending hip injury during the 2008 season. He took a medical redshirt during 2006 due to a knee injury. Allen carried the ball 59 times for 188 yards and tallied five touchdowns (most of any UA rusher) in 2009. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational communication in August 2010 and is working towards a master’s degree.
… Freshman QB Dylan Potts had his redshirt removed during the fourth quarter of Western Michigan game (Oct. 23). He assumes the role of backup QB as former second-stringer Matt Rodgers is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion in the Oct. 16 game at Ohio.
… Senior WR Jeremy LaFrance is out indefinitely due to a knee injury (sat out the last two games). He leads the team with 28 catches for 364 yards, and also has three of UA’s five receiving touchdowns and one of its eight rushing TDs this season (the rushing TD was on a fake FG goal at Kent State on Oct. 9).

Better Know: CMU

For the Cardinals, 2009 has been a season in humility. One victory so far, countless games that have just slipped away, and a growing portion of the fanbase that is transitioning from faithful supporter to angry patron, or in the worst cases, apathetic.

Central Michigan has been quite the opposite. CMU was dubbed the MAC front runner from essentially moment one of 2009, and the Chips have certainly delivered. Undefeated in the MAC at 6-0, and 8-2 overall, the Chips’ only blemishes this season have come at the hands of FBS opponents Arizona and Boston College, both on the road. The Chips also knocked off Michigan State while scoring over 50 twice this year in conference play. To call CMU the odds on favorite to not only win the MAC but also this game would be an extreme understatement. Time to better know them…

Team: Central Michigan Chippewas
Record: 8-2 (6-0 MAC)
Head Coach: Butch Jones
Series: 21-19-1, CMU has the advantage
Last Meeting: A 31-24 win in Mt. Pleasant for the Cardinals

Central Michigan Head Coach Butch Jones
. . . Coach Jones (Ferris State ‘90) is in his third year as the head coach at Central Michigan and his third season as a head collegiate mentor
. . . Jones owns a 24-13 career coaching mark and is the first head coach in CMU history to lead the Chippewas to back-to-back bowl games
. . . Jones came to Central Michigan after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the wide receivers coach at West Virginia
. . . From 1998-2004, he was an assistant at CMU.

A CMU Win Over Ball State Would …
. . .  make the Chippewas 7-0 in the MAC for the second time in program history (1979).
. . . give CMU its ninth season in school history with at least nine victories.
. . . tie a school record for road victories in a single season.
. . . Improve the Chippewas’ record against MAC opponents to 20-3 under coach Butch Jones
. . . improve the Chippewas’ record in MAC road games under Jones to 11-1.

For the CMU Slant, Check Out:
Fellow Rountable participant Kyle Warber’s blog Fire Up Chips

For the fan perspective, look no further than the Scout.com messageboards under CMU’s page. Good perspective, semi-rational thoughts, and a great passion for the Chips.

CMU Fun Facts
. . . CMU has defeated each of the other 12 MAC programs during Jones’ tenure. He is one of just two active MAC coaches with wins over every other program in the conference.
. . . CMU is 19-3 against MAC opponents during Jones’ tenure, including a victory in the 2007 MAC Championship Game.
. . . The Chippewas are 11-1 in MAC road games under Jones.
. . . Dan LeFevour is the fourth quarterback in Mid-American Conference history to reach 11,000 career passing yards.
. . . LeFevour enters Saturday’s game with 2,783 career rushing yards. He is the 20th player, and first quarterback, in school history to rush for 2,802 yards in a career. He is 34 yards shy of cracking the school’s career rushing yardage top-10 list.
. . . LeFevour is the first player in NCAA history to reach 11,000 career passing yards and 2,500 career rushing yards.
. . . Since the start of the 2007 season, CMU is 13-5 in 18 appearances on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Regional).
. . . Speaking of ESPN, they employ a CMU grad in Ray Bentley. Bentley, you may remember, was the commentator for last year’s BSU-CMU game, drawing the ire of all, and the death threats of some.

Better Know: NIU

niu logo2009 for the Cardinals has been far from “awesome”, “impressive”, “dominant”, or any other adjective that was thrown about like candy on Halloween last year for the 08 edition. Last season, people were pissed we weren’t making a BCS game. This season, the Cards are 1-8 and the resounding perspective from some of the “fans” has been torn between “Who cares?” and “Well… I expected that.” The Cards now face three games, all mid-week contests, and all against the upper echelon of MAC teams. The first on that slate? The Northern Illinois Huskies.

The rest of the 09 season for the Cardinals is a chance to turn things around while turning heads in the process. If the Cardinals can figure out how to upend one of these teams, then perhaps it will help a large majority of the fanbase fall in lockstep with the positive thinkers among us that better days are only a matter of time away. Three more losses make the Cards 09 campaign a 1-11 disaster… but at least we didn’t finish 0-12. Time to better know our first opponent in the Second Season…

Team: Northern Illinois University
Record: 6-3 (4-1 MAC)
Head Coach: Jerry Kill (incidentally… the best name in FBS)
Series: 20-14-2 advantage in favor of the Cardinals
Last Meeting: 45-14 W in Muncie for the Cardinals in 2008

Northern Illinois Odds & Ends
. . . The Huskies improved to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the Mid-American Conference with a 50-6 home win over Eastern Michigan last Thursday
. . . Northern Illinois has posted MAC victories over Western Michigan (38-3), Miami University (27-22), Akron (27-10) and EMU, while suffering its lone conference loss at Toledo (20-19)
. . . NIU will be playing its second consecutive Thursday night game
. . . NIU posted a 28-21 win at Purdue in September, which marked its first win over a Big Ten opponent in 21 years.

NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill
. . . Coach Kill (Southwestern ‘83) is in his second season as the head coach at Northern Illinois and in his 16th season as a collegiate head mentor
. . . He owns a 12-10 record at Northern Illinois and a 116-67 career mark
. . . Kill came to NIU after spending 14 years as the head coach at Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State and Southern Illinois.

For the NIU slant, check out:
The first, foremost, and only needed authority on the Huskies is Red and Black Attack. They are the lone member in the impressive SB Nation Network for the MAC and are also MAC Roundtable and CBSSports Blogpoll participants like OTP. RaBA is passionate, grounded, well-written, and top of the line in the MAC blogosphere and beyond. Read them. Often. Even after this game.

NIU Fun Facts
. . . Arguably the coolest alum of NIU is Dan Castellanata, the voice of Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown… among many others.

Better Know: Ohio!

Ohio University LogoThe road to win number one was a long time coming for the Ball State Cardinals, and given their opponent this weekend in Ohio University, the road to #2 may be difficult as well. Ohio comes in at 5-2 and 3-1 in the MAC, but on the heels of their first conference loss. The MAC East has been characterized as the far weaker division of the conference, but Ohio was picked by many to compete for a division championship. For the Bobcats to do that, this Saturday is a must win, as two losses in the MAC already will make a trip to Detroit a long shot. Will Ohio’s losing streak continue? Will Ball State’s winning streak persist? We’ll know Saturday night, but for now, time to better know the Ohio University Bobcats.

Team: Ohio University
Record: 5-3 (3-1 MAC)
Head Coach: Frank Solich
Series: 13-7, Ball State leads
Last Meeting: 2005, a 38-21 Ohio victory in Athens, OH

Ohio U Odds and Ends:
. . . Ohio suffered its first Mid-American Conference loss of the season Saturday vs. Kent State (20-11)
. . . The Bobcats had posted MAC wins at Bowling Green (44-37), at Akron (19-7) and vs. Miami University (28-7)
. . . Ohio also defeated North Texas (31-30) in double overtime Sept. 12, at Denton, Texas.

Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich:
. . . Coach Solich (Nebraska ‘66) is in his fifth season as the head coach at Ohio and his 11th season as a collegiate mentor
. . . He owns a 28-29 record at Ohio and an 86-48 career coaching mark
. . . Solich came to Ohio after compiling a 58-19 record as the head coach at Nebraska from 1998-2003.

For the Ohio Slant, Check Out:
No notable blogs but a great fan site can be found at Bobcat Attack. Fan messageboards are certainly entertaining and offer a wide cross section of the fanbase. Granted, like any other fan site, there are those at opposite extreme ends of the fan bell curve, but it’s a nice place to take the temperature of the opposition.

Ohio University Fun Facts:
. . . In games played at Ball State, the Cardinals own a 7-2 all-time edge
. . . Ball State has won eight of the last 10 games played in the series which dates back to 1975.

Better Know: EMU

Eastern_Michigan_EaglesIt’s hard for national attention to be paid to a contest that features two teams with a combined 0-6 conference record and an 0-13 overall record. But ask the fanbases of these two programs and this game is looked at as one of the most important games of the season. The pessimist Cardinal fan points to the 4 games after EMU (Ohio, NIU, CMU, WMU) as exhibit A in the case that EMU may be the best chance for the Cardinals to pick up a victory this season and avoid a winless 2009. EMU has 5 games after BSU, 4 of them on the road and 1 of those against an SEC team (Arkansas). As hard as it is for both these fanbases to admit, barring any sort of major upsets on down the line, the loser of this game is staring 0-12 squarely in the face.

While the victor of Saturday’s contest remains unknown, what is a certainty is that one of these two teams will have a reprieve for a week from the questions and concern that have plagued their season so far. A victory does that, though neither this season would know that, and both Stan Parrish and Ron English certainly could do with a little calmer waters around their respective programs.

Let’s take a look at the Eastern Michigan Eagles…

Team: Eastern Michigan Eagles
Head Coach: Ron English
Record: 0-6 (0-3 MAC)
Series: 28-20-2 BSU leads EMU
Last Meeting: Ball State defeated EMU at Scheumann Stadium 38-16

EMU Odds and Ends:
. . . Eastern Michigan suffered a 28-6 home loss to Kent State last week to fall to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the Mid-American Conference
. . . The Eagles other league losses were at home to Temple (24-12) and at Central Michigan (56-8)
. . . Senior quarterback Andy Schmitt suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Sept. 19 game at Michigan
. . . Kyle McMahon has completed 38-of-60 passes for 336 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns, while Alex Gillett has completed
16-of-30 passes for 105 yards.

EMU Head Coach Ron English:
. . . Coach English (California ‘90) is in his first season as the head coach at Eastern Michigan and in his first year as a collegiate head mentor
. . . He came to Eastern Michigan after spending the 2008 season as the defensive coordinator at Louisville
. . . Prior to that, English spent five years as an assistant at Michigan.

For the EMU Slant, Check Out:
Normally in this space we list the blogs of note of the particular opponents. Unfortunately, this is one of those weeks where we have an opponent who has no representation in the CBSSports Blogpoll, the MAC Roundtable, or even a mediocre site that would simply fill the void. Perhaps that’s because EMU has not only had down years as nearly every MAC school has, they’ve had virtually no good years either. They’re not always consistently dreadful, like 2006’s 1-11, but they are a long way from “competitive” in this conference. Their last winning season? 1995’s 6-5 campaign. When you have 1 winning season over the last 15 years or so, that doesn’t make people want to fire up a blog.

EMU Fun Facts:
. . . Eric Lewis, who spent from 2003-05 as the defensive backs coach at Ball State, is the defensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan.
. . . Ball State has won the last four contests, including each of the last two seasons by identical 38-16 scores
. . . In games played in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ball State leads the all-time series 13-12.

Better Know: Bowling Green

bowling-greenSaturday is going to tell Ball State fans one of two things. With a win, their first of the season, it’s going to tell more than a few people that this team isn’t nearly as bad as people are making them out to be. It’s going to tell people that Stan Parrish is not in fact Satan incarnate. It’s going to tell people that there is still some fight left in this dog.

A loss, however, tells a much different story. It tells of a team that is guaranteed a losing season for the first time since 2006. It tells of a coach who will alienate a large portion of whatever piece of the fanbase still stands behind him. It will tell us all that sunny days, for the moment, are on hold in terms of the football future in Muncie. Let’s hope a loss doesn’t happen… because frankly, that’s a story I have no desire to tell, read, or be witness to.

Time to take a little looksie at Bowling Green…

Team: Bowling Green
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
Record: 2-4 (1-1 MAC)
Series: 19-8-1, BG leads BSU
Last Meeting: 2005, a 40-31 BG victory

BG Odds and Ends:
. . . The Falcons are 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-American Conference
. . . BG opened the season with a 31-14 home win over Troy and tallied a 36-35 win at Kent State Saturday
. . . In between victories, the Falcons lost at Missouri (27-20), at Marshall (17-10), at home to Boise State (49-14) and at home vs. Ohio (44-37)
. . . Bowling Green scored the winning touchdown at Kent State Saturday with five seconds left in the game
. . . Tyler Sheehan has completed 192-of-296 passes for 1,960 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions
. . . Willie Geter leads the team with 51.0 rushing yards per game, while Freddie Barnes has 722 receiving yards with a team-high five touchdowns.

Bowling Green Head Coach Dave Clawson:
. . . Coach Clawson (Williams College ‘89) is in his first season as Bowling Green’s head coach and in his 10th year as a collegiate head coach
. . . Clawson came to BG after spending the 2008 season as the offensive coordinator at Tennessee
. . . He has compiled a 60-53 career head coaching record, including stints at Richmond (2004-07) and Fordham (1999-2003).

For the BG Slant, Check Out:
Falcon Blog: A fellow participant in the CBSSports Blogpoll and MAC Blogger Roundtable, BJ knows exactly what a blog should be and executes it well. Pro BG? Of course. Grounded in rationale thought, stat work and reasonable expectations and opinion? Absolutely. A must read this week.

Ay-Ziggy-Zoomba: A BG message board and site that is well visited and popular. It’s a fan board primarily, so it’s different than a website or blog, but in terms of MAC fan messageboards, it’s one of the best. The news and commentary front page is one of the best around as well.

BG Fun Facts
. . . BG has won five straight meetings against BSU. The last Cardinal victory came on October 19th, 1996 in a 16-11 game.

Better Know Toledo

ToledoRocketsLogoLargeOn Saturday, the second season, the most important season, the season that will determine the success or failure of 2009 as a complete body of work begins. With the opening of play in the MidAmerican Conference, Ball State has the chance to not only get its first win of the season, but compete for a conference title, Bowl berth, and redemption. It’s a tall order, given the lack of success thus far, and the extreme desire by everyone in the MAC to get a little revenge for 2008’s undefeated regular season. It’s time for the team to get win #1, and time for us to take a look at Toledo.

Team: Toledo
Head Coach: Tim Beckman
Record: 2-2 (0-0 MAC)
Series: 17-16-1, Ball State
Last Meeting: 2008, a 31-0 Ball State win

Toledo Odds and Ends
. . . Toledo owns a 2-2 overall record and will be playing Ball State in its Mid-American Conference opener
. . . The Rockets opened the season with a 52-36 loss at Purdue before defeating Colorado 54-38
. . . Toledo suffered a 38-0 loss at Cleveland Browns Stadium to Ohio State, but posted a 41-31 win at Florida International last Saturday
. . . The Rockets are averaging 31.5 points per game while allowing 39.8 per contest
. . . Aaron Opelt leads an offense that is averaging 473.2 yards per game
. . . Opelt has completed 96-of-167 passes for 1,282 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

Toledo Head Coach Tim Beckman
. . . Coach Beckman (Findlay ‘88) is in his first year as Toledo’s head coach
. . . He served as the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State in 2007-08 and was the cornerbacks coach at Ohio State in 2005-06
. . . Beckman spent from 1998-2004 as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Bowling Green.

For the Toledo Slant, Check Out:
Let’s Go Rockets: A fellow MAC Roundtable participant, a voter in the CBS Blogpoll along with us, a well designed site, and a knowledgeable, measured, passionate staff. Frankly, if OTP followed Toledo, this is what it would look like. Must read.

CoachBeckman.com: A site for Coach Beckman… and aptly named since it sort of features him and all. It’s very coachspeak heavy, not the greatest one out there, but for the MAC, it’s impressive. I wish we did something like this.

Better Know… Auburn!

auburn_logoAs if Ball State fans needed any more information about their next opponent, it’s time for us to take a look at the Auburn Tigers.

Team: Auburn
Head Coach: Gene Chizik
Record: 3-0 (1-0 SEC)
Series: 2-0, Auburn
Last Meeting: 2005, a 63-3 Auburn win

Auburn Odds and Ends
. . . Auburn is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference
. . . The Tigers have opened the season with wins over Louisiana Tech (37-13), Mississippi State (49-24) and West Virginia (41-30)
. . . Auburn is averaging 42.3 points per game, while allowing 22.3 a contest
. . . Ben Tate leads the team in rushing with 116.3 yards per game, while Kodi Burns has 65 yards on 24 carries with a team-high four rushing touchdowns
. . . Chris Todd has completed 43-of-80 passes for 725 yards with six TDs and only one interception
. . . Todd completed 16-of-31 passes for 284 yards with four touchdowns vs. West Virginia last week
. . . Darvin Adams has been the top receiver with 15 catches for 261 yards and four touchdowns
. . . Adams tallied six catches for 80 yards with three TDs vs. the Mountaineers last week.

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik
. . . Coach Chizik (Florida ‘85) is in his first season as the Tigers head coach
. . . Chizik was named Auburn’s head mentor Dec. 13, 2008, after serving the previous two seasons as the head coach at Iowa State
. . . He was Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2002-04
. . . He owns an 8-19 career head coaching record.

For the Auburn Slant, Check Out…
War Blog Eagle: Formerly known as the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, this is a great Tiger themed site that encompasses the passion and fervor of Auburn athletics while keeping two feet squarely planted in reality.

Track ‘Em Tigers: An SB Nation site, great community, and fellow voting member of the SEC Power Poll. Well written, thoughtful analysis, colored with deep fandom and passion… everything a sports blog should be.