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Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference [AUDIO]

MACEvery Monday the MAC coaches gather via teleconference to discuss the prior week’s results, the week ahead and any other assorted facts or fun that the media on the call want to ask about. It’s a nice inside look at the man who wears the headset and you hear it straight from CPL as opposed to the filtering and spin that media (OTP included) puts on quotes, soundbites, etc. Kudos to the MAC for making these available, as the days of routing our phone through a recorder seem quite dinosaur these days. Take it away, Coach…

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The Unlucky 13 of the Mid-American Conference

The MAC had balanced divisions for the same amount of time the cast of Jersey Shore has been sober the last decade. So about 2 months.

With Temple upgrading, or what they think is an upgrade to the sinking ship of the Big East Conference earlier this year, the MAC is in pickle. As other conferences are expanding and partnering the MAC is stuck at 13 teams for football as Massachusetts is on “Exile Island.” No teams are near the Minutemen and few are excited to have them on board.

Like the blue/green combo but I think the MAC is feeling more blue because they can’t score any green in conference expansion.

Kicking out UMass may sound like an easy solution but it is not possible. There are MAC schools that I feel are holding the conference back and when I mean schools I mean Eastern Michigan. Dumping these schools to the curb is not an option. College conferences are not like fantasy football leagues where the guys who fail to update their roster have to play somewhere else next fall. The MAC made their bed and has to lie in it.

This leads to controversy of letting UMass in the MAC in the first place. With Temple out there are no east coast teams near the Minutemen that could work as a rival let alone excite fans.

The MAC took a gamble hoping to make some money off of New England TV revenue instead of sticking to its Great Lakes roots. At least UMass is a better fit than say Central Florida. It is not like the Golden Knights were ever in this conference or anything. That would be insane if they were.

While every conference is in the rat race to grab teams and make money the MAC may be better off on steering clear. Even Conference USA is trying to gobble up teams like Pac-Man right now.

Face it folks the MAC is not going to rake in big TV revenues. Conference expansion can do little to help.  The only way teams want to join the MAC is as a stepping stone to a bigger conference like Temple did. This is one of the few times where status quo may be the answer.

I seriously doubt UMass will be in the MAC for long. Like Temple the MAC is hotel room for them.

The MAC has some options.

  1. Keep playing with 13 teams. Upset the NCAA with unbalance divisions and watch UMass join the Big East in 5 years to go back to 12. Then never add a team ever again.
  2. Add another FCS team near UMass to keep them happy. Have balance divisions with a restored rivalry between Bowling Green and Toledo. Add another team five years later when UMass jumps to the Big East.
  3.  Keep UMass on an island while adding another team closer to core of the MAC. Maybe one that would stick around and be willing to join in all sports. Then demand UMass joins in all sports to balance basketball.

As a Ball State fan I prefer the third option as a potential rival could come out of it. Sadly, the odds of option three happening are smaller than Ron Paul winning the Republican primary.

A key is to steer clear of Ohio and Michigan schools as we have too many of those in the MAC. I bet the MAC will add a team in a year, but the odds if it being a team we want is doubtful given the MAC’s track record. Watch it be something silly like Villanova just to replace Temple in the same city. The MAC should have learned its lesson the first time around… right?

Here are some teams I would like to see join the MAC regardless of how little chance it has of happening and in no logical order.

Indiana State – Indiana State would give Ball State a natural rival and fans would like to see them play. An added bonus to bringing the Sycamores in would be providing Cardinals fans a new motivation to buy firewood and print off excessive sheets of computer paper. Problem is Indiana State does not have a good history with football but is improving.

Illinois State – The Redbirds would also be rival in the way of mascots and nicknames. I honestly thought Tom Collins scheduled a game at Illinois State because he expected them to be in the conference soon. That is your Ball State conspiracy theory for the week.

Western Kentucky – The MAC would be able to expand their recruiting base with a Kentucky team. Western may be out of reach as it is in the Sun Belt but…

Murray State– A FCS school with a great basketball team to boot. The MAC West would finally have a basketball team that can push the East division around. Problem is Murray is really far from other MAC schools and may not like the higher cost of FBS football. This is the school I want the most to join the MAC but I do not see how it can happen.

Eastern Kentucky – Somewhat close to Miami and Ohio so could develop some rivalries. Being next door to Lexington and Big Blue Nation hurts them. Hard to get media attention and fans when you are right next to the biggest black hole in college sports.

Southern Illinois – Would be a nice rival with Northern Illinois and would be competitive right away. The Salukis may even turn into a rival for the Cardinals.

Marshall – Just to make sure you’re awake. Would be nice to have them back in the conference though.

New Hampshire – Ball State fans know from experience New Hampshire can beat MAC schools. Plus New Hampshire would help out Massachusetts as a natural rival.

Southeast Missouri State – Why not add another directional team to the conference so the MAC West could be renamed the “Compass” division.

Central Florida – Just kidding.

Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference (AUDIO)

Every Monday the MAC coaches gather via teleconference to discuss the prior week’s results, the week ahead and any other assorted facts or fun that the media on the call want to ask about. Thanks to work and real life, this was the first one OTP has been on the line for, but it’s always nice to listen to a coach after a win… a win that gets the Cards bowl eligible. For Coach Lembo, he was extremely complimentary of the Cards’ special teams, most notably Steven Schott. We’ve got eight days to get ready for Northern Illinois in what is essentially a MAC West semifinal, pending tomorrow’s WMU/Toledo outcome. Take it away Coach Lembo…

Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference (AUDIO)

Each Monday, the MAC coaches gather via teleconference to chat about their last week’s game and this week’s opponent. For Coach Lembo, this one got to focus on the Oklahoma game for the Cardinals and looking forward to Temple for Homecoming. Coach Lembo had some interesting perspective on what to take away from the game, and the ins and outs of playing a team like the Sooners. I asked about the injuries going forward and it is good that that none appear to be significantly long term. I also asked about Keith Wenning and how you maintain a QB’s psyche and ego, and the answer (while stock) gave some insight into taking the goods and the bads away from a 56-point loss. Coach Lembo… take it away…

Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference (AUDIO)

Each Monday, the MAC coaches gather via teleconference to chat about their last week’s game and this week’s opponent. For Coach Lembo, this particular Monday comes on the heels of a dominating performance against the Army Black Knights, and less than a week away from what could become the biggest upset in Ball State football history should the Cardinals knock off Oklahoma on Saturday. Sure people will say that’s foolish to even think about, but listen to Coach Lembo. Relaxed, calm, and in possession of an intriguing quiet confidence that makes me begin to believe that Saturday could be something very very special. Take it away, Coach…

Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference (AUDIO)

Each Monday, the MAC coaches gather via teleconference to chat about their last week’s game and this week’s opponent. For Coach Lembo, today marked the first MAC teleconference after a loss, so clearly that’s going to get talked about. Coach Lembo also talks about what folks learned, how to improve, and looks ahead to Buffalo. Take it away, Coach Lembo…

Coach Lembo’s MACtastic Teleconference (AUDIO)

Every Monday for the past few years, we’ve been lucky enough to be part of the MidAmerican Conference Coaches’ Teleconference. Today was a special one though, as it not only marked the first one of this season, it was also the first time many Cardinal fans will get to hear the dulcet tones of awesome emanating from Coach Pete Lembo as he rocked his first MAC conference call. Not that it’s surprising as he’s been engaging and energetic since moment one, but it was a nice change of pace compared to some of the conference calls we’ve sat through in recent memory. This time around, Coach speaks about the lead up to IU, the transformation of the program, and even handles the fact that a Bloomington writer asks how Eric Williams is going to do this season. Coach Lembo… take it away.

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

It’s Monday, so it’s time to hear from Coach Parrish on the weekly MidAmerican Conference teleconference. Obviously the focus of conversation is the Buffalo win, but there’s also some chit chat about NIU and the challenges they present. NIU will be a challenge for the Cardinals and you can tell that Coach Parrish is well aware of that. According to Stan, “[NIU] is the premier team in the league.” That’s a shame then that we’ll have to hand them a loss on Saturday. OTP asked Coach about this senior class and what Saturday is going to mean to them as well, and I certainly agree with the Stanimal that this senior class through their varying seasons and successes have shown a ton of character and class. Coach P… break it down for us.

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

Sweet sassy molassy, what a difference a week makes. Gone from the commentary from coach Parrish are things like “bitterly disappointed”, etc. A win is win and you can tell Stan is in a better mood this week, as winning often does. In this week’s conference call, Stan talks a bit about the short week and the preparation for it, the fact the Cards have played three overtimes in the last two weeks, and the future potential of Wenning to Tomlinson. Perhaps the most interesting thing about all this is the question from a Buffalo news writer about pressure, fan expectations, and whether or not they should be happy. Thought Stan’s answer was a good one. Stan… you’re on the mic.

Stan’s MACtastic Teleconference

It’s Monday and time once again to fire up the teleconference for the MidAmerican Conferences football coaches. This week Stan drops a Groundhog Day shoutout, which is nice. He also discusses the hunger of the team, Otis Brown, Keith Wenning, and the offensive line perhaps being less makeshift and more full strength for this weekend’s Akron game. Stan, you’re on the mic… go.

And in honor of Stan’s movie prowess…