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I’m on top of the world MAC


Quick, auction off this jersey while it is still worth something!

Is this is the summit for the Mid-American Conference football? Hard to argue against it.

In the past year we’ve had a MAC team play in a BCS game.

In the past week we’ve had a MAC player drafted No. 1 overall.

Granted, this was a weak draft class. Granted, Erik Fisher plays the prestigious position known as offensive tackle. It still counts baby. So much so Central Michigan is literally trying to cash in on all things Eric Fisher.

We could go into how improbable Fisher’s selection is. Such as if he is so good how did Central Michigan lose to Ball State the last three seasons? A Ball State team that scored zero selections in the draft.

Let’s not be bitter. Instead celebrate that someone in our back burner conference could get the attention of scouts so well. MAC football matters right now. As we know that has rarely been the case.

Heck, in the last few years I agreed with critics that the MAC might be better off playing FCS ball. Financially that still might be the case. However the college landscape has changed so much over the last couple of years the MAC is in a great spot.

The Big East (or American Athletic) has been reduced to a corpse not worth joining anymore. Conference USA is a mixed bag of schools that makes no sense. The WAC is gone and the Sun Belt is begging for FCS schools to come in.

The MAC’s greatest advantage has turned out to be their location. The Great Lakes blueprint has kept it stable in the conference expansion talks. The Big Ten is not going to add a MAC school because it has the TV market. Other conferences don’t have any teams in the region to attract a defection. Joining Conference USA or the Mountain West is not worth the added travel expense. Same for the remains of the Big East.

The only scare to the MAC now is the idea of the Big 12 raiding Northern Illinois. If the Huskies keep winning and going to BCS games it could be possible? If West Virginia is not too far away to play in the Big 12 then a MAC school could feasibly do it too. Maybe the ACC tries to get into the Cleveland and Detroit markets? Both seem unlikely but so was Syracuse moving to the ACC five years ago.

The MAC is one of the most stable and cohesive conferences left in FBS. Only the SEC and PAC-12 are ahead in my book. Big Ten fans are not pumped about Rutgers and Maryland coming to town. Only college presidents are.

So UMass, still want into the whatever is left of the Big East?

Bowl game diary: watching ESPN for 4 hours can be rough


The Ball State cheerleaders did not do much running Friday night. So lets think back to a time when they did.

The Ball State cheerleaders did not do much running Friday night. So let’s think back to a time when they did.

When you are a broke guy out of college that means watching Ball State on the tube as oppose to going to Florida. Someone has to keep ESPN happy with ratings. The following is a timeline from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

7:00 – My God, ESPN just spent more time promoting Nelly than the bowl game.

7:02 – Jesse Palmer called Ball State “a good football team.” The same Jesse Palmer who went on a rant on how Northern Illinois has no business being in a BCS bowl. If Ball State is a good football team then that means Northern beat multiple “good football teams” throughout the year. Yet the Huskies are not worthy of a BCS bowl? His colleague, David Pollack, just spent 30 seconds on how tiny Jamill Smith is. I am thinking about muting the TV.

7:24 – Only 20 minutes in yet ESPN has already mention “Ball State has never won a bowl game” in some form at least five times. If you are looking for a drinking game this is it.

7:25 – David Pollack said Central Florida is “the more talented team.” If Ball State wins I can’t wait to shove it in his face.

7:27 – We just had a Heisman trophy winner in Desmond Howard slurp up to Keith Wenning and Jahwan Edwards. Now that’s “Wenning.”

7:28 – Is Tropicana field as ugly in person as it looks on television?

7:30 – The sideline reporter looks like the same woman in the Toyota commercials. Hope she asks Pete Lembo a question on fuel economy.

7:32 – First “Chirp” chant heard before kickoff. It’s real now.

7:33 – First two plays are a 1-yard loss each for UCF. Looking good.

7:34 – The Knights rush for a first down by quarterback Blake Bortles. Not so good. So far I have to give props to Central Florida’s superior uniforms. Ball State has a better mascot though, and probably a better dance team. Where’s are first Code Red sighting?

7:37 – The officials are a Sun Belt crew. This means we have a MAC, Conference USA, and Sun Belt love triangle. The trinity of low ratings that make ESPN executives cringe.

7:42 – Touchdown UCF. It was a very methodical drive for Central Florida with no big plays but plenty of small chunks. Not a good a sign.

7:47 – Have now seen two commercials for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. That is two more than I have seen in life prior to tonight.

7:48 – Make that three commercials.

You might have won this round Daivd Pollack. Just keep bashing MAC schools with Jesse Palmer and I am sure you will be wrong someday.

You might have won this round Daivd Pollack. Just keep bashing MAC schools with Jesse Palmer and I am sure you will be wrong someday.

7:49 – Big possession for Keith Wenning as we are waiting to see how healthy he is.

7:51 – Ball State goes three and out. Jamill Smith drops a pass that went right in his hands that would have given the Cards a first down. Scott Kovanda, a finalist for the Ray Guy award, makes a short 36-yard punt. What the hell is going on here?

7:55 – Desmond Howard says “I’m curious to see what adjustments Ball State’s defense makes.” To that I say no $#@&. So are we.

7:57 – Not going to lie, those UCF polo shirts look pretty good. I write this to cover my anger of Central converting on another third and long.

8:00 – Pass interference on Jason Pinkston to set up first and goal for UCF. The Knights score on the next play to make 13-0, but the extra point is blocked. When an extra point is your best play of a quarter you know you are in trouble.

8:02 – Back-to-back commercials for Ball State with one promoting Sports Link. Bad timing when you are down 13-0. The following commercial for Central Florida had no dialogue at all. I am sure you can get a quality education there. Just not in communications.

8:05 – Zane Fakes is held and no call. Central tips their second straight pass next play. Cards have to punt as Wenning starts 0 for 5. Starting to see a flashback to the Tulsa game in the 2009 GMAC bowl.

8:08 – Central gains over 35 yards on two straight passes. The panic button is on standby. Did I mention it’s only the first quarter?

8:12 – The Ball State defense forces UCF to punt to end the first quarter. Put panic button away. For now.

8:14 – The Indiana Hooisers are playing a basketball game on ESPN 2 during the bowl game. Can you let us have the spotlight just once IU?

8:16 – To start the second quarter ESPN shows the Code Red Dance Team. Best omen Ball State could have had. Wenning hits Willie Snead for a first down.

8:19 – Wenning connects with Fakes to the UCF 25. The hurry up offense is working.

8:21 – Ball State is struggling to run. Whether it is Banks or Edwards, it does not matter right now.

8:24 – Touchdown Ball State! High fives all around! Wenning hits Snead and gets a roughing the passer penalty to boot. Looks like the ankle is holding up.

8:25 – Fifth Beef ‘O’ Brady’s commercial. Still have no desire to eat there.

8:30 – Bogus pass inference call on Eric Patterson. Looks like the Sun Belt crew is not for the MAC. Meanwhile, Bortles is gashing Ball State on the ground.

8:36 – Bortles plows through two Ball State defenders to score a touchdown to make it 19-7. This is getting hard to watch.

8:38 – UCF goes for two to get back the point it loss on the blocked extra point and gets it. Your turn Keith Wenning. I am this close to watching the Pacers at the Cavs instead.

8:42 – Jamill Smith with a nice punt return. Too bad it was called back. That type of half for Ball State.

8:48 – Connor Ryan with a nice catch for 15 yards. Cards are moving but needs to get within one score before half to have a chance.

8:50 – Our first Jahwan Edwards sighting as he runs for a first down up the middle. Where the hell have you been? I said the Cards would win but that was contingent on a good running game.

8:53 – ESPN again mentions how Ball State has never won a bowl game. Tip it back America. Good thing I do not drink.

8:56 – Kitt O’Brien, offensive lineman, with a catch. Soon to be a Sportscenter not top 10 play. Wenning gets sacked on third and goal. Maybe I should have watched Malibu Country instead.

8:59 – Steven Schott misses a field goal. Yeah I should have watch Malibu Country instead.

9:08 – Central Florida gets into field goal range. Starting to search for alternative television options.

9:11 – Touchdown UCF on third and goal. Bortles is just killing the Cardinals. Make it 28-7 at the half. Try to tell myself Ball State is a third quarter team. No use. Hit the panic button.

9:16 – David Pollack at the half says “Hey listen, Ball State’s defense has been terrible all year-long.” Thank you David Pollack. Time to make a dartboard with his face on it. Do teams with terrible defenses go on six-game winning streaks all the time like Ball State did this fall? Especially when the starting quarterback goes down? It is a bad game but come on man.

When whatever this show is becomes more appealing than the bowl game, it is a bad night for your team.

When whatever this show is becomes more appealing than the bowl game, it is a bad night for your team.

9:35 – Just ate a slice of cake to calm me down and ready to watch the second half. Start up this comeback.

9:38 – Jahwan Edwards fumbles. Might be time to play a violent video game to take my frustration out on something.

9:46 – Central Florida goes for it on fourth and six and fails to convert. Still scratching my head as to why UCF went for it. You are up by 21, just kick a field goal.

9:51 – Wenning seems to be struggling on his deep throws but medium size passes are coming along. KeVonn Mabon is having a solid game. Hard to believe he is just a freshman.

9:53 – Schott hits a 45-yard field goal. All that did was put a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Still down 28-10. Defense needs to go beast mode right now.

9:56 – An onside kick? This is not EA games Coach Lembo. Ball State would have been better off going for it on fourth and five the previous drive than doing that.

10:02 – Touchdown Central Florida to take a 35-10 lead. Shields are down. Warp drive offline. It is not looking good Captain Kirk. Going back for more cake.

10:15 – Wenning with his best throw of the night to Zane Fake deep on the left side but it is broken up. Give credit to the UCF secondary.

10:16 – Wenning goes down after a sack hurting his ankle again. This game is just a disaster now. Kelly Page comes on for him. Zane Fakes gets hurt the next play.

10:18 – Despite being at midfield, Ball State punts while down by 25. So an onside kick is a better gamble? Game over unofficially.

10:27 – Another big rush for Central Florida. The Knights had controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. To me, that has been the biggest surprise of the game, not to mention the biggest disappointment.

10:35 – Give Keith Wenning credit, he came back on to the field to battle it out. Fakes came back too. It has been an awful day, but the Cardinals are still swinging.

10:45 – Willie Snead with a great catch and run for a touchdown as he made a guy miss. Ball State never says die! Trying to stay positive with a 38-17 score.

10:59 – Game mercifully ends. Not the way we wanted the Ball State season to end but we still have Ball State basketball. Crap, let me rephrase that. We still have a basketball that can beat South Dakota a lot. Merry Christmas!

Nathan is a 2012 Ball State grad and is back in Indianapolis writing for the Southsider Voice newspaper.

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. It’s what’s for dinner


No matter what QB is out there, Central Florida is going to have a problem.

No matter what QB is out there (Page or Wenning), Central Florida is going to be in a world of hurt.

The epic Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl is upon us as Ball State will attempt to do what no other Ball State team has done before.

Win a freaking bowl game.

How big would a win be in program history? Top five moment? Top three?

The bowls are not what they use to be as over half of the teams get into them, but a bowl win in a watered-down bowl system is still a bowl win.

The problem is Central Florida has some weapons and I am not talking about the sword their mascot has.

Reasons for Optimism

  • Ball State is hot winning their last six games. Confidence will not be a problem. Central Florida may still be down after dropping their chance to win the Conference USA Championship game.
  • The defense has turned the corner. What started out as a calamity has been buttoned up. Plays that would have gone for touchdowns have been turned into smaller chunks. Remember that Jordan Lynch touchdown run that clinched the Oct. 6 game? Not sure the Huskies would have pulled that one out if the game was played in November.  Oh what might have been?

The Joey Lynch factor

Rewind it back to 2004 where Bush was fighting Kerry, Battlestar Galactica was starting over, and some guy name Brady Hoke became the head coach at Ball State University. He had a young quarterback named Joey Lynch leading the rebuilding

Central Florida is no problem for this guy.

Central Florida is no problem for this guy.

effort. The Cardinals struggled to 2-9 season with the wins coming against Western Michigan and … Central Florida.

Yeah, Central Florida was actually in the MAC at one point. And we thought the Big East was the first to fail at geography. UCF struggled in the conference as it was a bigger misfit than a train with square wheels.

The good news is Lynch led the Cardinals to a fourth quarter comeback connecting with Dante Ridgeway for the winning score. Ball State won 21-17. High fives all around.

Lynch is still a big part of the program today being in charge of recruiting. Having a guy on the coaching staff who has already led the Cardinals to victory over the Knights goes under positive vibes. These games are eight years apart but when a team has the history edge is time to go on the offensive. Yea for logical fallacies! Just play like Joey Lynch in 2004 and your Cardinals are going to win a bowl game.

Reasons for concern

  • I wish I knew details of Wenning’s injury and what percent level he will be Friday night but I’m a blogger not a doctor. Since Wenning has been participating in practice I bet he will be starting but you never know. His health is the biggest question mark going in.
  • The Knights have experience on the defensive side of the ball. They were able to keep the Ohio State game respectable, losing 31-16. That is better than what Ball State did against Clemson. Yea for another logical fallacy! The team strength appears to be up front with a secondary that is slightly less
    The official logo of UCF while it was in the MAC.

    The official logo of UCF while it was in the MAC.

    experience. Ball State might not have that much success on the ground game putting more pressure on Page or Wenning. If the Ball State running backs struggle this could be a long day.

Prediction: Ball State 30, Central Florida 23

Ball State’s offensive line has not shown many weaknesses this season. The Knights will be tested to control the line of scrimmage; something both teams are used to doing. If Ball State can run enough it should end the season with a bowl win and a 10-win season. If the Ball State could run for 169 yards on South Florida how hard could Central Florida be? Yea for another logical fallacy.

At the very worst, Ball State should do better than what Toledo did Saturday against Utah State. Yikes!

The MAC’s one shining moment

Who would have thought that on a weekend the where Ball State gets a bowl bid the bigger story would be our bronze stalk rival Northern Illinois.Yes, your Ball State Cardinals are less than three weeks away from winning, cough, I mean playing in a bowl game against Central Florida. For those who were able to stomach the disinteresting Conference USA championship, you saw how UCF is not exactly strong. If the Cards can heal up they should take this one.

Losing to NIU in October actually scored Ball State a big pay check. Nice loss Cards!

Losing to NIU in October actually scored Ball State a big pay check. Nice loss Cards!

Plenty of other news overshadowed the bowl bid. Specifically, the Northern Illinois Huskies flipping the bird at the BCS. Kent State would have done the same had it had been on the other side of an epic MAC Championship Friday.

Northern jumped from 21 to 15 in the BCS standings thanks to teams like Texas, Nebraska, and UCLA losing.

During the week leading up to the MAC Championship game, ESPN did everything to promote the game talking how the winner could bust the BCS. Once that fantasy became a reality the worldwide leader in talking heads took a different tune.

Next thing I knew people I have been watching on College Gameday my whole life began ripping the Huskies a new one. Instead of talking about how monumental this was for a small schools everywhere it was all NIU does not belong and never will belong.

Does NIU belong in the BCS? If Louisville and Wisconsin belong then they absolutely do. Heck, we were close Saturday night to a 6-6 Georgia Tech Tech team knocking off Florida State in the ACC championship. Had the Yellow Jackets won would Jesse Palmer tell them to go away too?

Instead all ESPN could talk about was how Kansas was the only good win NIU had all year and how it lost to Iowa. The Iowa game was at the start of the year when the Huskies were breaking in a new quarterback. Why did no one on ESPN mention that?

As Jordan Lynch adjusted, NIU became even better than they were a year ago.

No one could admit that the MAC is simply better than the Big East and has gotten to the point where winning in conference matters. Northern beat Ball State, Kent State, and Toledo. All are good teams who would have finished high in the Big East conference this year. Kent State won at Rutgers. Toledo beat Cincinnati, Western Michigan beat Connecticut, and Ball State beat South Florida involving what might have been the most memorable touchdown grab in Muncie.

Don’t forget Ohio’s win over Penn State. Penn State actually finished 8-4 which inflated the MAC’s rankings with the computers. Even Central Michigan got in on the act topping Iowa on the road. And of course, Ball State beat the school from Bloomington with the ugly logo.

Bottom line, the MAC killed it in non conference action this year and had a whopping seven bowl eligible teams this year. The best part all seven got in.

That is a good conference. More worthy than the geography challenged Big East of having an automatic bid.

You might not like it ESPN, but as Dr. Phil would say in a dumb car commercial, “Tough tinsel.”

As for the game Ball State and the MAC has a lot on the line with this year’s Orange Bowl. If Northern is blown out then we have some credibility issues going forward. From observing the Big Ten the last few years, having a lack of credibility from bad bowl defeats can cripple a conference for future postseasons.

On the other side if Northern does well then I would not be surprised if another conference makes a play for the Huskies. As desperate as the Big East and Conference USA have been the last few weeks, an invitation is probably already in the mail. Tulane and East Carolina? Really Big East?

Maybe ESPN was intentionally bashing NIU Sunday night in their bowl selection show to drum up interest for the game. Think about it. If Oklahoma was playing Florida State it would just be another BCS bowl with no implications on the national championship. Instead the Orange bowl is now highly intriguing. It is similar to the Fiesta bowl with Boise State and Oklahoma a few years ago. How many other Fiesta Bowl games can you recall? That game and ….

In short, it’s a big game. Especially with the money being pumped in. Maybe Ball State can stop charging student fees? HAHA!

Rick Majerus

The other big news for Ball State this weekend was the passing of a former coaching great. When Rick Majerus coached Ball State to the sweet sixteen I was in diapers. Instead I only know him as a rotund man coaching Utah against my Kentucky Wildcats in big games.

Whenever Majerus would come in conversations I had with Muncie natives their eyes would light up. That pretty much says it all. Majerus did for the basketball program what Brady Hoke did for the football program. If anyone has any Majerus stories please share them in the comments.

Well Central Florida I guess we are no longer friends for the next few weeks. May the best team win. Oh wait, that’s us.

Can a MAC team play in a BCS bowl game?

The 2011 season was good year for the MAC, but 2012 has been incredible.

Friday night, two MAC teams will battle it out ranked in the top 21 of the BCS standings. Ironically, they are the two MAC schools that squeaked by Ball State this season.

Ball State may be playing NIU here, but that MAC logo on the field is kicking some serious keister.

For the conference it is a huge moment. If Kent State wins there is a chance the Flashes could move up high enough in the rankings to score a BCS bid.

Just think how both Kent State and Northern Illinois should be undefeated.

All NIU had to do was take down Iowa on a neutral field. The same Iowa team that lost at home to the 4th best MAC West team in Central Michigan. The Huskies could not get it done.

All Kent State had to do was beat a 2-10 Kentucky team.  Granted, Kentucky was healthy in that game before the injury mafia moved in on every good player they had including their quarterback. Yeah I’m not bitter about that or anything.

For Ball State fans it is humbling that the year where the Cards go 9-3, (6-2 MAC) a conference championship is out of reach. I don’t think of it that way. Instead I see how good the conference has become and finishing third carries weight now.

Remember when the MAC only had three teams in the bowls? Many fans of the BSC conferences felt three was too much.

Now the MAC is going for SIX bowl teams in 2012. Double what people use to think was outrageous.

Kent State even beat Rutgers in New Jersey. Rutgers is currently slated as the Big East champion that will play in the BCS. And Kent State is clearly better than them.

News came down this month that the Big East will lose their automatic BCS berth in the 2014 season. Instead the MAC, Sun Belt, Big East, Mountain West, and Conference USA will battle it out for a spot.

That may not sound like big news but I think this opens the door a crack wider for a MAC team to get into the country club of whatever the BCS turns into. Currently, it is a four-team playoff with four additional bowls adding up to 12 teams with a piece of the postseason pie.

The four-team playoff is out of reach but the other bowls may be closer than ever.

In 2008, Ball State was undefeated and did not have much of a chance at getting into a BCS game. Would that change in the new system? Perhaps, but there are some key differences.

  1. 1. The Big East loses it’s edge in recruiting. For Ball State this means the Louisville Cardinals, and Cincinnati Bearcats no longer have an advantage in gobbling up local talent. Since I hate those two teams I can’t think of anything better than to say EAT IT!
  2. 2. With Boise State in another conference it may be tougher for the Broncos to go undefeated. Who other than the Broncos scare you in those five conferences we previously mentioned? East Carolina? Troy State? Louisiana Tech? Any random school with a question mark?
  3. 3. The MAC is the most stable out of the five conferences. The Big East and Conference USA is why geography teachers think no one pays attention in their classes. The Mountain West is going through a lot of changes and the Sun Belt is still the Sun Belt. The MAC has plenty of rivalries developed and the league is great fit for all the schools with the exception of UMass. Why are the Minutemen here again?
  4. 4. Television matters. I think I was able to find every Ball State game on the internet this year or on some obscure cable channel. The argument that small schools can’t get exposure does not work anymore. The MAC may not be making much in terms of TV revenue, but the bigger goal is to get their name out. The MAC is succeeding in that. Hell even Eastern Michigan is on TV so we can laugh at their fan base. Before I only had rumors of EMU fans. Thanks to the ESPN 3, I know that at least 20 of them exist.

A MAC team may still not be able to compete for a national championship but they may closer to relevancy among the football world than ever before. Especially if a school emerges as a team that can take that automatic bid. Perhaps Ball State in say 2014.

So kick back Friday night and enjoy the MAC championship. Don’t be bitter that Ball State is not there are a lot of positives in play. Then watch a Big East game for laughs. Those guys are hilarious. Sounds like a good weekend.

Edge’s Week 1 Ruminations

Les Miles was far from impressive for Edge in Week 1

Les Miles likes walking on the tightrope. LSU’s second half attitude nearly cost them a loss and might have sealed his fate of unemployment for 2011.

Florida looked so ugly, I fought off the urge to watch a local high school game. On public access. Commentated by high school kids.

Notre Dame came out with a win in Brian Kelly’s first game. But 23-12 over Purdue leaves a bit to be desired when some very difficult opponents are lurking on that schedule.

DickRod avoided the hot seat with an impressive win over Connecticut. Tate Forcier in on the bench wasn’t surprising given his replacement made some huge waves for the future of Michigan.

Mississippi. Good Ole Miss. Moving on…

Brady Hoke is absolutely satisfied with a win over Nicholls State. 47-0 means all the homeless in San Diego can feel safe for a week.

Oregon State was one drive from handling a BCS-buster, but one bad snap sealed them to a loss against TCU. Too bad. I was hoping to see that bowl-buster drama end early.

East Carolina’s hail mary will probably be one of the top ten highlights this year. What an amazing game against Tulsa. Kudos to both sides for a great game.

Will Western Kentucky win a game this year? My sources say no.

Ok, seriously, Ole Miss. LOL. I mean, what the fuck?

Hello, Kansas. You’ve just been Turner Gill’d. You’re not alone, he did it to us in 2008. Too bad he did it for his own team this time though.

Navy’s case of fumblitis better get resolved quickly. There’s no excuse for three red zone attempts and two end in turnovers.

That Oklahoma game was a bit odd. Makes me rethink my pick of OU being a national contender this year.

Game of the week: Boise St. vs. Virginia Tech. It was everything it was hyped to be, and the Broncos prove they deserve that hype.

MAC stat of the week: 6-0 against FCS opponents. 0-7 against FBS opponents. Boo.

Finally, once again, congrats to Ball State for the week one win. Let’s keep it going against Liberty on Saturday.

Conference Champs and the Last Weekend of 09

Bittersweet. That’s how I would characterize this past weekend in college football around OTP Manor. To have great games on, beginning with Thursday’s Civil War is a fantastic way to spend a few days. To realize on Saturday as you’re soldiering through a Wisconsin-Hawaii blowout that after that there are only 35 FBS games left this season is a bit of a buzzkill. At least conference championship weekend brought the thunder and gave 2009 more of what it had all season long: upsets, upsets gone awry, and controversy.

More after the jump…

Continue reading

Mark Snyder – You’re F%^&ing Out

I have the mind of a champion, and unlike Mark Snyder... a job.

Just when it seemed like maybe we would go a day where someone didn’t get canned while the world collectively holds its breath for the news from South Bend or Lawrence about two rotund coaches clinging to a life-preserver, the poo has hit the fan again… this time in Huntington, WV, according to ESPN’s Joe Schad.

Mark Snyder, head coach of the Thundering Herd, and former Marshall player, is apparently tossed out after posting a 6-6 record. His overall record at Marshall was 22-37 and the Herd have failed to be a difference maker in CUSA in his tenure, despite this season’s 4-4 record in conference. Marshall’s 6-6 2009 record was the best under Snyder, but apparently not good enough for the powers that be.

Snyder now joins Louisville’s Steve Kragthrope, UNLV’s Mike Sanford, Memphis’ Tommy West, Akron’s JD Brookhart, Western Kentucky’s David Elson, and San Jose State’s Dick Tomey as the first, but clearly not the last, victims of the 2009 axe man.

Mark Snyder… you’re fucking out.

Weekend Carnage Report


Boom goes the Weekend Carnage Report

If OTP were a train, our actual real life function and existence Monday totally derailed the high hopes and expectations of the morning and afternoon. Post victory hangover? Perhaps. And while I wish we had all day to celebrate and mock since we have victory numero uno, part of me falls along the “Act Like You’ve Been There Before” line. We have been here before… 12 times last season to be exact, but for whatever reason, this win, this 29-27 eeking out over Eastern Michigan just tastes a lot sweeter than many of the wins last season.

Perhaps that’s because this one was unknown. Perhaps because this one silenced more critics, both internal and external, than any victory last season. Perhaps it was because of the record breaking day on the ground. It really is hard to say why I feel the way I do, because the game was far from perfect. The defense played deplorable at times, outstanding at others. As good as the running game was with Quale Lewis and Cory Sykes going for over 500 yards, the passing defense was just as bad… going for 1 yard. Singular. Not good. The special teams were far from special, as an extra point and a field goal were both blocked, and EMU was able to have favorable field position thanks to shoddy kick coverage most of the time.

The injury bug? He’s back again, this time claiming Eric Williams, the promising young tailback who at times this season has been the most exciting player on the field offensively for the Cardinals. No official word from BSU, but Williams has alerted us it’s an MCL sprain.

Any other time, a victory over a winless, hapless, severely overmatched squad like Eastern Michigan wouldn’t be cause for excessive celebration, but this time is different. The monkey is off the back of Stan Parrish and the team… finally.

The rest of the weekend…

The Good

  • Iowa: Their wins have been far from sexy, but the Hawkeyes continue to roll them up. Only a handful of teams in each of the major conferences control their own destiny any longer for a conference title, and Iowa is one of those lucky few. A win at Ohio State on 11/14 and avoiding trap games against Indiana and Illinois locks the Hawkeyes in for the conference crown and the BCS payday.
  • Cincinnati: The Bearcats are also in the control your own destiny camp, and took most of the country by surprise. Cynics will point to the lack of major opponents, but supporters can just as easily point to what Cincy has been able to do to those not so impressive teams. The area of largest concern heading into the season, the defense, has been more than impressive for the Bearcats.
  • TCU: After dismantling BYU at BYU this weekend, the Horned Frogs are making a serious case that it should be them, and not Boise State as the top ranked non-automatic qualifier. TCU’s performance on Saturday was dominant and one-sided, which is what they’ll need to keep doing to have a shot at the big dollar Bowls.

The Bad

  • North Carolina: After squandering a second half lead to Florida State and dropping their 3rd ACC contest of the season, the Tar Heels, whom many predicted to contend for the ACC find themselves in a virtual must win this Thursday at Virginia Tech to save face and try to go Bowling.
  • Kansas: The Jayhawks had the opportunity to plant their flag in the Big 12 North race with a win over a depleted and somewhat weakened Oklahoma team. After their loss, the Jayhawks now find themselves in a perilous position with the meat of their schedule upon them.
  • Rice/Miami (OH)/Eastern Michigan/Western Kentucky/New Mexico: All still winless after 8 weeks of action.

The Ugly

  • Alabama: Needed a blocked field goal in the final seconds to ensure a victory over Tennessee. It certainly raises some questions about which team in this contest was wrongly valued by the pundits and pollsters. My gut says Tennessee just plays big against big time opponents, and I hope my worst case fears that the Kiffin system actually works are not realized.
  • Auburn: LSU delivered the Tigers’ third straight loss. Auburn was a team being lauded mere weeks ago as a potential SEC West darkhorse. After Arkansas, Kentucky, and LSU, Auburn is falling back to Earth and quickly.
  • SEC Officials: No one had taken more heat leading up to Saturday’s action than the official crews in the Southeastern Conference. After yet another gameday across the south dictated by shoddy calls and blatant incorrect review decisions, there are some major questions being raised. All totally valid and worth exploring, but truly unfortunate that the country’s best conference, who happens to find themselves under the biggest microscope, is missing call after call after call.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • MiQuale Lewis/Cory Sykes, RBs, Ball State: In the win over Eastern Michigan, the Cardinal backfield rushed for over 500 yards. That’s more than most teams gain on the ground in two games. Hapless opponent? Of course. Any reason to not celebrate their accomplishment? Nope.

Weekend Carnage Report

Huge ManateeBetter late than never, certainly, and the lack of which is making me reconsider heading to a distant road game in the future. On one hand, we have the delayed posting, the inability to get stuff done while traveling, etc. On the other, it’s southern barbecue, southern beauties, and maybe some of the nicest people on Earth. More on the Auburn trip tomorrow, but for now, it’s time to run through the weekend.

The Good

  • Florida/Texas/Alabama: Points to the top 3 for taking care of business and not losing. The same cannot be said for more than a few Top 10 teams. Bonus points to the Gators for doing it on the road, against a decent team, after an injury to Tebow.
  • Iowa: In what has become an annual rite of passage, the Hawkeyes knock off Penn State and essentially ending any hope of Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions to compete for a national title. Whether Iowa continues this sort of success is anyone’s guess, but for now, they certainly look like favorites for the Big 10.
  • Auburn: Bias because of watching them in person? Perhaps. But the Tigers looked damn good on Saturday against Ball State. Give a team like Auburn the emotion of a game against Alabama and they are certainly a darkhorse SEC West contender.

The Bad

  • Ole Miss: For weeks now, anyone that has lauded the Rebels as potential BCS busters has had to deal with a host of folks who throw around terms like “overrated”, “has played no one”, and “Nutt can’t coach a two-car funeral”. Frankly, after the performance on Thursday night, I may have to agree with the latter and not the former.
  • Maryland: Another week, another home loss for the Terps. At least this team the opponent was an BCS conference school. With Rutgers’ victory, the grumblings about Ralph Friedgen are getting louder, more insistent, and more correct.
  • Cal: Just as we were beginning to drink the Cal Kool Aid, Oregon came along with their fancy uniforms and ran roughshod all over the Bears. Did Cal not show up? Oregon simply play the game of their lives? Who knows. What is known is that Cal only mustered 77 yards on the ground. Not good at all.

The Ugly

  • LSU: Whether it was simply the football Gods not trying hard enough to upset the Tigers, their win over Mississippi State was not something that inspires any sort of confidence in the Tigers. This week? Georgia. Next week? Florida. Play like this past weekend, and say hello to 0-2.
  • Notre Dame: Notre Dame needed a miscue from Purdue’s coaches to pull out a victory, one that should have been nowhere as close as it was. Clausen injury or not, ND needs to lay the wood to teams like Purdue. This game did nothing to ease the yells for Charlie Weis.
  • Georgia/Georgia Tech: The Jekyll and Hyde sort of teams from the Yellow Jackets and the Bulldogs makes anyone watching them want to tear their hair out. GT gets blown out on national televison, then defeats UNC. Georgia struggles against everyone, does it again, but pulls out the victory. This has to stop eventually. Right?

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • BJ Daniels, QB, South Florida: Leading the Bulls for the first time after an injury to Matt Groethe, and Daniels rings up the Noles for 341 total yards and 2 passing TDs.
  • Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati: 9 catches and 177 yards with his 2 TDs as Cincy outlasts Fresno, moves to 4-0, and gains even more national attention.
  • Russell Wilson, QB, NC State: Lights up Pitt for 413 total yards and 4 TDs… you know… that Pitt team that was vaunted for its defensive presence.

From Edge

  • The Oregon Ducks: Outgained the Bears 524-207, withstood 3 lost fumbles, scored 42 unanswered. Dominating.
  • Case Keenum, QB, Houston: 435 yards passing and TDs passing and rushing as the Cougars rally past Texas Tech, move to 3-0, and are looking every bit the team capable of busting the BCS
  • God, Jesus, Vishnu, Buddha, whoever: Offering up a plate of hot Karma to Tim Tebow for his apparent taunting of Kentucky fans in the first quarter.
  • De-sticker goes to Purdue for calling a timeout at the end of the Purdue-ND game.  Just stupid football right there.

From RV

  • Quoted for posterity: “I didn’t get a chance to watch enough but I give all my helmet stickers to the dude who knocked tebow into the afterlife.” (Ed. Note: “The Dude” being Taylor Wyndham, DE for Kentucky)