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MAC Blogger Roundtable

MacRoundTable

Admittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is Tim, from Bull Run, your one-stop shop for all things Buffalo related. The school not the wings. Unlike the school, the wings have never crushed my soul with a pile of turnovers in Ford Field as we watched the MAC title and an undefeated season slip away. Stupid Buffalo. Off we go!

For most of the MAC the season is half over. Bowing Green/Akron leads the East and Toledo/NIU lead the west how do you think the rest of the season plays out?

Honestly, the first time in a while, I think it’s about anyone’s race. I think when the dust settles it will be Toledo and BG, but that’s more of  an educated guess than some sort of substantive informed opinion. Frankly, I’m more concerned with our own little situation at BSU to worry about the conference as a whole. Mostly because I’m a selfish prick, but also because Ball State’s ability to even impact the conference race is almost entirely slipping to spoiler. That is, of course, fine by me, as I’m a firm believer in shitting all over someone else’s season while your mired in the weeds of your own not-so-awesome situation.

Looking ahead to the second half of the season what is the best realistic scenario you see for your team

I’d like to say that the change in quarterback will lead to Ball State ripping off seven straight wins, the Cardinals winning the MAC, and me going to Detroit for the bowl where I will meet a Canadian beach volleyball player who will fall madly in love with me and adopt me as her cabana boy. All of those things are probably not so realistic (at least the football related things) so that didn’t answer the question. Most likely, there will be marked improvement and the Cardinals will have to fight to finish 5-7. That’s closing out the season 4-3 and that’s not terrible given who is on the schedule.

Many of the P5 programs are seeing their attendance start to fall, the more popular mid majors are also starting to fall off. What has your program done to help bolster your attendance and what do you believe they should do next?

They’ve done some well-needed things like putting in a video board on one end of the stadium. They’ve increased premium seating in recent years. They also allow kids and families to sit on the hillside where there inflatables and those sorts of things. I think it’s more about what they haven’t done. There is still archaic tailgating time restrictions and policy enforcement. There is still a significant lack of stadium amenities like a decent bathroom:fan ratio or some decent stadium food options. Most disheartening of all, though, is the half-assed way that BSU even counts their attendance. It’s at best an estimation and they don’t even do that right, going significantly under what it looks like is there. If we’re going to be dishonest, let’s not hurt the reputation in the process.

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MAC Blogger Roundtable

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is Carter, from Eagle Totem, your one-stop shop for all things EMU related. That’s Eastern Michigan the school, not emus the animals, but with the season EMU is likely to have, writing about animals may be more satisfying. Off we go!

1. This weekend the MAC suffered four losses by 38 points or more, with Massachusetts losing 48-7, Bowling Green losing 68-17, EMU losing 73-14, and Northern Illinois losing 52-14. Is the payday worth the price in reputation?

I guess I would argue that the thumpings this weekend didn’t diminish the reputation because there wasn’t some stellar shiny reputation before those curbstompings. Usually, there are a couple good to decent MAC schools per year, but when they go up against real teams past week 1, they aren’t given much of a shot unless they are the special kind of MAC team like NIU the last couple years or BSU the last couple years. I guess my thoughts on MAC honor given the losses would be sort of like Chris Jericho doing a shoot on Stephanie McMahon when he first came to the WWE. After her husband came to her aid while Y2J was destroying her verbally, Jericho said to Triple H, “It must be hard to defend the honor of a woman who has none.” Then he called her a bottom feeding trash bag ho and we all laughed. Oh, good times.

2. How has your perception of the conference race changed since the pre-season? Which team(s) have most disappointed and which have most impressed you so far?

I’d say it’s safe to say that I’ve been impressed with NIU more than any other, thanks largely to the fact that they were the first team to three wins and frankly, I expected some level of drop off. That’s going to happen, eventually, right? This damn team can’t be that good for that long forever. It’s like the guy on your floor in college that was great at sports, exceptionally muscular, got all the chicks, had a great singing voice, and came from a wealthy family. I spent an inordinate amount of time hoping that guy got syphilis and died. You can die from that, right?

In terms of disappointment, I’d say Ball State has been significantly disappointing for me personally. We knew things were going to take a step back but suffice to say none of us expected the drop-off to be so significant. I’m not used to this level of disappointment and unfulfilled feelings. I now know how all of my girlfriends have felt at some point or another.

3. If your team could replay one down from this fall and get a different result, what down and why?

I would think that every Ball State fan’s answer would be the same on this one: the final Indiana State play that was perhaps the oddest play I’ve seen in…. forever. It was a cacophony of suck where QBs were getting tackled inbounds with no timeouts and under 15 seconds to play, offensive linemen were dawdling back to the line, someone handed the ball to a teammate rather than an official, and then the official just dropped it as the clock ticked down to zero. If it wasn’t so heartbreaking it would be funny, but it is just sad. Sad that BSU had such a comedy of errors and sad the MAC employs such incompetent boobs to wear referee uniforms on Saturdays.

Got ideas of your own to the above questions? Comment section. And… go.

MAC Blogger Roundtable

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable are the gents from LetsGoRockets, the Toledo blog. Normally in this space I give the host site a little good-natured ribbing but considering the beating these guys will have to endure on Saturday at the hands of the fightin’ Football Cardinals, let’s just get to it.

1) Three weeks into the season, discuss the biggest surprise (positive or negative) with your respective team?

Where to start. The biggest surprise has been without question the defensive performance. It’s been productivity unseen in ages in Muncie and benchmarks about points allowed and yardage that have been around for decades are dropping like crazy. That’s a good thing. It’s unfortunate that the year the defense decides to put up a world-class effort, the offense can’t stop stepping on its dick every fourth or fifth play. From the playcalling right on down to the execution, this season on the offensive side of the ball is reminiscent of Will Muschamp’s first season at Florida.

2) If you could augment your team with any one player (or coach) from any team in the country, who would you select and why?

If BSU had a quarterback that had a deep threat potential the offense would be off and running. Therefore, I’ll take Bryce Petty and his busted back, a thank you very much.

3) What, if any, game plan changes do you expect to see from your respective team as we dive in to the conference schedule?

There are two critical game plan edits that I’d like to see the Legendary Lembo Crew make. The first is throwing out the “Throw a short pass at the receiver’s feet” play, because that one isn’t working out as well as we thought it would. The second would be the defense of “allow a big-ass seam down the middle of the field that the opposing quarterback can abuse all day” probably needs to take a time out as well. The biggest gameplan edit I’d like to recommend would be “Win this game” because it seems like that is a sustainable strategy initiative.

4) It’s time for the first MAC Blogger ranking of the season – rank all 13 teams in the conference.

At this point, ranking MAC teams is a poopshow of futility but let it not be said that OTP was above getting muddy from time to time. The most correct MAC rankings you’re likely to find…

13. Kent State
12. UMass
11. Miami
10. EMU
9. Buffalo
8. BSU
7. Ohio6. WMU
5. Akron
4. Toledo
3. CMU
2. BG
1. NIU

Week 2 MAC Roundtable

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

This week’s MAC Roundtable host is the award-winning, well-read, skilled-in-the-bedroom blog that represents The Ball State University, OverThePylon.net. Those guys are so awesome. And humble. Yes, their lovemaking is only trumped by their humility. Participants in this week’s roundtable were (drumroll):

  1. Eagle Totem for all your EMU needs (via) (ET)
  2. Lets Go Rockets for your various Toledo related goings on (via) (LGR)
  3. Bull Rull for that school that shall not be named from New York (via) (BR)
  4. FalconBlog for the BGSU slant (via) (FB)
  5. Hustle Belt for general MACtion (via) (HB)

We Q’d they A’d, and then we chimed in with the obviously correct perspective for each of the various queries.

1) Now that the first weekend is over what did you learn about your team? Any unexpected surprises? Any lingering questions that are yet to be answered?

ET: Lingering questions? Yeah, we’ve got a few.

As for lessons learned, I think the key one is that, although no one in Ypsi wants to “embrace the process” again, this is not going to be a quick turnaround.

LGR: We learned that the QB situation is settled — gone are the days of multi-QBs playing split series like years past. Ely proved to have good strength, accuracy and the poise of proven leader in only his first game with the Rockets.

The lingering question to be answered is if the defense can step up from years past and put this team over the top. They looked a bit shaky in the opening minutes, but settled down in the second half of Saturday’s game against UNH. A big test for the Rocket defense will be this Saturday against Missouri.

BR: I am not totally surprised that UB had a gaping no mans land in their defensive scheme. The team moved Adam Redden to a safety spot and despite his gifts as an athlete transitioning to safety after being an all conference player *AT LINEBACKER* last season may have been a bit much to ask.

Factor in the way he was used and the play that torched UB early in the third quarter had to happen.

But I am surprised that after being torched and exposed on a long pass the team came out with the exact same alignment the next series only to get torched again. I suppose that I should not be surprised yet here I sit, shocked that we made zero adjustments to the one play the Dukes were using to really hurt us.

FB: You could say that. You could definitely say that. The answer is just this? Will BG be able to stop anyone. The defensive performance against WKU was simply awful, making Brandon Doughty look like Johnny Unitas. There was no coverage, no tackling and no pass rush. The single question for BG–not so much for this week–is whether the team will be able to have good enough defense to compete for a title, or whether they will have to win 52-45.

HB: Well, we learned that the run defense isn’t much better, and that Jarvion Franklin is the next beast of the MAC.

I loved seeing Franklin perform, especially against a Big Ten opponent. It was amazing, and it was a statement to the rest of the conference that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. His 160+ yards set a new Bronco high in the Fleck Era, and he looked powerful doing it. He made holes, broke tackles, and looked somewhat fast. Oh, and he’s a true freshman.

As for the defense, well, they struggled to stop a shaky run game by Purdue. Take nothing away from Mostert and Hunt, both superb athletes on their own, but the Purdue offensive line blows chunks. There were way too many long runs, and the additional loss of Donald Celiscar won’t help matters with the pass game probably opening up now as well. Just a bad week for the Bronco defense.

As for the MAC as a whole, we saw that Kent State and Ohio could be in trouble, Akron and Miami look to have even better seasons than last, Toledo and NIU still aren’t missing a beat (and maybe Ball State as well), and Central and Eastern still look like hot garbage against opponents they really shouldn’t. Oh, and UMass still sucks.

For BSU we learned that life after Jay Bateman on the defensive side of the ball may be a quite enjoyable. Kevin Kelly came in like gangbusters and shut Colgate down. That was nice. We also learned that Colgate sucks something awful so really any data we try to extrapolate out from that win is a mission in futility. Lingering questions for the Cards are offensive related and whether or not the Ozzie Football show is ready to take the MAC by storm.

2) After an opening weekend that saw more than a few tomato cans on MAC schedules, the big boys show up in Week 2 in the likes of Florida, Kentucky, Iowa, Mizzou, and Penn State. Any of the Power 5 get taken down by a MAC squad this weekend? Which one of the marquee games will have your attention?

ET: Well, obviously I’ll be watching EMU at Florida, and as a Kentucky alum I’ll be keeping an eye on Lexington (I remember 2004). I could honestly make a case for any MAC team to win their game this weekend (yes, even EMU…we’ll get there later this week), but if I had to pick one as the most likely MAC win, I’d take Ball State over Iowa. The Hawkeyes look vulneragle after a close call against Northern Iowa last weekend, and I think the Cardinals are entirely capable of getting the job done. Northern Illinois and even Akron may also have decent shots at beating their B1G opponents this weekend.

LGR: Obviously the Toledo vs Missouri game has our attention. Historically, the Rockets play well against big conference opponents at home — recently beating Iowa State, Kansas, Colorado and Pittsburgh. The Gary Pinkel dynamic will be interesting as he coached the Rockets from 1991 – 2000 so that makes for a good story line, if nothing else. We are realistic in our expectations from this game but know the Rockets have the potential to make it interesting.

We won’t discount CMU and Ball State’s chances of giving Purdue and Iowa a test, respectively. But the best MAC / OOC matchup will be at the Glass Bowl.

BR: Kentucky is clearly the most vulnerable team on that list, they are also playing against one of the MAC more consistently good teams. Not long ago the Bobcats took Penn State down and if I had to pick just one MAC team to pull an upset this week I would say Ohio is that team.

To be honest I find losses to Western Kentucky more distressing than a lack of wins against Missou.

FB: I think a number of these games could be really interesting. I’d give NIU a shot over Northwestern, Ball State over Iowa, Ohio over Kentucky and Akron over Penn State, if for no other reason than the travel Penn State has put in. Having said that, the highest profile assignment–and the only home game–is Missouri and UT. The Glass Bowl will be rocking, but I don’t see the Tigers being intimidated and I think they probably have enough.

HB: NIU vs Northwestern.

I also like Ball State to maybe knock off Iowa as well, but NIU should gain complete control over the state of Illinois with this game with both B1G houseguests struggling to do anything. NIU has been the top of the state, and now is the time to prove it against a shaky Wildcat squad. On a related note, have you been to that field? It’s nice. Also, Chicago kicks ass too so that’s a plus.

Ohio struggled to down Kent State, so I can’t see them beating a Kentucky squad. Mizzou seems too powerful for Toledo. Same goes for Penn State and Akron. Florida will stream-roll EMU barring another weather postponement.

Toledo and Missouri, I suppose, but even that has me quite nonplussed. Given the hamblasting that BG took at the hands of WKU and their injuries, the presumptive MAC frontrunner is now reeling. That means it’s someone’s conference to up and grab, and beating a P5 school would be a good way to do that.

3) As Bowling Green was getting destroyed by Western Kentucky, it raised an interesting conundrum among the MAC fans. Do you root against your rivals and hope they take a shanking or should we band together as one MAC and hope for massive upsets? Does the quality of the team matter?

ET: I’ve never been able to care quite enough about any of EMU’s MAC rivals to cheer against them in non-conference play. Maybe if EMU had really been good within the last 25 years I’d feel different though, because the Kentuckian in me always cheers against Tennessee. Always.

LGR: This is a complex issue without a really solid precedence. Let us start by saying that a BGSU loss is like a tiny, bonus Toledo victory and we love to see the Falcons in their rightful place (the losing end of the battle). But, bigger picture, every team needs the conference to be strong in order to help their own cause. Being the number one team in a crap conference doesn’t mean much — it doesn’t impress voters, selection panels, high school prospects, prospective opponents — the list goes on and on. Having a consistent product is very important and the Ws and Ls of the teams in a conference are directly reflected in the perception of the conference. A MAC team losing to an SEC team but putting up a fight does not negatively impact the conference perception (but allows for rivals’ amusement) while a MAC team losing to a lesser conference team without showing any signs of a fight reflects very poorly on the entire conference.

BR: If were going to be honest with ourselves watching a conference foe lose to an FCS team is like driving by a pile up on the highway. You really want to stop and look but at the same time you should feel a little guilty because something very bad happened.

So there are two rules for how we should approach non conference games.

#1 – Always and I mean *always* root for the MAC team out of conference, even if its Ball State!
#2 – You are then somewhat obligated to root for the teams beaten by a MAC squad to have a great year. Even if it means rooting for Indiana because it would make the Cards win look better.

A small part of me enjoyed watching the Cards fall to Liberty a few years back. That little bit of joy needs to be stamped out with the knowledge that it does not do Buffalo any good to see Gardner Webb beat Akron or Nichols sink PJ Fleck’s boat.

Rather than help UB MAC our of conference losses hurt the Bulls, and everyone else in the MAC. When UB had a dumpster fire season in 2010 it was capped with a loss to an Akron team that… Wait for it…. Lost to Gardner Webb! Talk about going from Bad to Worse.

I’d love to see everyone in the MAC go 4-0 out of conference, even if it makes Bowl Selection difficult and raises the chances of getting a “Toledo Job” when the post season games are being handed out.

FB: Are we talking about Toledo? Because then I have to confess that when it comes to that, I don’t care that much about the MAC. Other than Toledo, I root for MAC teams when they play out of conference games. Quality of teams doesn’t really matter, though there is a slight nuance. I root for our teams to beat good teams and not to lose to FCS teams.

HB: Rivals? No, unless the game is REALLY huge (as in, your team wins money too if they win). Otherwise, never rivals. Everyone else in the MAC? You cheer for no matter what in my opinion. It looks good for the conference, and if your team is doing good, a win over them makes things even better.

I don’t care how much money stands to be made, if a team I feel like is a semi-rival of BSU, I will openly despise them and do so without apology. These teams include: Buffalo, Northern Illinois, CMU, Miami, WMU. That money will never flow back into my pockets and after BIG GUVMINT takes their bite out of the taxes, conference teams will end up with approximately $4.52. My hatred is worth far far more than that. $7 at least.

MAC Roundtable: Week 12

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is Carter from EagleTotem, the EMU blog. Normally in this space I give the host site a little good-natured ribbing but Carter’s team of choice is EMU, so really there is nothing I could say or do to make him feel worse than his team’s on-field performance already does.

1. With three weekends remaining in the regular season, two MAC coaches are already gone. Does anyone else get fired, and if so who? Do any coaches get hired away, and if so who?

I think we’ve already eradicated the conference of the lower rung folks who needed the axe, and while I’m sad to see Treadwell and English hit the bricks because those were always easy Ws for BSU, the conference as a whole needs dumpster fire programs to at least be a little bit competitive. Everyone else is either relatively new, has extenuating program circumstances, or has enough goodwill banked to not get canned. Kudos to Jeff Quinn for coaching his way out of a pink slip. For next year, I’d think a couple of folks start the year with a bar to clear otherwise they’re given their walking papers. Dan Enos, Charlie Molnar, and PJ Fleck may not want to go buying any new property in their current zip code just yet.

I would bet that’s an almost certainty that Pete Lembo moves on given the amount of offers that there may be and the lack of other quality candidates in the MAC. Carey has only been at NIU for a year, and while I don’t doubt someone will try to lure him away, he’d be better off to pick his spot after more success. Clawson may get some calls but I have to be honest, BG is not a bad place to be. There’s a lot of systemic things in place that make coaching there a little different than the rest of the MAC.

2. This year it seems that the conference has a top and a bottom but no middle; six teams have six or more wins already, while the other seven teams have three or fewer wins. Those bottom seven teams collectively have just a single win over the top six teams (Central Michigan over Ohio). Why is the divide so sharp this year?

I think it’s the case of the cyclical MAC where a program either wins for a couple of years then falls off for a couple of years, rinse and repeat or a program is just awful for long stretches. NIU and BSU are the system buckers, one being consistently good for several years and several coaches and one building on success year after year. It goes in circles so I’m sure in a few years the teams that are terrible will be good and the teams that are good will be struggling to pillow fight their way past each other. Circle of life and all that jazz.

3. Six MAC teams are already bowl-eligible, and a seventh has a fair shot (Central Michigan, with games remaining against Western Michigan, Massachusetts, and EMU). Make some bold bowl predictions!

NIU: BCS Bowl
BSU: Little Ceasars Deep Dish Bowl
Buffalo: Compass Bowl
Toledo: GoDaddy Danica Patrick Bikini Bowl
BG: Idaho Potato Skins Bowl
Ohio: Beef O Bradys Bowl
CMU: Left home

MAC Roundtable: Week 10

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is the fantastic Toledo blog LetsGoRockets. One of the early MAC blogs and a fellow fan of putting style on equal footing with substance, LGR should be a site you check frequently to stay on top of the Rockets and the Toledo goings on. Off we go…

1. What one game left on your respective team’s schedule is an absolute must-win?

Obviously it’s our MOST HATED RIVAL NIU because that’s the only game that we won’t be a significant favorite for. In my mind, “should wins” can’t also be “must wins” because those are games you should win just by showing up and playing halfway decent. So, the midweek matchup that may very well be billed as The MAC Game of the Century between the Fighting Football Cardinals and OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU will not only be awesome to watch and a BSU victory, but it is a must-win for the Cardinals to achieve the first of their goals this season… win the MAC West.

2. Disregarding record and tie-ins, based on what you’ve seen through 9 weeks of the season, what one team would you like to have a shot at in a bowl or playoff game and why?

Bring on Alabama! I know, I know. People call Finebaum all the time and talk their garbage about Saban being the best ever, the Tide being the modern day version of the 40’s and 50’s Oklahoma, etc. etc. Roll Tide. But they have holes. They have issues. Hell, Jason remarks every week on our podcast about how Alabama’s defense is trash this year. I’m always a big fan of Keith and the boys getting to go up against a swiss cheese defensive unit. It won’t happen of course, because BIG FOOTBALL refuses to have their show ponies broken down by an up and comer, but it would be fantastic if it did. I may or may not have already reserved a billboard in Tuscaloosa to do some tauntin’.

3. We’ve seen a bevy of new bowl games with MAC tie-ins. What’s your take on the additional bowl games — good exposure for MAC teams, too many bowl games already, or something in the middle?

I think as sad as it is to admit, with the playoffs coming the writing is on the wall that there may be a split in big time football between the big time programs and the not so big time programs. There’s too much on the line, the NCAA has lost too much face, and frankly, there is only room for improvement. Kudos to the MAC for being proactive for once instead of being reactionary after everyone else has decided what they’re doing. No matter if the outcome is good or bad, the conference made a decision, and that I have nothing but support for.

4. Power poll… rank the MAC teams 1-13.

1A. Northern Illinois
1B. Ball State
3. Buffalo
4. Ohio
5. Toledo
6. BG
7. CMU
8. Akron
9. Kent State
10. UMass
11. Western Michigan
12. Eastern Michigan
13. Miami

MAC Roundtable: Week 9

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is HustleBelt, the MAC home on SBNation, the blogging network that has essentially swallowed up almost every blog site of note. (NOTE: OTP is not on SBNation, hence why I said “almost”) HB provides the MAC with a nice home over there and there are a couple of network sites like BullRun and Red and Black Attack. Though we are not a part of the SBNation empire, we do maintain some great relationships with sites over there, and even did some well-received writing for the aforementioned HustleBelt in the summertime as a lead up to MAC football. It’s a high quality site, but there’s just so much other MAC chatter. Does anyone really care about the WMU depth chart or Ron English’s weekly comments? I’m sure the dozens or so fans of those programs like it, but to each their own. On to HB’s Q’s and our remarkably amazeball A’s. Off we go…

1. It’s rivalry week with Bowling Green taking on Toledo and Miami taking on Ohio. What is the best rivalry in your opinion in the MAC and why?

Of course the best rivalry is the one between the beloved Ball State Fighting Football Cardinals and OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU. It’s for a trophy for chrissake. I don’t see a trophy for the WMU-EMU game, though perhaps they should be. Might I suggest a log? What rolls down stairs, alone or in pairs, or rolls over your neighbor’s dog? What’s great for a snack and fits on your back? It’s log, log, log. It’s log, log. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood. It’s log, log. It’s better than bad, it’s good! Everyone wants a log. You’re gonna love it, log. Come on and get your log. Everyone needs a log. Log. Log. Log. From Blammo! But really, I can’t think of a great MAC rivalry as it really is contingent on who is good, and at least in recent memory, that’s been BSU and OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU. There’s a lot on the line when these two meet, and hell, twice in the last five years, a loss would have meant the end of BCS dreams for the programs.

2. NIU has opened up in the 18 spot in the last-first BCS standings, albeit behind Fresno State. If both teams manage to win out, should both teams bust the BCS or just one of them and which one? (put aside the MAC bias for a moment)

I have to veto the premise of the question as OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU will not, as stated, “win out”. If, and it’s a big if they both do, then OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU will probably land the BCS bid, more so because they at least played a couple of decent teams before their flaming garbage pile of conference play. Fresno’s entire schedule has been said blazing trash, so neither has a strong case but OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU has the least crummy of the two. But again, it’s a moot point because the Huskies are getting beaten on November 13th.

3. What has been your biggest surprise/storyline thus far this season  and why?

Obviously I’m biased, but BSU’s performance has been pleasantly surprising. I think most thought the Cards would be good, but nowhere near the level of dominance they’ve shown. Short of an unimpressive speedbump againt Kent, and the North Texas loss, the Cardinals have looked as dominant if not more so than OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU and everyone is collectively messing their pants over Jordan Lynch and the Huskies both in conference and on the national level. We talked about it before, but it’s a damn shame the nation apparently only has eyes for one MAC player at a time, because Keith Wenning has looked just as good though different, from Lynch. Only one gets Heisman mentions. Only one gets ESPN splash pages. Only one gets Gameday mentions. Of course, as mentioned above, that could all change on November 13th, which makes that game and the run up to it the biggest storyline of the year in the MAC. These two programs are on a collision course for a MAC West title and it’s about to go down like a drunk freshman.

MAC Roundtable: Week 7

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is BJ from FalconBlog, the outstanding BGSU blog. I think a good reason why I’m nowhere close to anti-BG is BJ’s work on his site. He was one of the folks we reached out to when we started this thing and was as helpful as could be. Plus, in football at least, BSU and BG just kind of do their own thing. They’re a non-combative enemy for the time being and there isn’t a ton of history. Unlike Buffalo. God, those guys are the worst.

Our Qs to his As…

1:  PJ Fleck.  He came in, young and brash.  They were walking on coals and getting highly ranked recruits.  Now a rough season…Fleck says the year has been “100% success.”  Is Fleck going to succeed or flame out spectacularly?

The flame that he’s already created makes Rome’s infamous fire seem like a hobo cooking situation, and there’s PJ doing his best Nero, sans fiddle, rowboat dancing all around the embers. The fact that he says this season is a 100% success makes me wonder what a 100% failure would look like. He’s winless, hapless, sort of a joke, and there’s really not a lot of gap between rock bottom and where this program is at. He’s the worst. Seriously. He’s like Lane Kiffin with less talent and that’s saying a lot. If I was a Western Michigan fan, I would just start rooting for Eastern. All of the losses, but only some of the lost dignity. My only hope is that he’s also a complete prick off the field. Rolling through Kalamazoo in a T-Top Trans Am with an eagle airbrushed on the hood, spinning donuts in old people’s yards and knocking off mailboxes with one of his boat oars while littering. And stealing things from children. He’s a joke. But the one good thing he has done is make Bill Cubit look like a serviceable head coach, so let’s take a minute and marvel at that spectacular feat.

2: NIU had a close call with Akron.  Is this just something that happens or do you think it exposed weakness for the Huskies?

Did someone say OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU? I hope that close call against Akron demonstrated their weakness, however, considering Ball State needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Kent State, it would be hard for me to sit in my glass mansion and throw boulders at OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU. Hard, but not impossible. Therefore, yes, it did exhibit significant weakness. I think OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is a paper tiger and nowhere close to the buzzsaw that people are making them out to be. Their scores this season have been less than impressive, and in all reality, they haven’t really beaten anyone. Sure, they beat Iowa, but how hard is that? They thumped Purdue, but the Boilermakers can’t beat their meat this season, so that is also not impressive. Their weaknesses will cost them. For example, they can’t appreciate a good sunset. Whack, bro. They also don’t drink Jager bombs and ask random strangers “How much you bench?”. Why? Because they are weak. OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is weak and it is my belief that the MAC West is ripe for regime change.

3: I have been proposing for some time that first downs be added as an individual stat.  What do you think?  Any other things you think could be added?

I like it. If for nothing else, it would give something meaningful for Western Michigan to shoot for. First down? ROW THE BOAT, MAN!!!! I think a stat like yards after contact or yards after catch assuming they are kept objectively would give a much more complete picture of an offensive team. Perhaps official pass deflections, etc. to let you know whether all those interceptions WMU is racking up are the QBs fault or just fluke luck. I’m a big proponent of anything that gives a more complete and accurate picture of established and accepted statistics is a good thing. But again, the key to that is the MAC doing it effectively and correctly, which they can’t do. Between the referees, the chain gangs, etc. I’m pretty sure the MAC would screw up a ball bearing.

MAC Roundtable: Week 6

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

This week’s host of the roundtable is Tim at BullRun. It’s a Buffalo blog, and in the interest of full disclosure, Tim and I have had an evolving and strange relationship in the blogosphere. At base root, Tim runs a Buffalo blog and the wounds from 2008 are still fresh enough to sting. Some of my aggression was taken out on him if for no other reason than he happened to be the one Buffalo fan I knew. It’s petty, it’s silly, it was ridiculous. But it is what it is. Factor in when Tim first started I figured he (like most others) would fizzle out after a season, maybe two, so he wasn’t worth acknowledging. Similar to how the king of a pride of lions doesn’t concern himself with the jerkwheat hyenas that feed off his table scraps, that’s how I saw BullRun. (Note: one of these start ups decided they were going to take a few shots at OTP and tell us we didn’t know what we were doing and how they were going to shut us down. At last check, they haven’t posted in 6 months. I think I speak for all of us on staff and maybe all of humanity when I say to them: NOTHING! Because they don’t exist anymore! Hahahahah!!! SICK BURN BRO!)

To his credit though, Tim has put together a consistent and solid site, one that I think is a great reflection of the quality of the MAC. The subject matter? Well, that is still awful, but dammit he tries. And sometimes that’s good enough.

  • NIU has recently cracked the top 25 in both teh AP and Coaches Polls should they win out, and if Fresno trips up, do they finish in the top 12? what would a back to back trip for NIU to a BCS bowl mean for that program and for the MAC

I know Tim was rushed when he did this, but he misspelled “the” in the question. I thought for a second that the roundtable had been hacked by a trolling bunch of 16-year old texters with their scrunchies, New Kids on the Block posters, and questions about periods. That’s what 16-year-old girls talk about, right?

Anywho, it’s a question that I think has an invalid premise, because OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU isn’t going to win out. They have a date with destiny on November 13th. And by “destiny”, I mean “destruction”. I’m serious. It’s going to be epic. My only hope is they win out until then, so the defeat will be that much sweeter. Much like the Dementors at Hogwarts, I thrive on ridding people of their joy and happiness. It’s like fuel to my soul. (And yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference. Trying to get in that virgin nerd demographic like whoa.)

  • Miami has cast Treadwell to the side half way through year three while Ron English is in year five and just survived the “Quinn Reaper”. Buffalo has been limping along with Quinn since 2010 and in fact gave him an extension last season. Is a big part of the problem for the poor performing MAC football schools tied to their expectations?

No, a big problem with MAC football programs is when they think they are a football school and they aren’t. I appreciate Miami’s “Cradle of Coaches” song and dance, but those days are done. The rest of the MAC has stepped their game up and everyone is pitching a “Come be noticed” kind of sale. They should stick to what they know… QBs getting a little handsy in a bathroom stall.

Really, what’s complicating their problem is that the people they have hired (a la English, Quinn, Treadwell, etc.) I wouldn’t trust to coach a three-car funeral, much less my football team. MAC coaches are by nature a crap shoot. Sometimes you have all the pedigree in the world and you end up being a failure. Other times, you’re a relative unknown and you end up being someone most people would name a child after. Coaching in general is a gamble, but in the MAC, it’s even more so, and that’s what makes it fun. Sure, anyone can be monogamous and live a quiet life like a BCS AQ school picking up a coordinator from a fellow “name” program. In the MAC, we’re trolling the casino buffets mid-morning looking for afternoon delights that we can’t bother with trivial things like protection or first names. Sometimes, you hit it big. Other times, you die of the AIDS. That’s just how it goes.

  • Off all the games coming up this week in the MAC which one should give us the best indication of how each division, and the conference will play out.

Honestly, this whole week of MAC play gets a collective “Woof” from me for a slate of games that I can’t imagine tell us anything. That, of course, changes if there’s a massive upset of BSU, NIU, or Toledo, but if I knew in advance one of those things would happen, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, I’d be in Vegas. Betting on games. And trolling the aforementioned buffets. I think this is  a very status quo weekend in the MAC and that’s ok. I want OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU to be fat, drunk, and happy when their time comes.

MAC Roundtable: Week 5

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is Eagle Totem, an EMU blog (the school, not the animal). I think it speaks volumes to Carter’s dedication about his team when you blog about EMU. In fact, I’m not sure there is a more soul-crushing endeavor than blogging about something with such little following, little success, and just a general “Meh…” sort of perception. I was going to make a joke here about what would be worse, but I’ve always been against piling on those who take a disproportionate number of bad things their way. So we’ll just move along to the Qs so you can read our As. And they’re amazeballs, as per usual.

1. When will Northern Illinois take their first loss, and when will Massachusetts, Miami, and Western Michigan get their first wins? (Or will the Huskies go undefeated and/or one of those teams go winless?)

Did someone say Northern Illinois? Heretofore on OTP referred to as OUR MOST HATED RIVAL? That’s actually a good question, though, as OUR MOST HATED RIVAL is setting the college football world on fire with the shiny little undefeated record. In the words of Christian Bale, “Oh.. gooood for you“. I haven’t looked at their schedule in a while but I remember OUR MOST HATED RIVAL playing Toledo the week after BSU. So I will say one of two things will happen. Either OUR MOST HATED RIVAL will take a loss against the Fightin’ Cardinals and then come out revenge-minded against the Rockets, or OUR MOST HATED RIVAL will squeak out a W and be supremely overconfident and drop a game to Turdledo, which would then mean a three-way tie for the MAC West assuming UT doesn’t lose another. And as Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake told us, “It’s not gay, if it’s in a 3-way.” But anyway, OUR MOST HATED RIVAL is dropping one of those two games. Where they can kiss their ridiculous hopes of back to back BCSs goodbye. KISS IT.

2. Who are your early picks for offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, special teams player of the year, freshman of the year, and coach of the year?

Anyone who says a name other than Keith Wenning for offensive MVP is either trolling BSU fans, delusional, being a contrarian, or is simply not paying attention. I think it’s cute that other teams play offense and I commend their effort and their performance. “Good job, good effort,” if you will. Coach of the Year also needs to reside in Muncie, if for no other reason than his body of work. What Pete Lembo has done at BSU is nothing short of astounding, and frankly, all I wanted was for him to put out the embers of the dumpster fire he was given. As for defensive player and special teams player, I can’t say anyone has caught my eye, thanks largely to the MAC having no use for your so-called defense. I for one, welcome our new offensive overlords.

3. Since we did our first in-season ranking last week, which teams are most likely to finish well above where we ranked them, and which will finish far below?

I think as a collective body we got them all about right. Though I do think OUR MOST HATED RIVAL will not finish in the top spot. The top spot is reserved for winners. Winners get all the good things in life. Like top spots in power polls, super model girlfriends, and a vaccination that makes their skin an impenetrable fortress for things like the common cold, shingles, and the AIDS. Don’t lie to me BIG PHARMA. I know it’s out there. And after BSU wins the West, I’m coming for it.