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MAC Roundtable Results

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 one of the sexiest blogs on the internet and one of the patriarchs of MAC coverage. The founders of this site I think really set the bar for blogging and are the example that all bloggers should strive to meet. This week’s host is OverThePylon, and man, those guys are good. Hey.., that’s us! HIGH FIVE BRO!

The questions we posed to the group as a whole were:

1.) As we begin to actually move to conference play, what have you learned about your team through their non-conference schedule? More importantly, in what ways would you like to see your non-conference schedule improve or change in future years?

2.) Let’s chat for a minute about conference rivals. Allegedly we all have them, and we all hate them. What have you learned about your rivals and do they worry you for your team’s success this year and beyond?

3.) In terms of coaching, the only consistent thing for the MAC is the instability in the coaching ranks. Who do you feel is most likely to move up to greener pastures after this season? More importantly which coach has their office locks changed and their personal effects mailed home at the end of the season.

4.) Rank ’em. Worst to first.

Participants this week include Falcon Blog for Bowling Green, Bull Run for Buffalo, Let’s Go Rockets for Toledo, and Hustle Belt with a WMU slant. Click on through to enjoy the amazing responses to our magnificent questions from us, as well as the others’ answers too.

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MAC Roundtable: Week 4

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 one of the patriarchs of the MAC blogosphere (along with us, Falcon Blog, and Red and Black Attack) in LetsGoRockets, your one stop shop for all things Toledo related. You can check them out at the link above, but I know why you’re here. You want, nay NEED, our As to the MAC Roundtable Qs. Well we got what you need.

LGR: Heading into the fourth week of the season, the MAC has two more conference games on the schedule. What do you expect to change as the games start to shift to familiar foes?

OTP: I would think the more familiar you are with an opponent the less time has to be spent starting from scratch, spending massive amount of staff time in a film room, or implementing tremendously different game plans week to week. By this point in the season, most people can kind of tell what they have and more importantly what they don’t. And to be completely frank, the talent gap is much more manageable for MAC teams going forward. Even after their shower fun, Penn State was still just better than EMU once the starters gave way to the second string for spot relief. And that played its way out in the results. Going forward, the drop off in results when your second string is playing opposing MAC schools’ second string is extremely mitigated. Except for UMass. God, those guys suck.

LGR: What has been the most surprising or troubling aspect of your team’s performance through three weeks of the season?

OTP: I think we’ve had a good mix of both, with unfortunately it relating to the same topic. In game one, after Illinois State came out and punched BSU in the mouth, the coaching staff and team sacked up, made adjustments, and prospered after the second half. In-game adjustments were also prevalent in the Army victory, as BSU again used the break to administer a thumping even better than the second quarter. Those sorts of adjustments under the Lembo staff are not uncommon, but to see them so effective was surprisingly good. That is, until North Texas, where the adjustments seemed to be virtually nothing and the effort surprisingly matched. The NT game was ugly in every sense of the word, save for the first quarter. And to have such a rookie underwhelming performance in game three was troubling, surprising, and a whole bunch of other adjectives.

LGR: While football is a team game, sometimes an individual’s contribution can be paramount to the success or contribute to the failure of the team. Who has had the most impact (positively or negatively) for your team?

OTP: The BSU contribution this season in the victories has been a team effort. Obviously Keith Wenning gets the credit and the headlines, but there are so many moving parts in the Lembo system that one breakdown effects everything else. If the offense stalls, the defense suffers with no time to rest. If the defense doesn’t hold, the offense has to push and things can be forced. It’s a dangerous cycle that has only reared its head in ugly fashion once this year, in that abortion of a game in Denton, TX. Having said all that, I’d be lying if I said Keith Wenning and his performance doesn’t mean the most to the Cards. As Wenning goes, so goes the Cards.

MAC Roundtable: Week 8

From time to time we get to be a part of something that’s sweeping… nay… swiffering the blogosphere. And what might that be, you ask? The MAC Blogger Roundtable. It’s a collection of the best and brightest of the MAC blogs that cover MACtion like none other. This week’s post creator and master of virtual ceremonies so to speak is Mike from The Chip Report. The Chip Report, as you might have guessed, covers the Central Michigan Chippewas, who happen to be the faceless opponent who has drawn the short straw to be the next in line on the Cardinals hit list this season. Take it away, Mike…

1) Over the last 5 years, the MAC has seen an influx in recruiting talent. Is this consistent with the national landscape or is the MAC slowly gaining ground on other conferences?

I think we’re finally starting to see the trickle down effect of the 1992 ruling that capped the allowable number of scholarships at 85. No longer were teams signing players that would never play, but couldn’t walk away from a free education at a school like a Michigan or Ohio State. With that restriction in place, talent trickled down to the MAC and guys that would have been 4th or 5th string in the Big Ten were now seeing minutes for the MAC teams. That has helped. I can’t say it was anything the MAC did, other than be located in the area that they are and have the NCAA make a ruling (for once) that actually benefits people.

2) Which currently successful MAC team is built for long-term success and which, if any, has all their eggs in the 2012 basket?

I think that depends on how you look at longterm success in regard to the length of time you’re talking about. To me, success in the MAC ultimately comes with retaining your coach and replacing your talent. I would say Ohio is in the best longterm position if longterm is over the next five years as I doubt Frank Solich goes anywhere else. On a year to year basis, I’d say the conference as a whole suffers (or benefits depending on your perspective) from tremendous parity.

3) What statistic has been most crucial to your team’s success or failure?

The success and failure of this season rests not on statistics for the Cards but what my basketball coach called Stick-To-It-iveness. The wins against WMU, Indiana and South Florida required late game heroics and the losses to Kent and NIU were the same just a different end result. Ultimately, this team has had more gut check moments in the first 7 games than many teams have over the course of an entire season. That’s hard to measure statistically, but it’s awfully damn fun to watch.

MAC Roundtable: Week 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 2 MAC Blogger Roundtable

It’s the second week of the season and time once again for the MAC blogs to gather and kibitz about the various ins and outs of the college football landscape. We hit on the MAC, we hit on the nation, we hit on it all. We are the question poser this week, and our participating blogs were Falcon Blog, Hustle Belt, Eagle Totem, and The Chip Report. Off we go…

1.) Week one in the books for the MAC. A fairly major upset, several close calls, and several bloodbaths. What was your biggest surprise and your biggest disappointment across the conference landscape?

The Chip Report: The biggest surprise for me in week 1 had to be how handily Ball State took care of Eastern Michigan. Keith Wenning is developing into a real threat in the MAC. 26 of 41 for 267 yards is a good start to the season. Look out for Ball State.

The biggest disappointment most definitely was the close loss for Toledo. They seem to be knocking on the door of the big, week 1 upset every season yet have the inability to close. As Chippewa fans know, the window to do so can close in a hurry… I hope they didn’t miss their chance.

HustleBelt: I could go with several options here for both surprise or disappointment – Ohio’s Jekyll and Hyde showing, Toledo and Northern Illinois’ ultimate inability to close out…whom to choose?

In true MAC fashion, I shall go with a tie for both. I’d say for surprise I’d go with the Alexes – Zordich and Gillett. In both cases, I did not see opening week what I saw last year. Did Alex Zordich look talented last year? Yes, did he look like a guy who could account for 230+ yards of offense, two scores, and keep his team in the game against a much better Georgia squad for more than a drive or two? No. This bodes well for the Bulls I think. As for Gillett, the kid had 20 or fewer pass attempts in 8 of 11 starts last season and threw the ball thirty four times in the Eagles’ opener. Let’s hope that isn’t a trend, because that just isn’t who EMU is.

For disappointment, another tie between Alex Carder and the UMass Minutemen. Alex Carder is supposed to be a longshot Heisman hopeful this season, but against a “not that much better than you” opponent in Illinois, he tossed two interceptions in the first quarter. Let’s hope Illinois’ defense is actualy much improved this season, because if not it might be another long, mediocre year for the Broncos. The Minutemen…I know, I know, you don’t pick on the new guy when he skips a grade and starts anew, but come on. They gave up 37 points and only created 59 yards. 13 offensive drives, 9 three-and-outs, two drives that gained more than 9 total yards. I fear their matchup with Michigan in two weeks.

EagleTotem: My biggest disappointment, of course, was the embarrassment that was EMU’s performance. Looking to other schools, however, Toledo and Northern Illinois narrowly missed upsetting Arizona (Rich Rod!) and Iowa, respectively. Winning either of those games, much less both, would have given a huge boost to the national reputations of those schools, not to mention the MAC as a whole. Plus, oh yeah, Ohio beat Penn State. Not the school that sometimes calls itself “Ohio” even though that’s not really who they are and they lost in court, the actual school called Ohio. Sure, they were favored, but still, a MAC team over a B1G team, especially a big-name team like Penn State, is something that comes along once in a blue moon.

FalconBlog: I’d say the biggest surprise is the MAC nearly surpassing its BCS wins from last year on the first week. At a minimum, NIU and UT had real shots to win and BG was in the game last at Florida and of course OU won in Happy Valley. The biggest disappointment was probably NIU getting Iowa on a neutral field and nearly having them polished off before losing.

OverThePylon: My biggest surprise was Miami struggling the way they did against Ohio State. While I didn’t expect a win for the Red Hawks, I did expect a non-shellacking. That wasn’t so much the case. The way Ohio handled Penn State was not shocking but was a bit surprising.

2.) For your own team, how has your week one performance changed your opinion and/or perspective about what to expect from your squad as the year rolls on?

TCR: The first game against a weak, 1AA team was the story of 2 halves. The first half was frustrating and scary. The second half was utter dominance. For me, this has not changed my outlook on the Chippewas season—I think we’re still looking a 5-7 win team. The game against MSU this weekend will give us more insight as to how high the ceiling is for this Chippewa team.

HB: My squad (by re-default after the pathetic defection of Temple last season) is located in Athens, OH – and I’m not sure their performance this week really changed anything in terms of my expectations. Who is the real OHIO? The squad that got shut down for a half, or the squad that did the shutting down? I know the truth is somewhere in between, but I can’t really make a definitive adjustment in expectations until I see them play a team they should manhandle – like, say, New Mexico State?

ET: You watched the same game I did; do we really need to rehash it? That one game might have taken the Eagles out of contention in the MAC West.

I do still have high hopes for this EMU team, particularly after they get a home game against Illinois State to try to iron out some of the wrinkles. There’s enough talent and experience there, particularly on offense but defense to, that they should be in the game against any remaining opponents except probably Michigan State.

Finally, the offensive play-calling still sucks. Seriously, the EMU offensive play-book — at least the parts of it that fans see on the field — should be retitled “How to play to your weaknesses and ignore your strengths” with a subtitle of “Really? How can this many veterans possibly be this bad?”

FB: As it relates to the Falcons, we were optimistic before and we are a little more so right now. Certainly there are still large areas that need improvement, but having said that we did play a strong and tough game on the offensive line and the defensive line, and that was one of the things the team really needed this year. It was an encouraging start.

OTP: I can safely say I’m considerably more optimistic now than I was  ten days ago. EMU was allegedly the team that BSU would match up the best with and was most similar to. Having revisited that game, it wasn’t as close as the score indicated. To start conference play with a big unexpected win means great things for this season.

3.) Outside of the MAC, what was your favorite moment from opening weekend and why?

TCR: I had the chance to watch American football in Dublin so without a doubt, the the Navy vs. Notre Dame game was the non Chippewa highlight for me. Ireland is one of the most welcoming countries on Earth.

HB: Living in southeast Michigan, surrounded by Wolverine fans, after listening to them brag all summer about how they’re “back”, the beating Alabama put on Michigan was pretty delicious. In fact, that’s the only game I watched that I’d care to talk about, all the rest were pretty disappointing.

ET: Living in southeast Michigan, surrounded by Wolverine fans, after listening to them brag all summer about how they’re “back”, the beating Alabama put on Michigan was pretty delicious. In fact, that’s the only game I watched that I’d care to talk about, all the rest were pretty disappointing.

FB: So, if I am talking outside of the MAC, I can’t include the wrong-way Kent State manuever that happened in the Towson game, which was downright hilarious. Out of pure malevolence I’ll take the pasting that Marshall took at the hands of WVU, their in-state nemesis.

To which I say.

Ha.
Ha

OTP: As weird as it sounds, it was nice to see Happy Valley be about football again. I was getting tired of every news item coming out of Penn State being about everything but football. Court cases, sentencing, and statue removal aren’t what gets my juices flowing. Football and a rallying fan base are.

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 10

Ed. Note: Clearly OTP has been in a bit of a downswing lately. Between weddings for me (not my own), gig practice for Edge, surgery for RV and work increasing for all of us, the site hasn’t been able to be given full attention and energy from any of us. The fans deserve better, the players and fans who read this deserve better, and all I can say is that it will get better. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A few years ago, it became apparent that there were some quality sites out there representing the MAC in terms of their blogging chops, so what better way to bring everyone together than through a roundtable of sorts. A virtual one, for sure, as I’m not quite positive I’d want some of these folks in my home, but a roundtable all the same. Some members have come and gone, the leadership and organizational responsibilities have shifted, but it’s back this year in all its glorious wonder. This week’s questions comes from the Toledo experts at Let’s Go Rockets. Off you go…

1. As we enter the final month of the regular season for most teams, what piece has been missing from your respective team? Can adjustments be made in the remaining schedule to fix it?
I’d say the thing missing most is depth. When injuries occurred to the defensive backfield, it was felt. When the offensive line becomes a patchwork quilt of non-starters, that’s bad. BSU has never had the luxury of the depth of a BCS conference team, but this year the depth has been bad even for MAC standards. That sort of problem corrects itself over time as this first year will be the worst year in the Lembo era. The fact that we’re still in good shape to finish above .500 is a testament to the change taking place in Muncie.

2. How do you feel about the new uniforms in college football this season? Seems like teams are rolling out throwbacks and unveiling special uniforms for certain games. Should the MAC hop on board with this trend?
The MAC and more importantly its member institutions has to do something to generate some buzz. The NIU-Toledo game on Tuesday certainly helped with 120+ points, but why not do something trendy like uniforms or gimmicks. My only concern would be whether they can do it wholeheartedly and not half ass it, and whether the schools have enough scratch to actually pull it off. I think most MAC schools operate football on sort of a shoestring budget, so buying uni combos may not be the best use of limited funds.

3. If you were creating an ideal MAC team using the offensive, defensive, special teams, and coaching portions of current MAC teams, list the components of your powerhouse combination.
For me, I would take the coaching of Pete Lembo and his dedication to special teams along with the offensive scheme of Toledo and the defensive scheme of Temple. But next season when Lembo has his players in place, I may be taking Lembo and BSU for all of the above.

4. What one player on your team has the best chance of making an NFL roster?
Sean Baker. Baker has a nose for the football, plays with reckless abandon, and hits like Ike Turner on a 3-day coke bender. Souleater (as we have dubbed him) would do an NFL team good, even if only on the scout team.

5. Rank ‘em
1. NIU
2. Toledo
3. EMU
4. Ohio
5. WMU
6. Temple
7. BSU
8. Miami
9. BG
10. CMU
11. Kent
12. Buffalo
13. Akron

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 9

A few years ago, it became apparent that there were some quality sites out there representing the MAC in terms of their blogging chops, so what better way to bring everyone together than through a roundtable of sorts. A virtual one, for sure, as I’m not quite positive I’d want some of these folks in my home, but a roundtable all the same. Some members have come and gone, the leadership and organizational responsibilities have shifted, but it’s back this year in all its glorious wonder. This week’s questions comes from the SBNation blog and Buffalo expert Bull Run. Take it away…

1) Parity, a good thing or a bad thing. Outside of Toledo at the top and Akron, Kent, Miami, and Buffalo at the bottom every team has looked about equal. Is this a good thing for the conference or would it be better to have just four very prominent teams.
Parity doesn’t bother me this year, because Ball State is one of the teams that could benefit from that parity and knock off teams that the “experts” had penciled in as losses for the Cardinals. Assuming that parity maintains for the next four weeks, it could set up a de facto MAC West title game between the Rockets and BSU, and I’m ok with that. Realistically, parity hurts the power conferences because then their champion has a couple of conference losses and demeans the conference as a whole in the national purview. For the MAC, I would argue that the opposite is true. Parity means you have a majority of the conference with something better than an awful glaringly bad record, and that helps boost the MAC profile.

2) Coaches Hot Seat. The Following MAC coaches are showing up on the ever popular coaches hot seat list. Pick one and tell us why is it or is not fair to have them there (disclaimer Clawson is on the list but I can’t imagine why so I am leaving him off)

(12) Rob Ianello, Akron
(13) Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
(15) Dan Enos, Central Michigan
For me, the name on that list that has to be front and center is Jeff Quinn. Ianello only gets the pass because of how bad Akron was when he took over. Quinn got the reigns to a Buffalo program that was MAC Champions and has turned that around in near record time. Enos gets a pass because of who CMU had to replace, even though that logic didn’t work for Stan Parrish replacing Nate Davis. The good news for UB fans is again that parity. It’s highly likely that Buffalo can notch at least one more win this season, and that will be good enough for Quinn to keep his job.

3) Best new hire. Of the four(?) new coaches in the conference who, at this point, seems to be the best hire.
I mean, of course I’m going to say Pete Lembo. Coach Lembo has taken a team that has had its share of failure, attrition, and drama and made them a confident winning team. In just his first season, Lembo has been able to beat in-state rival Indiana, land some BCS transfers, and make inroads with recruits that I’d venture to say we had no shot at last season. Most importantly, he’s Hoke-like in the area of possession control and limiting penalties, two things that more often than not in the MAC means you’re winning more than you’re losing.

4) Ron English is flying high and the EMU *EAGLES* might be going to their first Bowl if they take care of Business. Surely their Coach is going to start getting some looks from other programs (if you can win at EMU right!). Is Turner Gill’s experience in Kansas a cautionary tale to schools who look for that one new up and coming coach? How many years of winning should a mid-major coach put forth before a big time program drops millions on them.
One good year does not a good coach make, and we learned that the hard way with Turner Gill. The old adage says that some coordinators make lousy head coaches. See: Stan Parrish, Steve Kragthorpe, etc. The same is also true for levels of schools. For every Brady Hoke who catapults his midmajor success to a premiere job, there’s three Turner Gills or Dan Hawkins who fail at it. Sometimes life in that bigger fishbowl is a little harder than the MAC. For English, yes, he’s winning, but I’ve yet to see anything consistent from him. The Eagles beat WMU, and that’s all well and good, but let’s see how they do with the rest of their schedule. You don’t want to cream on your date before you see them naked now do you? General rule of thumb is three good consistent years and I’d say success is a much better bet.

5) We all know the MAC does not necessarily award Bowls to the best teams. In MAC contracted bowls the bowl committees, not the conferee, get to pick their representative. Assume the MAC is going to get four Bowls but there are five bowl eligible teams. Make a case for your team, or a team you think is likely to be that 5th wheel.
To be honest, there is no good argument for BSU to make a Bowl game unless we’re one of only four teams who are eligible and there are four spots to fill. While there would be the angle of redemption if they approach it from the undefeated-to-dog-shit-to-not-bad angle, there really isn’t a redeeming quality for the Cardinals. We don’t travel well, there isn’t a large national following, and as we’ve seen with MAC teams in the past, financial issues with bowls makes the Cardinals not a really attractive sort of participant. However, that may be the case at most every other MAC school as well, I just don’t have the intimate knowledge of every other school’s situation like I do with the Cards.

6) It’s looking more and more like either (a) Temple won’t be going to the Big East or (b) there won’t be a big east football space to even invite Temple. Is the MAC, even with UMass and Temple, a stable football conference for the next year or two?
I think the MAC is pretty well set, even if Temple leaves. Worst case, they go somewhere else and we’re at the same 13 teams we have now. Best case, they don’t and we finally have a balanced even number of teams. Both things are fine with me, and honestly, the fact that we’re stable is a good indicator of where we’re at as a conference. It isn’t that schools are loyal to the MAC or there’s some great reason to stay, it’s more like no one wants anyone in it. You don’t get a lot of credit for being a virgin because no one wants to screw you.

7) Rank’em
1. Toledo
2. Northern Illinois
3. Eastern Michigan
4. Ball State
5. Temple
6. Ohio
7. WMU
8. BG
9. Miami
10. Buffalo
11. CMU
12. Akron
13. Kent

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 8

A few years ago, it became apparent that there were some quality sites out there representing the MAC in terms of their blogging chops, so what better way to bring everyone together than through a roundtable of sorts. A virtual one, for sure, as I’m not quite positive I’d want some of these folks in my home, but a roundtable all the same. Some members have come and gone, the leadership and organizational responsibilities have shifted, but it’s back this year in all its glorious wonder. This week’s question poser is the outstanding NIU blog Red and Black Attack.

1. Just when one team thinks they have a hold of the division, it seems like the next week they get upset by a seemingly lesser-talented surprise team. How do you explain the volatility in the MAC this year, with CMU beating NIU, then NIU beating WMU and EMU defeating CMU just this past week?
First and foremost, it definitely exemplifies that the transitive property most certainly doesn’t apply in football… at least MAC football. If nothing else, it’s a tangible example of just how much parity there is in the MAC. Teams with the depth and talent of MAC programs simply cannot afford a down week. A couple of turnovers or a lackluster showing on either side of the ball and defeat is a good probability no matter the opponent.

2. Going off of the last question, how emotionally involved are you with your respective team? Do you have your highs and lows or do you try and keep an even keel the entire season following your respective squad?
It’s funny how this question would have gotten a different answer just 12 months ago. After 2008 and our 12-0 regular season, I was definitely blinded by success and expected dominance and victories regardless of the multiple warning signs of the program, so 2009 was brutal. 2010 was more of the same as I mistakenly thought we had hit rock bottom and had nowhere to go but up. I was mistaken. With the hiring of Pete Lembo, I think my expectations were already a bit downgraded from years past after two years of a hard and brutal reality. Admittedly, we got a bit giddy (wrongly so) about USF but I’d say the Oklahoma and Temple games have gotten our mindframe in the right spot. There isn’t anything wrong with being just ok and that seems to be where we are at. The good news about the MAC is ok is good enough to win should the opponent not fire on all cylinders.

3. It seems like the MAC is past being a league where just offense prowess can win the league. Is that statement correct? Do you think your team has the right balance this season, or will one side of the ball have to carry the other the rest of the way?
The defense for BSU has only been gashed three times this season, against USF, Oklahoma, and Temple, all of which are respectable opponents to get ground up by. In those same three games the offense was certainly a bit less than desirable, but I’m of the opinion that had more to do with the opponent than the ability or lack thereof with the Cardinal O. I’m satisfied beyond measure considering this is a new system under a new coach with a ton of injuries and some sizable attrition in the offseason. This is the worst the offense will ever be under Lembo and they’re still one of the most efficient and mistake-free units in the conference.

4. If you could get a top recruit for one position on your team, which one would it be?
That’s a hard question to answer because it would mean I was unsatisfied with any particular position or player, and I really am not. I would like more depth across the board and the area where a standout player is most needed is a beast on the o-line, but one player on the line wouldn’t make much difference if the rest of the unit wasn’t equal. In my history with the MAC, tall and fast receivers seem to be unstoppable against the usual MAC secondary, so adding another weapon to the receiving corps would be helpful. If you know of any 6’6″, 4.3 40 guys, I’m sure Lembo has a spot for them. A Suh-esque defensive tackle would be a nice addition as well.

5. Rank los equipos
1. Toledo
2. Temple
3. Western Michigan
4. Ball State
5. Northern Illinois
6. Eastern Michigan
7. Miami
8. Ohio
9. BG
10. CMU
11. Buffalo
12. Akron
13. Kent

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 7

A few years ago, it became apparent that there were some quality sites out there representing the MAC in terms of their blogging chops, so what better way to bring everyone together than through a roundtable of sorts. A virtual one, for sure, as I’m not quite positive I’d want some of these folks in my home, but a roundtable all the same. Some members have come and gone, the leadership and organizational responsibilities have shifted, but it’s back this year in all its glorious wonder. This week’s question posers, the boys from Let’s Go Rockets, Toledo’s rep in the blogosphere. Take it away, fellas…

1.) This far into the season, what has been the single biggest disappointment from your respective team?
Obviously the easy thing would be to point to the Oklahoma-Temple stretch where we were outscored 104-6, but frankly, when you expect to be 0-2 after those two games anyway, the score isn’t really all that important. Honestly, BSU is sitting at 3-3 right now, and still in control of their own destiny in the MAC. Considering some of the negative nellies when the season started, there really isn’t a reason to be be disappointed at all.

2.) If the first season to this point was replayed without any injuries or personnel loses to your squad, how different would your team’s position be at this point in the season? Would having everyone healthy and available drastically change where you sit now and the potential for the rest of the season?
At best, BSU would be 4-2 assuming Josh Howard and Sean Baker could have suited up for the Temple game. No matter who did or didn’t play, the South Florida and Oklahoma losses were almost predetermined before the first kickoff of the season. It is a concern for those two going forward. BSU doesn’t have the depth to be able to absorb a lot of nicks and scratches, so without a healthy roster, our chances of competing for the MAC are tremendously reduced.

3.) We predicted winners in each division and a MAC champion at the start of the season – based on what we’ve seen of the teams now, revise your picks for MAC East, MAC West, and MACC winners.
We didn’t do this the first of the season, so to do it now would not only be extremely douchey but also wildly speculative. The fact that 3-3 BSU controls their fate in the West means it’s still anyone’s game in the MAC. I’ll say BSU and Temple meet again in Detroit and BSU knocks off the Owls.

4.) Announcements are surfacing this week that the Peace Pipe will be discontinued as the trophy for the victor of the Toledo / BGSU rivalry, but the rivalry will be rebranded the “Battle for I-75” and include a new trophy. Speak about what the loss of tradition and traditional rivalries would mean to your team and whether a trophy/name change, for example, would diminish from the rivalry.
The one trophy game we have is the Bronze Stalk game with Northern Illinois and frankly, it’s a terrible trophy and almost as bad as a “rivalry”. So no, changing that wouldn’t diminish it any further than it already has become.

5.) Rank ‘em.
1. WMU
2. Temple
3. Ohio
4. Toledo
5. BG
6. Northern Illinois
7. Ball State
8. Eastern Michigan
9. Central Michigan
10. Buffalo
11. Miami
12. Akron
13.  Kent

MAC Blogger Roundtable Results

A few years ago, it became apparent that there were some quality sites out there representing the MAC in terms of their blogging chops, so what better way to bring everyone together than through a roundtable of sorts. A virtual one, for sure, as I’m not quite positive I’d want some of these folks in my home, but a roundtable all the same. Some members have come and gone, the leadership and organizational responsibilities have shifted, but it’s back this year in all its glorious wonder. This week’s question poser was us, so clearly, the Q’s are going to rock. Fortunately for you, the A’s did as well.

Our participants this week:

Eagle Totem: Eastern Michigan (ET)

Falcon Blog: Bowling Green (FB)

Let’s Go Rockets: Toledo (LGR)

Temple Football Forever: Temple (TFF)

The Chip Report: Central Michigan (TCR)

Bull Run: Buffalo (BR)

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