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    Jieret

    Conference Commissioner
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    Everything posted by Jieret

    1. Last Week's Picks: 5-2 (Even though the Akron-Hawaii preview was never posted, I was on record as choosing the Zips. Whoopsadoodle!) Season to Date: 5-2 Welcome back! Alongside this week's special silent guest Leonard Weaver, I'm Bruce Baguen. We have another week of hot #MACtion for all you fans of Everyone's Favorite Conference, and we should get into that. But first, some bad news. Unfortunately #MACtion Jenny will not be appearing this week. We've been told that in order to combat global warming we have to cut down on the most breathtaking opening ceremony in all of sports today, the celebratory torch lighting. (The things we do to save the glaciers....) Thursday Night Akron (0-1) at Kansas State (1-0) Last Week: Akron couldn't dig themselves out of the hole Hawaii put them in (L at 21-31), while Kansas State hung on to defeat Rutgers at home (W vs. 27-26). So, about that prediction of an Akron victory.... Perhaps the most surprising thing is that neither Marlon Bailey or Jeremiah Clarke got on the sheet, but Hawaii had a great plan to stay away from the middle of the field with their runs, and QB J.T. Youngblood (20 of 30 for 235 yards, 2 TDs) was deadly on the perimeter. Is this a plan that the Wildcats can replicate? Not really. Rahim "The Greatest" Murrell isn't anywhere near as fleet of foot as Youngblood and the K-State receiving corps isn't as talented as Hawaii's, even if leading Wildcat WR Ricky Seau (mild concussion) is at full health. That won't stop Murrell though - he wants to sit in the pocket and sling the ball, if not to Seau then to Jhonny Palacios and TE Damani Askew. Will Murrell have the time? Against a Rutgers front four less talented than Akron's the Wildcats only managed a 4.9 rating and gave up two sacks, so if there was ever a bounce-back opportunity for the "Eater of Worlds" this is it. Akron's gonna need it though, because if Murrell does have time to throw there are lots of opportunities to find holes. The Zips secondary didn't hold up well at all in Honolulu; they need that pressure up front to shorten the QB's clock. The Wildcat passing game will be the key to victory one way or the other. KSU RB Jaiden Givens is a thing, and he even scored last week (16 carries for 65 yards, 1 TD). But considering the Zips' defensive strengths and weaknesses we expect him to get even less work tonight. Nathaniel Ruff is definitely more than a thing, but he didn't get much more work than Givens did (17 carries for 66 yards, 1 TD, 2 rec for 18 yards). That could be partially due to game state (down two scores at half vs. Hawaii) but he's the bread and butter of the Akron offense, they have to find ways to keep him involved. That probably means having to take on a good defensive line featuring 4-star DEs Javier Tovar and Matthew Mayfield with promising but inexperienced Mike LB Brendan Scherer to clean up behind them. If it has to boil down to Griffin Donahue testing the secondary, his best bet is probably to have multiple receivers going deep to test the safeties but that's no guarantee of success either with Akron's receiving group out-talented by K-State. Either way, the Zips will have to be better at moving the chains - 3 for 13 on third downs won't cut it. Prediction: 24-21 We still believe in big Marlon Bailey's ability to raise hell, but the Akron defensive strength lies in stopping the run and Kansas State isn't particularly interested in that. The Zips still make life uncomfortable for "The Greatest" in the pocket, but there's still too many question marks surrounding the rest of Akron's roster. Buffalo (0-1) at Arkansas State (0-0) Last Week: Buffalo lost their fullback - and the game - to the Fightin' DeSean Dockerys (L at 14-24), while Arkansas State looked forward to adding to the Fun Belt chaos. (BYE) Like Akron, Buffalo fell short against a very good OOC opponent. Unlike Akron, their next game is against a team noticeably worse off in the Red Wolves. And boy, could the Bulls use a break. Not only did their O-line struggle to give Blair Holcomb any time (4.4 rating, 3 sacks allowed), their only rostered FB fractured his wrist and will be out until Week 14 at the soonest. But the Red Wolves won't be a garden-variety walk in the park. They have a legitimate passing game with a pair of 4.5/4.5s in redshirt sophomore QB Eugene Salas and senior WR Artavius "Tank" Hopkins (5'9" 204!), and a #2 WR in 3.5/4.5 redshirt junior Roscoe Hopkins (6'6" 195!), so we could see some fireworks in the Bulls secondary if SS Thomas Gordon and company can't shut them down. Or perhaps the shutdown will come from up front - Buffalo will look to do to Arky State what Lousiville did to them and just overwhelm that offensive line. Both tackles are decent (3.5/3.5), but that interior is composed of players who are nowhere near talented enough to stone Buffalo's defensive line very often - expect DTs Aiden Watts and Joel Raji to show up in the Red Wolves' backfield often. On defense Arkansas State has a couple of players who will attract notice from the NFL, the most polished of which is 4-star CB Jason Morton. But there are mismatches virtually everywhere else, so Buffalo will probably be able to pick their poison on offense. Will coach @SodapopSeth choose to feature the Fabulous One, RB Denzel Porter more in this game or will they continue to air it out and play strength on (relative) strength? Prediction: 42-21 Arkansas State has some very good pieces for a Sun Belt team, and we expect them to contend for the conference title next year if not sooner. But there's just too much of a talent disparity even with Buffalo's struggles and the Red Wolves' passing game. The Bulls just want to get through this game without any further injuries. Kent State (0-1) at San Diego State (0-0) Last Week: Kent State got buried under a 28-point second quarter outburst on the blue fields of Albertson Field (L at 14-41), while the Aztecs impatiently waited out the double-bye weeks. (BYE) Well, there aren't many upsides we can take away from that game in Potatoland. DE Nehemiah Reaves got his first sack of the season and John Garland was responsible for two TDs. But outside of that there isn't much to dissect. The Golden Flashes were just out-talented in all phases of the game, and unfortunately San Diego State is just flat-out better than Boise. Led by sophomore QB David Edmonson and junior RB Lorenzo Burroughs, the Aztecs boast a balanced offense that can work the run or pass behind a very good offensive line full of 4-star talent. And on defense SDSU has DE Jeremy McKinney from San Diego, who looks to be a good bet for All-Conference Honors. If there's anywhere for Kent State to attack it's the guys in the middle, the Aztec linebackers aren't as strong as the group in front or behind them. But even if the Golden Flashes can scheme to exploit that relative weakness, will the offensive line hold up long enough to execute that gameplan? Prediction: 42-10 SDSU is much improved over last season, and Kent isn't. Here's to hoping for a clean, injury-free game and hopefully an easier part of the schedule for everyone's favorite Aussie soon. Friday Night Central Michigan (1-0, 0-0 conference) at Northern Illinois (0-0, 0-0) Last Week: The Chippewas withstood a late charge to start the Byron Suggs Era off right (W vs. 35-31), while Northern Illinois finally gets a chance to show everyone who they are - including themselves. (BYE) Northern Illinois have been one of the most frustrating teams in the MAC to figure out for several years now. Over the last couple of seasons it was because they vastly underachieved compared to their talent. Now it's because no one knows what to expect from them. The Huskies lost a lot of talent and are paper-thin at crucial positions. On the other hand, they still have some good talent such as MLB Oliver McNeal and CB Samuel Echols and more importantly they have coach @subsequent who looks committed to turning this team around. Since we brought up McNeal and Echols, let's start with the matchups that occur when Central has the ball. We already saw the connection Suggs has with WR Joseph Aikman (6 rec for 102 yards, 2 TDs), and it's likely that the Chips will move Aikman around to match him up against NIU's #2 CB Alpha Mitchell instead. We doubt the Huskies will move from their preferred zone defense to shadow Aikman with Echols, so expect to see safety help shading in his direction instead. Now that there's some tape on Suggs, we'll see how defenses adjust to him, and if he can evolve in turn. NIU may decide to spy Suggs with McNeal, and let the rest of the front seven worry about TE Jasper Rowley (4 rec for 71 yards) and RB Makai Carr (16 rushes for 68 yards, 1 TD). Considering Suggs accounted for almost 300 yards of total offense and had a hand in all but one of CMU's touchdowns against Southern Miss, trying to contain him isn't a bad idea. It will help greatly if DT Thierno Thomas can collapse the pocket against a still-suspect Chips offensive line. But if Suggs has time or gets out on the edge he'll have room to run. QB Charlie Sanford again takes the reins for the Huskie offense. The redshirt junior has been waiting his turn, and now that he gets his chance once again - who does he throw to? 4-star TE Jaden Payton and WR Maxwell Rider are promising but untested and shouldn't be your best options in an ideal world, but that's where NIU finds themselves. RB Julian Holcomb is a fine player in his own right but he isn't going to make anyone forget Daniel Hutchins any time soon, especially with an offensive line that's good in spots and mediocre in others. The Huskies also aren't likely to go five-wide and test the Central secondary - they only have 3 WRs on the roster. On the defensive side the Chips played a pretty decent game last week, all things considered. The game against Southern Miss was close, but that's only because the Golden Eagles scored 14 in the 4th with two long, time-consuming touchdown drives. Central made them work for their points which fits with their "bend but don't break" defensive philosophy. CMU had to be happy with how the linebackers and secondary played for the most part. All the same, coach @johnkirk would like to see a bit more action from the defensive line - DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough has been mostly missing from the statsheet after a promising 2019 campaign. He's the best Central Michigan player on that side of the ball but hasn't been playing like it. Prediction: 31-21 We don't see NIU capable of making enough explosive plays to force CMU out of their conservative defensive shell, and even though it's only been one game we've seen that Byron Suggs and company are capable of doing some work. Northern Illinois' lack of depth also means they basically have to stay in their base defense a good amount of the time, which could lead to matchup issues. (Saturday to follow.)
    2. [2021] MAC Preview: Western Michigan

      Great preview, klemm! 9-3 sounds fair. As you mentioned Boykin declaring early really hurt me, I feel like I scheduled my OOC before Taylor and Boykin declared. (I always expected Taylor to leave early) I did have to start Avery Curley as a true freshman last year though, he held up reasonably well all things considered.
    3. It's that moment you've all been waiting for, ladies and gentlemen, the season's inaugural MAC Chart Of Dubious Value! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Weeks 0/1 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (60) Toledo Rockets (5) 1-0 (1-0) W1 - 2 (54) Western Michigan Broncos 0-0 (0-0) - - 3 (50) Ohio Bobcats 1-0 (0-0) W1 - 4 (46) Miami (OH) Redhawks 1-0 (0-0) W1 - 5 (38) Akron Zips 0-1 (0-0) L1 - 6 (34) Buffalo Bulls 0-1 (0-0) L1 - 7 (33) Central Michigan Chippewas 1-0 (0-0) W1 - 8-tie (18) Bowling Green Falcons 0-0 (0-0) - +2 8-tie (18) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-0 (0-0) - +3 10 (14) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 11 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-0 (0-0) - +1 12 (12) Ball State Cardinals 0-1 (0-1) L1 -4 Numbers of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. So, takeaways? Already there's a clear divide between the top and bottom of the conference. With Suggs-to-Aikman (touchdown! unbelievable!) looking like a real thing, the Chips certainly look like they'll make some noise kinda near the top this year. (Fun.) Track record prevents the Zips and Bulls from sliding out of their spots, although it's a close thing in Buffalo's case. The injury to Christopher Heller, their only FB, though... he's out until Week 14 with a fractured wrist. Ohio folds and spindles a C-USA team, Best!Miami abuses a secondary without any cornerbacks. Ball State won't be at the bottom long, but the mauling they took in Toledo certainly stuck in some voters' heads. Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan learned well from the movie WarGames: "The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?" It's only two weeks in, R-E-L-A-X. Unless you want to freak out, of course. I'm not here to tell you what to do. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
    4. [2021] Bottom Ten Power Rankings: Week 1

      Yeah, Charlotte's is a radioactive dumpster fire. I guess they're so bad they're at the top of the list and get a (dis)honorable mention.
    5. [2021] Bottom Ten Power Rankings: Week 1

      Yes, but this is your first year of existence - your line is going to be bad. Also note that there are centers in both guard spots.
    6. [2021] Bottom Ten Power Rankings: Week 1

      Probably Buffalo, because Blair Holcomb is really good but this is who's protecting him: OT Anthony Grissom 6-7 284 (So) Medford (Medford, MA) 2.5 of 3.5 [Pass Blocking] C Mekhi Haskins 6-2 253 Sr Crescent (Iva, SC) 3.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] C D.J. Wilkinson 6-1 304 Jr Unionville (Square, PA) 5.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] C Julien Milner 6-3 250 (Fr) Saltsburg (Saltsburg PA) 2.0 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] OT Blake Norris 6-7 302 (Fr) Southside (Elmira NY) 1.5 of 3.5 [Run Blocking] Yes, that is the starting five. And oh did we mention their only FB fractured his wrist?
    7. [2021] Week 2 Fun Facts

      Duke was my #QUALITYLOSS last year, but not very optimistic about this year's tilt.
    8. tl;dr spreadsheet. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Bpmxcp7VZp8Ss87ARdrfUwbu2fYeoYAvuh1wsN7-GYk/edit?usp=sharing If you have an #N/A or #VALUE! showing up in your Coach Bonus/Weekly Point columns, then either you're a new coaching hire (Not your fault, don't worry about it) or you did not have an updated prestige worksheet entry (http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/18668-2021-recruiting-needs-your-help/) when initial prestige ratings were released with Update 1.4 (It's totally YOUR fault.) This will be updated when prestige rankings are finalized, which relies on all of you updating the prestige worksheet properly and quickly. EDIT: Also, school draft bonuses need to be factored in.
    9. [2021] Inactives - Week #2

      Denver Broncos Week 2 Inactives: QB Eric Jennings 5-10 227 1 Kansas [Pocket] 81 - Severe Meniscus Bruise RB Emmett Spears 5-10 195 3 Kent State [Speed] 83 - Moderate Foot Fracture OT Gary Tomlinson 6-6 304 4 Wisconsin [Run Blocking] 92 - Moderate Shoulder Dislocation OG Richard Pennington 6-3 316 2 Ohio State [Pass Blocking] 75 ILB Billy Williams 6-1 240 5 Rutgers [Mike] 79 CB Jabari Thorpe 5-10 162 R USC [Zone Coverage] 75 SS Jayden Salter 6-2 202 1 Memphis [Zone Coverage] 75
    10. There it is! Ooh, that's nice.
    11. logo? May wanna adjust your perms or something.
    12. [2021] MAC Statsheet

      Thanks for that. Carried the older QB information from last year and forgot to update some of their skills, fixed.
    13. [2021] MAC Statsheet

      This may move at some point for consolidation purposes but until then, here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t2TFN-adfGI6DIUEqQzB1pfDnQE_LI-GbB8f88aFejQ/edit?usp=sharing
    14. [2021] Recruiting Point Worksheet

      Just to further clarify: The number you see under your School/Coach visits on the interface are the number of visits you have (10 SV and 5 CV base, before any perks). The number(s) you see on the worksheet is your possible range of points using a visit will add to your croot. The interface and worksheet numbers should not and will not be the same.
    15. CFBHC Pick'em

      Thursday Night (2 Games) Memphis (0-0) at UTSA (1-0) Boise State (1-0) at Miami (FL) (0-0) Friday Night (3 Games) Connecticut (1-0) at Syracuse (0-1) Northwestern (0-0) at Utah State (1-0) Georgia State (0-0) at UL-Lafayette (0-0) Saturday Morning (4 Games) Cincinnati (0-1) at Rutgers (0-1) Pittsburgh (0-1) at Temple (0-0) Kentucky (0-0) at Florida State (0-1) Virginia (0-0) at West Virginia (0-1) Saturday Afternoon (1 Game) Stanford (0-0) at Colorado (1-0) Saturday Evening (6 Games) Notre Dame (0-0) at Boston College (1-0) Duke (1-0) at Western Michigan (0-0) Baylor (1-0) vs. Minnesota (0-0) Tennessee (0-0) at TCU (1-0) Missouri (1-0) at South Carolina (1-0) Auburn (0-0) at Mississippi State (1-0)
    16. "More powerful poll ever... get MAC " (To be progenitor of casual style must everyone, even you non-MAC coach patron, shall perform submittage of a MAC power ranking to Jieret by 11:59 PM, Tuesday December 12.) For your convenience, how the MAC fared overall. Current ranks based on the Pre-Season Overview's projected finishes. MAC Results After Weeks 0/1 Rank Team, Result Record (Conf. Record) Streak Next Week 1 Toledo WON vs. Ball St. 52-8 1-0 (1-0) W1 BYE 2 Western Michigan BYE 0-0 (0-0) - Saturday Evening vs #23 Duke (1-0) 3 Ohio WON at Old Dominion 40-7 1-0 (0-0) W1 BYE 4 Miami (OH) WON at Cincinnati 38-23 1-0 (0-0) W1 Saturday Afternoon at Bowling Green (0-0) 5 Akron LOST at Hawai'i 21-31 0-1 (0-0) L1 Thursday Night at Kansas State (1-0) 6 Buffalo LOST at Louisville 14-24 0-1 (0-0) L1 Thursday Night at Arkansas State (0-0) 7 Central Michigan WON vs. Southern Miss 35-31 1-0 (0-0) W1 Friday Night at Northern Illinois (0-0) 8 Ball State LOST at Toledo 8-52 0-1 (0-1) L1 BYE 9 Kent State LOST at Boise St. 14-41 0-1 (0-0) L1 Thursday Night at San Diego St. (0-0) 10 Bowling Green BYE 0-0 (0-0) - Saturday Afternoon vs. Miami (OH) (1-0) 11 Eastern Michigan BYE 0-0 (0-0) - Saturday Afternoon at #22Illinois (0-0) 12 Northern Illinois BYE 0-0 (0-0) - Friday Night vs. Central Michigan (1-0)
    17. [2021] MAC Statsheet

      Updated through Week 1.
    18. [2021] Week #1 - Saturday Evening

      Ryder Shipman, QB - Moderate Thumb Fracture I guess we'll see if any old random QB actually can throw to Childs and Rawls.
    19. [CFBHC] Week 1 - FNF: http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/20752-2021-week-1-fnf/ Mia-Cincy. No FG kick distance listed for Miami (OH) kicker Zachary Crowell (1/1 FG)
    20. [2021] Week #1 - FNF

      Why almighty pipe? Were you not satiated with all the professional tight ends? Must you strike down young men yet to reach their prime? Also really excited/scared to see that Suggs-to-Aikman connection starting off huge.
    21. [2021] Pac-12 Network: Week 0 Recap

      Ɔ∀Ԁ Ɔ∀Ԁ Ɔ∀Ԁ :/
    22. This is Bruce Baguen back with special silent guest co-host Dan Doornink, ready to preview more of that hot #MACtion! Let's get to it! (Note: All stats cited are for 2020 unless otherwise noted.) Friday Night Miami (OH) Redhawks at Cincinnati Bearcats (Victory Bell game) Last year, it was Cincy that managed to shock the world State of Ohio by upsetting the Redhawks and claiming the Bell. Can Best!Miami bring it back north to Oxford? Third time's the charm, so we hear.... (Cincy's won the previous two games) When discussing the Redhawks, we believe there's a law somewhere stating we have to start with their offense and the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA. Easily the busiest passer in the MAC (340 of 570 [59.65%] for 3765 yards, 36/11 TD/INT in 13 games), Cera will continue to throw scorchers all over the field. His chief weapons from 2020, Mackey Award Winner TE Casey Swann (79 rec for 1038 yards, 14 TD) and WR Kenneth Harrison (74 rec for 787 yards, 11 TDs) both return to give Best!Miami a potent pair of inside/outside threats. One weakness that Miami hopes Cera worked on is his pocket awareness; he was sacked the most amount of times in the MAC last year (28) and coach @caesari believes another year of growth and improved blockers up front will drastically drop that number. Oh, and RB Ajani Garrett still exists and runs sometimes. (163 rushes for 700 yards, 8 TDs) Hey, Cera's arm gets tired - he needs a break! Faithful reader, you tell us if this might be a problem against a pass-heavy team: Number of Cincinnati Bearcats playing CB on their 2020 Depth Chart: 5 Number of returning Bearcats from 2020 playing CB in 2021: 0 Yup. Cincy will trot out a 2.0 of 3.0, 2.0 of 2.5, and 1.5 of 3.0 freshmen as their top three CBs. Against Zack Cera. <<insert everythingisfine.jpg>> Even with the Bearcats' best player SS Dominic Monk there to provide support, well, Monk can't be everywhere. This normally means we have to look at the defense's line to provide pressure and give Cera less time to throw, but we're not seeing any matchups that skew Cincinnati's way against an experience Miami line. Perhaps if redshirt freshman DE Leonardo Trujillo plays out of his mind, but he draws the Redhawks' best blocker in LT Andre Grey. So, can the Bearcats score enough to keep pace? Eh... they lost top WR Ahe Salanoa and their top two TEs. Their only pro potential lineman also graduated. They start massive (6'2", 334) redshirt freshman 5-star bookend Mohamed Mosley at LT, but Redhawk DE Donte Pennel and his 8.0 sacks return. Pennel will probably use Mosley's inexperience against him when Cincy QB Dillon Schaeffer drops back. The backfield is actually in a good spot with Schaeffer nearly leading the Bearcats to a bowl game and dependable RB Aaron Street (269 rushes for 1216 yards, 13 TDs) to help him carry the mail one more time. But is there a receiver the QB from Walnut Hills can trust? There's a LOT of inexperience scattered among the Bearcat pass-catchers, and if Miami's 5-star DT Morris Jackson can penetrate the Cincy line Schaeffer may not have the time he needs to take advantage of true freshman (1.0 or 4.0) Jeremiah Christy in the backfield. Prediction: 35-17 The Redhawks are much improved on offense, and the Bearcats lost anyone who played or even thought about playing cornerback. With so much Cincinnati turnover in the secondary (and at wideout) against a Miami team that returns so many starters? Sorry @Rome, but CERAWINSLOL. Ohio Bobcats at Old Dominion Monarchs The Monarchs open the season as gracious hosts to two-time MAC East champions Ohio. Old Dominion didn't really lose very much from the 2020 squad that made a bowl, but even with that the talent level is not really there - with a few notable exceptions. It's a testament to the job @KakesuSora did to coach last year's team into a bowl game. ODU's strength is on the defensive side of the ball, and one position is particular jumps out at you from their roster: CB Darren Logan 6-1 202 Jr Wayne County (Jessup, GA) 3.5 of 5.0 [Zone Coverage] ATH J.J. Fowler 6-1 202 Jr University (Morgantown, WV) 3.5 of 5.0 [Zone Coverage] That is a formidable CB tandem to contend with; expect to hear both their names called in the 2023 NFLHC draft. Helping their cause is promising redshirt freshman DE Omari Pearson (2.0 of 4.5). But the good news dries up rather quickly after that for the Monarchs. MLB Kayden Wilkerson and OLB Carter Patrick will keep the linebacking corps afloat, but there are holes in this defense that can be run through. And run is what we expect Ohio to do repeatedly. Hyped freshman QB Austin Lowe has plenty of experienced weapons to throw to in senior WR Dwayne Simpson (58 rec for 882 yards, 8 TDs) and junior TE Aaron Thibodeaux (57 rec for 856 yards, 6 TDs). But against a defensive line starting a pair of 2.5 of 2.5s? We think Jeffrey Flowers will work quickly and often to show the Bobcat fans that he is just as good as Owen. Freaking. WALTON. if not better, and allow Lowe to ease into his college career. It's a good thing for the Monarchs that QB Dylan Hamlin is a scrambler, because he will be running for his life repeatedly. His stats last year were respectable (157 of 251 [62.55%] for 1967 yards, 14/7 TD/INT, 56 car for 309 yards, 2 rushing TDs), and so were RB Isaiah Mitchell's (297 car for 1282 yards, 13 TDs). But this is an offensive line putting a true freshman 1.0 of 3.0 guard against junior Brady Whittaker who racked up 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks last year, and starting two more linemen with no better than a 2.5 potential. We don't expect Hamlin to have much of a pocket on Friday which will play into Ohio's ability to chase down opposing QBs with their linebackers - OLBs Donovan Pendleton and Myles Lindsay combined for 72 tackles and 3 sacks last season. If there's a saving grace for ODU on offense it's TE Montee Griffin, who has a lot of experience being Hamlin's safety blanket on scramble drills (24 rec for 393 yards, 2 TDs). Prediction: 30-10 Ohio is one of the best teams in the MAC, and Old Dominion simply doesn't have enough horses to run with the Bobcats. We expect Flowers to just run the ball down the Monarchs' collective throats and choke the life out of them. Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Central Michigan Chippewas The Byron Suggs Era is about to begin in Mt. Pleasant, and Southern Miss (known for all-time football great Etric Pruitt) is the first team to bear witness. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair! Suggs (3.0 of 5.0) is probably the most-hyped freshman QB to come into the MAC in quite some time, and it's giving the CMU faithful hopes that he will be the best to ever don the maroon and gold (Yes, even more than Walt Sutherland. Sorry @ImposterCauster, @paperllamasunited). What makes his debut even more anticipated is that it isn't just him and ten stiffs on the offense, he has a couple of legit weapons on his side. 4.0 of 4.0 ATH/WR Joseph Aikman is a redshirt freshman, same as Suggs, and ever dependable TE Jasper Rowley (37 rec for 465 yards, 6 TDs) is still there to find soft spots in the middle of the field. Even RB Makai Carr (259 rushes for 1184 yards, 10 TDs) can at least present the threat of a running game. So the skill players are there. The offensive line... that's another story. How will this... um, unseasoned group of players hold up against the Golden Eagle defense? Most of them really needed another year of development; they're full of 3-star prospects but only LT Victor Reaves (3.5 of 3.5) and C Chris Whitley (3.0 of 3.0) have reached their full potential. So if there's a way to derail the Suggs Hype train, it's by plowing through the O-line. We're not really sold that Southern Miss is going to do it right out of the gate, though. The biggest threat the Eagles present to the Chips is 2.5 of 4.0 true sophomore Leonard Graves. He was Southern Miss' best pass rusher last year (20 TKL, 4.0 sacks, 1 FF) and is definitely the man Central needs to account for on the line. The problem for Southern is his fellow linemates are a: not any better skill-wise than Central's line, and b: not particularly adept at getting to the QB. Redshirt sophomore Micah Griffin is a force to be reckoned with (51 TKL, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR) but as a 4-3 Mike, don't expect to see him coming after Suggs on a blitz very often, if at all. If the Golden Eagles succeed in harassing Suggs, it's probably because Griffin and a secondary led by pro-hopeful SS Michael O'Neal were able to keep Aikman and Rowley under wraps long enough for coverage sacks. And what about that Southern Miss offense? Sophomore Alexander Cassidy returns after a tidy freshman season (198 of 308 [64.29%] for 2395 yards, 20/9 TD/INT) and top receiver TE Charles Sherrill (55 rec for 827, 9 TDs) returns to help him out. Sherrill could see an even bigger workload if new head coach @Ricky Campbell chooses to lean on his connection with Cassidy to carry the offense. First-time starter senior RB James Fitzgerald must replace Harrison Weir and his 1200+ yards, no easy feat, we'll see how much slack coach Ricky gives Fitzgerald. If Sherrill is the go-to receiver, that means he won't be chipping to help the Southern tackles with CMU bookends Nazir-Tatum Kimbrough and Rory Bolin. It's imperative for coach @johnkirk's squad that the duo be better than they were last year (4 sacks for Bolin but only 1 for Tatum-Kimbrough, especially without All-American A'Shawn Ellison to lock one side of the field down. There isn't much talent left in the Chips' secondary, so Central can't give Cassidy time to find second and third reads - the gunslinger will pick them apart if he does. Prediction: 28-24 In a matchup of young but flawed teams, Central looks like the squad that is further ahead. We believe Byron Suggs is the real deal and will show the world why MAC coaches will get sick of hearing the phrase "Suggs-to-Aikman (touchdown, unbelievable!)" Saturday Morning Buffalo Bulls at Louisville Cardinals The strengths for each team are relatively easy to see. It will be about the execution on Saturday. We begin with the Louisville DeSean Dockerys Cardinals and their offense, RB DeSean Dockery. A Heisman semi-finalist in 2020, Dockery rushed for over 1700 yards and scored 25 touchdowns on the ground. With last year’s starting QB Ayden Steele gone and redshirt sophomore Harrison Pratt taking over, the Cardinals will rely on the pass even less than they did last year - which wasn’t a whole lot to begin with. Louisville fortunately has a solid (if not exceptional) offensive line highlighted by RG Mekhi Norwood, and they’ll get a bit more help as we expect that they’ll run a lot of two-TE max blocking sets. Buffalo’s defensive mission is pretty clear, but will their front seven be up to the challenge of containing Dockery? The Bulls’ defensive linemen are all experienced but have already maxed out on their potential. But Buffalo doesn’t need the line to win, only to occupy blockers and not get blown off the ball. The group responsible for bringing Dockery down will be the Bull linebackers, led by OLB Alexander Moffett (37 TKL, 1 INT, 1 sack, 1 FR); they will be VERY busy Saturday. We expect some help for them as well, don’t be surprised if SS Thomas Gordon (30 TKL, 3 INT) drops into the box to present eight-man fronts on a regular basis. On the other side, this is Buffalo QB Blair Holcomb’s first chance to wow the scouts as a potential high draft pick. The reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year (268 of 399 [67.17%] for 3532 yards, 35/7 TD/INT ratio) looks to pick up where he left off and he may do just that against this Cardinals defense. While up-and-coming sophomore star CB Logan Swain (15 TKL, 3 INT as a redshirt freshman) could present some problems, the other corners are nowhere near his skill level. Even with talented free safety Donte Whitfield on the field, he can’t help out #2 CB Shamar Lowery (2.5 of 2.5) and #3 CB Amadou Jones (2.5 of 3.5) at the same time; Holcomb likes to spread the ball out. One enticing potential matchup is Bulls TE Xavier Frey, their leading receiver from last year (52 rec for 860, 11 TDs) against the Cardinals’ best defender, OLB Prince Matos (31 TKL, 3.5 sacks, 2 FF). Or maybe Matos will just go after Holcomb directly and leave Frey to Will linebacker Beckett Ring, Louisville’s leading tackler from last season (53 TKL, 4 INT, although they played a 4-3 then instead of this year’s 3-4). Going after Holcomb might be the better option period, because Buffalo’s O-line is not what we’re used to seeing from them in years past. Outside of center D.J. Wilkinson, the big men are going to be tested repeatedly - three of them don’t have a current skill of 3 or higher, and centers man both guard spots. How the Buffalo coaching staff compensates for this will be a fascinating story to follow throughout the season. Prediction: 24-20 We’ll be the first to admit that this is probably a generous homer pick. But Buffalo and coach SodapopSeth has surprised us before with their ability to compensate for weaknesses (see last season when they shut down Best!Miami and UCLA despite a patchwork secondary). We’re leaning on that and probably a fair amount of the Fabulous One Denzel Porter up the middle behind Wilkinson. If Buffalo can get an early lead on the hosts, the Cardinals are not very well built to throw the ball. Saturday Afternoon Kent State (0-0) at Boise State (0-0) A tale of two State teams that want to put season-ending bowl losses behind them with an opening week victory. “It was the best of games, it was the worst of games….” Boise QB Roman Green had a middling season last year (207 of 343 [60.35%] for 2523 yards, 14/13 TD/INT, 56 rushes for 208 yards, 3 TDs in 13 games) and he may be in for more of the same this year. His growth and experience is tempered by the graduation of several offensive linemen, starting RB Marquise Allen, and top wideout Mahamadou Polk. New RB Devin Cannon (3.5 of 3.5) is a solid-looking back but untested; same for the Broncos’ top wide receiver (Jayson Geary, 2.0 of 4.0) and their top tight end (Atamu Niumatalolo, 2.5 of 4.5). Their guards are both 1.0 of 3.5, their RT a 2.5 of 3.0. There are holes to be exploited here. But is Kent State capable of doing that? The Golden Flashes do return both starting DEs from last year in Nehemiah Reeves (18 TKL, 4.5 sacks) and Jacob Dennison (11 TKL, 2.5 sacks), and it’s possible that Reaves can take advantage of the Boise RT. But despite the size (6’7” 313), Kent State DT Amari Herron is very movable (2.0 of 2.5). MLB Kenneth Newsome is a 2.5 of 2.5. The Golden Flashes will probably have to sell out to stop the run and hope that a secondary with JuCo SS Steven Gordon and three other guys will hold up. John Garland and Harrison Mullin. These two have been the face of Kent State football forever, for good or for ill. Their final season starts by facing a Boise defense that outguns them at virtually every matchup, highlighted by pro prospect DT Kaden Oglesby and a pair of 4-star cornerbacks. As fond as we are at the MAC Network of Garland and Mullin, we’re not sure they can conjure the magic needed to win the game for Kent State. They’ll probably need their defense to set them up with short fields somehow. Prediction: 27-13 We thought there would be a better chance for Kent State when we saw Boise’s offense, but Boise’s defense dashed those hopes. Any magic pixie dust the Golden Flashes have laying around is probably better saved for conference play anyhow. Akron vs. Hawaii to come....
    23. [2021] MAC Preview: Kent State

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    24. [2021] Oklahoma State Hires New Coach

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    25. [CFBHC/NFLHC] Available Teams

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