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  1. Last Week's pick record: 2-3 (eh. conference games, amirite) Overall pick record: 37-9 Welcome back to this week! Along with special silent guest star David Aardsma, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we're going from conference play to not as much conference play! But first, you've been waiting for this: #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: Thursday Night Arizona State (4-3) at Bowling Green (1-6) Last Week: Sparky easily handled a slumping Oregon State team (W @ 24-10), while Bowling Green couldn’t hold on to beat Best!Miami (L @ 35-37) The Sun Devils travel to Bowling Green to try their luck against another MAC team. They came up short against Akron last year, can they avoid making it two in a row? Except for the pedestrian showing by RB Noel Mason (21 carries for 89 yards, no TDs) the Sun Devil offense of last week closely resembled what many think of as the typical MAC offense: QB Parker Townsend completed 16 of 23 passes for 189 yards, 2/0 TD/INT ratio and ran 4 times for 8 yards and a TD. At first glance the short pass game looked like a concession to Oregon State’s cornerbacks, but a longer look at the statsheet tells us that Townsend is averaging 173 passing yards a game so this is typical for ASU’s offense. Which since he’s a running QB makes some sense. But he may not be the player to watch here; despite that bad performance against the Beavers Noel Mason has had a good season, averaging 114 YPG and scoring 9 rushing TDs before then. This may be an option-type attack, but Mason is clearly Option A. When they go Option B the ball gets spread pretty evenly between their top two WRs and their TE, all with about 260-300 receiving yards each on the season. So like we said, a MAC offense! At least the Falcons have plenty of experience facing this type of attack. By this time, faithful readers know the BGSU defense has not been playing anywhere near their potential. Getting the defense back up to par has to be one of new coach @Popadom17's highest priorities, whether it’s via scheme change or benching underachievers. Will he take risks from the start and attack the ASU run game, leaving his patchwork secondary to fend for themselves? Bowling Green has been uncharacteristically pass-happy these last few games. Eddie Connelly has over 30 attempts in each of the last three games with mixed results, varying from a 201-yard 2/2 TD/INT game versus Toledo to a 307-yard 3/0 game against a Miami squad that probably wasn’t expecting it. Will they stick with it? We’re not sure. Throwing into the teeth of an experienced and talented Sun Devil secondary (3 seniors and a junior) doesn’t seem like a great idea, but the front seven led by likely first-round pick ILB Garrett Holliday (31 TKL, 2 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 Def TD) is just as good - the entire ASU defense is pretty hard to take advantage of is what we’re saying. So will BGSU emphasize the run or the pass? The Falcon personnel strength suggests run, recent performance says pass. This will be an interesting debut for Bowling Green’s new coach. Prediction: 27-14 We know the Bowling Green Sack Factory has the ability to take over a game (even if they've rarely done so this year), but we’re not quite sure how the Falcon offense plans to break down that tough Sun Devil defense. Maybe if they played next year after virtually everyone on ASU’s defense graduates…. (Friday and Saturday games to come shortly.)
  2. Welcome back everybody to the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and its good to be back again with some more recruiting news. 9 recruits signed to the MAC schools this week, only a single 4 star, the rest being 3 and 3.5. Akron and Eastern Michigan continue building large classes of solid players and depth for down the road. Kent State manages to keep a large and well rounded class, while , , and continue to struggle this year. As for the table, Kent State falls out of the top three for the first time this season, despite signing 3 more 3.5* players. Buffalo, despite signing no players since week 4 are maintaining a solid place. No team is likely to move into the top 3 until those schools sign some more recruits to lower their average. Despite what I said before, the Redhawks are doing well on the table, which may show some minor flaws in the system. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 3 Ohio 0 0 1 0 1 1 3 13 4.33 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8 4 5 Ball State 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 10 Kent State 0 0 6 3 1 0 10 37.5 3.75 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 15 3.75 7 Western Michigan 0 1 4 1 0 1 7 26 3.71 3 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 1 0 3 11 3.66 9 Central Michigan 0 3 3 2 1 0 9 32 3.56 13 Akron 1 4 6 1 1 0 13 44 3.38 13 Eastern Michigan 1 5 6 0 0 1 13 43.5 3.35 5 Bowling Green 0 4 0 1 0 0 5 16 3.2 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 On to the national rankings. Only two teams have gone up this week, and both are very small rises. The Golden Flashes maintain their strong class, which is currently the best in program history by about 50 spots. Ohio stays second, and CMU jumps Akron this week, as and WMU jumps EMU to take second place for Michigan schools. The lack of major jumps in likely due to the fact that only one recruit above a 3.5 star committed this week. Kent State (Class rank: 55) +1 Ohio (Class rank: 62) -4 Central Michigan (Class rank: 69) -4 Akron (Class rank: 72) -8 Western Michigan (Class rank: 73) +7 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 80) -8 Ball State (Class rank: 92) -2 Buffalo (Class rank: 101) -3 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 104) -1 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 109) -1 Bowling Green (Class rank: 113) -1 Toledo (Class rank: 119) +0 Now the interview. I was able to talk to Coach Lrickar1 of Ball State after his loss to Army. Tim Timms: Its good to be able to talk to you coach, welcome to the show! Coach Lrickar1: Thanks for having me, looking forward to it. Tim Timms: You are building a pretty solid recruiting class this year after a strong one as well last year. What were your main focuses? When do you think this team can make a bowl? Coach Lrickar1: My main goal this year was to focus on some weak areas that the team has. Mainly, the linebackers. This has been one of our weakest positions since I have been coaching here. The aim was to target players that could easily start here at Ball State but that would not be a first choice for most of the larger programs in the area. Gregory Wilkins is a prime example. He could easily play for most CFBHC teams, but since he was not a "5 star recruit" the bigger teams didn't focus on him and I was able to get his commit pretty early. As for a bowl, we almost have the talent, it's just a matter of getting all the pieces to work together. Tim Timms: Ball State has had 2 1-11 seasons in a row, and are currently 1-6. What do you think will be your win total on the season, and what games do you expect to win? Coach Lrickar1: We have had some rough seasons recently. But the W-L doesn't tell the whole story. Last year, most of our games (save for our games against Top 25 teams) were lost by 7 points or less. This year has seen more games that weren't as close, but we are still going into each games expecting to win. I see us pulling out a few more W's. Tim Timms: Marquis Casey has really struggled this season, throwing 4 TDs to 7 Ints. How much of your performance do you believe is due to his poor performance? Do you have any plans on what you need to fix for the rest of the season? Coach Lrickar1: I agree that Marquis has struggled. He came out strong in his debut, but has not really performed to the level that I know he is capable of. We stuck with him for a long time trying little tweaks that we hoped would help, but nothing is seaming to work. His play is having a large, negative impact on the team, but you can't place the blame completely on his shoulders. However, we sat all of our QBs down this week and have decided to mix things up. So we'll see how this weeks changes play out. Hopefully we can spark our offense and get the ball moving again, and give our defense a much needed break. Tim Timms: What did you expect to happen against Army? Any feelings about it afterwards, did you learn anything more about your team? Coach Lrickar1: I expected a hard fought game in the trenches against Army, and that is what we prepared for. Unfortunately, their receiving corp out played our secondary and it showed. And with no air game of our own, they stacked the box and stopped our running game. Not much new learned, as these are the same issues that we have been having all year. Now to the recruits. Some new signings this week, and so we will bring in a couple of new ones onto the show. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , ,+ Toledo takes the lead on Decker, and there is no way now that Nortwestern can get him. It has been a long time coming for Deathcpo, but he will have his man, and the Wildcats have just lost on a big roll of the dice, this didn't look like a good move for them, and it seems to have failed for them. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Coach Jamzz has stayed aggressive on Jennings, and it might be paying off, as they hold their lead and as the season winds down, it looks more and more like he will be an Eagle in the coming years. They have already signed Kevin Guzman, a 3.5* Possesi on receiver out of Florida, and the two of them will pair up nicely in a few years time. QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Western Michigan have a signal caller to take over as a redshirt sophomore when Sims graduates. Curtis will most likely be close to, or at his full potential by then, which will be a great help to future Bronco teams, and if DeSean Madison doesn't declare (which by my calculations is uhhhh, 1%?), he will have one of the best backs in the nation by his side, a truly deadly combo (which we hope never arises). CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Western Michigan takes the lead on another recruit, and if Jieret continues with his magical ways, this is shaping up yo be a top tier class in the MAC at the very least. As I have discussed before, Rainey would be a huge pickup for both teams, but Ohio is behind here, and this is becoming a tough one for them. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Well, at least this week there is some consistency. McCormick keeps his top option the same, and the Redhawks hold a solid lead here. WIll the Golden Flashes drop out of this race, or will they push to secure a blindside tackle for new QB1 Cameron Hare? FS Donte Murphy-Neal, Zone Coverage, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Annndddd hes gone. Illinois looked to be in command here, and one solid push from them left the Cardinals at the altar. Illinois signs another free safety, and Ball State missed out on a very solid player here, even though it was unlikely that they would sign him. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , No action on the Hunt-Front (patent pending), but some interest might come his way when the major battles finish up, and schools are looking to finish up with some depth players, or adding to lesser needs. CB Savion Willingham, Man Coverage, 2.5/3.5 Top Teams: , , + The Redhawks are looking for the second CB of this class in plug-n-play Willingham, who could play very early and often in his career. Ohio also targets another Corner, as they are losing out on Rainey. Unfortunately for them, and two other schools, caesari's efforts have helped to build a sizeable lead on the Wooster native. And that wraps it up. Thank you for tuning in to the week 9 MAC Recruiting Recap Show, and ... wait a minute, I have just received word that I will lose my job if I don't use this. And remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack! I'll be seeing you all next week! Thank you to @lrickar1 for the interview.
  3. Last week: Toledo joins Akron in being bowl eligible! Toledo does not join Akron in losing WTF games to Kent State! Buffalo plays one heck of a game, overcoming pass-happy UCLA! (Now do it again vs. Best!Miami) How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 9 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (71) Western Michigan Broncos (5) 5-1 (3-0) W4 - 2 (66) Toledo Rockets (1) 6-1 (3-0) W6 +1 3 (57) Akron Zips 6-1 (3-1) L1 -1 4 (55) Ohio Bobcats 4-2 (3-0) W3 - 5 (46) Buffalo Bulls 5-2 (2-2) W2 +1 6 (45) Miami (OH) Redhawks 5-2 (2-2) W1 -1 7 (38) Kent State Golden Flashes 3-4 (2-2) W1 - 8 (26) Bowling Green Falcons 1-6 (0-5) L4 - 9 (20) Ball State Cardinals 1-6 (1-3) L3 - 10 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-5 (1-2) L1 - 11 (17) Central Michigan Chippewas 1-5 (1-1) W1 - 12 (8) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-5 (0-3) L3 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. The chair-shuffling in the upper half continues. Toledo picks up a first-place vote to break up the Western Michigan stranglehold at the top (that Week 13 game is going to be huge), while Buffalo's impressive win over the Bruins lumps them over a Redhawk squad that barely held off coachless Bowling Green. In the lower half of the rankings, the Golden Flashes maintain the #7 spot by virtue of having more than one win. Bowling Green leads the pick of 1-win teams, probably due to their loss vs. Best!Miami looking better then Ball State's defeat at the hands of Army. The other three didn't play, so out of sight.... The big things to watch besides at for bowl eligibility? and . Now that new coaches have been hired for these teams, can they start playing up to their potential? And because it's that time of year, Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (6-1), Toledo (6-1) Eligible with win this week: Buffalo (5-2, @ ), Miami (OH) (5-2, vs. ), W. Michigan (5-2, @ ) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: None
  4. That Akron-Miami tilt was about everything outside observers could have asked for in a game. Did the double overtime victory encourage voters to finally push the undefeated Zips past Western Michigan? To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 8 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (72) Western Michigan Broncos (6) 5-1 (3-0) W4 - 2 (64) Akron Zips 6-0 (3-0) W6 - 3 (62) Toledo Rockets 5-1 (3-0) W5 - 4 (54) Ohio Bobcats 4-2 (3-0) W3 - 5 (48) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-2 (1-2) L2 - 6 (41) Buffalo Bulls 4-2 (2-2) W1 - 7 (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 2-4 (1-2) L2 - 8 (29) Bowling Green Falcons 1-5 (0-4) L3 - 9 (22) Ball State Cardinals 1-5 (1-3) L2 +1 10 (16) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-5 (1-2) L1 -1 11 (15) Central Michigan Chippewas 1-5 (1-1) W1 +1 12 (5) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-5 (0-3) L3 -1 Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. So...no, not really. It didn't help Akron's case that DeSean Madison and company ran all over Kent State's defense. But, interesting fact time! Two-thirds of the teams stayed where they were! That doesn't happen often! Ball State gets a small bump while chilling at home at Eastern Michigan's expense, thanks to Central Michigan picking up their first win of the season. Northern Illinois looked awful against Toledo and settles in at the bottom. Bonus Content! Since we're at the halfway point, why not throw out a quick blurb about what's working well for each team, not so much, and some to look forward to! Western Michigan Working Well: RB DeSean Madison has stepped in the large shoes vacated by Gabriel Shields and filled them admirably. When you make a Heisman watchlist, you're doing some things right. Not So Much: There isn't too much for WMU that is a giant red flag, but they do lead the conference in penalties which could come back to bite them in the rear. Look Forward To: Week 13 at Toledo. The Broncos' road to the MAC conference championship aspirations goes through Toledo. Western surely figures to play better than they showed in a 24-6 dud last year. Akron Working Well: T.J. Zamora got his mojo on a consistent level. Marlon Bailey is devouring offensive lines whole and the defense leads the conference in sacks. There's a lot to be happy about if you're a Zips fan. Not So Much: Despite the sack totals, the Zips struggle to force opposing QBs into bad decisions. Akron has the second-lowest amount of takeaways (4) in the conference. Look Forward To: The second half of their schedule. You can only play whoever is in front of you but the hardest opponent the Zips have faced so far is Best!Miami. This is the last six weeks of their schedule: Buffalo, @W. Michigan, S. Carolina, BYE, @Toledo, Ohio. If Akron gets to ten wins before the MAC Championship game, they absolutely positively deserve to be ranked. Toledo Rockets Working Well: Almost everything. The offense is balanced and effective. CBs Levern White and Adam Haywood pick off a lot of passes when the QB manages to evade sack leader Dwayne Briggs. Not So Much: Perhaps it stems from not needing 3rd down as much (only 66 3rd down attempts to date) , but Toledo ranks in the lower half of the MAC for 3rd down conversion percentage. Look Forward To: That matchup with Western Michigan looms ahead, but can Toledo stay focused on the business in front of them? We don't need to repeat the number of MAC championships they have despite being a trendy pick to win several years now. Ohio Bobcats Working Well: Owen. Freaking. WALTON. is an obvious choice here, but QB Stephen Peters isn't the liability he was last year. Peters is playing well, assuaging the fears of a fanbase that wanted freshman Austin Lowe to come in right away instead of taking a redshirt. Not So Much: Yes, Ohio has had a brutal OOC slate (@Maryland, SMU), but to this point they still sport a negative point differential. Look Forward To: Rivalry Week (16) at Akron. Similar to Toledo-WMU, it's easy to see this game determining the MAC East. Miami (OH) Working Well: The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA CARRIES ON HIS BROAD CAPABLE SHOULDERS THE REDHAWK OFFENSE. But seriously, he's improved leaps and bounds over last season so it's a good thing he can handle the pressure. Not So Much: RB Ajani Garrett's 327 rushing yards is the lowest among all MAC starters and constitutes only 15% of Miami's total offense. Look Forward To: Their Rivalry Game against Cincinnati. If the Redhawks beat the Bearcats, someone may need to put @Rome on suicide watch. Buffalo Working Well: The Buffalo Passing Game. What? This isn't last season's "Three things happen when throwing the ball and two are bad" offense. JuCo transfer Blair Holcomb stormed out of the gates chucking the ball all over the place, and never really stopped despite essentially the same supporting cast. Not So Much: MAMADOU... SMASH? The workload for the MAC's iconic bulldozer has lessened, but has it also lessened his efficiency? His stats aren't terrible for the year, but he's seventh in total yardage and sixth in yards per carry - not an area we expect to see Mamadou Wynn. Look Forward To: Weeks 9-11 against UCLA, Best!Miami, and Akron. The first two because those teams like to chuck it and chuck it often, and Buffalo's secondary is not the strongest part of their defense, and the game versus the Zips is a must-win if Buffalo wants to compete for the East division. Kent State Working Well: After a one-game stint as a fullback, FB Harrison Mullin got moved back to his accustomed position as the lead back and stabilized the position. "Ol' Reliable" changed the focus of many an opposing gameplan. As a side benefit, John Garland didn't have to die as much! Not So Much: Pass rush? What's a pass rush? The Golden Flashes only have four sacks on the year, worst in the conference. Look Forward To: Week 16 versus Central Michigan. If Kent State wants to go bowling, they have a LOT of work to do. Find four wins out of this remaining schedule! @Akron, @Ohio, @NIU, Ole Miss, Best!Miami, CMU. Suffice it to say that the best-case scenario likely has Kent State at 5-6 coming in to the CMU game. (Tempted to choose the Zips game for the lulz, as the Golden Flashes wrecked Akron's bowl dreams last year, but we'll refrain) Bowling Green Working Well: OLB Brandon Thomas. Next. Okay, QB Eddie Connelly is playing above-average. There. Not So Much: Abdoul Hurt. Malachi McKnight. Theodore Bergeron. Do you know these names? Probably not, because they're members of the Falcon defense. These players should have stepped up to replace the hole left by Isaiah Hall, but Bowling Green is giving up WAY more points than they should be. Look Forward To: The Falcons getting a new coach. Their top priority should be to recruit players for next year and the years to come, and they need a coach who won't let the final years of Connelly and Thomas (if he stays for his senior year) go to waste. Ball State Working Well: RB Austin Laws has quietly put up the 6th best rushing total in the conference. He's carrying this offense. He has to, because.... Not So Much: Oh, Marquis Causey. The step he took this season was most definitely not in a forward direction. We imagined lots of Causey-to-Chan Pease action going on at the start of this season, but with Causey not even breaking 200 passing yards in any game the receivers constantly go hungry. Look Forward To: The obligatory "He's in the best shape of his life!" pre-season stories that will surround Mr. Causey next year. With no Cardinals QBs either redshirting or committed to enroll, it will be Causey under center again (or Elias Carter, who couldn't beat Causey out for this year). Eastern Michigan Working Well: DT Shane Horton is the sole EMU representative on the All-MAC Mid-season team, and he's more than earned the nod. Here's hoping you get drafted this year. Coach @Jamzz has started to get his team buying in to the identity he wants the Eagles to be. Not So Much: The Eagles have the worst O-line rating in the conference (4.20). That poor play has a cascading effect on so many pieces of Eastern's offense; QB Giovanni Shaw's passing struggles, the conference's worst 3rd-down conversion rate and the worst point differential (-105, yuck). Look Forward To: Freshmen Orientation. Jamzz is putting together a solid group of recruits, and solid bodies for 2021 and beyond is exactly what this program needs. Central Michigan Working Well: CB A'Shawn Ellison is showcasing his skills for those teams that play on Sunday. His 12 tackles show that he is willing to bloody his nose a bit in run support, a valuable trait to have for an NFL corner. Also, how can you root against this heartwarming story? Not So Much: What do you get when you consistently try something and hope the results change? Some call it insanity, others call it the Chippewa running game. Even with Makai Carr's 150-yard outburst last week, that barely got him to average over 90 yards a game on the season. CMU needs to figure some stuff out to get the run game on track for the home stretch. Look Forward To: Week 11 against Western Michigan. If they can upset the Broncos, that gives the Chips their very first Michigan MAC Trophy! Northern Illinois Working Well: Daniel Hutchins will need to hire a chiropractor, with all the carrying he's doing for his team. The days of Cover 0 nine-men boxes against the Huskie offense may soon be upon us. Not So Much: How much time do you have? Look Forward To: The Job Market. Will NIU hire a coach that can recruit and plan well enough to save them from falling into irrelevance?
  5. Last Week's pick record: 4-1 Overall pick record: 35-6 Welcome back to this week! Along with special silent guest star Joe Beimel, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we're going from conference play to not as much conference play! But first, you've been waiting for this: #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: (Producer's Note: Friday and Saturday games to come due to technical difficulties.) Thursday Night UCLA (3-3) at Buffalo (4-2): non-conference Last Week: UCLA rallied from 14 down but couldn't seal the deal (L vs 41-44), while Buffalo enjoyed some quiet time before a tough three-game stretch began (BYE). We've talked about Buffalo's secondary getting tested before, but they haven't been stressed like THIS: Steven Gore and the Bruins are coming to town. Earlier this season Steven Gore threw for 290 yards. That was his worst performance of the year. He's hit the 400-yard mark in a game twice already - it takes some MAC QBs 2.5 games to reach that. His totals on the season? 212 of 346 (61.3%) for 2216 yards, a 26/11 TD/INT ratio, 369.3 YPG. And this is going against a cornerback group led by a converted free safety. At least they won't have to worry about the run; lead back Frederick Girard has 21 carries for 73 yards and 2 TDs. Yes, those are his season totals. We know Buffalo will defend the pass. The defensive gameplanning basically revolves around how much they want to blitz; the Bruins O-line grade is an okay 5.76, but they've given up 18(!) sacks on the season. Could this be MAMADOU SMASH's time to shine again? He hasn't looked like one of the best backs in the MAC this season, but the Bulls may call his number more than they have this season to play keep-away from the potent Bruin offense. However, the best players on UCLA's defense are DE Blake Tipton (18 TKL, 1 INT, 6.5 Sacks) and ILB Norris Toney (37 TKL), and like Buffalo, the Bruin secondary is their weak point. Blair Holcomb gives the Bulls hope they can take advantage of the back four, but will they need to? Or should they even try to? Big decisions for Buffalo's offensive coordinator. Prediction: 38-31 This feels like a shootout, and we have a hard time seeing the Bulls secondary play well long enough to hold Steven Gore down, even with a swiss-cheese looking offensive line. Toledo (5-1) at UMass (0-6): non-conference Last Week: Toledo handily disposed of a lifeless NIU squad (W vs 31-3), while the Minutemen were an even more impressive doormat for the Vols (L at 0-35). No, we're not doing this. Just, no. Prediction: Toledo covers the 46.5 point spread.
  6. Welcome to the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and I am excited to look at the mid-season state of recruiting. 10 recruits signed to MAC schools this week, and there were a couple of big ones. Coach beeznik added to his quality over quantity class with a 4.5 receiver and a 3.5 guard, while the Broncos got a 5 star backer from Florida. Central Michigan took away from Michigan, securing Bradley Lloyd, one of our spotlighted recruits. All others signed this week were of 3.5 star quality or below, and 5 went to Akron and EMU, who continue to build large, deep classes this season. Despite signing two recruits and ruining their perfect 5 star average, stays on top, and still sticking behind them are and . WMU jumped up after their one big signing, and CMU fell a few spots as well. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 3 Ohio 0 0 1 0 1 1 3 13 4.33 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8 4 7 Kent State 0 0 3 3 1 0 7 27 3.86 5 Western Michigan 0 0 4 0 0 1 5 19 3.8 5 Ball State 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 15 3.75 7 Central Michigan 0 1 3 2 1 0 7 26 3.71 3 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 1 0 3 11 3.66 13 Akron 1 4 6 1 1 0 13 44 3.38 12 Eastern Michigan 1 4 6 0 0 1 12 40.5 3.37 5 Bowling Green 0 4 0 1 0 0 5 16 3.2 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 To the national class rankings. Kent State maintains top spot, just narrowly however, as Ohio jumped up massively after signing Jordan Barnes, the big instate receiver. Western Michigan got their man, after targeting Christian Reese from Florida from the beginning, Jieret has locked him up, signing the OLB this week, which shot them up the rankings. However, most teams fell a few spots, some didn't secure any more signings, and those that did get lower tier players. And Toledo remains without a recruit for the fifth week in a row. Kent State (Class rank: 56) -4 Ohio (Class rank: 58) +32 Akron (Class rank: 64) -5 Central Michigan (Class rank: 65) +2 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 72) -10 Western Michigan (Class rank: 80) +32 Ball State (Class rank: 90) -14 Buffalo (Class rank: 98) -6 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 103) -6 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 108) -4 Bowling Green (Class rank: 112) -2 Toledo (Class rank: 119) +0 On to the interview for the week. I was able to talk to johnkirk of the 1-5 Central Michigan Chippewas after his first career win about his experiences in his first season as a collegiate head coach. Tim Timms: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me coach! Coach jonhkirk: Thanks for having me here. Tim Timms: Let's start off with last week's game. Any thoughts on the performance of your players? Also, what do you think helped Matt Rowland have such a strong game? Coach johnkirk: Last week was a welcome change of pace for the season. There was a lot of unease in the locker room about going winless on the season, but I think the hype of a rivalry game really put them over the top, helped them stay focused. My hope is that the win will give them confidence for the second half of the season. While bowling might not be on the agenda this year, there is still a chance for a strong core of young players to learn and progress. Matt was given a tall order on the year. We've had a lot of young guys come up to starting positions this year and implementing a new system is difficult for anyone. I think we will know more after the bye, but it looks like Matt is really starting to gel in this offense and find his footing. Early in the year, a few picks and his confidence was gone. But even after a pick last game, he rebounded with a great performance. We hope to see more from him. Tim Timms: What has been your biggest surprise this year, and what has been your biggest struggle? Coach johnkirk: To wrap both into one response, it is just how long of a process it will take to get us to our full potential. As I mentioned before there is a lot of youth in this team and a healthy crop of highly regarding recruits waiting in the redshirt wings. We have to ease into a system and its unfortunately taken longer than anticipated. If we can round out the year on a few high notes, it will be a good step forward. Tim Timms: Have you achieved what you set out to do in recruiting? How do you expect recruiting to go in the second half of the season? Coach johnkirk: I'm glad you asked this week, following the commitment of Bradley Lloyd. (I might have audibly cheered when I saw he committed) To get a fantastic player at a position of major need while fending off other instate attention is a huge boon. For my first season getting into the college recruiting game, I'm pleased with the results so far but there is certainly room for improvement. For the second half, once we, well we hope, get ground on some of our last few marquee recruits, we will be looking to round out with some solid depth. I'm also considering saving some ammo to take to the JUCO market as well. Tim Timms: What would you give as an estimated win total for this year? Any thoughts on how that might change next year as the team is led by Byron Suggs and a new wave of freshmen come in? Coach johnkirk: There are two games left on the schedule I feel we have a good chance in, but I'd like to see us get to four wins on the year. The fourth win would require a pretty hefty upset but I think these guys have the fire and spark to get it done. Tough to predict for next year. Byron has been coming along well in practice and as a team member, but we will fully review our team come next season and make a decision then. However should our youth progress ideally, I could very well see us at 6 wins. Onto what is becoming a, what I will call, "fun" section for me. The recruiting battles in which I have no idea what is going to happen next. I think I need Jieret's prediction skills for these ones. WR Jordan Barnes, Target, 1.5/4.5 Top Teams: (Signed) They got him! After fighting a back and forth battle with the Buckeyes, beeznik has a receiver of the future, and a good one at that. I don't know if he will redshirt or not, but he will certainly be a big target for current redshirt Austin Lowe for at least a few seasons. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , Toledo has just kept plodding along with Northwestern, not worried about putting too much on too early, as they want to get more than one recruit this season. They are playing the long game here, so this might stick around in this section until season's end. OLB Bradley Lloyd, Coverage, 1.0/4/0 Top Teams: (Signed) Coach Johnkirk has put the moves on Michigan, pulling away a very solid player from them. Lloyd will almost certainly redshirt, and will be a multi-year starter for the Chips, locking down backs and tight ends. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , EMU holds on, and Jennings might follow Lloyd's lead and commit to a MAC Michigan school, rather than a Big Ten Michigan team. This isn't over, but as the season progresses, Jamzz will most likely have a target for Giovanni Shaw and when he graduates, one of the myriad of 3.5 star freshmen the Eagles have. (One redshirting and two already redshirted). QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , Now that NIU is coachless, and it looks like they will remain so, Curtis will be redshirting behind Chase Sims next season, and when he takes over he will have a very strong team around him, with a scarier DeSean Madison (I don't want to see that) as his backfield partner. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , This remains locked up, despite both teams efforts at signing the best man-coverage corner prospect in Illinois. This will be a very tight battle to the end, and this might be the closest thing to a tie we get. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Now the "screw Tim" recruit of the week, McCormick had only one school on his board last week, and after a pair of visits organised by caesari, he has now written REDHAWKS in big letters over Kent State. Will the Golden Flashes look to build their lead back up, or will it be left for another year? FS Donte Murphy-Neal, Zone Coverage, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , , + Ball State are matching pace with the instate giants for Murphy-Neal. The question is, are the Fighting Illini content with 3.5 star Free Safety Jaden Hobson that they have already signed this cycle, or are they looking for more? Ball state is just looking to add talent wherever they can, and a solid free safety is a good place to start. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , The pecking order stays the same, and I don't think there was much recruiting targeted at Hunt this week. He will be a solid starter for any team, but not something to get too excited about, so most teams will be looking to add higher rated players or address key needs before filling out depth. And on that note, that's all we have time for this week. I've been Tim Timms and this has been the week 8 MAC recruiting recap show! Good luck to the MAC teams out on the field this week. Thank you to @johnkirk for the interview.
  7. The big game of last week lived up to its billing; the Ohio Bobcats solidified their reputation as a team that thrives off of being the underdog when they intercepted Zack Cera twice and took out Miami(OH) 30-27. It's too early to count out the defending MAC champs; they certainly haven't stopped believing. And how did this affect the rankings? Surely we'll see some movement, right? To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 7 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (60) Western Michigan Broncos (5) 4-1 (2-0) W3 - 2 (52) Akron Zips 5-0 (2-0) W5 +1 3 (51) Toledo Rockets 4-1 (2-0) W4 +1 4 (46) Ohio Bobcats 3-2 (2-0) W2 +1 5 (41) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-1 (1-1) L1 -3 6 (35) Buffalo Bulls 4-2 (2-2) W1 - 7 (29) Kent State Golden Flashes 2-3 (1-1) L1 - 8 (26) Bowling Green Falcons 1-4 (0-3) L2 - 9 (18) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-4 (1-1) W1 +2 10 (17) Ball State Cardinals 1-5 (1-3) L1 - 11 (10) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-4 (0-2) L2 -2 12 (5) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-5 (0-1) L5 - Number of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Boy, it's rough near the top. It's not like it was a horrible loss for the Redhawks, but with so many quality teams wanting to climb higher to the summit it was inevitable that Miami would drop in the rankings. I don't know if the Akron-Miami game would have been the latest (in the season) meeting of undefeated MAC teams, but it feels like it would be close. Ah well, to Saturday Morning with you instead! Akron is still a perfect 5-0, but voters seemed to like Western Michigan's overall body of work more even with the loss to Duke (albeit a double OT loss on the road). The Zips, Rockets, and Bobcats all move up a spot at Miami's expense. Buffalo feels like they're just lurking and biding their time to move up, and with games to come against Akron and Miami they will definitely have their chances. The other big news is Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois switching places - with EMU picking up their first victory at NIU plus the Huskies getting rocked by the news that their coach has been relieved of his duties this doesn't really surprise. Game to watch (from a MAC Rankings perspective): 5-0 at 4-1 . Definitely this one. Not only does it feature two teams near the top of the chart, it's an in-division game that will let Akron break away from the pack even more or pull them back to the crowd. Which way will it go? Tune in and find out!
  8. Last Week's pick record: 3-2 Overall pick record: 31-5 Welcome back to this week! Along with special silent guest star Paul Spoljaric, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. We're deep into the thick of conference play, and the games just mean more now! But first, you've been waiting for this: #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: Thursday Night hey this not-Thursday thing is cool we should keep doing this- Friday Night Kent State (2-3 overall, 1-1 conference) at Western Michigan (4-1, 2-0) Last Week: The Golden Flashes couldn’t keep running with the Bulls (L vs. 21-31), while the Broncos’ staff started booking a lot of plane trips to visit all their recruits (BYE). Kent State had a pretty good day offensively by their standards last week: John Garland had a high completion rate and two touchdowns, and Harrison Mullin picked up another 100+ yards with a TD. The bad news? Garland is not getting much air on those throws - he only threw for 205 yards on 29 attempts, giving him an unimpressive 7.07 yards per attempt for the game (although that still raised his season average YPA to 6.72). He simply isn’t giving many defenses reason to respect his deep ball - leading receiver Iye Parris averages a touch under 50 yards per game. Combine Garland’s checkdown tendencies with his ability to run and you have a blueprint we suspect most defenses tend to use against most MAC teams, much less Kent State: Stop the run and dare the QB to beat you in the air. Considering the talent Western Michigan has in the secondary, coach Jieret may feel more secure than most in implementing that plan. Oh, have we mentioned yet that WMU has 10 sacks on the year while the Golden Flashes have surrendered 10? Taking the flip side of that last sentence, WMU has surrendered five sacks on the season while Kent State has dropped the QB four times. Bronco QB Chase Sims is playing pretty well of late, completing 75.5% of his passes for 484 yards and a 4/0 TD/INT ratio in his last two games. He hasn’t turned the ball over since Western’s week 2 loss to Duke, and the apparent advantage his offensive line affords him will likely reduce the chances of an interception due to pressure. We can talk about DeSean Madison too. He has erased the Kalamazoo faithful’s concerns about how a redshirt freshman would handle the starting role with a campaign that’s already garnered him some Heisman buzz (560 yards, 9 TDs in five games) and could find himself constantly in the defense’s second level if the Broncos’ big uglies can give him some room up front. The Golden Flashes would also love to focus on WMU’s run game, but they might have to sell out to do it. Would they really leave a patchwork cornerback group to mind the passing game with minimum help from all-everything SS Quinn Benson? Prediction: 27-13 The Bronco offense matches up well against Kent State’s defensive line and cornerbacks. We expect WMU can win the time of possession battle and wear down a defense that’s given up less than 28 points only once this season. We also believe that John Garland may feel pressured to throw a few more deep shots than he’s comfortable with, dropping his completion rate and possibly leading to a pick or two. Ohio (3-2, 2-0) at Bowling Green (1-4, 0-3) Last Week: The Bobcats toppled formerly undefeated Best!Miami (W vs. 30-27), while Bowling Green carefully studied the tapes of their close Week 6 loss to Toledo (BYE). The natural tendency when talking about the Bobcat offense is to start and end with Owen. Freaking. WALTON. And he did have a good game (22 carries for 115 yards, 1 TD), but the real story last week was their talented TE Aaron Thibodeaux. The sophomore from Masillon was virtually unguardable as he went off for 105 yards and a TD on seven catches. His emergence is something else for the Falcons to consider besides just containing the run and crushing Stephen Peters, because Thibodeaux will make the BGSU LBs pay if they focus solely on Walton. Speaking of CRUSH- The Bowling Green Sack Factory apparently decided to have a sale, because Brandon Thomas and company were dropping QB Benjamin Hanson like he was on clearance. That Falcons-Rockets game produced a fascinating stat: Despite having the best single-game grade in the MAC this season (7.2), Toledo’s O-line gave up three sacks. That plus a middling Rocket 3rd-down conversion rate (33.3%) make us think that Bowling Green may be starting to figure things out when it comes to defense, and that’s a scary proposition for the rest of the conference. It seems like the Falcons unleashed some exotic blitzes Toledo wasn’t ready for, will Ohio be able to counter them? After somehow using a secondary with a pair of safeties for nickel and dime-backs against Miami and giving Zack Cera his worst game of the season, we can’t bet against it. Contrary to a common theme for MAC QBs this week, BGSU’s Eddie Connelly was not very efficient against Toledo. Two TDs can’t quite offset a putrid 5.91 YPA and two interceptions, one of which Rocket CB Levern White returned for six. RB Zack Odell had a bad day on the ground too (16 rushes for 53 yards), so how exactly did Bowling Green stay close? Likely through the third phase of the game - special teams. Although game records are curiously incomplete, we believe that Odell had a return for a TD somewhere. But even the most dynamic of returners can’t constantly take it to the house, and big plays like that can’t be counted on very often. Ohio will need a big game from DT Brady Whittaker; Bowling Green’s offensive line is better than you think, even if the results haven’t borne that out. The Bobcats’ linebacking corps is among the best in the conference but needs to be kept clean in order to do their job. But against formidable linemen OG Derrick Briggs and C Jonas Zambrano, Whittaker will need to play up to his potential and then some. Prediction: 27-21 The Bobcats are the more consistent team, and we’re buying coach @beeznik's ability to adapt to the individual talents that the Falcons possess. Eastern Michigan (1-4, 1-1) at Central Michigan (0-5, 0-1) Last Week: EMU played the time of possession game to perfection in picking up their first win (W at 23-17), while CMU looked forward to duplicating the Eagles’ feat - at their expense. (BYE) With the numbers the Eagle offense put up, you’d expect that the defense put up an impressive performance in order to win last week and they did. CB Julian Gaines and SS Shia Russ each had an interception, and NIU RB Daniel Hutchins was held to his worst rushing day statistically (20 carries for 85 yards, 1 TD). EMU held their opponent to 17 points - less than half of their MAC-worst Points Allowed per Game (34.2). Has Eastern finally figured something out? They’ve emphasized muddying and dirtying up the line of scrimmage and free the linebackers to make plays, at the expense of their pass rush (only one sack in their last three games). It worked against NIU as Dwayne Curry couldn’t make the Eagles pay for giving him time in the pocket. Will CMU’s Matt Rowland be able to? In an ideal CMU world, Matt Rowland would not have to be asked to win the Chippewas any games. He would manage the game off of solid running and punish creeping safeties as needed. But CMU’s run game has been inconsistent at best (under 80 YPG) and the O-line has been bad (4.46 average rating). Opposing defenses continue planning to bottle up Makai Carr and force Rowland to beat them through the air. Even though Eastern’s group of cornerbacks is nothing special, they have FS Zachary Dumas to clean up behind them. CMU doesn’t have a playmaking receiver to really test the secondary (although WR Mendy Schofield and TE Jasper Rowley have tried), and Rowland hasn’t yet shown the ability to throw them into open space. At least for one game, the Eagles did what they wanted on offense. RB Jamel Jamison had his best game of the season (23 carries for 109 yards, 1 TD). QB Giovanni Shaw took care of the ball, and the O-line didn’t surrender a sack. Will a repeat performance be in the cards for this game? It’s certainly possible, and probably required for EMU to move the ball effectively. Star CB A’Shawn Ellison will probably focus on limiting WR Daniel Lentz, and this will let allow the Chippewa secondary to bracket TE Amir Nixon (22 rec. for 313 yards, 2 TDs) if they choose to. CMU DT Jabari Hardy is a serviceable 2-gapper who performs his role well, but isn’t asked to do much more than that - pressure comes from the edges with DEs Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough and Rory Bolin. Both ends are good at not losing containment on outside runs, so Jamison may find most of his running room between the tackles. Prediction: 24-17 Coach @Jamzz seems to be getting the measure of his team, and is putting his players in better positions to succeed. Although we don’t expect Giovanni Shaw to light the world on fire this game, we do expect a more proficient performance out of him than his counterpart wearing the burgundy and gold. We think for this game, that will be enough. Northern Illinois (1-4, 0-2) at Toledo (4-1, 2-0) Last Week: A week of upheaval culminated in a loss to Eastern Michigan (L vs. 17-23), while the Rockets took care of business against the Cardinals - but not by as much as they’d hoped. (W at 24-10) Is there a team that’s squandered more talent over the last couple of years than NIU? A pair of 5-star seniors occupy skill positions on offense. They have a secondary that easily ranks in the upper half of the MAC. They have a pair of big-time athletes at linebacker and a pair of defensive tackles who could easily play on Sundays. Yet once LaserCats left for Georgia it all fell apart; the Huskies have five wins to their name in 2019-2020. Add to that the firing of their coach and it looks to get worse real soon with seven starters set to graduate and not enough bodies to replace them. ...oh, you wanted to know about their game with Toledo. Right. Without a coach they’ll run the same gameplan they did against Eastern Michigan - you know, the one that gave the Eagles their first win and caused NFL-bound RB Daniel Hutchins to run for less than 100 yards for the first time this season. They’ll run this same gameplan against Toledo. At least we know Hutchins will run hard. We’re not sure what to say when Toledo has the ball either. The Huskies have good talent on defense also but just aren’t making the most of them. The most exciting thing about this matchup is guessing whether the Rocket wideouts or RB Gabe Ciamo will score more touchdowns. (We’re leaning wideouts.) Prediction: 38-7 The Huskies were not playing particularly well even before their coach’s firing, and a Toledo squad that is looking to make a point is exactly the wrong kind of opponent for dispirited NIU to face right now. This will not be a close game. Saturday Morning Akron (5-0, 2-0) @ Miami(OH) (4-1, 1-1) Last Week: The Zips managed to do enough to contain the Mormon Lasercannon (W vs 30-21), while the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA was similarly contained enough for the Redhawks fell to the Bobcats (L at 27-30). So the first thing our eyes turn to when scouting this game is Akron's cornerback group: 2 CBs and a Free Safety as the nickelback. Yes, the Zips had three picks against Utah, but Utah was also working off a gameplan from 1957. We're not feeling their chances at holding up against the Redhawk attack, but we said that last week too about Ohio and they did pretty well. One of the biggest keys to this game is which of these coaches - @darkage or @caesari- learned more from the Redhawks-Bobcats tilt. Will Zack Cera be more discriminate about what part of the defense he will target? Or will Jadon Boykin be able to anticipate and get his teammates into the Miami passing lanes? Or will defensive tackles Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley just swallow up the entire Redhawk O-line on their way to Cera? Depending on the Akron defensive set, both Redhawk guards Xavier Bridges and Joseph Westfall should prepare for a LOT of 1-vs-1 blocking against Brantley, as C Arthur Knight will have to help out against Bailey. (The Best!Miami running game is still technically there. Sometimes Ajani Garrett gets to score on a 2-yard plunge.) Just because we were drawn to study the Best!Miami offense versus the Zips defense first, it doesn't mean that there isn't a storyline when Akron has the ball. It seems senior QB T.J. Zamora has finally harnessed his potential and is easily playing the best ball of his career: A 7/2 TD/INT ratio and a sparkly 8.08 ANY/A (Adjusted Pass Yards per Pass Attempt) speak to his growth. He's also chipped in 162 yards and a TD on the ground. Of course, the Zips offense isn't just T.J., RB Nathaniel Ruff is also having a great start to the season (561 rushing yards, 6 TDs) and their production makes it hard for a defense to key on a specific player. Reports from observers state that Best!Miami's defense was emphasizing scrape exchanges in practice this week, so expect Redhawk defenders to try and stay disciplined in their reads. When Zamora does throw, the big matchup to watch is TE Darnell McNeal (20 rec. for 296 yards, 2 TDs) against ballhawking SS Ian Huntley (11 tackles, 3 INT). While they're the same height, Huntley gives up 40 pounds to McNeal. However, Huntley's acceleration and wingspan may compensate for McNeal's strength advantage. Prediction: 35-31 Call it gut feeling. We could see this going either way, and we flip-flopped on this all the way up to production time. But we think that a strong double-dose of Zamora and Ruff could eventually unlock the Redhawk defense one time too many for even the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA to catch up to. There may also be some extra motivation in Akron becoming bowl eligible with a win.... Byes: Ball State (1-5), Buffalo (4-2) On behalf of silent special guest star Paul Spoljaric and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack"). Until next time!
  9. Welcome to the 4th instalment of the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and it's great to be back for another week of recruiting talk! Another slow week, with only 7 commits, as the recruiting front is becoming a war of attrition. It seems that there will be a lot of recruits closed out late in the season, and many close battles that will be won on seemingly small decisions. It will be a lot of fun to cover this as we continue into the season. The table has changed quite a bit this week, with and rising, as they both signed one 4.5 star player each. Despite having the two biggest classes of the conference, and are ranked quite low, as the quality of player is not as high as teams like Kent State and Central Michigan. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 1 Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 5 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8 4 7 Kent State 0 0 3 3 1 0 7 27 3.86 5 Central Michigan 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 5 Ball State 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 15 3.75 3 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 1 0 3 11 3.66 4 Western Michigan 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 14 3.5 10 Akron 1 2 5 1 1 0 10 34.5 3.45 10 Eastern Michigan 0 4 5 0 0 1 10 34.5 3.45 5 Bowling Green 0 4 0 1 0 0 5 16 3.2 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 After another week of signings, the MAC as a whole went down in the national rankings, as only two teams went up, the same two that moved up in the table. One highly touted prospect each moved NIU and Ball State up tremendously, and all the other teams apart from recruit-less Toledo dropped, as if they did sign any recruits, they weren't particularly talented. Kent State (Class rank: 52) -8 Akron (Class rank: 59) -5 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 62) -5 Central Michigan (Class rank: 67) -7 Ball State (Class rank: 76) +25 Ohio (Class rank: 90) -7 Buffalo (Class rank: 92) -4 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 97) +17 Miami(OH) (Class rank: 104) -6 Bowling Green (Class rank: 110) -5 Western Michigan (Class rank: 112) -4 Toledo (Class rank: 119) +0 After picking up his first win as a head coach this week, I was able to speak with Jamzz. He seemed very confident in the ability of his team and himself, maybe more so than many outsider, but I do agree that in the near future they could be a force, with Giovanni Shaw and recruit Tyler Pearson leading the team from the front. Tim Timms: Great to have you on the show, coach. Coach Jamzz: Thanks for having me on. Tim Timms: What is your target win total for the season? Would you be happy with solid performances and not wins? Coach Jamzz: Currently the goal is to get six wins and reach a bowl game. It may seem unrealistic with our slow start to the season but we feel like we've figured out some of our problems and that the schedule opens up a bit for us towards the end of the season. To answer the second part of your question, winning is always important and it's our main goal, but we also understand that we've been outmatched against some of the teams we've played and the solid performances are good to see. Tim Timms: Did you have any goals for this recruiting cycle? Building a base for the roster or trying to add some cornerstones? Coach Jamzz: My main goal for recruiting this year was to fill in the holes to the roster and add as much depth as I can. We're also looking to add in a few stars along the way but first we need to add in depth if we plan on being successful in the future. Tim Timms: Are you happy with how recruiting has gone, and how it is going in terms of current battles over recruits? Coach Jamzz: I'm pleased with how recruiting has gone so far. I feel like we've done pretty well to get the recruits we have, and I'm confident we can get the rest that we're aiming for. Now, an update on the recruiting battles we looked at last week. WR Jordan Barnes, Target, 1.5/4.5 Top Teams: , And now he isn't changing his mind. Barnes has kept his top target this week after changing two weeks in a row. The Bobcats are building a lead on the 6"0, 223 receiver out of Ada, and he looks to be a major building block to pair with Nicholas Blackwell, their only signing to this point. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , The wildcats keep on frustrating Toledo, who are a long way from their classes of yesteryear. Northwestern has a sizeable lead on Decker at the moment, but there is almost no way that they will be able to take away Toledo's star recruit, unless they sacrifice their entire class for him. OLB Bradley Lloyd, Coverage, 1.0/4/0 Top Teams: , And after all my talk of Michigan taking Lloyd, Johnkirk continues to prove me wrong, maintaining his lead on the cover specialist. This could become a very dire contest, if the Wolverines decide they want Lloyd, but it looks like they are pulling out of this one. But, as I said before, I seemingly have very little insight into this battle, so I'm not putting my money on any result just yet. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Well, who's going to listen to me now? Following the lead of CMU, a smaller Michigan school is taking a solid recruit from one of the big two in state schools. Jamzz has kept this tight all the way, and has made a move for Jennings, who will provide a very nice upgrade at receiver. Now, how will the Spartans respond? QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , Despite Western Michigan's lead, NIU is not completely out of this. Or so I thought, I have just received word that coach Noobie has been fired, and now his assistants will have to take the reigns. This looked to be in the Bronco's favour, but is now almost a sure thing that he will be the successor to Chase Sims. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Neither team is letting up here, and this could go to the last week of recruiting, unless someone pulls out. 2 teams with similar levels of prestige, two good coaches and a very important player for both teams. This is definitely one to keep an eye on. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , + Kent State keep their lead over McCormick. Not a lot to talk about here, he will be signed very soon and Miami have moved onto what they hope are bigger and better things. We have our first signed player of the covered recruits, as ILB Gregory Wilkins has signed with Ball State. Having secured their star recruit, they have been propelled upwards in the rankings, both in conference and nationally. And two new recruits we will be following over the coming weeks: FS Donte Murphy-Neal, Zone Coverage, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , , + Ball State is looking to add to a class growing in strength, and they are neck and neck with Illinois. Murphy-Neal comes with a slightly higher floor than most, but the Cardinals already have a free safety of similar potential red-shirting this season, so I'm not sure how necessary this is for them. The Fighting Illini on the other hand, have one of the best free safeties in the country, Tyler Patino, who is a junior. If he doesn't declare, then it give Murphy-Neal a year to sit and learn behind a great talent, and take his game to another level. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , The Golden Flashes lead on Hunt, and Notre Dame have had an offer on him for a while. Only recently however, Toledo has come in with an offer of their own. Kent State seems to be building towards a 3-4, and another contain style end to pair with Geno Mason is what they are looking. Toledo has a small weakness at defensive end in comparison to the rest of their roster, and they have quite a few upperclassmen, so Hunt will be a replacement of similar level for those leaving. The Irish have a junior starting at both ends, so Hunt would be redshirted and starting in 2022. Thanks again for tuning in to the MAC Network, I have been Tim Timms, and this has been another Recruiting Recap Show! Thank you to Jamzz for the interview.
  10. UNDEFEATED WOOP WOOP! A 2-0 record for everybody's favorite conference in OOC play last week (hey, it's still technically undefeated), Western Michigan made a statement in Buffalo, and Toledo got more than they bargained for versus Bowling Green. What did the voters think of this? Well... (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too) MAC Power Rankings After Week 6 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (36) Western Michigan Broncos (3) 4-1 (2-0) W3 - 2 (32) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-0 (1-0) W4 - 3 (30) Akron Zips 4-0 (2-0) W4 +1 4 (28) Toledo Rockets 3-1 (1-0) W3 -1 5 (23) Ohio Bobcats 2-2 (1-0) W1 +1 6 (22) Buffalo Bulls 3-2 (1-2) L1 -1 7 (18) Kent State Golden Flashes 2-2 (1-0) W2 - 8 (15) Bowling Green Falcons 1-4 (0-3) L2 - 9 (12) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-3 (0-1) L1 - 10 (9) Ball State Cardinals 1-4 (1-2) W1 - 11 (5) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-4 (0-1) L4 +1 12 (4) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-5 (0-1) L5 -1 Number of voters: 3 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. After a hard fought win over the Bulls, the Broncos get to rest on their laurels for a week as they take in a bye. Best!Miami still hangs on to second while Akron climbs over Toledo and Buffalo and Ohio switch places again. It doesn't seem like any of the results involving teams ranked below Buffalo were surprising enough to do any serious shakeups. This week, conference play begins in earnest with only 1 OOC game: winless Utah at undefeated Akron. Every other matchup is in-conference with the most interesting from a rankings perspective being Best!Miami at Ohio. Will the Redhawks and the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA continue their high-flying ways? Or will they be grounded under the heel of the Bobcats rushing attack and Owen. Freaking. WALTON? Tune in and find out!
  11. Last Week’s pick record: 5-0 Pick record to date: 28-3 (Huh? How?) Welcome back! On behalf of the lovely #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest star Mac Suzuki, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. But first, the ceremonial torch lighting as performed by #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night Still none. Cool! Friday Night Eastern Michigan (0-4 overall, 0-1 conference) at Northern Illinois (1-3, 0-1) Last Week: Both teams studied Peyton Manning’s SNL stint in preparation for his ESPY hosting duties and will present reports on his growth as a comedic actor. Presentations at halftime! (Both teams on BYE) We’re sticking with the running abilities of Dwayne Curry at QB, it looks like. The Huskie junior hasn’t lit the world on fire since taking over for Charlie Sanford but he hasn’t been worse either - both QBs are hovering around a 59 percent completion rate and 165 passing yards per game. Combine it with a switch to a more option-based attack, and the move makes sense. The bigger question might be if it unlocks Daniel Hutchins - well, more than he already is. The senior RB had a HUGE day last time out (140 rushing yards, 3 TDs) and looks to be getting into a groove as conference play starts in earnest. Eastern Michigan will surely key in on Hutchins and force him to work for those yards, but with some of EMU’s linebackers tending to attack downfield big TE Emory Johnson will look to exploit that area between the linebackers and safeties. Eagle SS Shia Russ will have to be very alert and not be overly aggressive in his reads. The EMU offense is the same as it was last year - ball control and play-action to TE Amir Nixon. But transfer RB Jamel Jamison is not finding the room to run (only 84.25 YPG) primarily due to an offensive line with a season rating just over four. In what seems to be another MAC trend, the Eagles go up against yet another talented pair of interior linemen: DTs Russel Brandt and Thierno Thomas. The undersized (6-1, 257!) Brandt uses elite quickness to slip gaps and get in the backfield while the monstrous Thomas (6-6, 334!) holds the fort at the line of scrimmage. If Jamison can get to the edge, he may have success in running behind the left side of his line against DE Raymond Hodge and ROLB Ivan Rosenberg. Who will watch for TE Amir Nixon slipping into patterns? Is it the exciting but young freshman MLB Oliver McNeal’s job or will SS Miles Grady mark him personally? We really don’t expect either cornerback group to be incredibly busy this game. Prediction: 23-17 It’s easy to forget, but Northern Illinois has some talented players such as Hutchins and Johnson that should play on Sundays. In a game where both coaches feel like they’re still getting the full measure of their teams, we default to the team with the higher talent level and that’s NIU. Utah (0-4) at Akron (4-0): non-conference Last Week: Utah got boatraced down in sunny California (L @ 3-38), while Akron showed Indiana Hoosier Daddy (W @ 20-17) (We regret nothing.) 34. That is the lowest number of times the “Mormon Lasercannon” Donald Culver has thrown the ball in a game this season. 50. That is the number of times Culver threw it last week against the Trojans. Granted, it didn’t help that Utah was behind virtually from the beginning of the game, but there’s no secret behind what they want to do - pass, and pass often. A 6.21 Yards per Attempt ratio and three touchdowns to five interceptions is not what the fine folks in Salt Lake City were hoping to see. Having said all that, this is a measuring stick for the Zips secondary. What Utah does well (or at least a lot of) is the thing Akron is worst at defending, and with a visit to Best!Miami the week after this gives coach @darkage a chance to see how his pass defense holds up under continued pressure. It will probably be a novel experience for SS Jadon Boykin to not be in the box constantly, but the Zips need their defenders to watch all the receivers; Culver is fond of spreading the ball around. Marlon Bailey (25 tackles, 3 sacks) could also crush the pocket a few times, that would work too. Why would Akron change what’s being working on offense? The Zips will probably continue to use T.J. Zamora’s dual-threat abilities along with sidekick Nathaniel Ruff to pose exhausting questions that the opposing defense hopefully can’t answer. For this game a successful run game has an additional benefit; by taking time off the clock, it minimizes the amount of time Culver gets to sling the ball. It also takes advantage of Utah’s defensive line, the weakest part of their three defensive levels. It also could bait their talented but inexperienced safeties into playing the run too much and let WRs Ahmed Fleming and Mason Burkett by them. The Utah linebacker corps led by Patrick Haines will really need to step up and keep that defense on the same page. Prediction: 31-21 What is Utah supposed to do? Without a head coach, all the assistants can do is continue the same “throw all the things” gameplan they’ve been using up to now and it makes them easy to prepare for, especially with Culver’s struggles right now. This was a much harder game on paper at the beginning of the year, but the Utes being coachless should allow the Zips to impose their will on the game even though we expect Culver to have a good day stat-wise. Saturday Morning Buffalo (3-2, 0-2) at Kent State (2-2, 1-0) Last Week: Buffalo couldn’t get much going against the Broncos (L vs. 13-24). Meanwhile Kent State watched that game intently - it featured their next two opponents. (BYE) WMU did it. Ohio did it. Now Kent State wants to do it. It? It’s suppressing the Buffalo offense by holding Blair Holcomb to a sub-60 percent completion rate and having him throw as many picks as he does TDs. It’s holding MAMADOU SMASH to around 70 yards and no TDs. Not surprisingly, the Bulls lost both of those games. There may not be a magic formula to do just that, we suspect WMU and Ohio used different gameplans to get to the same result. We’re not sure what the Golden Flashes will try, but they don’t quite have the same talent that either the Broncos or Bobcats have on defense. It will be interesting to see what Buffalo has in mind on offense, as we can see mismatches both at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary in the Bulls’ favor. We’d expect a much bigger dose of MAMADOU SMASH in this game to re-establish some of the running shine against a vulnerable Kent State interior. A heavier run game also stays away from SS Quinn Benson, whose pick-six against Bowling Green completely flipped the script. Don’t look now, but John Garland has actually had a pair of pretty good games after dying against Purdue (Combined 65.5 percent completion rate, 433 passing yards, 3/1 TD/INT ratio; 10 rushes for 87 yards and 2 TDs in the last two games). Having Harrison Mullin be a near-guaranteed 95-100 yards and a TD per game helps immensely, of course. But Buffalo will probably double-dog dare Garland to make it three games in a row and throw against SS Thomas Gordon and OLB Alexander Moffett; the Bulls defense probably focuses on limiting the rushing game this week. If Kent State can get more juice out of Mullin this week and onto the statsheet, it could bode well for them - in both Buffalo losses, they surrendered 100+ yards and two TDs to the lead back. (We know, correlation does not imply causation. But that’s no fun.) Prediction: 27-17 Kent State is somehow one of the more unpredictable MAC teams to forecast, but it’s hard not to see Buffalo having its way on the ground or through the air behind that big offensive line. It’s not the most exciting of picks, but… "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's how the smart money bets." -Damon Runyon Miami (OH) (4-0, 1-0) at Ohio (2-2, 1-0) Last Week: Miami had to place orders for a third round of Best!Miami T-shirts and bumper stickers (BYE), while the Bobcats dispatched of a game Hilltopper squad (W vs. 23-20) This is the most meaningful Battle of the Bricks in some time. The Redhawks are thinking more ambitiously than just a bowl game; they have designs on the MAC East. But as a famous philosopher once put it, “To be the man, Woo!, you’ve got to beat the man.” Ohio was in a much worse position at 1-4 last year before rebounding to win the division. But the division last year didn’t have undefeateds Akron and Best!Miami. The story for this game is defense, as in: How will each defense plan to stop what they know is coming? Six different players have made the statsheet catching passes for Miami this season, but their big three are WRs Kenneth Harrison (24 catches for 290 yards, 4 TDs), Keith Barnes (26 for 340, 4 TDs), and TE Casey Swann (23 for 303, 4 TDs). If we counted only their receiving yards, their total (933 yards) would still be more passing yards than all but four non-Miami MAC QBs. This makes life very difficult for the Bobcats. They have a good young CB in Shawn Tillman, but they would potentially match a 2.5/2.5 CB and a 1.5/3.5 SS in coverage against Barnes and WR Melvin Grubbs (who was 1st-team All-MAC in 2017 and 2nd-team All-MAC in 2018. No big). As the kids say in the business, that’s no bueno. ROLB Myles Lindsay can cover Swann, but he may not get much help from the Ohio safeties who have a lot of field to scan and cover. How will the Bobcats play this? Will they send extra blitzers to try and disrupt Cera’s timing? What? You want to know about Miami’s run game? Well, Ajani Garrett is a person. A talented one, but running backs don’t get much play in this offense (55.75 YPG, lowest in the MAC amongst current RB starters). Anything he gets is probably just gravy. Owen. Freaking. WALTON. On the other hand, is the gravy, and mashed potatoes, and a turkey leg or two also. You know he’s coming, the Bobcats know you know he’s coming, and it doesn’t matter - the bruiser still gets his 100+ yards and a TD, if not more. What you may not know is that Ohio has a pretty decent set of players to throw to (WR Dwayne Simpson, TEs Aaron Thibodeaux and Caleb Holman) but that’s because they tend not to throw that often; Stephen Peters’ forte is not orchestrating a passing game. He can occasionally hurt a defense that sells out to play the run (4 TDs to 2 INTs on the season, but only 176 YPG), but the Bobcat offense fully revolves around what Walton is capable of doing. Miami’s defense is capable but outside of DE Donte Pennel and their safety duo of Nicholas Mingo and Ian Huntley there aren’t any true standouts. Their M.O. is good, responsible, opportunistic (6 INT) team defense that has held their opponents to an impressive average of 12.5 points per game. Prediction: 34-21 Oh, we hate to bet against Owen. Freaking. WALTON. But it’s really, really hard to not look at WRs Barnes and Grubbs against Ohio’s CB2 and CB(SS)3, and not wonder if they might get 180 receiving yards between them. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA is really playing at a high level right now, and while we trust in coach @beeznik’s ability to scheme it’s so hard to hide two corners. We like Miami to come out on top and set up a potential clash of unbeatens in the “BATTLE OF THE CENTURY OF THE WEEK” next week against Akron. Toledo (3-1,1-0) at Ball State (1-4, 1-2) Last Week: Toledo needed big plays from their offense and defense to put away the Falcons (W vs. 31-24), while Ball State is happy to finally have a mark on the left side of the ledger (W vs. 20-14) It seems clear at this point that this Ball State offense is Austin Laws’ offense (24 rushes for 117 yards, 1 TD), and Marquis Causey is second fiddle. Although Causey had a tidy game last week (16 of 25 for 193 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) through the air, they still aren’t stats that make a defense want to respect your passing ability. One man (outside of Laws) who will get some attention from the Toledo defense is WR Chan Pease who went 5 for 83 and a score last week. From a talent standpoint there are few MAC cornerback tandems that can match up with Pease and fellow WR Jayson Zarate-Lima, but Toledo has one in Levern White and Adam Haywood. Coach @deathcpo will feel pretty confident in leaving them on islands in order to stack the box against Laws. Speaking of Laws, the focus from the Cardinal sideline will be how to scheme their star RB and get him loose against an inconsistent LB corps. Another 1.5 sacks and 5 tackles for DT Isamaeli Afamasaga last week against Central Michigan; he and his fellow twin tower Rashaad Malcolm will need to duplicate or exceed those results if Ball State is to stand a chance of slowing down the potent Rocket offense. If Toledo has a (relative) weakness on offense, it’s that their line is prone to occasional concentration lapses. It’s imperative for the Cardinals that their front four be able to put pressure on reigning MAC OPOTW Benjamin Hanson without sending linebackers; that back seven will be busy watching the WR triplets Justin Evans (23 catches for 326 yards, 3 TDs), Justin Yang (15 for 229, 3 TDs), and Daniel Addison (14 for 189, 3 TDs). When you have Hanson slinging the ball all over the place, it somehow manages to push a talent like Gabe Ciamo out of the spotlight. But MAC coaches know that doesn’t make him any less dangerous. The 5-star redshirt sophomore (!) is averaging a tidy 114 rushing yards and a TD per game, and ensures that a defense can never fully sit back and guard exclusively against the pass. Ciamo has the speed to turn the corner quickly, and if Ball State can’t keep him from getting to the outside Ciamo can wreak serious havoc against those second and third-level defenders. Prediction: 28-13 Unfortunately for Marquis Causey, the Toledo defense is a much harder riddle to solve than Central Michigan’s. Pease and Zarate-Lima are evened out by White and Haywood, and Causey is not playing well enough to reliably put the ball where it needs to be. That leaves the Cardinal offense resting on the shoulders of Austin Laws, but Toledo knows that too. It’s the play on this side of the ball that leads us to forecasting a Rocket victory. Byes: Bowling Green (1-4), Central Michigan (0-5), Western Michigan (4-1) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest Mac Suzuki, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). Until next time!
  12. Welcome back to the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, it's great to be back for another week of recruiting talk! A better week for signings, as we had 16 commits. Coach Jamzz managed to bring in 6 players this week, and some may have a chance to start next season, but they will definitely be raw if Jamzz makes the decision to give them the starting role. A lot of mid-tier players signing this week after a flurry of highly rated recruits coming to everyone's favourite conference. Akron continue to build a large and deep class after a particularly weak one last season, and they are only two players short of the total they managed to sign last season. Here we have our table of recruits by average potential, and atop sits Ohio, not moving until they sign more than 1 recruit. EMU dropped 5 spots, a result of a large number of lower potential commits. Kent State and Central Michigan maintain their strong starts to the recruiting season, as Kent State continues to sign a large number of recruits of reasonable quality, a step in the right direction for them. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 1 Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 5 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 4 4 7 Kent State 0 0 3 3 1 0 7 16.5 3.86 5 Central Michigan 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 15 3.75 4 Ball State 0 0 3 1 0 0 3 7.5 3.63 8 Eastern Michigan 0 2 5 0 0 1 8 8.5 3.56 4 Western Michigan 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 3.5 3.5 9 Akron 1 2 4 1 1 0 9 31 3.44 3 Bowling Green 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 10 3.33 2 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 6.5 3.25 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Also, we have a nationwide ranking for recruiting this season, and post week 6, this is how the MAC is shaping up. Kent State (Class rank: 44) Akron (Class rank: 54) Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 57) Central Michigan (Class rank: 60) Ohio (Class rank: 83) Buffalo (Class rank: 88) Miami(OH) (Class rank: 98) Ball State (Class rank: 101) Bowling Green (Class rank: 105) Western Michigan (Class rank: 108) Northern Illinois (Class rank: 114) Toledo (Class rank: 119) Overall, the MAC doesn't look to be in a great way as a conference, with some of the top tier teams struggling so far. On the bright side, lower tier teams such as Kent State, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan are looking to build strong classes as a foundation for future success. On to the interview for the week. I was able to talk to beeznik, the coach of the 2-2 Ohio Bobcats, about his recruiting efforts, his team's performance and his expectations for the season. Tim Timms: Thanks for coming on the show Coach! Coach beeznik: Thanks for having me. Tim Timms: Let's get right into the questions. Considering your championship and bowl game wins last year, what are your expectations for this season? Coach beeznik: I expect to win the conference and a bowl game. However, I do know the road will be a tough one as the conference is much more competitive this year. Tim Timms: How many recruits are you looking to sign by the end of the season, as you only have 1? Where would you hope to finish in terms of ranking in the MAC and in the Nation? Coach beeznik: For this year, it's not so much quantity as it is quality. I went all in on the DE out of Florida, and he's gonna be a good one. If I can fill several more positions out with top quality talent to really take the team to the next level, that will be huge. Tim Timms: Are you happy with your start to the season, both in recruiting and in games? Coach beeznik: I'm....content. I knew 2-2 was a real possibility. We played and lost to two ranked teams (SMU and Maryland) and beat a tough Buffalo team too. I would really have liked to win that close one against SMU though. Recruiting could be going more smooth, but when you get in a battle for recruits, it inevitably will slow you down for signings. That said, we're ahead of where we were last year. Now, an update on the recruiting battles we looked at last week. WR Jordan Barnes, Target, 1.5/4.5 Top Teams: , For the second week in a row, Barnes has changed his top school. After the Buckeyes scheduled a school and coaches visit last week, beeznik pulled out his visits and took what looks to be a commanding lead. What was looking like a tough battle for the Bobcats has just become one which looks a bit easier, and he could be signed in a few weeks. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , And Toledo continues to struggle this year. The Wildcats are keeping this well within reach, but Toledo should come out on top eventually. I mean, who wouldn't want to be on this Toledo squad next year? OLB Bradley Lloyd, Coverage, 1.0/4/0 Top Teams: , Coach Johnkirk is looking for a strong future starter in Lloyd, who will be replacing upperclassmen in a couple of years. Michigan is just looking to add depth, as they have two young starters at outside backer, but the Wolverines should have this under wraps if it goes for much longer. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , After pulling ahead last week, the Spartans have kept their lead on Jennings, and maybe even increased it. Jamzz is already building a solid and well rounded class, and maybe Jennings may have to be let go to continue building a foundation of starters for the coming years. And now to some conference battles QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , Michigan's top QB will be going to Kalamazoo in a few weeks, after Jieret continued building his lead on Curtis. Noobie's hopes for a stronger signal caller will go unanswered for the season, unless something big changes. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , And the Broncos continue to battle. The conference's best cornerback group is looking to be rejuvenated, with the possibility of Taylor leaving at season's end to play on Sundays. If he doesn't enter the draft early, it will give Rainey a red-shirt season to grow. Ohio are in two tight battles over big recruits at the moment, it will be interesting to see if they can pull through with both. And two battles that are all but wrapped up, ILB Gregory Wilkins, Will, 1.0/4.5 Top Teams: , + Now almost a sure thing, Wilkins will be signed to Ball State within the next 2 or 3 weeks. Darkage hasn't lost his whole class for the chance at one player, and wisely dropped out of this race. Experience from last year may have helped with that decision. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , + After battling for McCormick for a few weeks, TazerMan looks to bringing in the undersized tackle. Visits were used, and even though the Flashes have a tackle redshirting, McCormick has a higher ceiling, and building a stronger o-line can never hurt a team. Thanks again for tuning in to the MAC Network, goodbye, and good luck to the MAC teams playing this weekend! Thank you to beeznik for the interview.
  13. Game Recap: Week 6 Welcome to our first ever addition to Mac Recap I'm your host Todd Greenfield. Make sure you turn in those power rankings to Jieret! And Remember IF IT'S NOT MAC ITS WACK. FUN FACT: The most hyped game this week Western Michigan vs Buffalo was the only game that wasn't decided by one possession. TNF NONE?????? FNF Western Kentucky (1-3) at Ohio (1-2, 1-0): non-conference Athens, OH - 57 F Jieret's Prediction: 34-24 Actual score: 23-20 Game summary: Ohio started the game off strong with 2 touchdowns which would happen to be the only 2 they scored this game. One on a pass play from Peters(QB) to Simpson(WR) and the other was a rush play by the one and only Owen Walton. The Hilltoppers replied with a touchdown pass of their own from West(QB) to Tate(WR). They were about to score once more in the first but the 4 star recruit Robert Mahoney wasn't having any of it and intercepted West's pass. The next to quarters were the battles of the kickers with 5! different field goals and 6! attempts. 9 for the bobcats and 6 for the Hilltoppers who would later score in the 4th with a pass to Patterson but it wasn't enough. This was a very close game that could have easily turned into an overtime if it weren't for the missed 45 yard field goal by Rodrigo Estrada. The 3-13 3rd down efficiency didn't help their case either. Both teams had a decent O-line rating but the rushing power of Owen Walton getting them into field goal position proved to be too much for the Hilltoppers. Ohio improves to 2-2 on the season whereas Western Kentucky goes down in missed field goal fashion to 1-4 on the season. Central Michigan (0-4, 0-0) at Ball State (0-4, 0-2) Muncie, IN - 56 F Jieret's Prediction: 17-13 Actual score: 20-14 Game summary: The 2 winless teams fight to be welll... the non-winless team. Central michigan still 0-0 in their conference record came in with spirits high knowing its not too late for hopes of a conference championship game in the future. The defense for ball state this game was stellar with 2 interceptions that more than likely cost Central Michigan the game. After a scoreless first quarter it was looking like it could be a very close game until Ball State scored 2 touchdowns in the second thanks to the split power of the Rb/Qb on Ball state this game. The WR Chan Pease, BST, also had a good game with his 5 for 83 yards, 1TD. In the 3rd The offense on Michigan started to wake up again with a Touchdown pass to Jaeden Lemons for the 7 points. But Ball state answered with a field goal 17-7( ). Again Michigan made a pass to Witherspoon(WR) for another 7 points and were down by a field goal but again ball state replied with another field goal 20-14(). The ball state defense would then make their mark in this game with a last drive interception to give ball state the win. Ball state improves to 1-4 on the season and 1-2 conference. Central Michigan will have to find another game to win as they drop to 0-5 and 0-1 conference. SNF Akron (3-0, 2-0) at Indiana (2-1): non-conference Bloomington, IN - 58 F Jieret's Prediction: 24-21 Actual score: 20-17 Game summary: This game was the upset of the week with a Akron squad looking to stay undefeated against a BIG 10 opponent that is not to be underestimated. Both teams started off well with a passing TD from Zamora(QB) to Burkett(WR) and the passing TD of Rupp(QB) to James(WR). Then Akron's defense held Indiana in the second and Indiana wouldn't get another chance to score until the 4th. meanwhile the 2 headed offense of Zamora and Ruff scored another touchdown in the 3rd and Josh Booth kicked a 29 yard field goal in the 2nd. 17- 7(). Indiana started to come back with a touchdown pass to Rollins(WR) and a long 42 yard field goal in the 4th. 17-17(Tied) Akron got down the field and Booth kicked a game winning field goal(34) to give Akron the 3 point lead that would not be contested. Akron improves to (4-0, 2-0) and is looking to win at Indiana next week so they can face the best Miami in a 5-0 showdown. Indiana drops to 2-2 on the season and is looking to comeback next week strong with a BYE. Toledo (2-1, 0-0) at Bowling Green (2-2, 0-2) Bowling Green, OH - 56 F Jieret's Prediction: 28-10 Actual score: 31-24 Game summary: This game was expected to be a blowout but almost ended in upset. The player of this game would go to Toledo's one and only QB Benjamin Hanson. He had a staggering 287 yards and a completion rate of 73% and 3 touchdowns... a great performance not to be diminished by his 1 interception. The game looked pretty close through the first two quarters of play with Toledo leading by a field goal 17-14( ). At the end of the second quarter Nathaniel Layne of had a chance to tie the game with a long 45 yarder that he missed after it hit the left side of the post. Bowling green took the lead against toledo in the 3rd quarter 21-17( ). Near the start of the 4th bowling Layne redemmed himself with a 28 yard field goal. Things were looking bad for Toledo who was down 24-17( ) but Hanson led his team down the field and tied the game 24-24 with his pass to Justin Evans for his 3rd TD of the game. Bowling Green had a chance to take the ball down the field for the last time but tragedy for Bowling Green struck when Levern White intercepted Connelly's pass and returned it for the game winning pick-6. Toledo improves to (3-1,1-0) on the season and Bowling Green drops to (2-3,0-3) and it looks like bowling greens mac chances are over...for now they will have to focus on getting to a bowl game. Buffalo (3-1, 0-1) at Western Michigan (3-1, 1-0) Buffalo, NY - 53 F Jieret's Prediction: 24-17 Actual score: 24-13 Game summary: This was the most hyped game for the mac this week showcasing two powerhouses of the mac going head to head. Western Michigan jumped ahead early and really would never catch back up. With two rushing touchdowns from DeSean Madison and buffalo only managing a 40 yard field goal in the the first they were down 14-3. Buffalo ended up getting a passing touchdown at the start of the second by Blair Holcomb but Western Michigan struck right back with a passing td of their own 21-10(). After the 1st half we would not see another touchdown only 1 field goal from each team... oh and a missed 42 yarder by Mohamed Saylor that didn't matter in the end. I don't think we have seen MAMADOU SMASH! shut down like this in a long time and we halve to ask ourselves... is this Western Michigan defense ever going to give...We saw them fight tooth and nail in a game against a powerful Duke team to lose by 3 points. Western Michigan improve to (4-1,2-0) as Buffalo fall further behind in the Mac race at (3-2, 0-2). BYES: Kent State (2-2), Miami (OH) (4-0), E. Michigan (0-4), N. Illinois (1-3) On behalf of the mac and our beloved mac coaches, I'm your host Todd Greenfield wishing you all good luck and a good day...and remember IF ITS NOT MAC ITS WACK! P.S. All of you! Yes you, even you, the non-MAC coach with the face! We want your MAC Power Rankings! Please send in your rankings to JIERET by Tuesday midnight EST.
  14. A 2-3 record for everybody's favorite conference in OOC play, and some teams are longingly looking at the start of their in-conference slate. The top two teams from last week (WMU and Miami) both had blowout victories while Toledo and Akron were idle, so it's safe to say the top spot was between Western and Best!Miami. Who did the voters find more impressive? To the chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 5 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (48) Western Michigan Broncos (4) 3-1 (1-0) W2 - 2 (42) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-0 (1-0) W4 - 3 (41) Toledo Rockets 2-1 (0-0) W2 - 4 (35) Akron Zips 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 5 (34) Buffalo Bulls 3-1 (1-1) W1 +1 6 (28) Ohio Bobcats 1-2 (1-0) L1 -1 7 (22) Kent State Golden Flashes 2-2 (1-0) W2 +1 8 (20) Bowling Green Falcons 1-3 (0-2) L1 -1 9 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-3 (0-1) L1 - 10 (15) Ball State Cardinals 0-4 (0-2) L4 - 11 (8) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-4 (0-0) L4 - 12 (6) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-4 (0-1) L4 - Number of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Seemed the voters all liked the Broncos' 44-14 pasting over SDSU more than Miami's 35-3 win over EMU. Everyone agreed on Western in the top spot, although oddly enough the gap between #2 Miami and #3 Toledo shrank despite the big win and Toledo's bye (and Best!Miami getting a point in the Coaches' Poll). It'll definitely be interesting to see what happens in the polls after Toledo plays their first conference game this week against Bowling Green while Miami gets a week off. The big game to watch this weekend with regards to this chart, though, is definitely the Broncos traveling (again! four games out of five) to Buffalo to take on a very dangerous Bulls squad wanting to make a conference statement. Akron and Ohio get chances to uphold the honor of the against out-of-conference opponents Indiana and Western Kentucky respectively. The only other teams that get a chance to directly affect their power rankings will be a matchup between winless Central Michigan and winless Ball State.
  15. Last Week’s pick record: 6-1 Pick record to date: 23-3 Welcome back! On behalf of the lovely #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest star Jose Paniagua, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. But first, the ceremonial torch lighting as performed by #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night None. Wait, what? Friday Night Western Kentucky (1-3) at Ohio (1-2, 1-0): non-conference Last Week: The Hilltoppers came out on the right side of a winless matchup (W vs. 28-10), while Ohio looked forward to proving themselves better than they’ve shown so far. (BYE) When we talk about the Bobcat offense, we normally start with Owen. Freaking. WALTON. But for this game we’ll start with Damien Arroyo, Jayden Grove, Jake Jennings, Drew Platt, and Shane Poe. These are the gentlemen who will have the task of neutralizing WKU’s best defenders, RDE Daniel Spivey (9 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and DT Benjamin Chappell (14 tackles, 1.5 sacks). Chappell in particular is a space clogger who plays much bigger than his 290-pound frame suggests, yet has enough short-area quickness to slip past an unprepared lineman and get to the quarterback. Expect to see C Jennings frequently slide to whatever side Chappell is on and engage in double-teaming. If the front five can get good seal blocks on the Hilltopper defensive line, we really like Walton’s chances to put up disgusting numbers against a back seven that would be in the lower third of MAC defenses. That in turn would really open up space for Ohio’s receivers to find intermediate areas to settle down in. With QB Riley West at the helm (64% completion rate, 1011 passing yards, 11/5 TD/INT ratio) Western Kentucky wants to be a proficient passing team and they are certainly capable of putting up the big numbers: 45 against Oklahoma State 31 against East Carolina 24 against Virginia 28 against Louisiana Tech The problem for the Hilltoppers is that except for the LaTech game, the numbers on the other side were bigger: 49 for the Cowboys, 34 for the Pirates, 56 for the Cavaliers. Those gaudy point totals look very much like the results of “throw it up to keep up” games where WKU fell behind. It says something that West’s worst game statistically (15 of 29 for 155 yards, 2/2 TD/INT) came in their only win - the Hilltoppers coasted to early lead courtesy of a pick-six then worked safer and shorter passes and their running game to a 28-10 victory. Speaking of running, WKU tapped redshirt freshman Charlie Kurtz as their new starting running back last week. It seems to the result of a philosophy change rather than a performance issue - the speedy Kurtz’s stats aren’t appreciably different from bruising former starter Gary Foley (74 rushing yards for Kurtz, 76.0 YPG for Foley). However, Ohio is arguably better defensively at the edges of their front seven than in their middle, even accounting for tackling machine ILB Calvin Blue, with OLBs Donovan Pendleton and Myles Lindsay rounding out perhaps the most complete LB corps in the MAC. Where Ohio IS shaky is in their secondary, playing converted safeties as their nickel and dime backs. The Hilltoppers may find some success if they have to go four and five-wide. Prediction: 34-24 With a, um, shaky (Yeah, let’s go with ‘shaky’) defense, the Hilltoppers’ best chance is to go into a shootout, albeit an unconventional one: Ohio scoring into the 30s and 40s probably means a 3-TD performance from Owen. Freaking. WALTON. WKU will probably have to rely on West’s arm again, but his O-line is averaging a rating of 4.2 and 1.75 sacks allowed/game; he is going to be one big bruise at the end of this game. Central Michigan (0-4, 0-0) at Ball State (0-4, 0-2) Last Week: A pair of tough non-conference games for them both with Jamel Trufant running around, through, and over CMU repeatedly - they are now well-acquainted with his shoe size (L vs. 7-35). Meanwhile, Ole Miss’ (Marquise) Laws was enforced much more diligently than Ball State’s (Austin) Laws (L at 3-24). Two teams that were expecting a better start to the year meet up to start up the long road to glory at the expense of the other. At the MAC Network we’ve been singing the praises of Ball State’s twin tower DTs Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga as a reason they could surprise in the MAC West. Well, Malcolm and Afamasaga have delivered (combined 19 tackles, 4.5 sacks) but the rest of the defense haven’t played quite as well. The only opponent held to under 100 yards rushing was Virginia (80 yards), and that’s because they weren’t particularly interested in it - Matteo Rook went 27 of 37 for 328 yards and 4 TDs. Granted, they’ve had a tough slate of games so far (@Akron, Buffalo, @UVA, @Ole Miss) but coach @lrickar1 must be getting concerned with opposing offenses doing virtually whatever they want. Fortunately for the Cardinal defense, the Chippewa offense is in just as bad a state of disarray if not worse. RB Makai Carr has struggled to find traction so far, averaging only 80.25 yards per game. CMU QB Matt Rowland hasn’t fared much better, averaging a paltry 162 yards per game while throwing 6 picks and 6 interceptions. Their offensive line has an average rating of 4.4. And then there’s the other side of the ball. 16 of 23 for 199 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 6 rushes for 29 yards, 0 TD. That is a statline that most MAC coaches would take if that was the average result from their quarterback. They wouldn’t be thrilled with it, but they could live with it. That is the statline for Marquis Causey’s BEST game this season. Coming into this season most observers expected Causey to take a step forward, especially with an experienced group of receivers like Siali McMullin, Chan Pease, and Jayson Zarate-Lima. But his continued struggles are the biggest reason why Ball State is winless on the year. Outside of the above-quoted game against Buffalo, Causey has not thrown a touchdown pass but has thrown five interceptions total. It’s all too easy for defenses to stack the box against Austin Laws and dare Causey to throw right now. It doesn’t help that the Chips defense is easily the stronger part of their team right now. Sophomore bookends Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough and Rory Bolin provide formidable presences off the edge, and senior cornerback A’Shawn Ellison (8 tackles, 1 INT returned for TD) does a good job working against the offense’s top wideout. Normally, Ellison vs. Pease/Zarate-Lima would be a highlighted matchup but the Cardinal gameplan may dictate otherwise - at least if things go accordingly to Ball State’s plans. Prediction: 17-13 The big question here is whose defense will force more offensive mistakes. We expect the Cardinals to feed the Chips a steady diet of Austin Laws and put Causey in caretaker mode until he gets his confidence back. We actually expect Central Michigan to do the same, but it’s the Ball State defense that will prove the difference and provide several short fields for their offense. As dynamic as Ellison is, the cornerback position is the one that might have the least potential to affect this week’s game. Saturday Morning Akron (3-0, 2-0) at Indiana (2-1): non-conference Last Week: The Zips enjoyed the view from atop the MAC East Mountain (BYE), while Indiana needed a fourth-quarter comeback to shake off pesky Tulsa (W vs. 24-21) QB Adrian Rupp is the man to watch when Indiana has the ball. The redshirt junior makes everything go for the Hoosiers, and we’re not just saying that because the ball gets hiked to him. Check out the stats in three games: 36 of 89 (68.5%) for 761 yards, 6/2 TD/INT ratio. And he does damage with his legs too (19 rushes for 135 yards and 3 TDs), so you can’t just drop everyone into coverage. Indiana is trying to find a complement for Rupp so he doesn’t wear down too much, and they’re trying Brendan Devine out after starting with FB/RB Julian Early for a couple of games. Devine had a good day against the Golden Hurricane, so there’s hope in Bloomington. (We’ll come back to this game later) Defensively, the Zips are going to lean on big Marlon Bailey to disrupt up the middle and force Rupp to decide on his Run-Pass Option sooner than he wants to. With 18 tackles and 3 sacks on the young season, the Hoosier offensive line hasn’t encountered anyone like the 6-7, 322-pound monster. Much like Rupp does for the Indiana offense, Bailey drives the Akron defense. But Bailey isn’t the only talent on his squad, his linemate Corey Brantley and SS Jadon Boykin show promise (although oddly enough, both have been blanked on the statsheet so far this year). The Zips’ shallow secondary is vulnerable to spread teams, but that’s not Indiana’s MO (only 132 yards and 1 TD combined for Indy’s #3 and 4 receivers). Akron got its dual-threat offense rolling early in the season, averaging 216 yards passing (eh) and 146 yards rushing (pretty good) per game so far. Despite the pedestrian yardage T.J. Zamora has been efficient with the ball completing nearly two-thirds of his passes and tossing five touchdowns to two interceptions so far. His rushing totals aren’t as gaudy as Rupp’s (95 rushiing yards), but he has the better backfield partner in Nathaniel Ruff (114 YPG, 4 TDs). Indiana’s defense doesn’t have the same amount of talent as their offense, and a Zamora/Ruff two-headed monster have already dispatched stop squads of similar skill levels, although LOLB Felix Hinojosa may require some scheming. Prediction: 24-21 We’re leaning homerish with this one, sure, but we’re willing to buy into the current good version of T.J. Zamora sticking around. Good!Zamora and Ruff can do some damage, but the biggest reason for picking the Zips? Last week’s Indiana game against Tulsa. A C-USA team that couldn’t keep up with Fresno State or Buffalo took Indiana to the wire by using their strong running and a timely turnover or two. Ohio State didn’t even have a takeaway but used the running game more effectively in their win against Indy. We’re willing to bet that Akron can follow the same plan. Toledo (2-1, 0-0) at Bowling Green (2-2, 0-2) Last Week: The Rocket staff’s focus was on recruiting (BYE), while Bowling Green misread the schedule and showed up to play a half late. (L at 28-41) So Bowling Green: Had Eddie Connelly completed 75 percent of his passes for 270 passing yards, averaging 11.25 Yards per ATTEMPT and threw three touchdowns (against two interceptions, but still) Ran for 167 yards with Zack Odell breaking the century mark and scoring another touchdown. ...and still got blown out. Kent State’s Quinn Benson took a Connelly pass back to the house and the dam broke; it was 28-0 at halftime. The individual stats look good for Bowling Green, but together they made for an ugly picture. A lot of the blame can be laid at the collective feet of their Falcon offensive line; a 4.4 rating and 2 sacks allowed led to a 2 for 13 third down conversion rate for the game. And really, the O-line is the story of the BG offense. Talented but very inconsistent; if they fall on their faces like they did against a less-talented Kent State defensive line the Falcons are going nowhere. And now here comes a Toledo defense only surrendering 267 offensive yards per GAME. It doesn’t matter how good Connelly and Odell are if the offensive line can’t keep the Two Dwaynes (Montgomery and Briggs) out of the backfield. Speaking of underachieving… for all the issues the Falcon offense had last week, they weren’t the only culprits in giving up a huge lead to Kent State. The vaunted Bowling Green Sack Factory is tied for last in the conference in sacks with four, and two of them came from OLB Brandon Thomas in one game. They’re also surrendering 131 rushing yards per game and allowing a 3rd down conversion rate of 34%; that percentage would be good for second in the conference if it belonged to a specific team! The Falcon defense is in a bad place right now, and new coach DJSquiggle has a lot of work to do. The Rockets are not the team you want to face with your defense in disarray. Not with Benjamin Hanson have thrown seven TDs to one pick on the season and RB Gabe Ciamo rushing for four TDs while averaging 115 YPG. Prediction: 28-10 We’re not ready to call the Bowling Green Sack Factory closed, but they may have to cut back their hours. Toledo is out to prove that it’s premature to write them off for the season, and it’s hard to see the Falcons stopping them with their current form. Saturday Evening Buffalo (3-1, 0-1) at Western Michigan (3-1, 1-0) Last Week: The Bulls’ focus was on evening their conference slate (BYE), while the Broncos forgot about saving points for this week’s contest (W vs. 44-14) It’s PRIME TIME for the MAC! Western has to be hoping this visit to the bright lights of Saturday goes better than their last, when Toledo completely shut them down in a 24-6 loss. DeSean Madison has gotten better and better every game, but the most encouraging sign for the Broncos has to be the game Chase Sims had last week against the Aztecs - 75% completion rate for 249 yards and 3 TDs? Yes please. TE Carlos Vargas (19 catches for 281 yards, 3 TDs) has emerged as Sims’ favorite weapon and will undoubtedly draw LOLB Alexander Moffett’s attention, so this could be a good game for deep threat Josh Whitt. When we talk about the Bulls defense, we start with Moffett. The true freshman (yes, you read that right) started from day one and helped compensate for losing Second Team All-MAC DT Patrick Garber to graduation. While he’s made a few statsheets (12 tackles), his coaches rave about his instincts for the game and his ability to do the little things that don’t show up in the boxscores. Someone who has shown up in statsheets? SS Thomas Gordon. The junior isn’t just a thumper in the box (21 tackles), he can ballhawk when necessary (3 INTs). Sims will have to account for Gordon at all times, as the Bulls like to move around a lot. Well, we were wrong. When Buffalo secured QB Blair Holcomb’s services last year, we didn’t think the JuCo transfer would make much of a difference. Boy, were we wrong. The Bulls stopped being one-dimensional (no matter how awesome that dimension was) and show greater offensive punch than before; an 11/3 TD/INT ratio and 266 passing YPG attest to that. The Buffalo receivers are basically the same ones from last season, so the difference between Holcomb and Stephen “I shouldn’t throw past 9” Coates is something to behold. Oh, we can’t leave the Bull running game out of this. MAMADOU SMASH isn’t putting up the awe-inspiring numbers we’re used to seeing, but that doesn’t make him any less fearsome. (105 rushing YPG, 5 TDs) Buffalo also still has the best offensive line in the MAC, and they still specialize in road-grading. Will WMU use the same gameplan they followed against San Diego State and trust Sean Taylor and company to cover the back end while focusing on the run? It worked last week, but MAMADOU SMASH is a far, far different beast. Can DTs Rocco Gifford and Silas Booker replicate their success from last week (combined 7 tackles, 2 sacks)? Prediction: 24-17 A real coin-flip game, but one that landed in the Broncos’ favor (at least in the studio) and the reason for it is one we haven’t talked about yet: Special Teams. The Bulls are asking punter Mohamed Saylor to pull double duty as their placekicker, and results have been mixed. Despite leading kickers in total points, Saylor is only 7 for 11 (63.64%) on field goal attempts while WMU’s Harry DeMarco is perfect (7 for 7). In a tough battle that should feature a lot of ugly trench warfare, the third phase of the game could decide everything. BYES: Kent State (2-2), Miami (OH) (4-0), E. Michigan (0-4), N. Illinois (1-3) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest Jose Paniagua, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). Until next time!
  16. Welcome back to the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and its great to be back after a break in the recruiting cycle. A bit of a down week in terms of number of recruits, as only 6 signed to MAC schools this week. It seems like its time for the corner issue in the MAC to be solved, at least a bit, with CMU and Miami grabbing one each. Kent State are building a strong core for this class, bringing in a QB, RB, DE and ILB who should all be much better than the current players for the Flashes. The signees look to be of a bit lower quality than Week 4, but solid starters or depth for the future. However, none of these players come ready to make an impact as true freshmen, and expect many to be red-shirted. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 1 Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 5 2 Eastern Michigan 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 8.5 4.25 4 Kent State 0 0 0 3 1 0 4 16.5 4.125 1 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 4 5 Central Michigan 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 2 Ball State 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 7.5 3.75 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 3 15 3.75 3 Western Michigan 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 3.5 3.5 6 Akron 1 1 3 1 0 0 6 20 3.33 3 Bowling Green 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 10 3.33 2 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 6.5 3.25 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Due to the lack of exciting recruiting that happened this week, I thought I'd see if I could interview a MAC coach about their team's performance this season. Lucky for me, I was able to have a chat with Coach caesari of the 4-0 Miami(OH) Redhawks, AND Coach Darkage of the 3-0 Akron Zips. An excerpt from my talk with Darkage. Overall he was very optimistic for the season, setting a high bar for himself and his players. Tim Timms: What do you attribute your strong performances this season to? Good coaching, players performing well or both? Coach Darkage: I would mostly give it to the players... they train hard, work hard, and want to win. Coaching is a small part of what it takes to win games. Tim Timms: What do you think is the main difference between this season and last, considering you are only two wins away from last year's win total? Coach Darkage: Last season we had a tough schedule at the start of our year... Our tough schedule this year starts against Indiana. Our players have definitely improved and so has my coaching ... hoping to see a W next week too. Tim Timms: What is your best case scenario and worst case scenario for the season? Coach Darkage: Best case is we win the Mac championship and a bowl game... Worst case is we don't get a bowl game at all. I'm hoping to be the first Akron coach to make a bowl game and conference championship, and most importantly win it. And now to caesari, who was quietly confident in his team, but didn't try and build too much hype. I think there is enough of that already. Tim Timms: What were your expectations coming into this campaign? Coach caesari: Our sights were set on a bowl game and competing for the MAC. It's stiff competition, but we like our odds at this point of being bowl eligible - there's still a long way to go to prove we actually are a top team in the conference and to competing at the level we want to compete at. Tim Timms: What is your best case scenario and worst case scenario for the season? Coach caesari: I think 10+ wins and making the MAC championship are within reach, and of course would be the goal. Bowl eligibility is within reach, and that's our first priority. Tim Timms: Now, we can't have this interview without talking about Zack Cera. He is on pace to throw for 3696, 39, 9: an absolutely mind-boggling stat line. Is this what you expected coming into the season? Coach caesari: I said before the season I thought he'd have a shot at MAC records when all is said and done. At this point, he's still young and learning, so my hope is that he just continues to grow as a player and lead the team well. Now, an update on the recruiting battles we looked at last week. WR Jordan Barnes, Target, 1.5/4.5 Top Teams: , The top receiver in Ohio has changed his primary interest this week, as the Buckeyes have had him come in for a visit, and had the coaches go out to him. This is looking like it will become a long battle for Beeznik, who might only just come out on top due to prestige gained from that championship victory last season. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , A very close contest here, Toledo just ahead. Even though robcarlson77 is looking to get a bookend with potential to start as a true freshman, Toledo has the appeal of a program on the rise, and one that was favoured to win the MAC Championship last year. Toledo might have to wait a while, but Decker will most likely end up in a Rocket uniform. OLB Bradley Lloyd, Coverage, 1.0/4/0 Top Teams: , Coach Johnkirk is looking for a strong future starter in Lloyd, who will be replacing upperclassmen in a couple of years. Michigan is just looking to add depth, as they have two young starters at outside backer, but the Wolverines should have this under wraps if it goes for much longer. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Last week this looked very tight, but the Spartans are pulling ahead now, and unless the Eagles really commit to getting Jennings, it looks like SlinkyJr is going to have a big target for the future. If the Eagles do commit, they are going to struggle building a large class, as they only have 2 commits so far. A tough decision for Jammz early in his career, and one that will have a big impact on the coming seasons. And now to some conference battles QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , Curtis looks to be staying instate with the Broncos, despite Noobie's efforts to draw him down to DeKalb. The Huskies quarterbacks are struggling at the moment, and Noobie is looking for his saviour, and in his eyes Curtis is the man for the job. But, with Western Michigan's lead on him, it seems unlikely that he will have his prayers answered. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Ohio are pushing for Rainey, having leapfrogged the Broncos and now sitting ahead with not too small a lead. Rainey would be an important piece in a young and talented defense that is really only missing corners, and we know what this Bobcat team can do. Jieret is looking to continue building the best CB group in the conference, and with the possibility of Sean Taylor leaving, he may be looking for a new top dog. ILB Gregory Wilkins, Will, 1.0/4.5 Top Teams: , Despite Darkage's best efforts, lrickar's man looks to be going "home" to Muncie. The Zips have gone after another stud ILB for the second year in a row, and neither have signed, hopefully this one doesn't have the effect that going after Nazir Flowers did last year for the Akron class. And to finish, a battle that has been building for a while OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Miami has 2 sophomore tackles starting, and has another freshman red-shirting. McCormick would be better than two of these and similar in potential to one, as caesari looks to continue with solid bookends. On the other side, Kent State is looking for a major upgrade at tackle, and McCormick would come in as a red-shirt sophomore the year after the current starters have graduated. For Coach TazerMan this would be a great time to pick up a blindside protector for the recently signed Cameron Hare, as they would both come in and play as red-shirt freshmen, and he is in a growing lead for this recruit. Thanks for tuning in again to the MAC Network, its goodbye from me, and I wish the MAC boys out there this weekend the best of luck! Thank you to both caesari and Darkage for taking the time to talk to me this week.
  17. A 5-3 record for the this week, all against OOC foes. How did our voters process the weekend slate of games and apply them to the MAC pecking order? Remember, if you don't like where you are, play better. MAC Power Rankings After Week 4 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (58) Western Michigan Broncos (3) 2-1 (1-0) W1 +1 2 (54) Miami (OH) Redhawks (2) 3-0 (0-0) W3 -1 3 (48) Toledo Rockets 2-1 (0-0) W2 - 4 (44) Akron Zips 3-0 (2-0) W3 +2 5 (42) Ohio Bobcats 1-2 (1-0) L1 - 6 (39) Buffalo Bulls 2-1 (0-1) L1 -2 7 (30) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 - 8 (24) Kent State Golden Flashes 1-2 (0-0) W1 - 9 (19) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 10 (17) Ball State Cardinals 0-3 (0-2) L3 -1 11 (9) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-3 (0-0) L3 - 12 (6) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-0) L3 - Number of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Was it the 3 INT game by WMU's defense and another 100-yard game from DeSean Madison? Did overtime discount Miami's win in the eyes of the voters? We can't be sure, but the game of hot potato continues with the top spot; this week it's the Broncos who are kings of the MAC hill despite the Redhawks' undefeated start. It's kind of a shame that Miami's potent passing attack and WMU's excellent secondary don't get to play each other during this regular season, that would be a fun matchup to watch for sure. Toledo is lurking at #3, and Akron jumps past an idle Buffalo squad and an Ohio team that put up one heck of a fight against SMU (#QualityLoss). In the other half of the rankings, NIU and Ball State exchange deck chairs thanks to coach Noobie's first career win. But it's starting to look like many of these lower teams may have to wait until conference play begins in earnest before they make any serious headway up the chart.
  18. Last Week’s pick record: 7-1 Pick record to date: 17-2 Welcome back! On behalf of the lovely #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest star Shigetoshi Hasegawa, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. But first, the ceremonial torch lighting as performed by #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night Eastern Michigan (0-3 overall, 0-0 conference) at Miami (OH) (3-0, 0-0) Last Week: The Eagles had a spirited debate over the coolness of their previous Huron mascot* (BYE), while Best!Miami survived overtime in the Stadium that Etric Pruitt built. (W at 24-17) *Seriously, look at this helmet: In the passing game Giovanni Shaw looks early and often to TE Amir Nixon, who has seen his numbers of targets growing with every game. Nixon has been a valuable safety blanket for a struggling QB behind a shaky offensive line (averaging a 4.1 rating through three games). Coach Jamzz is trying to find answers for their struggles, but there’s only so much they can do with what they have right now. It’s a shame too, because their offensive style is predicated on good line play. They’re not without hope though - if EMU pounds it inside as we expect they’ll attack the softer part of the Redhawk defense, away from DE Donte Pennel. Pennel is good, but crashing inside isn’t his forte. Miami may run a Cover 1 Robber defense to place SS Ian Huntley on Nixon and provide support inside to limit any damage RB Jamel Jamison will do. Redhawk QB Zack Cera is rolling on all cylinders right now: 61.1% completion percentage, just a touch under 300 passing yards/game, a 9/2 TD/INT ratio. And while he has his favorite targets such as TE Casey Swann (coming off a 9 for 115 yards, 1 TD performance), he’s not shy about spreading the ball around; at least six different players have caught a pass from Cera this season. The Eagles’ cornerback situation isn’t great with a pair of freshman safeties as their nickle and dime CBs. They are comparable to Southern Miss and Miami(FL), but Cera’s already torched them. EMU’s best shot at derailing the Redhawk offense is probably up the middle; if DT Shane Horton can Hulk Up and overwhelm Miami’s C Arthur Knight, he can disrupt Cera’s rhythm in the pocket. Prediction: 31-10 It’s very hard to look at the Miami passing game vs. EMU secondary matchup and feel confident in the Eagles chances of doing what the likes of Nevada couldn’t - stop Zack Cera and that Redhawk offense. Also, we’re very sorry we haven’t used this sooner. Northern Illinois (1-2, 0-1) at Army (2-1): non-conference Last Week: The Huskies finally got a mark on the correct side of the ledger (W vs. 17-13), while Army celebrated their birthday the only way they know how - cutting a cake with Army sabers. No, seriously, they do. (BYE) Army QB Caleb Leggett doesn't have awe-inspiring passing numbers (57.7 comp% for 539 yards, 3/2 TD/INT ratio in 3 games), but that's not where the Black Knights hurt you. Army is marching down the field to the tune of 142 rushing yards per game, and that's not a good sign for a Huskie defense surrendering almost five yards a carry to their opponents so far this year. Even with DTs Thierno Thomas and Russel Brandt clogging the middle, opposing rushers have managed to exploit NIU's inexperienced linebackers. The duo of Leggett and RB Jamir Hurt-Braxton will be the most significant running attack the Huskies have faced this year - and yes, that includes WMU's DeSean Madison. If ATH/MLB Oliver McNeal and ROLB Ivan Rosenberg continue to overpursue and attack the wrong gaps, it will be a long day for the defense from DeKalb. NIU changed their quarterback and their offensive scheme and got the victory last week, but there was still a lot left to be desired. A coachless Florida International - even with RB Brannon Austin - should not be leading the Huskies by three entering the fourth quarter. We'd expect a lot of outside running this week by Daniel Hutchins against the Black Knights, away from stud junior DT Nikolas Gleason (5.0 of 5.0, 2 sacks, 11 tackles). Gleason can wreak a lot of havoc against NIU even if the ball runs away from him, especially if Army schemes to isolate Gleason against true freshman RG Jaiden Polk (1.0 of 3.5). Army's cornerbacks are the weak point of their defense, but FS Ayden Whitaker is capable enough to clean up if the Huskies choose to test them and QB Dwayne Curry's forte isn't throwing the ball downfield. It will very much look like a strength-on-strength matchup with Hutchins versus Gleason when the Huskies have the ball. Prediction: 20-13 With wins over Boston College and Northwestern, the Black Knights are just straight playing better ball right now and we expect that Leggett and Hurt-Braxton will continue to roll on with the rest of their Army brethren. Friday & Saturday to follow.
  19. Welcome everyone to the first MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and I am happy to be with you for my first appearance on the Network! After the first round of signings, the MAC had a total of 27 recruits commit, and some of these players are almost guaranteed to become big names in the MAC, and maybe take their talents to the pro game. Only two teams didn't have a signing, but these teams don't have too much to worry about, as they are 3-0 Miami (Best!Miami) and 2-1 Toledo . A couple of trends that seem to be coming through are the desire for a strong rushing presence in the conference, with 4 4-star or higher backs already signed, and 3 of these of are strong between the tackle runners, possibly taking the torch from veterans of the conference like Mamadou Wynn. Also, it seems that there was a strong need for outside backers, particularly in the City of Good Neighbours, where they grabbed 3 early on. Below is a chart of all teams recruits so far by potential, ranked by highest average potential. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 1 Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 5 2 Eastern Michigan 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 8.5 4.25 2 Kent State 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 8.5 4.25 4 Central Michigan 0 0 2 1 1 0 4 15.5 3.875 2 Ball State 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 7.5 3.75 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 3 15 3.75 1 Western Michigan 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3.5 3.5 6 Akron 1 1 3 1 0 0 6 20 3.33 3 Bowling Green 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 10 3.33 2 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 6.5 3.25 0 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Luckily for me, I was able to talk to a few coaches about their thoughts on the early days of this recruiting cycle. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we could only fit one interview into the program, so here is Jieret, coach of the Western Michigan Broncos. Tim Timms: Good to have you here coach, welcome to the first recruiting recap show for 2020! Coach Jieret: Thanks for having me here Tim. Tim: Now, lets get into the questions. What was your strategy going into the recruiting season? Coach Jieret: Filling positions of need, definitely. Most recruits aren't ready to contribute until year two at the earliest, so you have to look ahead and see the roster holes at least that far away. Tim: Where do you think your recruiting efforts rank compared to the rest of the MAC? Coach Jieret: I think the overall caliber of player I'm going for is a little higher than most of the MAC, but that's a bit misleading. I feel my roster is in the upper half of the conference, so I can aim a little higher. Tim: Did you have any goals for this class in terms of when they will impact your roster? Coach Jieret: It's about building into the future. I have a good roster now, but I ultimately want a roster that is competitive year in and year out. I'm not at the point that I can just grab one or two impact players and go for it next year. Tim: Has your plan and strategy changed much from your initial goal? Coach Jieret: No, not yet. Tim: Finally, are you happy with how recruiting is shaping up for you? Coach Jieret: For the most part, yes. I do regret wasting a couple of scholarships early, and I believe I have the least amount of committed players at this point. But I expected most of my recruiting to be a long-term process, so I'm not too worried yet. We thank coach Jieret for his time and wish WMU the best for the season. Now, a quick look at some major recruiting battles over highly touted prospects with MAC teams involved. WR Jordan Barnes, Target, 1.5/4.5 Top Teams: , The Bobcats are looking to bring in another fantastic recruit in Barnes to complement their 5-star DE, Nicholas Blackwell. They look to be in the lead over the Buckeyes, and with visits coming up and the Bobcats having a stronger recruiting department, it looks like Ohio will be addressing a major need, as their top 4 receivers are upperclassmen. A very solid start to recruiting for Beeznik. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , Toledo are just unstoppable on the recruiting path it seems, as they are on their way to adding another 5-star recruit in Decker, who could quite possibly start next year at Right Tackle. The main weakness of this Toledo squad is their o-line, but already they have one young and talented bookend, getting two would make this a scary team in years to come. Next year they would have Ciamo and Thompson ready to dominate with a better line than this year. #Toledo2021 OLB Bradley Lloyd, Coverage, 1.0/4/0 Top Teams: , This could be very interesting, with CMU in the lead for a player who could get a lot of playing time in a few years, with both starting outside linebackers on the depth chart being upperclassmen. The only problem is that they are competing with Michigan, who always have the draw of being a big school. This could be a very important battle for the Chips to win, and will require some strong persuasion to get Llyod to Mt. Pleasant. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , A very tight battle here, and one that EMU is clearly keen to win, as Daniel Lentz will have just graduated if Jennings is redshirted, giving the Eagles a strong future number 1 receiver to work with. However, the Spartans are always going to have the advantage being the bigger school, so EMU will have to make a strong push to secure Jennings. And to finish the program, some MAC recruiting battles QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: , Having dominated the rushing scene in the MAC for years, the Broncos are looking to get a local signal caller to take over for Chase Sims after his graduation, and Curtis would have time to sit and develop. Meanwhile, at NIU, Charlie Sanford has been benched after some poor performances, and Coach Noobie is already looking for his successor in Curtis. A battle like this could have significant impacts on the future of the MAC, definitely one to keep an eye on. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , As discussed in the preseason previews for each MAC team, the lack of strong cornerbacks in the MAC is a major issue for many teams, and Beeznik is looking to get a future rock. The only team with any depth past their number 1 is the Broncos, and they are looking to add to that, and if they can continue adding to their perennial strength and depth at corner while denying other conference teams, it will be a huge win for Jieret. ILB Gregory Wilkins, Will, 1.0/4.5 Top Teams: , Ball state's star recruit is receiving some attention from Coach Darkage, and it looks like Wilkins is showing a bit of interest back. If Akron could manage to get Wilkins, it would be huge for them, with both starting ILBs graduating in the next 2 years, and they could give him a redshirt season without a major loss at the position. While this would be great for Akron, chances are Wilkins is going to Ball State, who have some young linebackers, but a player of Wilkins quality can't be passed up, and with a strong class last year, this signing could set up the Cardinals for a strong team in the near future. Thanks for tuning in to the MAC Network, Goodbye from me, and good luck to all MAC teams playing this week!
  20. A much better showing for the MAC this week, as everybody's favorite conference went 4-3 in out of conference play. Did Best!Miami proving they are Better!Miami than Other!Miami(FL) sway the voters this time around? What about Kent State and Bowling Green picking up their first wins of the season? To the chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 3 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (65) Miami (OH) Redhawks (3) 2-0 (0-0) W2 +2 2 (63) Western Michigan Broncos (2) 1-1 (1-0) L1 - 3 (61) Toledo Rockets 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 4 (53) Buffalo Bulls (1) 2-1 (0-1) L1 -3 5 (51) Ohio Bobcats 1-1 (1-0) W1 +1 6 (49) Akron Zips 2-0 (2-0) W2 -1 7 (36) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 8 (28) Kent State Golden Flashes 1-2 (0-0) W1 +2 9 (24) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-2) L2 -1 10 (19) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-2 (0-1) L2 -1 11 (13) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 12 (6) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-0) L3 - Number of voters: 6 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. It turns out that indeed Best!Miami's performance in Florida did get them to the top of the polls, although there isn't much separation between them, Western Michigan, and Toledo. The biggest fall is Buffalo's who continues to have a Bobcat problem. The Bulls will be kicking themselves if this Ohio loss costs them the MAC Championship game like it did last year. You can start to see a divide between the top and bottom halves of the chart, but it's still early and conference play has yet to truly begin. Also, a pair of MAC teams have YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE visibility games against ranked opponents; Ohio hosts #11 SMU while Ball State travels to #19 Virginia. Good luck, gentlemen! Did You Know? This is the first poll in the history of this iteration of MAC Power Rankings that doesn't have a first-place Toledo vote. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  21. Last Week’s pick record: 5-1 Pick record reaction gif: Pick record to date: 10-1 Welcome back! On behalf of the lovely #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest star Calvin Jones, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. But first, the ceremonial torch lighting as performed by #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night UTEP (0-1) at Akron (2-0, 2-0) : non-conference Last Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvU2CdzPQf8 (Both teams on BYE) The Zips have been inconsistent enough in their history that they should know not to take any game for granted, but if there was ever a temptation to do so it could be this one. Akron outclasses UTEP at every position except Kicker, and it's hard to see how T.J. Zamora and Nathaniel Ruff don't get to run where they want against a defense whose best player is a 3.5 of 3.5 ILB. The Akron wideouts versus the UTEP secondary is a closer battle but one the Zips can fight on their own terms, especially if the linebackers and safeties have to creep up to defend the run. True freshman Darnell Prince struggled in his college debut (13 of 26 for 140 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 4 rushes for 28 yards) against Utah State, who in turn have been outscored 82-14 by Cincinnati and Air Force. Akron will probably load the box against RB Justin Barksdale (23 for 118 yards, 2 TD) and make Prince prove he can beat them, but DTs Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley won't even want to give him that chance. And against an O-line that graded a 3.4 in their first game and is starting a 1.5 of 3.0 center? It could be a long, LONG day for Prince. Prediction: 31-10 Akron gets halfway to a bowl with a win over a rebuilding UTEP team. We'll even throw in a bold prediction; the Zips have more than 200 rushing yards. Friday Night Florida International (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2, 0-1): non-conference Last Week: The Panthers couldn’t stop the Rebels from doing pretty much whatever they wanted in Miami (L at 13-45), while the #BradyBus was brutally efficient in hitting open receivers and picking up where the #ConroyConvoy left off (L vs. 10-23) Northern Illinois is one of the biggest question marks in the MAC. They have talent on offense but haven’t done much with them over the last couple of seasons. Charlie Sanford struggled once again (14 of 26 for 150 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT), prompting a change at quarterback. Out goes Sanford, in comes redshirt junior Dwayne Curry. Curry is more of a runner than Sanford is; does this signal a scheme change for the Huskies? RB Daniel Hutchins (48 rushes for 232 yards, 2 TDs) is a legitimate NFL prospect and has played like it so far, but he can’t carry this offense by himself. We don’t know if Curry is the answer, but coach @Noobie MUST find a way to get some production from the quarterback position. Fortunately for him and the Huskies, FIU’s defense is about as soft a landing as you can ask for. Only three of the Panthers’ defensive starters are Juniors or older, so there is a lot of inexperience to take advantage of all over the field. Poor Brannon Austin. Take what we said about Hutchins above and multiply it by 50. It’s very hard to be the only threat on the team, especially when your QB has a season statline of 29 of 56 for 319 yards, 1 TD, and 5 INT through two games. The FIU RB has dreams of playing on Sunday, but pro coaches will have to look past the putrid line play and overall lack of help on his game tapes. Suffice it to say that although there are holes on NIU’s defense (thin secondary, true freshman ROLB), FIU will not be able to exploit them with any regularity. Prediction: 24-7 Noobie is looking for his first win, and against a coachless C-USA team he should get it. Central Michigan (0-2, 0-2) at UTSA (0-2) BYE: non-conference Last Week: CMU took a lead into the fourth quarter against THE GREATEST but came up short (obv.)(L at 28-34), while UTSA? Meep meep. (BYE) Hats off to coach @johnkirk , from up here it looked like a pretty good gameplan against the Wildcats. Matt Rowland seriously dinked and dunked his way down the field (22 of 37 for 170(!) yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) taking what was given to him and taking time off the clock and away from Rahim Murrell. Buoyed by an A’Shawn Ellison pick-six, the Chips looked like they could pull off the upset but just couldn’t run the dang ball at the end - 60 yards on 16 carries for Makai Carr is pretty bad. Carr should have a chance to redeem himself against a UTSA front seven that’s weaker than K-State’s, although ROLB D’Andre Newton is no slouch (12 tackles, 1 INT in 2 games). When Rowland does pass he may have to turn to his WR corps more this game, especially if TE Jasper Rowley is Newton’s responsibility as we expect. True freshman Luca Sorenson showed his good side (15 of 30 for 196 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) and his bad side (Luca Sorenson, UTSA, 10 of 23 for 106 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT) in the span of two weeks. Granted though, one was against Memphis and one was against Georgia, and no one will mistake the Chips for the Dawgs. But Sorenson is currently running a sub-50% completion rate; compound this with dismal line play (4.1 season O-line rating) and there’s a good possibility Ellison may take another to the house courtesy of pressure from DEs Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough and Rory Bolin. Central may choose a “bend but don’t break” approach to defense and force third-and-longs for the Roadrunner offense. Prediction: 24-13 The Roadrunner offensive line isn’t good enough to get sustained pushes up front, and it will be up to Sorenson’s scattershot arm to score points. But he isn’t accurate enough to take advantage of the height disparity between Ellison and his wideouts. Meanwhile the Chips should be able to nickle and dime their way down the field; a better showing from Carr will give Central their first win of the season. Saturday Morning #11 SMU (2-0) at Ohio (1-1, 1-0): non-conference Last Week: SMU galloped out to a comfortable lead and cruised to a win against the Bearcats (W at Cinn 31-17), while Ohio jumped on the Bulls early and didn’t let them come back (W at Buff 31-23). The Bobcat defense brought Buffalo QB Blair Holcomb back down to earth, picking him off twice and holding him to 235 yards (although he did toss a pair of TDs). However, as good as Holcomb is Andre Webb has been doing it longer and better. Andre Webb also has gifted WRs Sebastian Hatcher and Preseason All-American Dean Burkhart to throw to; between them the duo has caught over 43% of Webb’s 642 passing yards so far this season. That’s quite the daunting task for an Ohio squad whose secondary is the weakest part of their defense. Coach @beeznik may have to sell out to stop the pass and take their chances with talented but underutilized Mustang RB Terrell Holland (33 rushes for 142 yards, 2 TDs in 2 games). Not to say that it’s all doom and gloom for the Bobcats. SMU has allowed 100-yard rushers in both their games this season and Owen. Freaking. WALTON. looks to continue that trend. Heck, he’ll probably have to for Ohio to stay in this game. Stephen Peters will likely have to get his passing yards building off of play-action and taking advantage of an aggressive Mustang linebacker corps, as @Time’s secondary is stout all across the board. We don’t expect to see WR Dwayne Simpson get a lot of deep targets against CB Adam Young; this would be a great week for TE Aaron Thibodeaux (8 receptions for 112 yards, 1 TD) to step up. Prediction: 34-24 SMU has a lot of weapons at their disposal and that talented WR group may be too much for an overmatched Bobcat secondary; Webb has no problems spreading the ball around and there just isn’t enough talent to cover them all. Old Dominion (0-2) at Toledo (1-1, 0-0): non-conference Last Week: Old Dominion is silently waiting until the conference portion of their schedule starts (BYE), while Toledo righted the ship with a good old-fashioned Tiger stomping (W vs. 35-7). The Monarchs looked bad against the Hoos, and less bad against the Rebels of UNLV. This is going to trend more towards the Virginia game, especially when Old Dominion has the ball. Only their starting tackles have skill ratings of 2.5, both guards have a 1.5 skill. The Rockets had two sacks and three INTs last week against a better Memphis offensive line and the Toledo defense looks to feast this week as well; we think we’ll set the sack over/under totals at 3.0. ODU TE Montee Griffin (7 receptions for 140 yards, 2 TDs) is going to see a lot of work as Dylan Hamlin’s safety valve. The Monarch defense has not recorded a takeaway yet this season, and that’s something they definitely need to do if they want a chance at upsetting Toledo. We think there will be a steady diet of Gabe Ciamo (49 rushes for 217 yards, 2 TDs) in this game, as the ODU defensive talent has promising corners Darren Logan and J.J. Fowler. With the Rocket O-line able and likely to overpower the front seven on a regular basis, why take chances throwing? Prediction: 38-10 We just can’t see a quasi-realistic way that the Monarchs steal this game from Toledo. Bold prediction: Ciamo racks up 150+ yards rushing. Ball State (0-2, 0-2) at #19 Virginia (2-0): non-conference Last Week: Ball State prepared for a non-conference foe - finally (BYE), while Virginia looked more like we expected when drubbing Western Kentucky (W at WKU 56-24). The Cardinal’s athletic director did not do them any favors with their OOC schedule: After their date in Charlottesville, Ball State travels to Ole Miss, to Army (who just upset Boston College), and eventually to Texas A&M. (...all road games too?) The Cardinals are trying to involve the passing game more, but with middling results so far - QB Marquis Causey only has 317 passing yards and a 2/1 TD/INT ratio through two games. The rationale is solid; Jayson Zarate-Lima and Chan Pease are one of the best WR duos in the conference. But for whatever reason it just hasn’t clicked yet. At least Austin Laws - probably the most underappreciated RB in the conference - is pacing the Cardinals with his usual strong workload (47 rushes for 217 yards, 2 TDs). Virginia’s stud freshman MLB Soldier Brooks will lead the effort to keep Laws under 100 yards for the first time this season. The Hoos offense looked strangely lethargic against Old Dominion but woke up in a big way against the Hilltoppers; Matteo Rook (47 of 76 for 603 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs) hit the 300-yard mark again but had 4 TDs to go with it. Meanwhile RB Reginald Saunders was very economical, plunging in for 3 TDs on only 15 carries. What makes the Cavaliers a tougher task for the Cardinal defense is that TE Jonathan Greer is such a force down the middle; there isn’t a safety or linebacker on their team can cover him one-on-one. Ball State can’t even fully expect their twin tower DTs Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga to pick up the slack, every single starter on Virginia’s offensive line has legitimate pro potential led by LT Shawaun Holsey (5.0 of 5.0). Prediction: 35-14 It’s not looking good for the team from Indiana, in a mini-theme for this weekend the MAC team’s secondary doesn’t have enough pieces to keep up with their foe’s passing game. Western Michigan (1-1, 1-0) at Navy (0-2): non-conference Last Week: Bronco coaches were paying close attention to the Navy game (BYE), where the Midshipmen's offense failed to reach 300 total yards on the day (L at 20-31). Last Friday is a day Navy would very much love to forget. Their offense sputtered and left a lot of short fields for Tulsa - 3 of 15 on 3rd down conversions, three sacks allowed, and a 4.3 O-line rating will do that. How will the Middies try and fix their offensive woes? Their QB Isaiah Best has so far thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and not yet broken 200 passing yards. Their running back is averaging around 85 yards a game, and their offensive line is better at pass blocking than running. Preseason All-American CB Sean Taylor has been quiet so far this year, he'll get a couple of chances to make some noise against Navy's top receiver Joshua Willis (7 receptions for 114 yards, 1 TD). Navy's defense played okay, but not great. They got a good amount of pressure on Tulsa QB, even sacking him a couple of times, but got burned by WR Jerry Jackson for 105 yards and a score and surrendered another score through the air and two more on the ground. Defensive linemen Abdoulaye Hannah and Zion Salcedo are playing well, but they're not getting any help from the rest of their teammates so far. The team's focus is going to be on RB DeSean Madison and for good reason, but that could lead to some shots from Chase Sims working the deep game to Josh Whitt and the intermediate routes to TE Carlos Vargas. Prediction: 27-14 We expect Navy's offensive struggles to continue and lead to great field position for the Broncos. If Western can open holes at the line of scrimmage Madison can get some extra yards against the linebackers and wear down the Middie defense. Saturday Afternoon Miami (OH) (2-0, 0-0) at Southern Miss (1-1) BYE: non-conference Last week: Down in Florida, Miami(OH) indeed proved they are Best!Miami (W @ 31-16), while Southern Miss went ahead with plans for Etric Pruitt Appreciation Day (BYE). The Redhawks will have to play “pick your poison” when it comes to defending against the Southern Miss aerial attack; already three different players have over 100 receiving yards on the season. The Golden Eagles love to exploit mismatches in the passing game, and coach @Wooden clearly trusts redshirt freshman Alexander Cassidy enough to let him find them. It does help when you can depend on Harrison Weir for anywhere between 90-100 rushing yards a game. USM’s offensive line isn’t the greatest, so getting to Cassidy early and not letting him scan the field will be crucial if Best!Miami wants to limit the damage. If DE Donte Pennel can own the battle with USM LT Tony Shepherd that would help immensely. USM’s defense is clearly rebuilding after Dexter Flowers graduated. Senior SS Demetrius Kirkpatrick is their leader, but the rest of the defense is either a year or two away (DE Leonard Graves, ILB Micah Griffin) or average at best. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA has been off to a hot start (48 of 80 for 590 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs), and we think that will continue this week. Miami's offensive line should win the battle up front and give Cera time to find Kenneth Harrison and Keith Barnes. Prediction: Last team with the ball wins. 49-45 A fun game if you’re a neutral observer. We think that Cera will stay upright more than Cassidy will and that will lead to more USM punts. In what we expect to be a high-scoring game where punting definitely does not equal winning, those missed scoring chances could come back to bite the Golden Eagles in the rear. Bold Prediction: There will be over 35 combined 3rd down attempts in this game. BYE: Bowling Green (1-2), Buffalo (2-1), Kent State (1-2), Eastern Michigan (0-3) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest Calvin Jones, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). Until next time!
  22. So... let's not talk about those OOC results. Have some colored chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 2 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (55) Buffalo Bulls (3) 2-0 (1-0) W2 +1 2 (52) Western Michigan Broncos (1) 1-1 (1-0) L1 -1 3 (49-tie) Miami (OH) Redhawks (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 3 (49-tie) Toledo Rockets 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 5 (42) Akron Zips 2-0 (2-0) W2 +1 6 (38) Ohio Bobcats 0-1 (0-0) L1 -2 7 (32) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-2) L2 +1 8 (22-tie) Bowling Green Falcons 0-2 (0-1) L2 +1 8 (22-tie) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-1 (0-1) L1 -1 10 (14) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 11 (13) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 12 (6) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-1 (0-0) L1 - Number of voters: 5 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. Voter were clearly impressed with how WMU took Duke to double overtime on the road and didn't drop them too much, but the Bulls grab the top spot this week after staying undefeated following a win over a tough Ball State squad. Best!Miami and Toledo tie for third place, and Akron continues to creep up the rankings. Ohio is the biggest faller through no fault of their own; they'll have a chance to head back up the rankings against Buffalo next week. Ball State and Bowling Green looked impressive enough in defeat that they both moved up a spot. The bottom three teams seem to have settled into their spots for the time being. But it's early in the season and there's going to be a lot more fluctuation as the weeks go by. Who claims the top spot next week? Tune in and find out! "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  23. Last Week's pick record: 5-0 WHAAAAAAAAAAT? Pick record reaction gif: Pick record to date: 5-0 I'm Bruce Baguen, your host for the MAC Network's highest-rated weekly show! With me this week is special silent guest Mark Gardiner, and always with us is the lovely #MACtion Jenny, here to perform the ceremonial torch lighting. #MACtion Jenny, if you would please? In order to get these previews to you in a timely manner, we're presenting Thursday's previews now. The Friday and Saturday games will follow soon. Thursday Night Memphis (2-0) at Toledo (0-1 overall, 0-0 conference): non-conference Last Week: Memphis beat up on overmatched FIU (W vs. 34-20), while the Rockets were forced to wait and get that bad taste from Michigan State out of their mouths. (BYE) Kyle Davidson threw to all parts of the field in the Spartans' Week 1 victory over Toledo, but that isn't a gameplan Memphis is equipped to duplicate. The Tigers would much rather run the option game with RB Colin Putnam and QB Miguel Cook, throwing when the opportunity presents itself. That might be hard to do against a stiff Rocket front four; Memphis must do a better job on the offensive line, defensive tackles Dwayne Montgomery and De'Shawn Beckwith are looking forward to attacking an O-line that's graded out under 4.5 in both their games. The Toledo offense is better overall than the Tiger defense, but that doesn't mean they can just show up and expect to find success. Their offensive line will be huge in this game, Memphis DE Jaylen Love is off to a blazing start with 3.5 sacks in two games and must be accounted for at all times. If the Rockets can consistently get a blocker to the second level against ILB Troy McClain, RB Gabe Ciamo is in line for a big day. Prediction: 31-17 Memphis is justifiably proud of their 2-0 record, but Toledo is a big step up from UTSA and FIU. It's hard to see Cook put up efficient numbers against White and Haywood, and Hanson should have a good day against those Tiger corners. Ohio (0-1, 0-0) at Buffalo (2-0, 1-0) Last Week: The Bobcats (BYE), while Buffalo rallied from 11 down to avoid the upset against Ball State (at 24-21). The weakness in the Ohio defense is the secondary, but before this season we would have said that didn't matter. But the arrival of Blair Holcomb changed all that. Now that coach SodapopSeth has a QB he can trust the Bulls can air it out with success - see the fourth quarter comeback last week against the Cardinals or the 52-21 pasting of Tulsa in Week 1. How beeznik deploys his Bobcat front seven (and ILB Calvin Blue in particular) against Buffalo will be a huge factor in this game - do you focus on Holcomb (580 passing yards, 67% completion rate, 6/1 TD/INT ratio this season), MAMADOU SMASH (225 rushing yards, 4 TDs), or cover your bases against both? Ohio will have to make hay on the offensive side of the ball, as the Bulls looks weaker on defense. Owen. Freaking. WALTON will get his chunk of yards, but targeting those Bulls cornerbacks (and a free safety playing as a CB) has to look awfully tempting. The Bulls secondary has yet to be truly tested, and having SS Thomas Gordon back there is a great safety blanket. But Ohio WRs Dwayne Simpson and Jeffery Templeton will have to be better than a combined 5 catches for 68 yards and no TDs, regardless of how big a part of the Bobcat gameplan they are. Prediction: 24-21 It feels odd that the matchup of the preseason MAC East favorites comes so early in the season, but here we are. We can't ever count out the defending MAC champions, but Buffalo is very impressive right now. It's easier to see more ways for the game to flow in Buffalo's favor than Ohio's. Friday and Saturday nights to follow....
  24. It wasn't the best week for the MAC (2-6 in non-conference games), but the OOC wins we did have were awfully impressive. Buffalo blew out Tulsa and Best!Miami upset former playoff participant Nevada in a game that wasn't as close as the final score seemed. How did the voters react to that? Will Miami's impressive win vault them to the top? To the chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 1 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (54) Western Michigan Broncos (1) 1-0 (1-0) W1 +1 2 (52-tie) Buffalo Bulls (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 2 (52-tie) Toledo Rockets (2) 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 4 (46) Ohio Bobcats 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 5 (43) Miami (OH) Redhawks (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 6 (35) Akron Zips 1-0 (1-0) W1 -1 7 (32) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-1 (0-1) L1 -1 8 (26) Ball State Cardinals 0-1 (0-1) L1 - 9 (19) Bowling Green Falcons 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 10 (13) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-1 (0-0) L1 +1 11 (12) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 12 (6) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-1 (0-0) L1 - Number of voters: 5 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. Well, that was unexpected. With four different teams receiving a first-place vote, it turns out our voters couldn't agree on who belonged at the top. The votes for Western Michigan were more consistent in their high placement than the other contenders for the Power Rankings crown, so they barely edge out Buffalo and Toledo for the week. The Rockets weren't punished as much as you might think for their stumble against Michigan State, that's still a talented team in Toledo. And there's no shame in Ohio stumbling on the road against a top-25 Maryland squad. But Miami (OH)? One first-place vote yet in fifth place? Opinions varied wildly on the Redhawks. Quite a few voters want to see them do it again before they buy in, but they'll have to wait until Week 3 for that. Watch out for Akron, they have a chance to sneakily get a jump on the MAC East race if they can knock off Bowling Green this week. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  25. And welcome to the first MAC Preview show of the 2020 season! We're glad to be back! I'm Bruce Baguen, your host for the highest-rated weekly show on the MAC Network today! Helping me this week is special silent guest Rich DeLucia, and as always we have the beautiful #MACtion Jenny to start this program off right with the ceremonial MAC torch lighting... Akron (1-0 overall, 1-0 conf.) at Bowling Green (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: Nathaniel Ruff's 124 rushing yards through and around a stout Ball State defense paced the Zips to a valuable conference win (W vs. 17-14), while Bowling Green found out firsthand that even though the Conroy Convoy is gone, the Rams can still ride the Brady BusTM all over the stadium (L at 14-30). Akron has an enviable situation; they can potentially be two games up on the rest of the MAC East in the conference race if they win here. Ruff was key to their week 1 victory, and will be crucial again to counteract Bowling Green's pass rush - if they show up. For a defense that prides itself on sacking the quarterback, that was an embarrassing performance out in Colorado. The Falcons could not get any pressure on CSU QB Wesley Brady, and that gave him time to tear the Bowling Green secondary apart (22 of 32 for 285 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT). That front seven MUST do a better job collapsing the pocket this week; even though T.J. Zamora isn't the passing threat Brady was, he can unravel a defense with his legs. The bright side is that the Zips O-line can be had, Ball State dropped Zamora three times last week. Bowling Green didn't do much on offense either; two Falcon touchdowns scored during garbage time upgraded the offensive stats from bad to eh (274 total offensive yards, 2 TDs, 2 turnovers). Is it growing pains from implementing coach AltShapes' new scheme? The Falcons' interior is the most talented part of their offensive line, and they have another tall task ahead of them in the form of Akron DTs Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley a week after battling Ball State's twin behemoths Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga. But even if they fight to a standstill, what can Falcon QB Eddie Connelly do with the rest of the offense? Can he and old reliable WR Steven Muse take advantage of holes in the Zips secondary? Prediction: 24-14 We just have a hard time seeing Bowling Green holding off on the Zips front seven long enough to take advantage of the Akron cornerbacks and while the Falcons can stymie the Zips offense for a time, the time of possession battle should swing Akron's way and let them get past a tired BGSU defense. ~~~ (Editor's note: This section was written prior to Thursday morning but not published until after the TNF games were out. Whoopsadoodle!) ~~~ Eastern Michigan (0-1, 0-0) at Virginia Tech (0-0): non-conference Last Week: The Eagles went cross-country and faltered late against San Jose State (L at 21-34), while Virginia Tech gobbled excitedly in preparation for their season and home opener. (BYE) That was quite the interesting game from EMU QB Giovanni Shaw. Despite only 23 pass attempts he threw 2 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions, one of which was returned by Spartan FS Raymond Hayward for a touchdown. And yet all that action with only 146 passing yards! He was still their most efficient weapon, though. Transfer RB Jamel Jamison struggled to find running room, only getting 70 yards and a 2-yard TD plunge on 19 carries. Even though he pulled attention away from Shaw's legs (7 rushes for 55 yards), Jamison must do better if Eastern is going to continue with their option attack. Despite a pair of sacks, the Eagles struggled to get any consistent pressure on San Jose QB Chris Rector (21 of 35 for 230 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 60.0% Comp) and his receivers had enough time to separate from Eastern's secondary. The Hokies present a similar QB and WR talent level as San Jose, but also have a bowling ball of a Fullback carrying the rock in senior Maurice Ervin (5.0 of 5.0) - something EMU fans are well-familiar with from their time with Mohamed Lackey. It will be fascinating to see if coach Jamzz chooses to focus on stopping one part of Virginia Tech's offense over the other. Prediction: 21-13 It feels like Virginia Tech and Eastern Michigan are similarly-built teams, but the Hokies have the better players to implement their ball-control scheme and the more experienced coach. Buffalo (1-0, 0-0) at Ball State (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: The Bulls went and layeth the smackdown on some jabronis in Oklahoma (W at 52-21), while Austin Laws provided the only real offense for Ball State (L at 14-17). Wow. Where do we begin when it comes to the Bulls offense? Long known as an offense that just MAMADOU SMASH'D you into submission, they did whatever they wanted to the poor Tulsa defense. Blair Holcomb had perhaps the best debut game of any quarterback ever in the MAC, and maybe in the discussion as one of the best ever (21 of 29 for 340 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT). The Cardinals' defense will present a stiffer test than the Golden Hurricane's did, especially up front with Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga. But Ball State has some holes in their linebacking and safety positions; the question remains how Buffalo will look to exploit them. It's not like MAMADOU SMASH had a bad game either (22 rushes for 125 yards, 3 TD). We expected more from Ball State's offense last week. RB Austin Laws had a good game (24 rushes for 110 yards, 1 TD), but QB Marquis Causey (13 of 25 for 118 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) was unable to take advantage of a not-strong Zip secondary. Perhaps Causey was forcing too many balls at his best WR? Take away Chan Pease's statline (6 receptions for 70 yards) and Causey's numbers are downright abysmal. We trust coach lrickar1 to fix some of these issues, but that is a very worrying flag. If Causey can get his head on straight though, those Bulls cornerbacks can be had. Prediction: 34-21 We don't expect a repeat blowout; Ball State is a better team than Tulsa. But gameplanning against the Bulls got a lot harder than it used to be, and Buffalo just has less holes in their game than the Cardinals do right now. Western Michigan (1-0, 1-0) at Duke (1-0): non-conference Last Week: The Broncos broke serve by holding the Huskies to 302 total offensive yards (W at 21-14), while Duke held BYU to a pair of short field goals in an impressive road win (W at 24-6). It feels like the majority of Western Michigan wins have a certain flow to them. The teams jockey back and forth for a bit, the Broncos grab the lead, then the defense makes a big stop at the end to preserve the win. Coach Jieret would like a bit more breathing room in these games; he's already expressed his dissatisfaction with the Broncos' ability to maintain drives (3 of 15 on third downs last week) and is clearly expecting more efficiency from his offense. But the Duke defense had a great showing at BYU and has solid, experienced players (nine of eleven starters are juniors or seniors) up and down that side of the roster. DeSean Madison's game stats looked good (20 rushes for 99 yards, 2 TDs), but you can't expect a 29-yard TD run in every game to boost the totals. He'll need to put his power to better use against a tough front seven led by ILB Ahmed Mark. With three rushing touchdowns, Duke's freshman sensation QB Bryce Thompson is clearly the man to watch on the Blue Devil offense. But coach Darman has to be hoping for a slightly better performance from RB Christian Collins in order to prevent WMU from keying solely on Thompson. Duke has talent at the wideout position, but the Broncos may still think about leaving Sean Taylor and company on islands to prevent Thompson from gashing them. We expect ILB Kareem Boykin to be a busy, busy man Saturday. Prediction: 24-21 Against a solid team like Duke, the Broncos can't afford to display the rust they did last week. If it was at home we might call a minor upset for WMU, but in Durham Thompson might Tebow his way into the end zone one time too many for the Bronco offense to keep up with. Kent State (0-1, 0-0) at #5 Purdue (0-0): non-conference Last Week: The Golden Flashes were very hospitable hosts to San Diego State (L vs. 30-14), while Purdue? CHOO CHOO MUTHERFUKERS (BYE). Well let's just pull up their respective depth charts and- Oh. Oh dear. Purdue has better starters at every position. They have Matt Jones who is almost certainly a lock to declare for the NFL draft and be one of the first QBs taken. Kent State kept it close against SDSU, pulling to within two late in the third before the Aztecs hit paydirt twice in the fourth to put the game away. But San Diego State is not #5 ranked Purdue, who is in the opinion of this reporter the best team in the Big Tweleven Fourteen B1G. @stormstopper, what's the spread on this game? Prediction: 49-10 'P' is not only for Purdue but also for Patience, as in what coach TazerMan will have to preach to the Kent State faithful. Hang in there, coach, recruit hard and recruit well! John Garland died so that Kent State may live! BYES: Miami (OH) (1-0), Ohio (0-1), Central Michigan (0-1), Northern Illinois (0-1), Toledo (0-1) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and Special Silent Guest Rich DeLucia, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). It's good to be back! The MAC is back. We're here. Until next time!