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  1. We know, you came here for the power rankings. (Sorry, nothing with #MACtion Jenny jumping into chilly water while wearing a bikini. We're disappointed too.) But why don't we first take quick looks back at the bowl games with MAC participants? January 18th, 2017 Bahamas Bowl: Western Michigan 23, USF 17 MVP: Sean Taylor, CB (WMU): 1 Interception return for a TD. It was over when: Three Ralph Phillips field goals took WMU’s lead from 14-0 to 23-3, avoiding the dreaded 21-3 curse. Buoyed by the Taylor pick-six, the Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bulls pulled to within a score with 6:28 to go but couldn’t find a way to score a touchdown in the time left. Both teams did a good job of keeping the other’s main offensive weapons in check, but the slowed and grindy nature of the game favored Western Michigan. Winning the field position battle put the Broncos in better shape to have more scoring drives than USF, and they cashed in. Independence Bowl: Notre Dame 41, Central Michigan 28 MVP: Tyler Dotson, TE (ND): 10 receptions for 180 yards, 3 TDs. It was over when: Tyler Dotson caught his third TD pass with just under six minutes to play, extending the Fighting Irish’s lead to two scores. The game was much closer than the final score indicates – CMU even had the lead in the third quarter on Justin Brunson’s second touchdown run. But the Chips defense never found answers for QB D.K. Bates (27 of 38 for 309 yds, 3/0 TD/INT) and Dotson, and Walt Sutherland’s magic ran out. Central Michigan did not make this game easy on themselves. While the scoreboard stayed tight, some of the Chips’ underlying metrics were worrisome. Their 3rd down conversion struggles (2 for 13) continued and an exhausted CMU defense allowed big statistical rushing and passing days, finally breaking late in the second half. January 22nd, 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio 41, Fresno State 14 MVP: Owen Walton, RB (OHIO): 26 receptions for 128 yards, 2 TDs. (Or is it Dacder for not realizing he could coach this game for the Bulldogs?) It was over when: Timmy Wilhelm kicked a 38-yard field goal as the clock hit zeroes, putting a bow on a dominant 31-7 first half for the Bobcats. Most outside observers figured this would be a showcase for Sam Hiller-Weeden (and he did have a good game), but they were forcibly introduced to Owen. Freaking. WALTON. It’s a shame that Fresno State was effectively coachless, this could have been a really thrilling game. #FireDacder On the other hand it was a convincing statement for the MAC champions, who had plenty of doubters. Even Stephen Peters had a really good game! (for him!) Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 Texas Bowl: Rutgers 24, Buffalo 6 MVP: Elijah Moffett, QB (RUT): 20 of 25 for 315 yards, 3/1 TD/INT It was over when: Elijah Moffett’s five-yard touchdown pass to Ali Crosby gave the Scarlet Knights a 21-6 lead late in the third, forcing Buffalo to move out of their comfort zone. This meant that Stephen Coates had double-digit passing attempts. MAC observers know nothing good happens when Stephen Coates is forced to throw more than 9 passes. (5 of 12 for 61 yards, 0/2 TD/INT) MAMADOU SMASH was downgraded to Mamadou Smash, held to his lowest yardage total of the season. Elijah “The Prophet” Moffett took a little bit to get going but once he did he lit up the Buffalo defense. Rutgers did to the Bulls what almost no other team has done this season; impose their will on Buffalo and hold them to season lows in virtually every game metric. Saturday, January 28th, 2017 Miami Beach Bowl: SMU 30, Toledo 18 MVP: Dean Burkhart, WR (SMU): 8 receptions for 123 yards, 1 TD It was over when: SMU’s Adam Young intercepted Benjamin Hanson late in the fourth to preserve a two-score SMU lead. We know the game situations warranted throwing the ball more, but that’s two games in a row that Gabe Ciamo carried the ball less than 20 times. Was Hanson pressing too much over these last few games? Full credit to a tough SMU defense that held the Rockets to just 4 of 14 on third-down conversions. Congrats to the MAC winners, and commiserations for the MAC non-winners. But enough of these bowl recaps, they're not what you're here for. Without further ado, the final MAC Power Rankings for 2019! MAC Final Power Rankings 2019 Post-Bowl Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (81) Ohio Bobcats (4) 9-5 (6-2) W2 +3 2 (77) Toledo Rockets (3) 10-4 (6-2) L2 -1 3 (71) Western Michigan Broncos 10-3 (6-1) W4 -1 4 (64) Buffalo Bulls 8-5 (4-2) L1 -1 5 (57) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-7 (4-3) L2 -1 6 (43) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-7 (3-4) L1 +2 7-tie (36) Akron Zips 5-7 (3-4) W1 -1 7-tie (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 5-7 (4-3) L1 -1 9 (29) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 +1 10 (28) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 -1 11 (15) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-10 (2-5) L5 - 12 (9) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - A team received 12 points for 1st, 11 points for 2nd, etc. Number of voters: 7! Le roi est mort, vive le roi! For the first time all season Toledo is not on top of the MAC Power Rankings. They were supplanted by conference champion Ohio. But despite the Rockets' two-game losing streak, they are still a very good team - enough that quite a few voters still put them at first. The race for first was the closest between the top two teams, after accounting for the number of voters. Everyone else at the top moves down one. Somewhat surprisingly Eastern Michigan leads up the second tier of teams, ahead of Akron and Kent State. It's likely due to the fact that EMU looks to be in a better spot than the other two moving forward (better recruiting class than Akron, has a coach while Kent St. doesn't). Meanwhile it somehow doesn't surprise that the Zips and Golden Flashes tied. Finishing up, NIU moves ahead of Bowling Green. It's been an honor and a pleasure to put these together for you. We'll be back soon, ready to put out more charts of dubious value! Thank you and until next time, remember: "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  2. February 3, 2017 In what is hopefully the first of many to come, the Mid-American Conference watched with pride as one of our own was finally picked in the first round. Congratulations to Bowling Green defensive end Isaiah Hall, as he gets to prove himself with the Kansas City Chiefs! KC traded up to get his rights after New Orleans selected Hall with the 27th overall pick. Glad to see you doing this on Sundays, Isaiah. Just... not too many against Denver, okay? Isaiah Hall Career Highlights (2 years): 65 Tackles 14.5 Sacks 1 Fumble Forced 1 Fumble Recovered 2018 Second Team All-MAC 2019 First Team All-MAC 2019 MAC Defensive Player of the Year 2019 Lott Award Winner Again, congratulations to Hall and all the other MAC players he joins in the NFL (Fields pls) and those who will follow Hall into the NFL this weekend and weekends to come! Because! New! Day Rocks! Wait. There we go.
  3. -by Kenny Oberst, special to the MAC Network "Supposed To." There was a lot of talk before the MAC Championship game kicked off, and very little of it had to with the game itself. After all, it seemed pretty straightforward. Under the guidance of their longtime coach deathcpo, Toledo was the class of the MAC, its “Chosen One.” In a conference still searching for relevancy, the Rockets were far enough ahead of the rest that their sights were set on something higher than winning the conference; an eventual place in the CFBHC playoffs. It almost felt like winning the MAC was just something Toledo was supposed to do on their way to the playoff conversation. The Ohio Bobcats, on the other hand, weren’t supposed to be here - a 1-4 start to the season will put that in many people’s minds. Ohio then hired coach beeznik after NDNathan departed from the program, and the turnaround was stark even if no one noticed. The Bobcats went on the quietest tear you’ll ever (not) see, winning five in a row and six of their last seven to end the season. Included in that winning streak was a 24-21 victory over Buffalo in week 10 that gave the Bobcats the MAC East division, spoiling the storyline of the two last original MAC coaches facing each other in the Championship game. Even with Ohio’s stud RB Owen Walton piling up over 1200 yards and 12 TDs, it somehow felt to many like the Bulls were supposed to be here instead. Things went as they were supposed to at first. A 45-yard opening kickoff return by WR Thomas Yang gave the Rockets great field position on their first possession and not even four minutes later, QB Benjamin Hanson found his big tight end Nate Linsley down the middle for an 8-yard score. And then the game stalled. For nearly twenty minutes of game clock neither team could consistently move the ball, trading punts and possessions like hot potatoes. Toledo linebacker Shia Reeder and his Ohio counterpart Calvin Blue made their presences known during this time, snuffing would-be third down conversions seemingly at will. Toledo would finally break through again, with Noah Cohen connecting on a 39-yarder to give the Rockets a 10-0 lead. And yet…. And yet there was a sense in the stadium that things may not be playing out exactly like they were supposed to. Wasn’t Toledo a multiple-score favorite? Aren’t they supposed to just blow out their opponents in the first half like they’ve done multiple times this season? CB Adam Haywood did his best to calm the Rocket fans’ fears, picking off a Stephen Peters pass at the Toledo 27 and giving the Rockets one last chance to extend the lead. However, Cohen’s 52-yarder pushed wide right as the half expired, and the teams entered the locker room with the score Toledo 10 - Ohio 0, and with those worried mutterings still in the air. The Bobcats came out for the second half determined. They felt they had taken Toledo’s best yet were within striking distance. Bookended by a pair of pass interference penalties, Owen Walton began to exert his will on the Toledo defense with bruising downhill runs - 30 of his 148 total rushing yards came on this drive. Not even three minutes after the half started, Timmy Wilhelm kicked a 37-yard field goal to give the Bobcats their first points of the game and suddenly Ohio was within a score. Toledo answered with a long drive, ending in Cohen kicking his second field goal of the game to restore the Rockets’ 10-point lead. But the uneasiness remained for the Toledo faithful. “This isn’t how this game is supposed to go,” was written all over their faces. And then Ohio’s next drive happened. On third-and-four from the Bobcat 31 Walton plunged into a stacked line of scrimmage, but he didn’t have the ball. The playcall, taking advantage of a hyper-aggressive defense, instead went from Peters to TE Caleb Holman on a corner route for 23 yards. On the very next play, Ohio ran a counter. Walton took the handoff, juked a linebacker that drifted too far inside, and went off to the races. Toledo’s safety knocked him out of bounds at the four, but it didn’t matter. Walton took it up the middle for the score on the very next play. The funny thing is that at this point Toledo is still winning. Maybe it was because Ciamo was finding no room to run or maybe it was because Toledo felt like they needed to reestablish their swagger by scoring quickly, but the Rockets chose to pass and pass often. It worked before - during Toledo’s week seven game against Bowling Green, Hanson tossed two fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Rockets the comeback win. It didn’t work here. Ohio CB Michael Newman made a beautiful play on a deep route, snaking his hand in between the two belonging to Yang and stealing the ball from the wideout. Then after seven minutes of nondescript back-and-forth resembling that long stretch in the first and second quarters, Toledo found themselves with a second-and-five at midfield. Hanson threw a slant behind WR Aaron Hughes who could only futilely swipe at it. FS Robert Mahoney was there to catch the deflection and return it to the Toledo 22 and now with just under four minutes to go, the promised land was within sight for the Bobcats. Steady was their march. 1st & 10, Toledo 22 - Owen Walton off left tackle for six yards. 2nd & 4, Toledo 16 - Owen Walton up the middle for two. 3rd & 2, Toledo 14 - Jeffery Templeton on a speed out for his only catch of the game, but a crucial three yards and a first down on the reception. 1st & 10, Toledo 11 - Owen Walton tackled in the backfield for a three yard loss. 2nd & 13, Toledo 14 - Play-action faking the toss to Walton, Stephen Peters to Caleb Holman for 12 yards. 3rd & 1, Toledo 2 - Owen Walton, 2 yd TD run - 1:30 (17-13) “This wasn’t how the game is supposed to go!” screamed the announcers in their booth. “Has Ohio just done what everyone said they couldn’t and knocked off Toledo?!” The following squib kick was returned to the 29 and Toledo had 71 yards, 82 seconds, and 1 timeout to pull off their own miracle. But the Bobcat defense, which had been so strong throughout the entire game, rose up and met the challenge once more. If it was a throw near the sidelines, Ohio was there to knock it away. A throw down the middle was caught if short but always seemed to have multiple defenders nearby if it traveled more than 10 yards. Toledo was put in a sandbox that was nine yards deep and as wide as the hash marks, and all the while the clock ticked, ticked on. The final play seemed almost anti-climactic. Ohio was made of magic during the game – in how they held Gabe Ciamo to 57 yards, in how they came up with two crucial interceptions, in how a playfake and a juke result in momentum turning for the Bobcats even though they were still losing. They were so magical that there was none left for the Rockets, Hanson's Hail Mary knocked down eight yards shy of the endzone. Hordes of Ohio fans stormed the field past stunned Toledo supporters, jumping and screaming joyously. In their midst a sideline reporter interviewed coach beeznik, “Coach, congratulations on an incredible victory. All the pundits had Toledo winning this game easily, how did you pull off the upset?” The coach smiled. “What were we supposed to do, let them win?” Final Score: Ohio Bobcats 17 - Toledo Rockets 13
  4. "Seriously, we couldn't have put this up BEFORE the MAC Championship Game as scheduled?" "We did have it ready to go, but we started looking for reaction gifs, didn't realize the time, and lost our timeslot." "So what aired in our normal spot?" "'Bikini Polar Bear Plunging with #MACtion Jenny.'" "...got that on DVR?" If you don't like where you're ranked, guess you should have done something different. Producer's note: This was compiled prior to today's MAC Championship Game and does not take it into account. MAC Power Rankings Week 16 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (36) Toledo Rockets (3) 10-2 (6-1) W2 - 2 (33) Western Michigan Broncos 9-3 (6-1) W3 - 3 (30) Buffalo Bulls 8-4 (4-2) W4 - 4 (tie-25) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-6 (4-3) L1 - 4 (tie-25) Ohio Bobcats 7-5 (5-2) W1 - 6 (tie-19) Akron Zips 5-7 (3-4) L1 - 6 (tie-19) Kent State Golden Flashes 5-7 (4-3) W1 +2 8 (17) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-7 (3-4) L1 -1 9 (11) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 +1 10 (10) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 -1 11 (6) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-10 (2-5) L5 - 12 (3) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - A team received 12 points for 1st, 11 points for 2nd, etc. Number of voters: 3. Reacti- eh, whatever. Who likes ties? We like ties? We like them so much we had two of them! The big news coming out of Week 16 is coachless Kent State knocking Akron out of a definite bowl berth, catapulting the Golden Flashes up to 6th! Now these two teams and Eastern Michigan await the mercies of the various Bowl Selection Committees to see if one of them gets to join the five Bowl-bound teams (Toledo, WMU, Buffalo, CMU, Ohio) in representing the MAC. None of the other Week 16 results really changed anything. (The small switch of Bowling Green and NIU between last week and week is odd, but minor.) After Bowl Season we will host the final MAC Power Rankings for this season. Tune in then to find out where your favorite MAC team ultimately ends up based upon subjective rankings by Internet strangers! Or to catch girls in bikinis jumping into frigid water, either or. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  5. MAC Power Rankings Week 15 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (60) Toledo Rockets (5) 9-2 (5-1) W1 - 2 (55) Western Michigan Broncos 8-3 (5-1) W2 - 3 (48) Buffalo Bulls 8-4 (4-2) W4 - 4 (tie-42) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-5 (4-2) W2 - 4 (tie-42) Ohio Bobcats 6-5 (4-2) L1 - 6 (35) Akron Zips 5-6 (3-3) W2 - 7 (30) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-6 (3-3) W2 - 8 (28) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-7 (3-3) L2 - 9 (17) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 +2 10 (15) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 -1 11 (13) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-9 (2-4) L4 -1 12 (5) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - 12 points for a 1st place vote, 11 for 2nd, etc. Number of Rankers: Five! (ah ah ah) What a pair of wins by Akron and Eastern Michigan! Would it be enough to vault them past an Ohio squad that fell to Western Michigan? No. But it definitely boosted their stock and kept them alive for those tantalizing bowl berths (and the extra croot point(s) that come with it) ! This week already featured several exciting games, but the stakes got raised on several fronts after last week. Every game means something! If Akron wins their rivalry game with Kent State, not only do they get the Wagon Wheel but they also achieve bowl eligibility. Both Toledo and Eastern Michigan have something to play for this week. Toledo needs the win to clinch the MAC West division, while EMU needs the win to achieve bowl eligibility. During their game, Western Michigan and Central Michigan will be sneaking peeks at the scoreboard while rooting for their in-state brethren. If EMU wins, the Broncos-Chips winner takes home the Michigan MAC Trophy AND the MAC West! Oh yeah, Ohio still has to beat Best!Miami to lock up the MAC East division. Otherwise, the Buffalo Bulls take it. Savor the thought of the most smashmouth team in the MAC rooting for the most pass-happy team! Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Buffalo, Central Michigan, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan Can attain Bowl-eligibility if they win this week: Akron (vs. Kent St.), Eastern Michigan (at Toledo) Nope, watching bowl season from a comfy couch: Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami(OH), Northern Illinois, Ball State "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  6. Last week's pick record: 3-3 Pick Record Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 19-22 Our last week with a full slate of hot #MACtion, welcome back! Along with this week’s silent partner Sarunas Marciulionis, I’m Bruce Baguen. This week we have a team trying to clinch a division and several others trying to defend the honor of the MAC against out-of-conference interlopers. And now for the final team in the regular season, please rise for the sacred lighting ceremony. #MACtion Jenny, the floor is yours…. Kent State (4-7 overall, 3-3 conf.) at Akron (5-6, 3-3) Last Week: Kent State considered holding a promotion to drum up interest in the football team; a Madden tournament, winner is coach for the week (BYE), while Akron SHOCKED THE WORLD by taking down Sparky. ASU is the one in the purple helmet, by the way. (W at 35-21) Standing in the way is Kent State, who would love nothing more than to deny their rivals the Wheel and the bowl. Thanks to their late-season charge, a shiny bowl berth appears at the end of the tunnel. This year’s fight for the Wagon Wheel has added meaning to the Zips. (We think. We’re not 100% sure because we haven’t found anyone from Kent State to talk to. Who’s their coach this week anyway?) With only two Golden Flash starters on offense with a skill rating of 3.5 it wouldn’t surprise us if Akron could duplicate the results. Gabriel Beauchamp had a day worthy of his status as a high NFL draft pick (2 Sacks, 1 Safety, 5 Tackles) and WR Ahmed Fleming had probably the longest kickoff return for a TD in the MAC this year. While Akron’s offense had an efficient day, the defense and special teams are what came through for the Zips against ASU. Nathaniel Ruff and T.J. Zamora should have their way running through and around them. Kent State’s defense is chock-full of 3.0 players. Prediction: 28-10 Akron Akron will gladly take the ‘W’ and a bowl berth – they all count the same in the left-hand column. Kent State’s roster is below average even by MAC standards, and without a coach to gameplan no way to cover up deficiencies. Miami (OH) (2-9 overall, 2-4 conf.) at Ohio (6-5, 4-2) Last Week: Fans of Best!Miami wondered if they would ever get to unleash their Zack Cera-related memes this season (BYE), while the Bobcats found themselves outgunned versus Western Michigan (L vs. 21-35). Best!Miami has not held a lead since halftime of their week 9 game against Central Michigan, and all three of their games since then have followed a depressing trend; go down by at least 21 then try to come back with varying degrees of unsuccessful. The closest the Redhawks have been during that stretch was down four to Buffalo with 10:20 to play but if there’s one team that knows how to protect a lead by running, it’s the Bulls. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA’s stats don’t look horrible in those three games, averaging roughly 280 passing yards and throwing at least 2 TDs in each game. But at least three of them were basically garbage time touchdowns. Useful for CFBHC Fantasy Football if that’s your thing, not so much for the real games. Will Damien Mays make more than a cameo appearance and give the Miami offense some balance? Ohio held WMU’s Chase Sims in check through the air (16 of 24 for 188 yards, 1/2 TD/INT) but not on the ground (2 rushing TDs). Cera doesn’t present the same running threat but is deadlier through the air, which the Bobcats certainly recognize and plan for. It’s not really about the Redhawk offense though. Whether it’s facing MAMADOU SMASH or the potent Southern Miss passing game, Miami’s defense was as effective as using a paper bag to catch the water from a fire hose. They are a very young defense that will only lose two starters to graduation, but it makes it harder for them to play up to their potential and it can lead to breakdowns in their gap responsibilities and coverage. Expect a lot of 4-6 yard inside runs from the Bobcats that move the chains and wear out Miami’s defensive unit even more. And now they have to face Owen. Freaking. WALTON, accompanied by a Stephen Peters that didn’t embarrass himself against WMU. Prediction: 31-27 Ohio Best!Miami would love to end this season on a high note, but the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA by himself isn’t enough to compensate for an incredibly leaky Redhawk defense. Eastern Michigan (5-6, 3-3) at Toledo (9-2, 5-1) Last Week: Eastern came back from 14 down to upset the Lobos (W at 34-21), while Toledo finished the MAC sweep of non-conference opponents by demolishing UCF in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score seemed. (W at 45-28) Left for dead several times this season, coach jdboyd and the Eagles have run through several concrete walls and refused to let their bowl dreams die. Now, there’s only one game left – and it’s against division-leading Toledo. Oh, boy! DeNorris Jackson broke off a pair of long TDs for UCF, but the game never felt in doubt after the first quarter. Toledo bombarded the Knights scoring the first 28 points of the game, forcing Dwayne Bennett to throw more than he wanted – and often to the wrong jerseys. The Rockets didn’t record a sack, but made the freshman QB uncomfortable enough to complete less than half of his passes and throw four interceptions. Eastern’s offense won’t be very likely to toss four picks, but they MUST be better than 20 percent (3-15) on 3rd down conversions. Will Mohammed Lackey move the pile and keep his team in manageable 3Rd and short situations? What will Eagle coach jdboyd dial up on the defensive side? Aided by some short fields, the Toledo offense fired on all cylinders last week – both Benjamin Hanson (24 of 29 for 377 yards, 3/0 TD/INT) and Gabe Ciamo (25 carries for 179 yards, 2 TDs) put up numbers worthy of national POTW consideration, with WR Aaron Hughes (7 catches for 165 yards, 1 TD) not far behind. Of course, a 7.1 O-line rating lets your backfield do pretty much whatever it wants. A sound defensive effort from the EMU front seven is vital to ensure their secondary isn’t picked apart. Prediction: 31-17 Toledo Can the Eagles defy the odds once more and reach the magical 6-win mark? It’s possible, but not likely. Toledo is a better and more balanced team than New Mexico. If EMU falls behind early they’re going to see a steady diet of Ciamo to bleed clock and minimize the turnover factor, something the Lobos were unable to do last week. Central Michigan (6-5, 4-2) at Western Michigan (8-3, 5-1) Last Week: Central Michigan petitioned the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility for Walt Sutherland, but sadly the stated medical reason of “llamas and ImposterCauster are heartbroken” was denied (BYE), while the Broncos realized they could use Chase Sims’ legs to beat Ohio (W at 35-21) Maybe the Bobcats focused too much on Gabriel Shields last week, because Sims ran for two TDs and tossed one more against Ohio. We don't expect three TDs from him every week, but it's an encouraging sign for the young QB. The two interceptions, however, weren't; the Broncos were fortunate the picks didn't cost them any points. The Chips want to make Sims prove he can do it again, and A'Shawn Ellison will be waiting to prove him wrong. Gabriel Shields will probably get his 100+ yards, but how much more damage will he do along the way? We know there are other players on Central's offense besides Walt Sutherland, but almost everything begins and ends with him. We wouldn't be surprised to see Bronco leading tackler Kareem Boykin spy Sutherland on passing plays. Will Chips RB Justin Brunson get over 20 carries? Brunson getting 20+ touches for over 100 yards and an efficient 17 for 23 passing line for Walt usually means things are clicking for CMU. The Chips' third-down conversion rate will be a huge stat to watch during this game. Prediction: 24-17 Western Michigan It's a tense fight to the end but Western's secondary is among the best in the conference, creating a domino effect that allows the linebackers to focus more on containing Sutherland and that will be the difference. We don't expect the winner (whoever it is) to clinch the division, but the Michigan MAC Trophy is a good consolation prize for a season better than the pundits foresaw - for either of these teams. Byes: Ball State , Bowling Green , Buffalo , Northern Illinois For Sarunas Marciulionis and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you at Championship Week!
  7. If you don't like where you are, TOO BAD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT LIKE PLAY BETTER AND TURN IN SOME RANKINGS. MAC Power Rankings Week 14 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (24) Toledo Rockets (2) 8-2 (5-1) L1 - 2 (22) Western Michigan Broncos 7-3 (4-1) W1 - 3 (20) Buffalo Bulls 7-4 (4-2) W3 - 4 (tie-17) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-5 (4-2) W2 - 4 (tie-17) Ohio Bobcats 6-4 (4-1) W5 +1 6 (14) Akron Zips 4-6 (3-3) W1 - 7 (11) Eastern Michigan Eagles 4-6 (3-3) W1 +2 8 (10) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-7 (3-3) L2 -1 9 (9) Bowling Green Falcons 4-7 (1-4) L3 -1 10 (6) Miami (OH) 2-9 (2-4) L3 - 11 (4) Northern Illinois Huskies 3-7 (1-5) L2 - 12 (2) Ball State Cardinals 1-10 (1-5) L1 - 12 points for a 1st place vote, 11 for 2nd, etc. Number of Rankers: TWO. AGAIN. CMU is still riding high off their huge win over Toledo, and the Bobcats have won five straight. Seriously, go look it up. The top three teams are pretty solid and have been there all season, save for a two/three week Buffalo stumble. You could probably make a case for including CMU or Ohio in that top tier but, you know, that would require your participation. Having said that, Ohio gets to make a huge statement (and capture the MAC East Division) when they host the Broncos this week. The bottom three teams stay where they are, and with Best!Miami off this week and Ball State and NIU playing each other don't expect much movement. Bowling Green gets the biggest chance to really spin the MAC mid-tier blender when they play at Buffalo - everyone else playing has an out of conference game. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Ohio Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Must win out: Akron, Eastern Michigan Nope, watching bowl season from a comfy couch: Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami(OH), Northern Illinois, Ball State "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  8. Last week's pick record: 3-2 Pick Record Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 16-19 Another week, another slate of hot #MACtion. Welcome back! Along with this week’s silent partner Olden Polynice, I’m Bruce Baguen. This week we have a team trying to clinch a division and several others trying to defend the honor of the MAC against out-of-conference interlopers. And now, please rise as we observe our sacred lighting of the opening flame by our very own #MACtion Jenny. Bow your heads…. Northern Illinois (3-8 overall, 1-5 conf.) at Ball State (1-10, 1-5) Last Week: The Huskies were steamrolled by the Conroy Convoy ( L at 13-38), while the Cardinals couldn’t get much going against Eastern Michigan. (L at 14-27) Both of teams had seasons they’d much rather forget. Which one gets to go out on a bit of a high note as they look forward to the promise of ‘croots and redshirts? Like most games against MAC opponents, both teams will focus on stopping the run and forcing the opposing QB to make plays. Considering the strength of both defenses are their stout tackles, expect this gameplan to be successful on both sides. Sooo… Charlie Sanford vs. Marquis Causey, who ya got? Prediction: 19-14 Ball State Ball State’s receivers are better and will give Causey more help than the Husky receiver give Sanford. NIU TE Emory Johnson is a beast but he hasn’t been utilized at all. Like, he hasn’t shown up on a stat sheet all year. Really a shame too, as he could have his way with a weak Cardinal LB corps. We expect Sanford to have a performance closer to his CSU game (15 of 26 for 150 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) than his dreadful game against WMU (15 of 23 for 150 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT), but probably not an efficient one. Efficient is what will win what looks to be a slog-fest. Eastern Michigan (4-6, 3-3) at New Mexico (4-6) : non-conference Last Week: Listening to Journey before the game Eastern Michigan believed and kept the bowl dream alive (W vs. 27-14), while New Mexico littered Albuquerque with lots of signs saying “Turn Left” just in case a certain Wascally Wabbit showed up. (BYE) The Lobos welcome the Eagles for another shot at a MAC team after their first try versus Akron didn’t go so well. How well Eastern Michigan implements the “Peyton Manning defense” and ball control the ever-living crap out of this game will determine their fate. Much like that famous commercial actor, Tom Stacy can’t score if he’s standing on the sidelines. On defense, look for FS Zachary Dumas to roll towards whatever side of the field WR Vincent Ortiz lines up on. We’re not sure if CB Daniel Mendoza will follow as well, but the Lobos offensive scheme dictates that there’s more to the passing game than just Ortiz and the rest of the Eagles’ back seven must stay alert and disciplined. The Lobo running game? They’re starting a fullback at RB, but unlike EMU Ethan Guthrie isn’t that integral to the offense. Prediction: 27-13 New Mexico Sorry EMU, we want to believe. But New Mexico seems to have recovered somewhat from their mid-season swoon. The Lobos are one-dimensional and certainly aren’t unbeatable, but the Eagles defense isn’t quite good enough to force Tom Stacy into a ton of mistakes and the EMU offense can’t win a race against New Mexico. Akron (4-6, 3-3) at Arizona State (7-3) : non-conference Last Week: Akron was chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool, watching on the couch (BYE) as their opponent used a last second field goal to upset #6 Southern Cal (W at 27-24). Much less maxin’ and relaxin’ was had after that. We were surprised to see ASU has a 4-star RB and 4.5-star FB considering how pass-happy they’ve been, but when you have a pair of stud wideouts like Arturo Beckham and Daniel Marshall it pays to keep them involved. Charles Parker’s rushing statistics (161 carries for 685 yards, 6 TDs, 4.25 YPC) won’t wow anybody but he can do some damage if forgotten about. Akron’s defensive line – especially DE Gabriel Beauchamp – must come up huge and pressure RSr QB John Miller into mistakes. CB Justin Rouse can hold his own against whoever his assignment is, but what about his fellow cornerbacks? Akron has a good offense, when compared to the rest of the MAC. Unfortunately ASU’s 3-4 defense is very good from front to back and it’s hard to see an edge the Zips can take advantage of. Akron may have to scheme Zamora out of the pocket and have him exploit breakdowns in coverage. Prediction: 30-16 Arizona St. This probably puts a cap on the MAC’s Bowling Team. The Zips have not fared well against Power 5 teams this season (outscored 111-16 by Michigan, LSU, and Utah), and they’re not likely to reverse that against a Sun Devil team potent on both sides of the ball. T.J. Zamora will be in for a long day. Western Michigan (7-3, 4-1) at Ohio (6-4, 4-1)* Last Week: Ohio reduced its division-clinching Magic Number to one AND attained bowl eligibility by beating Kent State (WIN 20-10), while Western Michigan diligently worked on special oars usable by horses. (BYE) The focus of the media and the fans are on star RBs Gabriel Shields and Owen. Freaking. WALTON, but that probably isn’t where the game will be won. Expect both defenses to sell out on the run and force the QBs to win through the air. (Gosh, think we’ve heard this one before?) Neither Chase Sims nor Stephen Peters are world-beaters but they have some promising targets in WMU WR Josh Whitt and Ohio WR Dwayne Simpson. Ohio also has TEs Holman and Thibodeaux that can do some damage if the ball comes their way. SS Jaylin Hinds will be responsible for watching that part of the field. Prediction: 24-17 Western Michigan See the Northern Illinois-Ball State prediction blurb, cut and paste WMU and Ohio in their places. Make sure to put Stephen Peters in the spot where you had Charlie Sanford. Two differences though: Peters has put up some atrocious numbers, and the Broncos’ excellent secondary can play one-on-one better than Ohio’s. You can’t stop Owen. Freaking. WALTON, you can only hope to contain him. But that is probably enough this week. Bowling Green (4-7, 1-4) at Buffalo (7-4, 4-2)* Last Week: Bowling Green welcomed another coach into the fold (BYE), while Buffalo (the city) got to revel in the stability and identity coach SodapopSeth stamped on the Bulls - unlike that other Buffalo team with a similar name and a pair of fired coaching brothers. (BYE) How devoted is Buffalo to their smashmouth style? They have a JuCo Pocket QB interested in them and they’re letting Virginia take the lead for his services. But MAMADOU SMASH and a brute of an offensive line (plus two blocking TEs!) doesn’t need your fancy passing game. MAMADOU SMASH need only to grind defenses into submission. Falcon DEs Isaiah Hall and Malachi McKnight plus OLB Brandon Thomas (aka the Bowling Green Sack Factory) will be sorely tested on their run-stopping skills. Consider this an extra audition for Hall to put on for NFL scouts! Without a coach Bowling Green’s offense lost their way over the last few weeks, failing to score more than 17 points in any of their last three games. Even Mr. Automatic K Nathaniel Layne missed a couple of field goals. New coach Stubbylegz has a couple of pieces in scrambling QB Eddie Connelly and a offensive line that’s probably a year away, but the skill positions are decidedly meh. Buffalo will look to play outside-in and force BGSU ball carriers into the waiting arms of DT Patrick Garber and ILB Lucas Callaway. Prediction: 21-13 Buffalo MAMADOU SMASH. MAMADOU SMASH. MAMADOU SMASH MAMADOU SMASH SMASH MAMADOU. MAMADOU MAMADOU? SMASH SMASH MAMADOU! But seriously, we want to see what coach Stubbylegz will bring to the table. He has some good pieces to work with in the Sack Factory and the Law Firm, but Buffalo is not a fun first game for any coach to walk into. Toledo (8-2, 5-1) at UCF (6-4) : non-conference Last Week: Sources state that a dumpster full of used dartboards was found outside the University of Toledo. Oddly enough, they all had Walt Sutherland's face plastered to them. (BYE) Meanwhile, Orlando police shut down a ring of counterfeit Citronaut gear. When asked about it, coach UBL denied any knowledge while nervously tugging at his "CEETRONAWT LUV OOBL" ballcap. (BYE) Oh, this will be a fun one. Against Western Michigan Toledo sold out to stop their star RB Gabriel Shields and it worked. Will they do the same against future NFLer DeNorris Jackson? It won't be as easy, DNJ has a stronger supporting cast around him - RJr WR Justice Pierre and RFr QB Dwayne Bennett can wreak some havoc themselves. The middle of Toledo's defense is its strength with DT Dwayne Montgomery and ILB Shia Reeder; can Cental Florida get Reeder to chase DNJ and Bennett instead of moving forward to meet them? Likely All-AAC RJr CB Kevin McQueen is the leader of an otherwise young secondary, but there's no true No. 1 Rocket WR to shadow - Benjamin Hanson likes to spread the ball around. The Knights will likely focus their attention on RB Gabe Ciamo and rely on McQueen and their defensive line to keep the Toledo passing game in check. We're picking TE Nate Linsley as the X-Factor in this game. Can he outwork UCF linebackers Zaire Finney and Luca Carroll to find those soft spots in the middle of the field? Prediction: 30-27 Toledo We're not sure what the line is on this game, but it will be a close game. We're perhaps being a little homerish, but we think Toledo has the players to rattle Bennett into making mistakes. The Rockets probably took their foot off the gas pedal last week and coach Deathcpo is doubtless spending a lot of time forcing his players into the film room to avoid a repeat. Jackson will get his, but as long as that's all he gets this is a winnable game for Toledo. Byes: Central Michigan (6-5), Kent State (4-7), Miami (OH) (2-9) For Olden Polynice and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you next time!
  9. And now the MAC Power Rankings after Week 13. If you don't like where you are, play better and MAYBE ALSO TURN IN A FREAKING POWER RANKING. Because tables are not so much right now, rankings are in basic list form. (1st place Votes) Team, Record (Conf. Record): Streak, Poll Points, Change from Last Week (2) Toledo Rockets 8-2 (5-1): Streak L1, 24, - Western Michigan Broncos 7-3 (4-1): Streak W1, 22, - Buffalo Bulls 7-4 (4-2): Streak W3, 20, - Central Michigan Chippewas 5-5 (4-2): Streak W1, 18, +1 Ohio Bobcats 5-4 (3-1): Streak W4, 16, -1 Akron Zips 3-6 (2-3): Streak L1, 14, - Kent State Golden Flashes 4-6 (3-2): Streak L1, 12, - Bowling Green Falcons 4-7 (1-4): Streak L3, 10, - Eastern Michigan Eagles 3-6 (2-3): Streak L1, 8, - Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-8 (2-3): Streak L2, 6, +1 Northern Illinois Huskies 3-7 (1-5): Streak L1, 4, -1 Ball State Cardinals 1-9 (1-4): Streak W1, 2, - 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Number of Voters: 2. 2. The biggest question coming out of the weekend was: How did the voters view CMU compared to Ohio? Did the Chips' big win over Toledo carry more weight than the Bobcats impressive winning streak? Turns out that, yes, it did. A well-coached (if inconsistent) Chips team moves ahead of a Bobcat squad that actually controls its own destiny when it comes to the MAC East Division title. But we still have three weeks left in the season, these spots are definitely not carved in stone. The remaining results led to almost everyone else holding steady - Northern Illinois gave Best!Miami another turn to hold the #10 spot, but that's about it. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Win one out of three: Ohio Win one out of two: Central Michigan Must win out: Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent State Watching from a comfy couch: Miami(OH), Ball State, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois
  10. Last week's pick record: 3-1 Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 13-17 Welcome back for another week of hot #MACtion! Along with this week’s silent partner Desmond Mason, I’m Bruce Baguen. We’re really looking forward to this week’s slate of games as quite a few teams still harbor bowl aspirations. But before we dive into that, let’s have a moment of silence as we observe our sacred opening ceremony. #MACtion Jenny? Ball State (1-9 overall, 1-4 conf.) at Eastern Michigan (3-6, 2-3) Last Week: Did You Know? Eastern Michigan’s student body is larger than the population of Ypsilanti. Did You Know? Ball State, um, Ball State, uh… is still in Muncie, Indiana. (Both teams on BYE) On offense, Eastern Michigan is who they are; a ball control team that throws bowling balls at a defense to force the safeties and LBs to creep up, then toss a play-action pass. Sometimes it works (see: NIU), sometimes it doesn't (see: CMU). QB Giovanni Shaw flashes the ability to take over a game but he won't likely put it together for another year, so ball control and play-action it is. Ball State will be relying heavily on their stud defensive tackles Isamaeli Afamasaga and Rashaad Malcolm to control FB-turned-RB/bowling ball Mohammed Lackey and keeping reads simple for their linebacker corps. HOT RUMOR: After their win over Bowling Green, Austin Laws told their bench, "I JUST WHUPPED YOUR ASS." (No, he really didn't.) But no one could have faulted him for doing so after he got that 800-lb gorilla off of Ball State's back in a most emphatic way (26 carries for 170 yards, 2 TD). He's been excellent all year for the Cardinals and deserves more recognition than what he's gotten. Now if only Marquis Causey could get the ball to Chan Pease more often, Ball State would really have a stew going. FS Zachary Dumas is looking to spoil said stew and keep the Cardinal offense one-dimensional, even if it is a very good dimension. Prediction: 20-13 Ball State Ball State is better than their record and has many close-fought battles on their resume this year. This may be little more than a hunch, but we get the feeling that coach lrickar is finally getting his team in shape. A Ball State squad playing to potential can take down a middling Eagles squad that hasn’t figured out how to get back to the form they displayed when beating NIU. Northern Illinois (3-7, 1-5) at Colorado State (3-6) : non-conference Last Week: Northern Illinois misplaced their offensive prowess, failing to score a touchdown against Western Michigan (L 6-19), while the Conroy Convoy was badly upstaged by Tom Stacy and the New Mexico Lobos. (L 23-27) The Huskies’ back seven will have to be on point for this game – they will be seriously tested this week. RS Jr Devin Conroy has thrown for over 3000 yards and 24 TDs this season and is easily the best QB they will face this year. Unfortunately for the Rams Conroy is the entire offense, their running game is virtually an afterthought. A one-dimensional offense is relatively easy to gameplan for, but planning does not always guarantee execution. On defense the Rams have a good collection of pieces led by their imposing safeties Damani Crump-Jackson and Mohamed Latham, but for some reason they haven’t really been clicking on this side of the ball. Maybe it’s due to scheme (their CBs specialize in zone but the safeties are best in man?), and maybe it’s that their front seven still use the old playstyle tags on the depth chart. NIU will need the Charlie Sanford they got against CMU (16 of 25 for 200 yards, 2/0 TD/INT) and not the one they got against WMU (15 of 23 for 150 yards, 0/3 TD/INT), because the cornerbacks can be had. Prediction: 35-21 Colorado State We suspect that the Rams stout front four can hold the point of attack against the Husky run game and leave the linebackers to collect the tackles against Daniel Hutchins, allowing the safeties to sit back and roam centerfield. Sanford will likely have a day closer to the Western game than Central and that won’t get it done against the Conroy Convoy. Akron (3-6, 2-3) at Miami (OH) (2-8, 2-3) Last Week: Plans for a friendly get-together of tea and crumpets were sadly scuttled when both teams realized they’d have to drive through Columbus to meet. (Both teams on BYE) The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA keeps chucking, but the lack of balance is really starting to show. Despite good numbers over his last three games (combined 77 of 131 for 835 yards, 7/4 TD/INT) the Redhawks have gone 0-3. A big part of that is the failure to get Damien Mays on track; his highest amount of rushing yards during this span is 80. Heck, he hasn't rushed for over 90 yards in a game this season! For all his talent, Cera is still learning to read defenses and learning not to believe his arm can get any pass anywhere. Against a strong Akron defensive line featuring DT Marlon Bailey and DE Gabriel Beauchamp, he will be looking to his hot reads often. T.J. Zamora has quietly improved his game over the last two weeks, but when Nathaniel Ruff is shut down Zamora is limited in what he can accomplish. (Welcome to the plight of the common MAC QB) A pedestrian WR corps doesn't help, but Miami's defense isn't very imposing - they've given up 32.0 ppg over their last three games. This isn't a weakness to a specific gameplan either - during that stretch they gave up 34 to both the passing attack of Southern Miss and MAMADOU SMASH of Buffalo. Prediction: 28-24 Akron We expect Nathaniel Ruff will break the century mark again and unlock Zamora to be an effective dual threat. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA will get his but the Redhawks defense doesn't seem like it can hold up their end of the bargain. Iowa (4-6) at Central Michigan (5-5, 4-2) : non-conference Last Week: Iowa put up a huge fight vs. #5 Wisconsin, losing the game on a pick-six with less than five minutes to go (L 17-24), while Central SHOCKED THE (MAC) WORLD by beating #20 Toledo on a last-second field goal. (W 24-21) “To this very day, they say if you listen carefully, that you can still hear ImposterCauster singing love ballads to Walt Sutherland.” The uneven legend of Walt Sutherland and the Chips rolls on, but Justin Brunson continues to be an unsung hero for Central Michigan with another clutch 120-yard performance. Can they do it again? They come up against a solid Hawkeye defense that boasts 4-stars virtually across the board, the outside linebackers being the only exceptions. The Chips offense may consider targeting them with the option game and intermediate crossing routes but RS Fr CB Benjamin Parris (23 tackles, 3 INT) will be looking for any errant passes. Iowa’s offense is imposing. Led by potential top 10 draft pick LT Taylor Randolph no one on the Hawkeyes O-line has a rating under 4, and they have potential everywhere at the skill positions. A’Shawn Ellison and Graham Lankford can hold their own against Iowa, but coach llamas will have to gameplan the absolute crap out of this one to compensate for a decided talent disadvantage. Prediction: 27-21 Iowa If Iowa isn’t the best 4-win team in the nation, they’re really close to it. Their record is result of 1) playing in the B1G, and 2) going coachless for several weeks. We don’t know if Iowa’s new coach has placed his stamp on the team yet (i.e. Is he on the interface yet?), but it’s going to take a Coach of the Year effort for Central Michigan to pull off another upset and reach a bowl game. Ohio (5-4, 3-1) at Kent State (4-6, 3-2) Last Week: Ohio overcame an ugly game from Stephen Peters to shake off Bowling Green (W 21-13), while Kent State couldn’t keep the winning streak alive and was MAMADOU SMASH’D by Buffalo. (L 7-17) Raise your hand if you had this pegged as a crucial game for control of the MAC East a month ago. Now put it down because clearly you are a delusional and obvious liar, yet here we are. The Bobcats currently have the longest winning streak in the conference, taking four in a row, and are currently in the division lead - but that’s because the Golden Flashes fell a half game behind due to last week’s loss. Kent State has the added motivation of needing to win out to attain bowl eligibility, while Ohio’s magic number to clinch the division falls to one with a win. Kent State’s offense never got going last week. Once Buffalo’s Patrick Garber completed the trifecta of a strip-sack, fumble recovery, and touchdown on the same play it somehow felt like a hole the Flashes could not climb out of, even when Harrison Mullin scored in the 4th to make it a one possession game. Their recent win streak was propelled by an efficient passing game; John Garland did enough to make defenses honest and not have them focus solely on Mullin. But the early deficit against the Bulls forced Kent State to have Garland to throw more; he instead became a target his O-line (4.3 rating) couldn’t protect. The Bobcats hope they can replicate the effort, or at least tie up enough blockers to let Calvin Blue do his work. The Kent State defense will look to contain Owen. Freaking. WALTON and have Stephen Peters prove last week was an aberration. The problem is that Kent State doesn’t have the players that Bowling Green did, and Peters should be more comfortable in the pocket this week. We don’t expect 250 yards and 2 TDs, but nothing close to that ugliness that is 13 of 26 for 120 yards, 0/3 TD/INT. Prediction: 24-14 Ohio The Bobcats have the deadlier player in Owen. Freaking. WALTON and they have an active coach. Coach beeznik moves one step closer to capturing a division title in his first year. BYES: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Toledo, Western Michigan For Desmond Mason and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you next time!
  11. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Streak Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - W8 Toledo Rockets (6) 72 8-1 (5-0) 2 - L1 Western Michigan Broncos 66 6-3 (3-1) 3 +1 W2 Buffalo Bulls 59 6-4 (3-2) 4 +1 W3 Ohio Bobcats 48 4-4 (2-1) 5 -2 L1 Central Michigan Chippewas 47 4-5 (3-2) 6 - L1 Akron Zips 40 3-6 (2-3) 7 +2 W3 Kent State Golden Flashes 39 4-5 (3-1) 8 -1 L2 Bowling Green Falcons 29 4-6 (1-3) 9 -1 L1 Eastern Michigan Eagles 26 3-5 (2-2) 10 +1 W1 Northern Illinois Huskies 21 3-6 (1-4) 11 -1 L2 Miami (OH) Redhawks 14 2-8 (2-3) 12 - W1 Ball State Cardinals 7 1-9 (1-4) [/table] · Number of voters: 6 · 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. · Biggest riser: Kent State, up 2 spots from 9th to 7th. · Biggest fall: Central Michigan, down 2 spots from 3rd to 5th. Remember that talk last week about tiers? Yeah. The top and bottom are still well-defined, but look! Ball State is no longer a unanimous choice for last! Toledo is still clearly in a class of its own and will probably lock up the #1 spot for the rest of the year if they beat CMU this week. Heck, they'll probably stay #1 even if they lose to CMU. Western Michigan is still solidly at #2, but Buffalo continues to steadily climb up the rankings, followed by Ohio making a late-season surge and CMU. Everyone else is pretty much in a blender. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Win two out of four: Ohio Win two out of three: Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State Must win out: Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois Watching from a comfy couch: Miami(OH), Ball State
  12. Last week's pick record: 2-4 Pick record to date: 10-16 Reaction gif: Along with this week's silent partner Xavier McDaniel, I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you back with us for this week's #MACtion slate! And now a sacred tradition, the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. Jenny? Kent State (4-5 overall, 3-1 conf.) @ Buffalo (6-4, 2-3) Last Week: Kent State(!) pulled ahead of Ohio to take the MAC East lead (!!) by beating Eastern Michigan and running their win streak to three (!!!) (W 20-14), while Buffalo’s MAMADOU SMASH had an off day, had a fumble, and ran the ball less than 30 times. They still beat up on Akron though. (W 24-16) We think QB Stephen Coates got ahead of himself. Emboldened by his 7 of 7 performance the week prior, he tried throwing the ball a number of times in double digits! The results? 7 of 13 for 93 yards, 0/1 TD/INT. Well, you tried! MAMADOU SMASH did actually have a decent day (27 carries for 136 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM), but lines that look good on mere mortals are but mere triflings on all that is MAMADOU SMASH. One thing we will give Buffalo full credit for; their big uglies in the trenches simply wore Akron down. They were instrumental in taking a close game and turning it into a relentless flood of power in the 4th. Also, we just wanted to point out that we did call the lost fumble. We didn’t get much else right last week, let us have this. Akron actually outgained the Bulls in yardage 328-264 but Buffalo ran a “bend don’t break” defense to perfection, holding the Zips to a TD and three FGs (and one miss). We’ll see if Kent State can change that to “bend and break.” The Golden Flashes were efficient in taking what Eastern’s defense gave them last week until it was time for the game-winning and TD pass from John Garland to Justin Maurer. Harrison Mullin did yeoman’s work for Kent State, but he (and Garland) will have to do more because the Bulls won't give you many chances if you miss your shot. Prediction: Buffalo 21-13. Buffalo must win out if they want a chance at claiming the MAC East title. Unfortunately for the Bulls the majority of their losses have come in-conference, putting them behind the 8-ball. Kent State has lowkey been one of the MAC’s surprises (seriously lowkey, no one realized they had a three-game winning streak), but we expect that MAMADOU SMASH will defend his turf and keep Buffalo’s division hopes alive. Ohio (4-4, 2-1) @ Bowling Green (4-6, 1-3) Last Week: Ohio came alive in the second half to pull away from a game Western Kentucky squad (W 24-10), while Bowling Green let Austin Laws run for 170 yards en route to Ball State’s first win of the season. (L 14-28) Owen. Freaking. WALTON. had 180 yards and 2 TDs against the Hilltoppers. The man has been unstoppable of late, rushing for 475 yards and 6 TDs in his last 3 games - all Ohio wins, by the way. You’d think a defensive line as formidable as the Bowling Green Sack Factory would be up to the challenge, but Ball State laid down the Laws against them - and held Isaiah Hall completely off the statsheet! We know the Sack Factory will be looking to redeem themselves against the Bobcats but they'll need that extra motivation; Ohio is one of the hottest in the conference right now. Outside of the bad line play and Makai Petty’s paltry 68 rushing yards (think they’re related?), the Falcons actually didn’t have a horrible offensive game. Eddie Connelly’s final stat line (20 of 38 for 217 yards, 1/1 TD/INT) is decent by MAC standards, but that pick came as they were driving for a tying score in the 3rd Quarter. When Ball State’s Marquis Causey scored with seven minutes left to extend the Cardinal lead to two scores, Bowling Green’s... deliberate (deliberate? Yeah, let’s go with deliberate.) offense was unable to go up-tempo and pick up the points. Prediction: Ohio 24-14. On of the hottest teams in the MAC, the Bobcats are more than capable of using the same game plan Ball State used: Run the ball and throw safe, short passes to neutralize Isaiah Hall and company. We trust Ohio’s offense more than we do Bowling Green’s, and we don’t think Owen. Freaking. WALTON. will be denied this week. Northern Illinois (1-4, 3-6) @ Western Michigan (6-3, 3-1) Last Week: Northern Illinois got their groove back against Central Michigan (W 28-14), while Western Michigan fell flat on television against Toledo. (L 6-24) We’ve seen this before. Northern Illinois showed what they can do when they play to their potential, but it comes and goes. Coach robcarlson77 is hoping that he's got the right gameplan to keep the party going for Sandford & Hutchins. How will Coach Jieret plan to stop the Huskies? His defensive gameplan against Toledo didn't seem very effective, and he vowed to rectify that against this week. Will he have his linebackers play closer to the line and let the secondary work on islands? The Broncos offense will be looking to wipe the dirt off their face after that faceplant against Toledo. Gabriel Shields won't say anything about it, but the rest of the offense is upset that they weren't good enough to keep his streak of 100+ yard games going. Chase Sims in particular knows he must be better. And he needs to be - expect NIU to imitate the Rocket gameplan and sell out to stop the run. Prediction: Western Michigan 24-17. Oh NIU, we want to love you, really. Some day we'll actually get a read on you and figure out when you'll play well and when you won't as much. But the Broncos have been very consistent and good for the majority of the year, and we're valuing that in making our picks. #20 Toledo (8-1, 5-0) @ Central Michigan (3-2, 4-5) Last Week: Toledo continued its cruise through the MAC, convincingly dispatching Western Michigan (W 24-6) while Central Michigan’s defense allowed the NIU offense to methodically do whatever it wanted. (L 14-28) At its best the Husky offense is a balanced machine. Toledo presents a better version this week, and if the Chips’ defense looked out of sorts against NIU what will happen Saturday? Coach llamas said after the Husky loss that they struggled to get players in the right spot and hinted that they would work on cleaning up their fundamentals. DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough, MILB Graham Lankford, and CB A’Shawn Ellison are excellent players, but they can’t do everything on their own. We expect that the Rockets will force Sutherland to beat them through the air and would happily take a stat line similar to his output against NIU last week (14 of 18 for 173 yards, 1/1 TD/INT). The Chips will try to get linemen to the second level to block standout ILB Shia Reeder, but Toledo will likely have a second linebacker tasked with containing the CMU QB. Prediction: Toledo 31-14. Unless the Rockets are looking way too far ahead to the MAC Championship game, there’s no compelling reason we can see to predict a Chippewa victory. With a few defensive exceptions, Toledo just has a better roster and CMU’s recent inconsistency certainly won’t help. We expect Coach deathcpo and his players to be celebrating the MAC West title in the locker room after the game is over. Note: Either SageBow or Stormstopper pointed out the conference division clinching scenarios after Week 12 (can’t find it), so a big h/t to whoever it was that pointed out Toledo’s magic number is 1 (Toledo win OR CMU/WMU loss). Ah hell, h/t to both of them for the great work they’ve been doing all year. Byes: Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami(OH) On behalf of the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"), for Xavier McDaniel and #MACtion Jenny this is Bruce Baguen. Until next time!
  13. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - Toledo Rockets (7) 84 7-1 (4-0) 2 - Western Michigan Broncos 77 6-2 (3-0) 3 - Central Michigan Chippewas 70 4-4 (3-1) 4 +1 Buffalo Bulls 55 5-4 (2-2) 5 - Ohio Bobcats 53 2-4 (2-1) 6 -2 Akron Zips 52 3-5 (2-2) 7 - Bowling Green Falcons 39 4-5 (1-2) 8 +2 Eastern Michigan Eagles 36 3-5 (2-2) 9 - Kent State Golden Flashes 30 3-5 (2-1) 10 -2 Miami (OH) Redhawks 29 2-7 (2-3) 11 -1 Northern Illinois Huskies 14 2-6 (0-4) 12 - Ball State Cardinals 7 0-9 (0-4) [/table] Number of voters: 7 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Biggest riser: Eastern Michigan, up 2 spots from 10th to 8th. Biggest fall (tie): Akron and Miami(OH), down 2 spots each from 4th to 6th (Zips) and 8th to 10th (Redhawks). The voters were again unanimous with the top three teams in the MAC and the bottom two, but a little bit of reshuffling going on in the middle. What's really fascinating about this poll is that you can start to see the teams sorting themselves into certain tiers based on the points received: 1-3, 4-6, 7-10, 11-12. Having said that, with everyone in action this week I fully expect those tiers to get blown up and smushed together. #MACtion, amirite? Toledo, however, has a golden chance to separate themselves as the class of the MAC with their next two games: At Western Michigan, at Central Michigan. If the Rockets sweep, that virtually guarantees they'll stay atop the Power Rankings until season's end.
  14. Last week's pick record: 1-2 Pick record to date: 8-12 Reaction gif: Along with this week's silent partner Tom LaGarde I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you back with us for this week's #MACtion slate! We'll start with the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. Jenny, if you please.... Ohio (3-4, 2-1) @ Western Kentucky (2-6) - non-conference Last Week: Ohio retained a share of the MAC East lead by doing nothing (BYE), while Western Kentucky did whatever they wanted on offense to hapless FIU. (W 49-24) Despite the Hilltoppers’ impressive showing last week, we think that says more about FIU’s roster than anything else. WKU’s offense is very nondescript, and their best player may be SR TE Bryan Nicholson – who hasn’t even shown up on the statsheet. The Bobcats have a solid defense at all three levels and should avoid the missed tackles that gave leading WKU WR Michael Landrum his impressive stat line against FIU (8 catches for 123 yards, 1 TD). The Hilltoppers have a pair of stud linemen in Jr DT Benjamin Chappell (22 tackles, 5 sacks) and RS Jr DE Saniel Spivey (18 tackles, 5 sacks) but not much else on defense. If Owen Walton breaks through the first level, he’ll be rampaging for plenty of yards before getting gang-tackled. Prediction: Ohio 31-13. The Bobcats roster is just better all-around than Western Kentucky’s, and Ohio has been on a roll lately. We expect Walton and Co. to make the .500 mark on the season. Central Michigan (4-4, 3-1) @ Northern Illinois (2-6, 0-4) Last Week: Central Michigan’s QB tried to figure out the Chamberlain SNAFU (“I mean, he’s got an ‘I’ in the name, I have an ‘A.’ Plus he had like eight inches on me!” thinks Walt) (BYE), while the Huskies roster continues to sputter through their conference schedule, this time falling to Eastern Michigan. (L 21-35) Yet more of the Wilt Chamberlain Wally Amberlin Waltzing Oberon Kiefer Otherland Walt Sutherland show in action last game; the Chips QB was responsible for all but 45 yards of their offense, spreading the ball around and chipping in with the occasional rushing TD. The Huskies have the potential to put the Sutherland Show on hiatus, but will they? If Justin Brunson can put in more than a cameo appearance the Chips should win this side of the ball. The Husky offense... whew. Daniel Hutchins is doing what he can, but it's becoming painfully clear that NIU offense needs the passing game to function and Charlie Sanford is throwing some ill-timed interceptions, including a pick-six - A'Shawn Ellison would LOVE the chance to take one back to the house. It makes you really wonder why the Huskies aren't targeting stud TE Emory Johnson more, a reliable safety option seems just like the thing the doctor ordered for this ailing offense. Prediction: CMU 28-14 Look no further than how these teams played against Eastern Michigan in the last two weeks. While Central pulled away to a comfortable win, Northern struggled to mount any meaningful offense. Coach robcarlson77 has some tough questions for his team that they haven't answered yet; the Huskies should be playing better than they are, but potential doesn't do much in the win-loss columns where it counts. Ball State (0-9, 0-4) @ Bowling Green (4-5, 1-2) Last Week: Ball State kept it closer against Toledo than they did against Virginia - progress! (L 14-30), while Bowling Green engaged in heated debate: The Law Firm or the Sack Factory, which group nickname is better? (BYE) Whatever Kent State did to keep Isaiah Hall off the statsheet, Ball State would pay a pretty penny to replicate it. Brandon Thomas had a good game in the box score (1 sack, 8 tackles), but shutting Hall down forced Thomas to make most of his plays at the second level instead of in the backfield. Hall's fellow bookend Malachi McKnight couldn't take advantage of the extra attention Hall got and was also quiet. Unfortunately, one of Canes' (many) proposals were denied and we have no video replay or All-22 film to watch. If Ball State can protect Marquis Causey, the Falcons' secondary is vulnerable but we don't see how he will have time to get the ball to Chan Pease or anyone else, really. The Sack Factory will want to get production back on track, and this looks like a favorable game to do so. On the other side of the ball, Toledo got to do whatever it wanted against the Cardinal defense. Granted Toledo has the overall best offense in the MAC, but outside of a Troy Odom pick-six there was nothing for Ball State to hang its hat on. The Law Firm of Connelly, Layne, and Petty should be able to ride a balanced run/pass attack to methodically move down the field. Can the Cardinals pull a few more turnovers out of their hat to spark an upset? Prediction: Bowling Green 27-10 Over/Under on sacks of Marquis Causey: 4.5. What'cha got? Akron (3-5 overall, 2-2 conf.) @ Buffalo (5-4, 2-2) Last Week: Akron pondered deep meaningful questions such as, "Why DO the Cleveland Browns show up as a sports attraction on the official City of Akron webpage?" (BYE), while Buffalo got the jump on the Redhawks and never let up. (W 34-24) Akron is already sad that they won't be able to replicate their 3-INT performance against New Mexico, since the defensive gameplan this week is all about stopping MAMADOU SMASH. Against the Redhawks the Bulls constantly put themselves in third-and-short situations and broke their will: A 7 of 14 third-down conversion rate is really REALLY good, especially when Stephen Coates only* throws the ball five times. We know that stud DE Gabriel Beauchamp is great against the pass, will he and the rest of the Akron D-line be able to corral MAMADOU SMASH? If Buffalo's offense gets going early, it's nigh-impossible for many teams to fight that momentum. The Zips' D must gang tackle and stand MAMADOU SMASH up as much as possible, he's shown a tendency to put the ball on the ground (4 Fumbles lost this season). Akron's offense looked great against New Mexico, but it's very hard to get a handle on them. T.J. Zamora is one of the best when he's on, but when he's not it can get ugly - which Zamora are we getting? The Bulls' safety duo of Omari Easley and Thomas Gordon will be ready to pick off any errant Zamora tosses; the Zips may want to feature continually underrated Nathaniel Ruff a bit more. *We say "only" as if that's not a high-volume game for him. And that stat line! 5 of 5 for 70 yards and a TD! Good thing the Buffalo Applebee's (Marshawn-approved for the decor, mind you) didn't start their "$1 off for every Coates completion" promotion until this week. Prediction: Akron 28-24 In the hardest game to pick this week, we'll side with the Zips. MAMADOU SMASH will get his, but it's amazing the difference in Buffalo play when they're ahead vs. when they're coming from behind. We believe that Akron will have a good start to the game behind Zamora and Ruff, plus we wouldn't be surprised to see another Buffalo turnover via fumble. Eastern Michigan (3-5, 2-2) @ Kent State (3-5, 2-1) Last Week: Eastern Michigan rolled in all three phases of their game against NIU (W 35-21), while Kent State’s new coach Stretch72hornet spent the week installing his playbook. (BYE) EMU's gameplan is simple: Mohammed Lackey will run effectively, the defense will start dropping a safety into the box, then Giovanni Shaw will drop a pass right over the safety's head. Rinse and repeat. This game will ask a lot of the Kent State back seven to properly read their keys and not chase after the ball. Harrison Mullin leads Kent State's mini-resurgence with two straight games of over 100 yards and 2 TDs. He's shown very good patience is waiting for the creases in the line to form before making his move. The Eagles defense will look to limit his effectiveness and force John Garland to beat them through the air, where Zachary Dumas and the EMU secondary will be waiting. Prediction: Eastern Michigan 21-16 Kent State is starting to play up to their potential, but that potential is that of an average team with occasional Flashes. The Eagles should be able to run almost at will against the Golden Flashes and ruin coach Stretch72hornet's debut. Southern Mississippi (6-2) @ Miami (OH) (2-7, 2-3) - non-conference Last Week: We've learned at the MAC Network from reliable sources that Southern Miss will announce its list of all-time football greats just before their bowl game. We've also learned that #1 is Etric Pruitt. Like it could be anyone else. (BYE) The Redhawks did the exact opposite of what they needed to do against Buffalo and fell in the early hole themselves. (L 24-34) Season stats haven't appeared on the Wiki for the Golden Eagles but with Harrison Weir, they look to be primarily a run-first team that can sling the ball as needed. But Southern Miss is certainly unafraid to let RS So Johnathan Keller grip it and rip it, such as when he threw 41 times in their 3 OT loss to Rice in Week 10. With good targets in RS Jr WR Randall Johnson and Sr TE Kenneth Wright, it's not hard to see why Keller sometimes gets to chuck it deep. The Golden Eagles' LT is very young and may give up the occasional sack, but the Redhawks must execute solid team defense to limit the damage Keller and Weir does. The strength of the Golden Eagles defense is clearly their line, led by future 1st-rounder Dexter Flowers (12.5 sacks, 41 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR). He's terrorizing QBs all over the country and now it's FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA's turn to feel the pain. Of course, the last time Best!Miami faced a dominating D-line Cera threw 4 TDs and no picks against Bowling Green, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Prediction: Southern Miss 28-21 Southern Miss has a very "Stars and Scrubs" roster that Best!Miami's offense may be able to exploit. But in a game that we think will be closer than many observers expect, Coach Wooden's experience will have the Golden Eagles on top in a battle of birdbros. #20 Toledo (7-1, 4-0) @ Western Michigan (6-2, 3-0) Last Week: Toledo took care of business against an overmatched Ball State squad (W 30-14), while the Broncos faithful started a letter campaign to have CFBHC Gameday imitate RL Gameday and come to Kalamazoo. (BYE) Gabriel Shields is the engine in the Broncos train, and Western Michigan hopes to keep him rolling. QB Chase Sims has proven serviceable, but he will need to do more than hold serve against a strong Toledo defense and connect with Josh Whitt on a deep shot or two. The Rockets are strong up the middle of the defense with DT Dwayne Montgomery, ILB Shia Reeder, and FS Anthony Davis, and good almost everywhere else. If there's a weak spot it would be the CB depth after Adam Haywood, but the Broncos offense isn't really built to exploit that. The Rockets also run Reeder often on A-gap blitzes, so Shields will have to be ready to adjust running lanes quickly - there may be some daylight where the ILB used to be if Shields can make him miss. On Toledo's offense, Benjamin Hanson and Gabe Ciamo lead a balanced attack. Because a defense can't key on a specific aspect, they will usually have to play straight up and match personnel against the Rockets - something almost no one in the MAC is prepared to do. The Broncos's back seven may be among the conference's best, but if they have to blitz to help a so-so D-line get to Hanson that opens space for the Rocket receivers. Prediction: Toledo 24-21 The Rockets are a very good team, as is Western Michigan. The difference is that Toledo has more high-level depth and we expect that to be the difference in a tight affair. Byes: None On behalf of the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!") for Tom LaGarde and #MACtion Jenny, I'm Bruce Baguen. Until next time!
  15. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - Toledo Rockets (4) 48 6-1 (3-0) 2 - Western Michigan Broncos 44 6-2 (3-0) 3 - Central Michigan Chippewas 40 4-4 (3-1) 4 +2 Akron Zips 32 3-5 (2-2) 5 (tie) -1 Buffalo Bulls 28 4-4 (1-2) 5 (tie) +4 Ohio Bobcats 28 3-4 (2-1) 7 -2 Bowling Green Falcons 25 4-5 (1-2) 8 - Miami (OH) Redhawks 22 2-6 (2-2) 9 +2 Kent State Golden Flashes 21 2-5 (1-1) 10 (tie) -3 Eastern Michigan Eagles 10 2-5 (1-2) 10 (tie) - Northern Illinois Huskies 10 2-5 (0-3) 12 - Ball State Cardinals 4 0-8 (0-3) [/table] Number of voters: 4 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Biggest riser: Ohio Bobcats, up 4 spots from 9th to 5th. Biggest fall: Eastern Michigan, down 3 spots from 7th to 10th. Once again voters were unanimous with regards to the top and bottom of the rankings, and this unanimity now includes Central Michigan. Everyone else? It's not so much that spots four through eleven are interchangeable, it's that everyone in this area has pretty much beaten up on each other. Considering the slate of MAC games this week, I expect similar results next week; the top and bottom locked in place while the middle teams try to claw over each other.
  16. Last Week: 3-3 Season to date (Since Week 8): 7-10 Welcome back to another week of hot #MACtion! Along with this week's silent partner Dana Barros, I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you with us! And now, the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. If you would, Jenny? This week's picks and previews come with a 100% money back guarantee! (We guarantee that one of the teams in each game will win.) Eastern Michigan (2-5 overall, 1-2 conf.) at Northern Illinois (2-5, 0-3) Last Week: EMU couldn't recover from a Walt Chamberlain dagger to the heart right before halftime of their game with Central Michigan (L 14-38), while the Huskies licked their wounds and tried to circle the wagons (BYE). The bad news? Both teams are scuffling badly heading into this week. The good news? They can't tie, so someone will win this game! It feels like the Eagles' offensive strength plays into NIU's defensive strength up the middle; EMU may have to work the short-to-intermediate passing game against the Husky linebackers a bit more than usual to move the chains. The Husky offense has regressed and QB Charlie Sanford is one of the reasons why; after a torching start to his season Sanford has a paltry 5.68 passing yards per attempt and a 3/2 TD/INT ratio in NIU's last two games, both losses. One of the story lines of this game will be how the Huskies try to cure themselves of this offensive malaise; the Eagles have a bit of talent on the defensive front and back ends, but with the right gameplan NIU can move the ball. Prediction: 24-14 Northern Illinois Ever since beating Buffalo, the Eagles went from a pair of extra points away from upsetting UCF, to coming up short in a comeback against Western Michigan, to getting blown out by Central Michigan. They're seriously trending down and although NIU has not played up to their talent the last few weeks, we expect Coach robcarlson77 to get his team turned around first in a game that both teams badly need. Buffalo (4-4, 1-2) at Miami(OH) (2-6, 2-2) Last Week: Somehow, Stephen Coates couldn't dig Buffalo out of the early hole they found themselves in (L 21-24) while the Redhawks' shipment of flame-retardant uniforms arrived, all so they could handle the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA better (BYE). For such a straightfoward team, Buffalo is sure hard to figure out. We all know what their game plan is, and we all know that they are not built to come back if the game plan falls apart; 3 completions on 5 attempts for 30 yards (WARNING: The preceding Buffalo passing stats are whited out for your protection. This statline is rated R for violence and foul language) speaks for itself. But they possess the best O-line in the conference and the most relentless bulldozer in MAMADOU SMASH, and we tend to like that kind of strong foundation. But Miami is more than capable of a fast start; if they do so and if the Redhawks stack the box, this will totally end up the opposite of 'The Tortoise and the Hare.' Prediction: 27-14 Miami(OH) For better or for worse Buffalo are what they are. We expect the Redhawks will take advantage, and they have just the right offense to put the Bulls into an early hole; something Buffalo hasn't proven they can overcome. Have you seen that passing game? Did you hide your children's eyes while doing so? Ball State (0-8, 0-3) at #21 Toledo (6-1, 3-0) Last Week: Virginia's Matteo Rook visited Muncie and found their hospitality (and end zones) rather welcoming (L 13-42)*, while Toledo spent lots of time figuring out ways to get their players ALL THE AWARDS (BYE). *(Holy crap we were so close to getting this one) The MAC's best team against its only winless team. Doubtless this will be a highly competitive and tense game followed by tea and crumpets in the student section. There really isn't much to say here, folks. Ball State really does have some talent but it's spread thin and outclassed by the Rockets' roster. Prediction: 40-10 Toledo For the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"), this is Dana Barros and Bruce Baguen. Until next time!
  17. [table] Rank Last Wk. Team Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - Toledo Rockets (6) 72 6-1 (3-0) 2 - Western Michigan Broncos 66 5-2 (3-0) 3 - Central Michigan Chippewas 55 3-4 (2-1) 4 - Buffalo Bulls 51 3-4 (1-1) 5 - Bowling Green Falcons 46 4-4 (1-2) 6 - Akron Zips 42 2-5 (2-2) 7 - Eastern Michigan Eagles 38 2-4 (1-1) 8 - Miami (OH) Redhawks 33 2-6 (2-2) 9 - Ohio Bobcats 25 2-4 (1-1) 10 - Northern Illinois Huskies 19 2-5 (0-3) 11 - Kent State Golden Flashes 15 2-5 (1-1) 12 - Ball State Cardinals 6 0-7 (0-3) [/table] Number of voters: 6 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. There was a consensus among our voters about the teams at the top and bottom. Toledo and WMU were unanimously picked as the top of the conference, while Ball State brought up the rear. Everything else from 3-11? Pretty jumbled. A couple of notes: -Again, this is the initial MAC power rankings. There were quite the deviations on certain teams but as we get more data points as the MAC continues to play each other, things should even out. Or maybe we'll continue to beat each other up so we make an endless Mobius Strip of transitive losses. Who knows. -NIU being ranked ahead of a Kent State team they lost to is likely a testament to the talent Coach robcarlson77 has on his team. Having said that, the Huskies' winless conference record is quite frankly mystifying and we'll probably see recent results take more prominence in the voters' minds as we move forward.
  18. Last week's pick record: 2-4 Pick record to date (Since Week 8): 4-7 Reaction gif to last week’s pick record: And now for another week of hot #MACtion! Along with this week's silent partner Benoit Benjamin, I'm Bruce Baguen. We're glad to have you back with us! Before we begin though, the ceremonial (since this week) lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. Take it away Jenny! Brings a tear to my eye every time, it does. And now we'll get into the previews and picks for this week. Before that, a note was just passed to me by our producer that I apparently should read. *ahem* It says: GOOD NEWS NIU! YOU’RE NOT BEING PICKED TO WIN THIS WEEK! ...okay, then. Buffalo (4-3, 1-1) at Ohio (2-4, 1-1) Last Week: MAMADOU SMASH’d, but it was a 19-yard run by QB Stephen Coates that gave Buffalo the come from behind win over Wake Forest in a game that was MUCH closer than we expected (W 21-14). Meanwhile, Ohio dreamed of better days yet to come. (BYE) At this point everyone knows the Buffs game plan: Feed the rock to their RB and grind the opposing team under the heel of MAMADOU SMASH. It's a straightforward style and terrifying when it works. But Wake Forest (!) may have provided a blueprint: Load the box, force 3rd and longs, then see if Stephen Coates knocked enough rust off his arm to complete a pass. We're not posting his passing stats from last week; our lawyers have advised us that putting it here would violate our program's PG rating. If Stephen Coates is forced to actually throw a forward pass past 7 yards things get really interesting, and usually in the "inevitable car crash" kind of way. While not as dedicated to the run as Buffalo, Ohio still leans on Owen Walton to set the tone for the Bobcats. Stephen Peters had an auspicious debut at QB for Ohio in Week 8 (15 of 22 for 187, 1/0 TD/INT), will he be able to keep it up? He may have to. Prediction: 21-14 Buffalo. Not that Walton is chopped liver or anything but with Ohio's defensive strength in the secondary instead of the front seven, it's hard to see MAMADOU SMASH not having his way. Kent State (2-5, 1-1) at Bowling Green (4-4, 1-2) Last Week: Kent State showed they weren't to be taken lightly, holding Northern Illinois to 2 of 10 on 3rd down conversions en route to a surprising win (W 28-13), while Bowling Green scored the last 24 points of the game to run away from Akron (W 33-7). The Falcons’ swears by the Law Firm of Connelly, Layne, and Petty. Connelly and Petty get them down the field The Golden Flashes held NIU to a very impressive 20% 3rd down conversion rate, but will they be able to replicate this against one of the most methodical offenses in the conference? They will need DT Victor Streeter to come up huge again (6 tackles last week). Kent State won by deploying the Anti-Peyton Manning defense; chew up clock and limit Husky offensive touches. RB Harrison Mullin had a great game, and got enough help from John Garland to finish the job. But now they go against Isaiah Hall and the rest of the BGSU Sack Factory. Poor, poor John Garland. Prediction: 24-14 Bowling Green It’s hard to see how Kent State can stop up the Law Firm; even if they keep the Falcons out of the end zone it’s probably an automatic three courtesy of Nathaniel Layne. The Flashes caught lightning in a bottle once, but we’ll want to see if they can strike Gold a second time. RB Harrison Mullin aside, it’s hard to see it. Eastern Michigan (2-4, 1-1) at Central Michigan (3-4, 2-1) Last Week: A’Shawn Ellison’s pick of a Zack Cera pass at the two-minute mark sealed a tight win for the Chips (W 28-20), while the Eagles nearly overcame a 21-point deficit but couldn’t corral the last-gasp onside kick against the Broncos (L 14-21). Walt, Walt, Walt. Why do you make it so hard to forecast how you’ll perform? Sutherland had a nice bounce-back game, but it helps greatly when others help take the load. (Welcome back, Justin Brunson!) Will the EMU defense be able to make not-as-good Walt appear? FS Zachary Dumas must have a HUGE game against the Chips for this to happen. Mohammed Lackey had another nice game, but with EMU in such a big early hole Western could let him get his yards while limiting Giovanni Shaw’s effectiveness. It is vital that the Eagles not dig themselves another hole and give their play-action based offense a chance to work. We’re keying on CMU Sr SS Mordechai Hutchison this week. He must stay disciplined and diagnose his reads properly to avoid giving up the intermediate throws EMU likes so much. This game has the looks of a nail-biter, and we know what likely means…. If it comes down to the kicking game, is it wrong to wonder which coach suffers a heart attack first? Prediction: 24-21 CMU. We think the Chips will also shake off that losing streak to the Eagles. CMU takes the early lead before EMU storms back to make it close, but no cigar. Bonus! Over/Under on total missed/blocked XPs and FGs: 2.5 New Mexico (2-4) at Akron (2-5, 2-2) Last Week: Akron ran out of answers for the BGSU Law Firm of Connelly, Layne, and Petty (L 7-33). New Mexico? “Para bailar la bamba. Para bailar la bamba, Se necesita una poca de gracia.” (BYE) New Mexico is a pass happy team with Sr QB Tom Stacy and RSr WR Vincent Ortiz leading the way. Their lead RB is FB convert Ethan Guthrie, he's there primarily to move the pile. Akron’s secondary will be tested early and often, with most of their attention on Ortiz. Oh, Akron. When Zamora was forced to pass things did not end well for him (16 of 29 for 165 yards, 0/2 TD/INT) as that Bowling Green front seven made life miserable for Zamora. Fortunately the Lobos' aren't as stout up front; Nathaniel Ruff should have more room to run and unlock Zamora in turn. Prediction: 28-21 Akron To borrow a kickyball term, New Mexico's form has been rather dodgy lately. Not that Akron has been looking that much better, but 31-3 to Utah State? The Lobos don't seem like they can compensate if the passing game is shut down, and that makes us lean towards the Zips. Virginia (5-2) at Ball State (0-7, 0-3) Last Week: Virginia’s stay in the rankings was short-lived courtesy of Pitt (L 28-33), while Ball State did, um, whatever there is to do in Muncie, IN (BYE). Virginia is an angry team looking to take out their frustrations and Ball State finds themselves squarely in the cross hairs. QB Matteo Rook is coming, Cardinals. We really doubt you’ll like what he does when he gets to Muncie. Prediction: 42-14 Virginia Hawaii (4-2) at Western Michigan (5-2, 3-0) Last Week: Hawaii worked on their tans (BYE, and you'd totally do the same if you lived in Hawaii), while Western Michigan took the first step towards claiming the Michigan MAC Trophy by beating Eastern Michigan for the first time (W 21-14). Western Michigan is having a much better year than most observers thought they would, but they face a stiff test when the Rainbow Warriors come to Kalamazoo. The Broncos will likely look to contain RB Levi Cline and trust their excellent corners to handle WRs Benjamin Epps and Rocky Kruse. On the other side, the Rainbow Warriors run a base nickel defense; good for containing spread offenses, maybe not so much when facing the dedicated running game and Gabriel Shields. The hybrid LB/S Hawaii is using is a capable 4-star, but he’s also 5-10 174. That may be one of the few areas WMU can exploit on this defense though. Prediction: 24-21 Hawaii. Maybe we're overcompensating for a RAGING MAC BON- "Bruce!" but a suddenly shaky kicking game may do in the Broncos in a hard-fought contest. WMU would sure love to have a quality noncon win though.... Also, "The Archangel" Gabriel Shields. Yea or Nay? BYES: Miami (OH), Northern Illinois*, Toledo For the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC it's wack!"), this is Benoit Benjamin and Bruce Baguen. Until next time! *Hey, a bye still means you weren't getting picked to win this week. Technically correct is best correct.
  19. Last week's pick record: 2-3 Pick reaction gif: "I would give my spleen to see the time of possession numbers for that NIU-Buffalo game. At least Sedale's spleen. Man, Mamadou pounded the Huskies so hard they could arrest him for beas-" "Bruce! We're live, man!" "...What?" *ahem* And welcome back for some hot Week 9 #MACtion! As always I'm your host Bruce Baguen, and this week I'm joined by guest silent partner Derrick McKey! Every MAC team now has at least one conference game under their belts, and while no one has pulled away from the pack yet some teams are in danger of falling into a hole they can't climb out of. We have a lot of games to totally mostly get wrong look at for this week, let's get to it! Bowling Green (3-4, 0-2 conf.) at Akron (2-4, 2-1)* Last week: Akron needed a big last-second interception by FS Javier Lopez to hold off the pesky Ball St. Cardinals (W 33-28), while Bowling Green fell before the scorching right arm of Zack Cera (L 24-28). When Bowling Green has the ball: This remains one of the harder offenses in the conference to get a handle on. The Falcons look like a balanced offense, but while Eddie Connelly put up a better than average (by MAC standards) passing line last week the running game barely got more than three yards per carry; not enough to keep Miami at bay. While coach Groobs03 tries to kick-start his RB corps, Connelly may have to assume more of a do-everything role in this game. Akron's defensive line feasted on Ball State (3.7 O-line grade!), and BGSU will need big bounce-back games from their interior linemen if they want their QB to not repeatedly taste the Zips' turf. Akron's four picks came once Ball State fell behind and was forced into catch-up mode; Bowling Green would do well not to fall behind early in order to avoid a similar encore. When Akron has the ball: T.J. Zamora had an excellent game last week (24 of 40 for 299 yards, 1/0 TD/INT) but faces a stiff test against bookends Isaiah Hall, Malachi McKnight, and the rest of the Falcon defense. It will be fascinating to see how the Zips gameplan to limit the damage the stud defensive ends: Quick passes? Runs up the middle? Extra tight ends? Prediction: Akron 24-16 We still have some questions about Bowling Green's offense, and going against one of the best defensive lines in the MAC is not a good week to work the answers out of the fly. T.J. Zamora won't have to do everything himself, Nathaniel Ruff will get enough quality carries to keep the Falcons defense honest. Western Michigan (4-2, 2-0) at Eastern Michigan (2-3, 1-0)* Last Week: While the Broncos debated the merits of Harnessed Lightning vs. Galvanic Bombardment in the R/W Vehicles deck with BYE, the Eagles were rudely reminded that extra points were not automatic (L 29-30). When Western Michigan has the ball: It all starts with RSo RB Gabriel Shields. The WMU offense revolves around its star back, but with the improved QB play coming from Chase Sims (48 of 77 for 709 yards, 4/0 TD/INT in 3 games) teams cannot sell out to stop the run. WR Josh Whitt (25 catches for 441 yards, 4 TDs) is the primary beneficiary of Sims taking over as the starting QB. RIP Brayden Gruber, your not-quite-caretaker-level QB play will not be missed. The Eagles defense is led by Jr DT Shane Horton and Jr FS Zachary Dumas, but a true team tackling effort will be needed to reign Shields and company in. When Eastern Michigan has the ball: Converted FB Mohammed Lackey is hammering opponents as though he were still a lead blocker, so it's understandable a defense would key on him. Giovanni Shaw's statline last week was really good - early against UCF, smart play-action calling took advantage of the Knights' zealousness on stopping their ball control offense. Shaw's 2 INTs came in obvious passing situations, whether it was driving for an end of half score or marching down the field to try and take the lead. WR Daniel Lentz is the obvious target for Shaw, but RFr TE Amir Nixon will make teams pay down the middle if they forget about him. The heart of the Broncos defense is in the back seven with JuCo transfer ILB Kareem Boykin (45 tackles, 1 INT in 6 games) and a pair of excellent CBs in So Jaylin McQueen and RSo Sean Taylor. The defensive line does not make a lot of plays on their own (5 sacks); their primary job seems to be keeping the linebackers clean enough to make plays. Prediction: WMU 28-21 In Gabriel Shields' worst game he still ran 24 times for 113 yards and 2 TDs. It's gotten to the point some are tired of his constant appearances on MAC POTW lists (#AnyoneButShields, really?) EMU's effectiveness on play-action will keep this game close, but a steady dose of Shields and a knockout blow of Sims to Whitt will be enough for the Broncos to continue rowing the boat. Wake Forest (0-6) at Buffalo (3-3, 1-1) Straight off a trampling of NIU, Buffalo welcomes the hapless Demon Deacons to their stadium for a huge serving of MAMADOU SMASH. 30+ carries for MAMADOU SMASH? Check. 5 of 8 passing for under 70 yards? Check. Rolling over Wake Forest like a Katamari full of butcher knives even though everyone knows what's coming? Check. Prediction: Buffalo 24-7. MAMADOU. SMASH. Kent State (1-5, 0-1) at Northern Illinois (2-4, 0-2)* Last Week: Kent State spent the week bonding with the Sabre Slug (BYE), while the Huskies were shut down in convincing fashion by MAMADOU SMASH (L 21-44). When Kent State has the ball: Poor John Garland. Poor, poor John Garland. He has as many games this season with more than 200 passing yards as he does with less than 110 (two game each). He doesn't have much of a supporting cast either; the first 100-yard rushing game came in Week 6 from a converted FB and no WR on this team has a 100-yard receiving game. The Huskies defense looks to redeem themselves against an O-line that doesn't have anyone over 3 stars. Yeah. When Northern Illinois has the ball: The Sanford and Hutchins Show looks to rally from a sub-par showing against Buffalo. Without a stud RB (MAMADOU) grinding them down (SMASH) and keeping the Husky offense parked on the sidelines, this could get out of hand quickly. SS Quinn Benson (31 tackles, 1 INT) is the best player on the Golden Flash defense, who may be in for a long day. The talent isn't there to prevent The Sanford and Hutchins Show from going primetime. Prediction: NIU 52-10 NIU takes out their Week 8 frustrations on Kent State and keeps their slim Threepeat hopes alive. Central Michigan (2-4, 1-1) at Miami (OH) (2-5, 2-1)* Last Week: Walt Sutherland and Chippewa friends discover the hard way that repeating 3 and outs is not conducive to success (L 7-34), while the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA hangs in tough against a fearsome Bowling Green defensive line and throws the game-winning TD with 30 seconds left. (W 28-24) When Central Michigan has the ball: Frankly, we're not sure what happened to the CMU offense last week. They only lost the yardage battle by 50 or so yards to Ohio, yet they couldn't gain the yards when it counted (1 for 13 on 3rd down conversions). If Sutherland needs help to carry this offense, he may try to get underrated WR Mendy Schofield more involved in the offense. RB Justin Brunson will try to keep the Redhawk D honest. Miami's bend-don't-break defense held up long enough for Cera to win the game. Although lacking in the splash categories (no turnovers, only 1 sack) holding Bowling Green to 4-16 on 3rd down conversions and 5.0 O-line rating suggests they did their job. They'll need to repeat that workmanlike performance. When Miami has the ball: Proved us wrong, Zack Cera. We thought it would be a Brett Favre-like performance, and it was! It was just more "snipe my WR from 40 yards with my eyes closed" excellent Favre than "eh throw it into double coverage and pray" gunslinger Favre. We know what the Redhawks like to do, and favorite Cera target Kenneth Harrison will be matched up repeatedly against CB A'Shawn Ellison. This is probably the best 1-on-1 battle to watch in this week's slate of games. Prediction: Miami 28-24 CMU's depth and coverage skills will be sorely tested, and after last week's impressive showing it's hard to see Cera not having a performance nearly as good. We're still not sure what happened to the Chips offense, but Sutherland may have even more pressure on him to play catch-up if Miami starts scoring quickly. Toledo (5-1, 3-0) at Virginia Tech (4-2) Toledo has a chance to prove that they are not just one of the best in the MAC, but that they belong in the national rankings when they travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Overall, the Rockets are probably the most talented team in the conference; they certainly have the best overall offensive skill position players led by Jr QB Benjamin Hanson (113 of 179 for 1599 yards, 13/2 TD/INT) and RFr RB Gabe Ciamo (128 carries for 717 yards, 9 TDs). The WR group aren't that special but Hanson is elevating them to his level. He'll need to keep that going against an extremely tough Tech defense. On the flipside Toledo will need to contain the one-two punch of QB Matthew Dobbs and RB/FB Maurice Ervin. But if they do force Dobbs to throw, will they be able to make enough plays? Prediction: Virginia Tech 27-24 We'd love to predict a MAC win but in a contest that is more even than it seems, the differences are in the small things: VT's Dline vs. Toldeo's Oline, and the homefield advantage. Byes: Ball State, Ohio For the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC it's wack"), this is Bruce Baguen and Derrick McKey. Until next time!
  20. It's week eight in the MAC, and we're really starting to settle into conference play! For many teams the climb to the MAC Summit starts this week, with quite a few of them already facing a serious uphill climb. I'm Bruce Baguen and along with my partner Sedale Threatt we've previewed this week's slate of games even though no one asked so you don't have to! Also: A special shoutout to llamas, whose work on compiling MAC stats was invaluable! Ohio (1-4) @ Central Michigan (2-3): When Ohio has the ball: The Bobcats will be relying heavily on the run game and RB Owen Walton. They have a promising group of receivers; WR Dwayne Simpson and TEs Caleb Holman and Aaron Thibodeaux will give Defensive Coordinators fits down the road. But Ohio must find a way to get them the ball. Coach beeznik handed the QB starting job to RSo Stephen Peters in hopes of sparking the offense because QB Steven Ring's stat line was not pretty through five games: 55.65% completion rate (74/133), 2/2 TD/INT, 6.53 YPA. Ouch. We expect Central Michigan to make Peters' debut as uncomfortable as possible. They surely noticed the horrible showing the Bobcats' offensive line had against Georgia State last week, and will likely bring multiple blitz looks to replicate that. The Chips will want to stuff the run game and make Peters test his arm against CB A'Shawn Ellison. When CMU has the ball: CMU's offensive numbers are lower than they should be thanks to a brutal OOC schedule (Michigan State, Baylor, Duke). Despite his pedestrian passing stats (77 of 128 for 912 yards [60.16%], 2/0 TD/INT, 7.13 YPA) QB Walt Sutherland IS the CMU offense. He's responsible for over 70% of the Chippewas' yardage and all but one of their offensive TDs. When you look at their offensive depth chart it's not hard to see why CMU relies on him so much, and the commish hopes that Sutherland proves his passing line from last week (16 of 21 for 245 yards, 2/0 TD/INT) is no fluke. Ohio will also want to see if Sutherland can be efficient in the air as well. The Bobcats' secondary is the strength of their defense and they would much rather test Sutherland's arm than his legs. To do that, OLB Myles Lindsay must stay disciplined and set the edge to funnel the Chips run game towards ILBs Calvin Blue and Carlos Parker. They looked a lot better against Georgia State (only 177 yards for Evan Grant!) than they did against Akron. Prediction: CMU 24-13. Ohio's QB change was needed, but we doubt that O-line will be able to give Peters the time to find his skill position players. Also, will we get the Bobcats defense from the Akron game or from the Georgia State game? We're not sure if Ohio has learned to defend a dual-threat QB yet, so we lean towards Sutherland doing enough to lead his team to victory. (And by enough that the kicking game shouldn't matter TOO much.) Akron (1-4) @ Ball State (0-6) Both gameplans will look similar; run the ball, run the ball some more, and maybe toss it in the air once or twice to see if the defense is paying attention. The main difference lies in the rushing threats on each side. When Akron has the ball: The MAC does love their dual-threat QBs. TJ Zamora is much deadlier on the ground than the air (76 of 132 for 967 yards, 1/3 TD/INT) but it's not all on him - his receiving group doesn't scare anyone. Don't let the average stats fool you, RB Nathaniel Ruff (111 attempts for 489 yards, 3 TDs) is a back many teams would love to have. Zamora may siphon some stats away from him, but together they make a formidable two-pronged attack. With a strong rotation of DTs Isamaeli Afamasaga and Rashaad Malcolm, Ball State can get some push up the middle. But where is their help? SS Harold Farrell is a very good player, but he's most likely to get involved making tackles 6-7 yards past the line of scrimmage. When Ball State has the ball: He may not take direct snaps, but the Cardinal's offense clearly goes through RB Austin Laws (142 attempts for 654 yards, 5 TDs). The redshirt sophomore would get more publicity if the MAC didn't have such a ridiculous amount of RB talent already (The 0 record probably isn't helping either). Needless to say he and WR Chan Pease (15.5 YPC, 2 TDs) are the only weapons on this offense, and only one of them relies on a QB to throw him the ball. The battle we're most excited for is Akron DE (and future NFLer) Gabriel Beauchamp versus Ball St. LT Aiden Hammer. While Beauchamp's stats haven't matched his scouting profile, it's still a big test for the young LT. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the rest of the O-line may not fare as well against Akron's own monster DTs Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley. Prediction: Akron 31-21 It's hard for us to see Ball State stopping Zamora and Ruff, and we feel that Cardinal QB Marquis Causey will have to throw way more than the gameplan asked for. Northern Illinois (2-3) @ Buffalo (2-3) The Huskies will be looking to continue their recent high-flying ways against a tough blue-collar Buffalo team. When NIU has the ball: The QB switch from Dwayne Curry to Charlie Sanford has paid off, and the Huskies offense has reeled off two impressive results. Sanford has thrown three TDs and no picks while completing over 70% of his passes in the two games since taking over, and a rejuvenated Daniel Hutchins rushed for over half his season total in the same timeframe. While Hutchins is still the centerpiece of the NIU offense, Sanford's play has ensured that opposing defenses can't key solely on Hutchins without paying the price. The Buffalo defense is average by MAC standards. They may be in for a long day if their defensive gameplan isn't up to par. When Buffalo has the ball: "Three things can happen when you pass the ball, and two of them are bad." -Woody Hayes If any team in the MAC embodies this saying, it's Buffalo- MAMADOU SMASH. Mamadou Wynn has the highest number of carries in the conference despite playing only five games. Meanwhile, is a real CFBHC stat line from a real CFBHC game played this season. And the Bulls won that game easily! Of course, with a power back like Wynn (MAMADOU SMASH) and the best offensive line in the conference we wouldn't be inclined to throw much either. The Huskies' defensive line isn't exactly chopped liver, and the trenches are going to be a 12-car pileup. We can't wait! On the other hand, NIU's secondary should probably just hit on the cheerleaders - it will be more action than they're likely to get on the field. Prediction: NIU 28-10 The Bulls hope to use the clock as their ally against the potent NIU offense. By running constantly (MAMADOU SMASH) they want to limit the touches Sanford and Hutchins get. But the Buffalo defense may not be able to hold serve, and we don't want to see what a Bulls offense looks like if they have to play from behind. (MAMADOU, uh, SMASH?) Bowling Green (3-3) @ Miami (OH) (1-5) When Bowling Green has the ball: We were surprised to see sophomore QB Eddie Connelly (96 of 166 for 1167 yards, 2/2 TD/INT) with so many passing attempts. Expecting a Sutherland-lite, we instead got the QB with the third most attempts in the conference behind only Zack Cera and Benjamin Hanson. However, only 2 passing TDs to show for it? A YPA of just over 7 doesn't suggest a dink-and-dunk offense, but it seems that Bowling Green relies heavily on the run once they reach the Red Zone. The Redhawk defense is mostly nondescript, but they do have a promising pair of Safeties in redshirt Sophomores Nicholas Mingo and Ian Huntley. When Miami (OH) has the ball: ...a primarily passing offense? Is that allowed in the MAC? Redshirt freshman Zack Cera (134 of 228 for 1626 yards, 10/8 TD/INT) cares not, he's just gonna live his life anyway. Helping him out is the MAC's leading receiver RSo Kenneth Harrison (45 catches for 556 yards, 5 TDs), but Harrison is hardly alone; nine different Redhawk players caught enough passes to show up on the stat sheet. Cera will certainly spread the ball around. (Oh, RB Damian Mays is no slouch but he's only getting an average of 13 carries per game. We doubt he'll get more than that this week.) Cera will certainly need to do so, and quickly against a Bowling Green defense that lives to hit quarterbacks. Future NFLer Isaiah Hall already has eight(!) sacks on the season, while his opposite number Malachi McKnight has 2.5 and OLB Brandon Thomas loves to take advantage of O-lines overcommitting to Hall, coming in behind him for three sacks himself. Prediction: Bowling Green 45-42 If you're looking for a game this week to live up to real life #MACtion, this is probably it. Cera has a gunslinger's mentality, but that TD/INT ratio is concerning. When you factor in the pressure he'll be under on most 5-to-7 step dropbacks from Hall and company, we wouldn't be surprised to see a 3 TDs/3 INTs kind of day. While Bowling Green's offense seems to settle for more FGs than the underlying numbers suggest there may be a short field or two for Eddie Connelly to work with; that and the reliable K Nathaniel Layne (12/12 FGs, long 46) will probably be the difference makers. Central Florida (3-1) @ Eastern Michigan (2-2) <non-conference = shortened preview> The suddenly competitive Eagles continue their non-conference slate by welcoming the Knights of Central Florida to Ypsilanti. Coach jdboyd is emphasizing a ball control playstyle with his big bruisers Mohammed Lackey and Ousmane Green hoping to minimize mistakes, but that's not exactly the way Furd beat the Knights last week. Also, good luck with DeNorris Jackson, coach. Prediction: UCF 35-10 ...ahem. Sorry about that, we don't know how coach Jieret managed to sneak in here. It won't happen again. Probably. Byes: Kent State, Toledo, Western Michigan For the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC it's wack"), this is Bruce Baguen and Sedale Threatt. Until next time!

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