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  1. Last week: Kent makes a bowl! Akron demolishes Ohio! Western keeps the Michigan MAC trophy in Kalamazoo And now, the charts of dubious value! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 16 (End of Regular Season) Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (48) Western Michigan Broncos (4) 11-1 (8-0) W10 - 2 (43) Akron Zips 9-3 (6-2) W2 +1 3 (41) Ohio Bobcats 8-4 (6-1) L1 -1 4 (35) Toledo Rockets 8-4 (5-3) L1 - 5 (33) Buffalo Bulls 9-3 (5-3) W3 -1 6 (27) Kent State Golden Flashes 6-6 (5-3) W2 +1 7 (25) Miami (OH) Redhawks 7-5 (4-4) L2 -1 8 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 4-8 (3-5) L1 - 9 (17) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-10 (2-6) L5 - tie-10 (10) Bowling Green Falcons 2-10 (1-7) W1 - tie-10 (10) Northern Illinois Huskies 2-10 (1-7) L1 +1 12 (4) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-7) L8 - Number of voters: 4 (still not a record) 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Let's start with the two biggest stories from last week. Kent State makes seven! For only the second time in MAC history, more than half the teams in Everybody's Favorite Conference are bowl eligible with the Golden Flashes' victory over Central Michigan. (The first time was in 2018, also seven teams if you were wondering). Compound that with their win last week over Best!Miami and Kent State finally breaks into the upper half of the Power Rankings. Well done, gentlemen, well done. There wasn't anything on the line in the Akron-Ohio game. Nothing except pride, momentum, and the chance to make a statement. The Zips seized all of that firmly with both hands, and some cleats may have also been generously applied. Akron proves its record isn't a fluke, and Ohio has some refocusing to do going into the championship game against the Broncos. Of course, voters rewarded the Zips for their stellar play with the number two slot behind Western Michigan. Reputation is certainly a thing. Despite both Toledo and Buffalo having byes, the Rockets' longstanding role as conference giants probably played a role in them easing ahead of the Bulls this week. Bowl-Eligible: Akron (8-3), Buffalo (9-3), Kent State (6-6), Miami (OH) (7-5), Ohio (8-4), Toledo (8-4), W. Michigan (11-1) (All those eligible teams. Gosh, that's pretty to look at) The next (and last) Power Rankings will come after Bowls have concluded. We can't wait to bring you more charts of dubious value, but until then remember: "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  2. (Note: For our previous look at potential award winners from a month ago: http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/19176-2020-mid-american-conference-national-awards-watch/) There's still plenty for the MAC fan to look forward to: The big Championship game between Western Michigan and Ohio, Bowl season with seven (!) MAC teams participating. But some players compiled some serious tape during the season, enough that it might get them some elite national awardage! Unfortunately some of the players we highlighted in this space last time have fallen off the pace, but there are still those with reasonable claims to trophies. Let's take a look! John Mackey Award (top tight end) TE Casey Swann, (So), Miami (OH). 74 catches for 944 yards, 13 TDs, 1 Fumble lost. Swann doesn't quite have the numbers of, say, Baylor's Hastin Rider. But they are good enough to mention him in the conversation, and they are good enough to lead the MAC in all major receiving categories. As a tight end! Also, unlike Rider, he is coming back to play at least one more year alongside the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA and that potent Redhawks passing game. Jim Parker Trophy (top offensive lineman) OT Marcus Waterman, Sr, Buffalo. Offensive line has a 6.15 rating, allowed 7 sacks. (80 rating by NFL scouts) Death, taxes, Buffalo having a good offensive line. As the Bulls left tackle Waterman is the key figure in the last of those truisms being, er, true. It may have taken QB Blair Holcomb to transform the Bulls' identity but Waterman and his fellow linemen gave Holcomb a place to safely stand while doing so, and he may have earned himself a shot at hearing his name called on the first day of next season's NFLHC draft. Bronko Nagurski Trophy: top defensive player Bill Willis Trophy: top defensive lineman Rotary Lombardi Award: top defensive lineman/linebacker Outland Trophy: top interior lineman on either offense or defense: DT Marlon Bailey, (Jr), Akron. 49 tackles, 7.0 sacks. The "Eater of Worlds" absolutely belongs on the shortlist for each and every single one of these awards. You want to know why Akron is bowling for the first time ever? Look no further than the big man in the middle. Yes, T.J. Zamora is having a bounce-back year, but Bailey is why the Zips have 26 sacks and are allowing only 93.42 rushing yards per game - both figures leading the conference. Bailey may not win all these awards, but if he doesn't come away with at least two of them he will have gotten robbed in our slightly biased opinion. Lou Groza Trophy: top kicker K Harry DeMarco, (Fr), W. Michigan. 23/24 FGs (95.83%), 36/36 XPs. 9/9 FGM 40-49 yds., 0/1 FGM 50+ yds. Long 48 DeMarco did not miss a kick until the very last game of the regular season, and it was from 50. He was calm and composed the entire year for Western as a freshman, and the Broncos will love having him and his reliable kicking for the next few years. K Timmy Wilhelm, Sr, Ohio. 24/26 FGs (92.31%), 40/40 XPs. 10/11 FGM 40-49 yds., 1/2 FGM 50+ yds. Long 50 Speaking of reliable, that's what the Bobcats are about to lose with Timmy Wilhelm's graduation. TIMMAY has won Special Teams Player of the Week honors eleven times throughout his career, and it only seems right he ends it with some national love for his consistency - his only two misses have been from 46 or greater. Burlsworth Trophy: top player with a current skill of 3.0 or less As we did before, we will only consider players with a potential of 3.5 or less. RB Makai Carr (Jr), C. Michigan (2.5 of 3.5) - 259 carries for 1184 yards, 10 TDs, 1 Fumble lost. WR George Boyd (Sr), Buffalo (3.0 of 3.0) - 47 catches for 749 yards, 5 TDs. CB Richard Roberts (Sr), Kent State (3.0 of 3.0) - 16 tackles, 5 INTs. ILB Russell Owens (Sr), C. Michigan (2.0 of 2.0) - 57 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR. ("Rudy!") OLB Raymond Smith, (SO), Akron (3.0 of 3.5) - 33 tackles, 1 INT, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  3. Welcome back everyone to the MAC Network, I am your host Tim Timms, and we are here after signing day to present the final classes for all of the MAC teams for the 2020 season. How the table has turned. Buffalo moves up one to end the season on top, and Kent State moves up 2 to move behind them, and Miami (OH) keeps 3rd. Ball State moves up two where they are tied with Akron, who jumped from 10th in the previous week. Eastern Michigan also moves up considerably, while Western Michigan drops two spots and Ohio drops 7 spots after holding 1st for most of the season. Northern Illinois falls to the bottom, as they, Bowling Green and Toledo all have an average of 2.75 or less. The most surprising thing is Toledo with 23 (!!!) 2.5* potential recruits, enough to have a starting defense and offense +1. Total Recruits (all *) Team 2.5* 3* 3.5* 4* 4.5* 5* Total (2.5* +) Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 11 Buffalo 3 1 4 2 1 0 11 37 3.36 26 Kent State 5 7 8 3 2 0 25 84.5 3.25 14 Miami (OH) 2 4 1 4 0 1 12 45 3.21 15 Ball State 1 4 6 1 1 0 13 48 3.2 20 Akron 4 5 7 1 1 1 19 64 3.2 25 Eastern Michigan 6 8 6 2 1 1 24 79.5 3.18 22 Western Michigan 2 6 6 2 1 1 18 69.5 3.16 15 Ohio 1 5 3 1 1 1 12 46.5 3.1 21 Central Michigan 2 9 4 2 1 0 18 64.5 3.07 26 Bowling Green 10 13 0 1 0 0 24 71.5 2.75 29 Toledo 23 2 0 0 2 1 28 79 2.72 16 Northern Illinois 4 4 1 1 1 0 11 43.5 2.72 More big shakeups in the national rankings, as Kent State moves back up to the top to finish the season, followed closely by Western Michigan. Akron, Ohio, Toledo and Eastern Michigan are fairly close behind, all in the 70s, with the last three 1 behind another. Miami (OH), Central Michigan and Buffalo managed to bring in weaker classes, being ranked in the 90s, and Ball State, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green all rank in the bottom 18 classes in the nation. Kent State (Class rank: 56) +7 Western Michigan (Class rank: 57) -14 Akron (Class rank: 70) +12 Ohio (Class rank: 75) -13 Toledo (Class rank: 76) +28 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 77) +9 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 92) +0 Central Michigan (Class rank: 93) -14 Buffalo (Class rank: 96) -2 Ball State (Class rank: 102) -9 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 108) -1 Bowling Green (Class rank: 117) -3 I was unable to sit down for an interview this week, but in the coming weeks there will be an analysis of each class with myself and Jieret. After JUCO signings, here is my analysis for each one that preferred a MAC school. ILB Devin Frazier, Jr, Mike, 4.5/5.0 Team: Probably the most surprising signing here, Akron managed to sign away an absolute stud inside linebacker from the national champion runners up and #13 Clemson, who managed to sign 2 other JUCOs. This is a massive upgrade for the Zips, giving them someone to try and lift the giant weight of Marlon Bailey's capable shoulders if he decides to return for one more go around. OT Kyler Frey, Jr, Run Blocking, 3.0/4.0 Team: Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Illinois swooped in and took Frey, who would have been an instant starter for Ball State. Instead he will be an instant starter at right tackle for the Fighting Illini, the exact same role he would have played in Muncie, except he will be playing at a higher level of competition. CB Ahmed Holman, (Jr), Man Coverage, 4.0/4.5 Team: Bowling Green might have had interest from the promising Holman, but very few recruits will pass up the National Champions, and he will start at CB1 for the Nittany Lions next season, only a dream for many prospects. RB Denzel Porter, Jr, Power, 3.5/4.0 Team: Buffalo picks up a solid, ready-play starter at tailback for the post-MAMADOU SMASH, pre-Alec Self era. Porter will keep up the bruising running style that Buffalo is known for, and keep the offense balanced with Blair Holcomb going into his final season. P Lane Adair, Jr, Power, 3.5/4.5 Team: Despite having interest in CMU, Adair commits to Wazzu to play out his final two years of college football. Adair would have been one of the top 3 punters in conference with Mohammed Saylor and Eric Caudill, but instead he heads to the PAC-12. FB E.J. Greer, Jr, Pass Blocking, 3.5/4.5 Team: Eastern Michigan picks up a strong lead blocker, who was extremely interested in them, for future starter Tyler Pearson, the #2 running back in this year's class. This looks to be the beginning of nightmares for MAC coaches in the years to come. ILB Mosi Gary, Jr, Will, 3.5/4.0 Team: Despite already having a very similar linebacker on roster, Gary was interested in the Eagles from the get go, and committed there. It could help EMU play a 3-4, but their defensive ends and outside linebackers are split at one blitz and one contain each, so it puts whoever follows in Jamzz's footsteps in an interesting and pleasing predicament. SS Steven Gordon, Jr, Man Coverage, 3.5/4.5 Team: Kent State loses its heart and soul in defense at the end of this year in Quinn Benson, who was one of the most clutch players in the MAC this season. And to replace him, they have another JUCO who may turn out to be even better. Kent State won this one uncontested, and looks to build a strong defense in the future. QB Emmett Mast, Jr, Hybrid, 3.0/4.0 Team: With all their QB trouble this year, the Huskies now have the opportunity to try a different type of signal caller, one who had family connections to NIU, to see if they can support an offense that is losing its two best players in Emory Johnson and Daniel Hutchins. This will be a complete shift in scheme and mentality for Northern Illinois, and it will be interesting to see how they adapt. OLB Ruben Cahill, Sr, Coverage, 4.5/4.5 Team: Another player that was interested in playing for coach Subsequent, the senior from Illinois instead goes to play for the Fighting Irish. He doesn't fit the scheme they are playing in 2020, but he is just too talented to pass up on. The Huskies have two young and talented linebackers, and Cahill would have made that an almost unbeatable unit patrolling the middle of the field. DE Ezekiel Williams Jr., Jr, Blitz, 4.0/4.5 Cincy Toledo Team: Toledo continues its record of signing JUCOs, and they pick up an instant impact pass rusher, who they managed to take from instate rivals Cincinnati. Toledo has one of the best rosters in the MAC, but they have a "weakness" at one end spot, and Williams Jr. would make the current MAC sack leader, redshirt sophomore Dwayne Briggs, look even better, as well as adding another danger to opposing QBs. #Toledo2021 is looking even better now. That was the final recruiting recap for the season, thank you for all your support this season, we will be back next week with an in-depth analysis with Jieret, and we will also be back next season! Thank you all for tuning in to the final MAC Recruiting Recap Show for 2020, and remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack!
  4. Last week: Lots of things involving all the teams. And now, the charts of dubious value! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 15 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (48) Western Michigan Broncos (4) 10-1 (7-0) W9 - 2 (44) Ohio Bobcats 8-3 (7-0) W1 - 3 (40) Akron Zips 8-3 (5-2) W1 +1 tie-4 (34) Buffalo Bulls 9-3 (5-3) W3 - tie-4 (34) Toledo Rockets 8-4 (5-3) L1 -1 6 (27) Miami (OH) Redhawks 7-4 (4-4) L1 - 7 (25) Kent State Golden Flashes 5-6 (4-3) W1 - 8 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 4-7 (3-4) W2 - 9 (17) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-9 (2-5) L4 - 10 (11) Bowling Green Falcons 2-10 (1-7) W1 +1 11 (9) Northern Illinois Huskies 2-10 (1-7) L1 -1 12 (4) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-7) L8 - Number of voters: 4 (not a record) 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Both recommendations of games to watch from last week lived up to the hype and then some, ending in upsets. Akron knocked off Toledo, showing that their record and play are not flukes. Although we can't hype their upcoming matchup against Ohio as a battle for the divsion title it will still be a fascinating game to watch. It's no surprise that the Zips and Rockets traded places (yes, tie with Bufallo and all) this week. Kent State's win over Miami didn't vault them over the Redhawks, although it DID get them a big step closer to a bowl berth. It also got them closer in the votes to Best!Miami, even accounting for the smaller number of voters. Finally, BGSU and NIU trade places again - not a surprise after Bowling Green's victory over the Huskies. Coaches Popadom17 and subsequent now have time to look at their depth charts and figure out how to best integrate their new recruits. Rivalry Watch! For some schools, it's that time to take Emperor Palpatine's advice and let the hate flow through you. Here are some rivalry games to whet the appetite: Battle for the Bell: Cincinnati (3-8) at Miami (OH) (7-4). Someone will be able to check in on @Rome, just in case the Bearcats lose this game. Right? I don't know how @caesari would fare if the Redhawks lose but I imagine there will be several tauntings in his general direction. Michigan MAC Trophy: Western Michigan (10-1) at Eastern Michigan (4-7). The trophy is staying in Kalamazoo this year no matter what, but the Eagles would love to say it's only by default. A victory over the Broncos means a three-way tie between the Michigan schools and would give Eastern a serious rallying point as they head into the off-season. Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (8-3), Buffalo (9-3), Miami (OH) (7-4), Ohio (8-3), Toledo (8-4), W. Michigan (10-1) Eligible with win this week, missing out with a loss: Kent State (5-6, vs. C. Michigan) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-9), Bowling Green (1-9), C. Michigan (2-7), E. Michigan (3-7), N. Illinois (1-9)
  5. Last Week’s Results: 3-4 Season to Date: 60-20 (Producer's note: Due to an extended travel schedule, we regretfully inform you that we are unable to present a full preview show. Therefore, we give you our picks in shortened form without extended analysis. Our apologies for the inconvenience. Also, they wouldn't let #MACtion Jenny on the plane with the sacred torch.) Thursday Night [Non-conference] Cincinnati (3-8) at Miami (OH) (7-4): Line: -11.5 Prediction: 34-27 Best!Miami's multiple receiving weapons will cause a lot of headaches in the Bearcat back seven, especially considering that their linebacking corps is not very proficient in covering tight ends like Casey Swann. Considering that Cincy is not all that comfortable throwing the ball, the Redhawks can pay more attention to stopping QB Dillon Schaefer and RB Aaron Street on the ground. Miami would love to dare Schaefer to throw anywhere near FS Nicholas Mingo, it's been a whole game since he had two interceptions. He's due! Central Michigan (2-9 overall, 2-5 conference) at Kent State (5-6, 4-3): Line: -7 Prediction: 31-21 Kent State is one of our least favorite teams to prognosticate for, simply because they're they hardest to predict. We love them, but man do they make things hard. But the Golden Flashes have that bowl game in their sights, John Garland is playing well, and the defense has a knack for stepping up in big moments especially in the friendly confines of Dix Stadium. Saturday Morning Ohio (8-3, 7-0) at Akron (8-3, 5-2): Line: -3.5 Prediction: 27-21 We can never bet against Akron's ability to limit a running game with the "Eater of Worlds," DT Marlon Bailey in the middle of the line. But QB Stephen Peters has given the Bobcats a second dimension to their offense beyond Owen. Freaking. WALTON. and we expect that to be the difference in a tightly contested game. Western Michigan (10-1, 7-0) at Eastern Michigan (4-7, 3-4): Line: -24 Prediction: 30-17 The Broncos will try to contain DT Shane Horton and utilize Chase Sims' legs to hit the boundary often. The Eagles will have to figure out how to move the ball effectively against one of the better defenses in the conference. The Broncos will likely dare QB Giovanni Shaw to throw at that fearsome WMU secondary, and we're not sure they can do that - especially with their offensive line struggling to give Shaw time to pass. BYES: Bowling Green (2-10), Buffalo (9-3), Ball State (1-11), Northern Illinois (2-10), Toledo (8-4)
  6. Last week: Buffalo did VERY VERY BAD THINGS to Bowling Green. The NIU offense (not just Daniel Hutchins) does good things, win accordingly. Toledo exorcises a demon from last year, dispatching the Chips. That's it. How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 14 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (84) Western Michigan Broncos (7) 9-1 (6-0) W8 - 2 (73) Ohio Bobcats 7-3 (6-0) L1 - 3 (70) Toledo Rockets 8-3 (5-2) W1 - tie-4 (61) Buffalo Bulls 8-3 (5-3) W2 - tie-4 (61) Akron Zips 7-3 (4-2) L2 +1 6 (50) Miami (OH) Redhawks 7-3 (4-3) W1 - 7 (42) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-6 (3-3) L1 - 8 (32) Eastern Michigan Eagles 3-7 (3-4) W1 +1 9 (31) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-8 (2-4) L3 -1 10 (21) Northern Illinois Huskies 2-9 (1-6) W1 +2 11 (11) Bowling Green Falcons 1-10 (0-7) L8 -1 12 (10) Ball State Cardinals 1-10 (1-6) L7 -1 Number of voters: 7 (a record!) 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Even though there were only three games, quite a bit of movement! Central and Eastern swap spots this week, while NIU rides that win and jumps ahead of Bowling Green and Ball State. The interesting outcome is the Zips inching forward and tying with Buffalo, despite having a bye this week and the Bulls pasting the Falcons. Regardless of how you feel about that Akron will have chances to prove themselves, they close out the season by facing Toledo and Ohio in that order. What to watch: Miami (OH) at Kent State: Do or die for the Golden Flashes' Bowl Dreams starts by hosting the formidable Redhawks. Akron at Toledo: The Zips will know by the time this game rolls around if they still cling to slim division hopes, but they can't afford to be scoreboard watching against the Rockets. What NOT to watch: UMass (0-11) at Buffalo (8-3). Unless you like snuff films. Sicko. Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (7-3), Buffalo (7-3), Miami (OH) (7-3), Ohio (7-3), Toledo (7-3), W. Michigan (9-1) Eligible with win this week: None Missing out on Bowl Season with a loss this week: Kent State (4-6, vs. Miami (OH) ) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-9), Bowling Green (1-9), C. Michigan (2-7), E. Michigan (3-7), N. Illinois (1-9)
  7. Welcome back to the MAC Network, I am your host Tim Timms, and we are back with the installment before signing day here on the MAC Recruiting Recap Show, and JUCO recruiting results will begin coming out this week. A very exciting time in everyone's favourite conference. 13 recruits this week, only 3 3.5s, and all the rest 2.5s or 3.0s. Those final battles have become extremely tense as the smallest of margins could make a difference at this stage. Next week there could be a huge swing in recruiting rankings and class sizes. Also, JUCOs will help to add to the top end of many classes. This week is huge for all coaches in terms of final depth players that they manage to sign, and will be a great help for some schools. The main movement is in the middle of the table this week, as the top and bottom 4 stay the same. Northern Illinois drops 2 spots after signing their first recruit in weeks, and this allows WMU and Ball State to move up one spot each. For those interested, the average potential stars for the conference is approximately 3.35, compared to last year's 2.82. A massive improvement and a big step foward Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 7 Ohio 0 1 3 1 1 17 7 27 3.86 5 Buffalo 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 6 Miami (OH) 0 1 1 4 0 0 6 22.5 3.75 13 Kent State 0 1 8 3 1 0 13 47.5 3.65 16 Western Michigan 1 5 6 2 1 1 16 56 3.5 11 Ball State 0 4 5 1 1 0 11 38 3.45 5 Northern Illinois 0 1 2 0 1 0 5 17 3.4 16 Eastern Michigan 1 7 6 0 0 1 16 53.5 3.34 16 Central Michigan 0 6 4 2 1 0 16 53 3.31 17 Akron 3 5 7 1 1 0 17 55.5 3.26 20 Bowling Green 8 11 0 1 0 0 20 57 2.85 8 Toledo 5 0 0 0 0 0 8 22.5 2.81 The only team moving up this week is Kent State, while 4 teams keep their spot and the final 7 move down or two spots. Overall not a bad week, but we can expect some major movement next week with final signings and JUCOs. Western Michigan (Class rank: 43) -1 Ohio (Class rank: 62) +0 Kent State (Class rank: 63) +3 Central Michigan (Class rank: 79) +0 Akron (Class rank: 82) -2 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 86) -2 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 92) -1 Ball State (Class rank: 93) -1 Buffalo (Class rank: 94) -1 Toledo (Class rank: 104) -1 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 107) +0 Bowling Green (Class rank: 114) +0 For this week's interview, I was able to speak with Coach darkage of the Akron Zips once again, talking about the season in review. Tim Timms: Thanks for coming onto the show again Coach! Coach darkage: My pleasure. Tim Timms: After the worst recruiting class in the MAC in 2019, did this year's class check the boxes? Coach darkage: Last year with me being a new coach and all to come in at week 4 when all the good recruits were basically decided was hard. This year I had the freedom to choose who I wanted to go after in week one and I also didn't stick to one stubborn player like i did last year. So yes, this year I feel I have gotten most of the player I want and still hoping I can get the JUCO player that's interested. Tim Timms: What has been your best win this season, and you most frustrating loss? Coach darkage: Our best win would have to be vs Buffalo because we had redeemed ourselves as a top MAC team after a loss to our rivals Kent state. Speaking of Kent State they were definitely our most frustrating loss this season because we were hoping to make it all the way to WMU undefeated and get ranked in the polls but seeing as they just knocked off Miami we don't feel as bad. Tim Timms: Are there any quiet achievers on your team that you would like to highlight? Coach darkage: Marlon Bailey... This kid in my opinion is the best DT in the nation and he doesn't get the attention deserved for it. He is Leading the MAC in tackles and sacks AS A DT. I could see him winning tons of awards this year and probably go pro. This guy is one of the best players I've ever coached also he has a great business attitude. Tim Timms: What is your goal for next season with the departure of TJ Zamora, Jaydon Boykin, Corey Brantley and Jacob Alves among others? Coach darkage: We still want that MAC title game more than anything and with dedication and hard work i believe we could pull it off but our team will be young next year so our main goal is a bowl game. No changes with the JUCO players this week, but next week there will be analysis for each player. ILB Devin Frazier 6-1 257 Jr Lakeland Community College (Kirtland OH) 4.5 of 5.0 Mike AKR CLE OT Kyler Frey 6-5 286 Jr Black Hawk College-Moline (Moline IL) 3.0 of 4.0 Run Blocking BST CB Ahmed Holman 5-11 189 (Jr) Oakland Community College (Bloomfield Hills MI) 4.0 of 4.5 Man Coverage BGSU RB Denzel Porter 5-9 210 Jr Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City NY) 3.5 of 4.0 Power UTAH BUF P Lane Adair 6-4 182 Jr Minnesota State CTC (Fergus Falls MN) 3.5 of 4.5 Power CMU FB E.J. Greer 6-1 249 Jr Little Big Horn College (Crow Agency MT) 3.5 of 4.5 Pass Blocking EMU EMU ILB Mosi Gary 6-3 236 Jr Wayne County Community College (Detroit MI) 3.5 of 4.0 Will EMU SS Steven Gordon 6-1 213 Jr CCBC-Essex (Essex MD) 3.5 of 4.5 Man Coverage KNT QB Emmett Mast 5-11 199 Jr North Iowa Area Community College (Mason City IA) 3.0 of 4.0 Hybrid ISU NIU OLB Ruben Cahill 6-3 220 Sr Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove IL) 4.5 of 4.5 Coverage NIU DE Ezekiel Williams Jr. 6-1 265 Jr Southwestern Community College (Creston IA) 4.0 of 4.5 Blitz CINCY TOL DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: (signed) Kent State gets their conference leading 8th 3.5 potential recruit, overtaking Akron. Toledo's late attempts to come in and take him away from the Golden Flashes were for naught, as just a few weeks later he commits to Coach TazerMan's squad. Riley Finch, Target, 2.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , The Buckeyes keep their lead, and it would take a miracle at this point for Finch to change his decision. Central Michigan are a small, out of state school, and Miami have already used most of their resources And that's it for this week, thanks for tuning in to another MAC Recruiting Recap Show. And remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack! Thanks to @darkage for taking the time for an interview this week.
  8. Last Week’s Results: 2-1 Season to Date: 57-16 Welcome back for a full slate of #MACtion! Along with special silent guest star Jerry Reed, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we hope you rested up, because Everyone's Favorite Conference shows up in full force! All twelve teams are in action this week, and we have #MACtion for you from Thursday to Saturday. But we have to kick this week off in style. And you know what that means... #MACtion Jenny? Thursday Night Georgia State (5-6) at Eastern Michigan (3-7): non-conference Last Week: The Panthers were the latest to add to UMass’ chain of misery (W at 41-22) while the Eagles rested, ready to end the season on a high note. (BYE) (run) If we’re going to preview Georgia State, we need to understand (runrun) that when we talk offense, there (runRUNrun) is a (runrunRUNrun) very specific place to start: Evan Grant (RUN). If there’s one person who understands how NIU’s Daniel Hutchins feels about carrying the load it’s Grant, who has nearly run for as many yards (276 carries for 1476 yards, 21 TDs) as Georgia State has thrown - 1556. The junior has been a monster all season long; he’s only failed to reach the 100-yard mark once and that was a performance against Auburn that still got 93 yards and a TD. Every GSU opponent knew the ball was going to Grant, and just like Hutchins it didn’t matter. On the few times Grant didn’t have the ball it meant junior QB Derrick Brinkley was, to middling results (129 of 221 [58.37%] for 1556 yards, 6/2 TD/INT ratio, 57 carries for 318 yards, 5 rush TDs). Brinkley’s best game was last week where he went 15 of 29 for 227 and 2 TDs, but… it was against UMass. When Brinkley does take to the air his favorite target by far is TE Bobby LeBlanc (38 catches for 584 yards, 4 TDs), suggesting a ball-control offense similar to EMU’s. The job of slowing/containing Grant begins up front for Eastern Michigan with DT Shane Horton (29 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 1 FF). Horton has been a load for opposing O-lines to handle all year, and that’s had a trickle down effect on his linemates. Look at these lines from EMU’s last game: ILB Patryk Bennett, 7 tackles, 1 INT DT Shane Horton, 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF DE Nicholas Bass, 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR DE Kyle Whitten, 4 tackles, 1 sack Despite Grant’s productivity, GSU’s offensive line is middle of the road in talent and has played like it (5.35 rating). If EMU can win the battle at the line of scrimmage - something Horton and company are good at - it will go a long way towards making life easier for the Eagle offense. Towards the EMU offense? They're still rooted in their ball-control identity and the need to run the ball. The Eagles rank sixth in the conference for rushing yards per game and dead last in passing yards per - no surprise where EMU makes their hay. QB Giovanni Shaw (148 of 258 for 1691 yards, 8/16 TD/INT) is not going to win a game by himself at this stage of his career, so it's on his legs (47 carries for 373, 3 TDs) and RB Jamel Jamison (218 carries for 918 yards, 8 TDs). EMU's leading receiver TE Amir Nixon has 413 yards on the season - that's a robust 41.3 yards per game! This is as close to a "Punting is Winning" game we're likely to see all year - field position IS going to matter. The Panthers' defensive talent seems to line up well with EMU's preferences. GSU boasts a trio of experienced and talented upperclassmen at linebacker, and DT Willy Eller (34 tackles, 3.0 sacks) is a disrupting presence up front. GSU will have to hope that their front seven can handle Jamison and company, because their safeties aren't very steady. The can be caught if EMU dials up an opportunistic bomb. Prediction: 17-14 On talent alone we'd go with the Panthers. But we're leaning homer because EMU has a coach, and GSU doesn't. Who knows what plays and plans Georgia State is dedicated to running and running against? We think that Eastern can catch Georgia State in a few bad alignments and wear down their defense. In a contest that features a lot of running time of possession is key, and the Eagles are in better position to prepare for the slog.
  9. Last week: WMU bests Toledo in a sloppy MAC BATTLE OF THE CENTURY OF THE MONTH OF THE WEEK. The Redhawks and Bulls win score-fests against Ball State and NIU respectively. Eastern proves kicking is winning in a victory versus Bowling Green. The MAC got blanked in OOC play ahahaha nothing to see here! How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 13 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (72) Western Michigan Broncos (6) 9-1 (6-0) W8 - 2 (64) Ohio Bobcats 7-3 (6-0) L1 - 3 (58) Toledo Rockets 7-3 (4-2) L1 - 4 (53) Buffalo Bulls 7-3 (4-3) W1 +1 5 (49) Akron Zips 7-3 (4-2) L2 -1 6 (43) Miami (OH) Redhawks 7-3 (4-3) W1 - 7 (35) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-6 (3-6) L1 - 8 (28) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-7 (2-3) L2 - 9 (27) Eastern Michigan Eagles 3-7 (3-4) W1 - 10 (16) Bowling Green Falcons 1-9 (0-6) L7 - 11 (14) Ball State Cardinals 1-9 (1-5) L6 - 12 (6) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-9 (0-6) L6 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Buffalo decided to cut in and start dancing with Akron. Now it's the Bulls' turn to trade places with the Zips while everyone else watches from the side and claps politely. Some savvy readers (by which we mean you of course, you handsome devil you) will notice that the vote margins have tightened in several spots though, most notable between the two Michigans in eighth and ninth places. With the MAC West now decided, all eyes turn to the MAC East race and Kent State's quest for bowl eligibility - or at least they will next week. This week is a slow one for everybody's favorite conference (three games) and none of them have any impact on the above topics. You should still watch though, because #MACtion. Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (7-3), Buffalo (7-3), Miami (OH) (7-3), Ohio (7-3), Toledo (7-3), W. Michigan (9-1) Eligible with win this week: None Missing out on Bowl Season with a loss this week: None Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-9), Bowling Green (1-9), C. Michigan (2-7), E. Michigan (3-7), N. Illinois (1-9)
  10. Welcome back to the MAC Network, I am your host Tim Timms, and we are back with another MAC Recruiting Recap Show, and the big news this week is that the JUCO recruits have been released ad teams will begin bidding for their services next week! MAC teams signed 8 recruits this week, and all of them were 2.5 potential players. As recruiting winds down I expect we will see many more of these depth players beeing signed, and for some teams if they have a high enough floor they might start for a season while a higher potential player redshirts. Bowling Green brings in 5, Toledo 2 and WMU 1. Most of the attention this week was focused at the JUCOs, which we will get to later. Movement in the tabular standings this week as drops two spots, meaning and move up one each. and now have the same ave rage potential per recruit, now 0.45 below Akron. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 6 Ohio 0 1 2 1 1 1 6 23.5 3.92 5 Buffalo 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 6 Miami (OH) 0 1 1 4 0 0 6 22.5 3.75 12 Kent State 0 1 7 3 1 0 12 44 3.67 4 Northern Illinois 0 1 2 0 1 0 4 14.5 3.63 13 Western Michigan 1 3 5 2 1 1 13 46.5 3.58 11 Ball State 0 4 5 1 1 0 11 38 3.45 13 Central Michigan 0 6 4 2 1 0 13 44.5 3.42 16 Eastern Michigan 1 7 6 0 0 1 16 53.5 3.34 17 Akron 3 5 7 1 1 0 17 55.5 3.26 16 Bowling Green 8 7 0 1 0 0 16 45 2.81 8 Toledo 7 0 0 0 0 1 8 22.5 2.81 Only downwards movement unfortunately in the nation rankings this week. No team drops more than 3 places, but all but 2 teams manage to slide. WMU still holds top spot comfortably, and Ohio and Kent State have 2 and 3 with some breathing room. Three teams are one after another in the 90's, and then the former powerhouse Toledo manages to stay ahead of two teams that have gone through their share of coaching struggles and changes. Western Michigan (Class rank: 42) -1 Ohio (Class rank: 62) +0 Kent State (Class rank: 66) -1 Central Michigan (Class rank: 79) -3 Akron (Class rank: 80) -3 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 82) -1 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 91) -1 Ball State (Class rank: 92) -1 Buffalo (Class rank: 93) -1 Toledo (Class rank: 103) +0 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 107) +0 Bowling Green (Class rank: 112) -2 For my interview this week, I was able to speak with TazerMan of Kent State regarding his experiences in his first season as head coach, as well as his opinions on the season and recruiting for the Golden Flashes. Tim Timms: Great to have you on the show Coach! Coach TazerMan: Thanks for having me here. Tim Timms: What has been the biggest challenge for you this year, in any aspect of your job? Coach TazerMan: The biggest challenge has been coming into a program with a lack of consistency in past coaching. I doubt many people know, but we didn't have anyone redshirted in 2017, 2018 or 2019. Some guys are graduating a year earlier than they should, and its lead to some positions like receiver and corner that are going to be a big void come next year, and hopefully some young guys can step up. Tim Timms: Are you happy with your recruiting so far this season, and what is your outlook on JUCOs? Coach TazerMan: For the most part yes, but I have learnt a lot of lessons that I can hopefully apply next year. Taking the two guys out of Texas was big, and getting four high quality starters was great, as well as 7 guys that will start for us in the coming years, as well as a plug-n-play receiver. I am dissapointed in myself in my handling of Felix McCormick. I thought he was all ours and decided to visit another player that we ended up signing with no troubles, but we could have had a strong tackle to start with our new offensive pieces in 2021. Tim Timms: Which position group or player has been the most surprising or pleasing this year, and one that you want to step up for the last two games in your hunt for bowl eligibility? Coach TazerMan: Most surprising or pleasing? Probably Richard (Roberts). He has been a stud this year, 4 picks and really solid coverage against some really good wide outs, and no one expected anything of him. He really pushes himself and has made himself the best player possible. Someone I want to step up? I think he knows it, but Quinn really has to go out there and not only be an emotional and vocal leader, but he has to make some splash plays. His two best games this year he got MAC defensive player of the week, if he can have those kinds of games against Miami and Central Michigan, we've got a shot. Tim Timms: And to finish, what is your plan going into 2021 and beyond, any expectations regarding performance? Coach TazerMan: 2021 is going to be a tough one, last year's recruiting was not good, so we will have to make do, and we will lose a lot, our top 4 receivers and our starting secondary as well, so its going to be up to some gutsy and gritty performances to win games. After that, when John leaves we will lose our leader, but we have a lot of exciting and talented players coming in, so I am already excited to coach that team! And before we get to the recruiting battles, we have a preview of the JUCOs that have interest in MAC schools and my thoughts on the likelihood they commit to everyone's favourite conference. ILB Devin Frazier 6-1 257 Jr Lakeland Community College (Kirtland OH) 4.5 of 5.0 Mike AKR CLEM Potentially a huge upgrade here for Akron, but the Frazier's family connections to Clemson will not help at all, and it will be a hge win for Akron if they ca sign him. This one looks quite unlikely from the get-go, but we will see. OT Kyler Frey 6-5 286 Jr Black Hawk College-Moline (Moline IL) 3.0 of 4.0 Run Blocking BST A better outlook on this one, as Frey looks to be a solid player and an instant starter for the Cardinals, as he will take over from current right tackle Carter Shannon and provide upside for his senior season. He and left tackle Aiden Hammer will make a huge impact for incoming redshirt freshmen Damani Laws, who is a fan of running of tackle, and Frey might just become his new best friend CB Ahmed Holman 5-11 189 (Jr) Oakland Community College (Bloomfield Hills MI) 4.0 of 4.5 Man Coverage BGSU If Coach Popadom17 can sign Holman this class will be exponentially better. As more teams in the MAC develop a strong aerial attack, a shutdown corner will become invaluable, and here he is. With a year under his belt and improvements on offense, even despite the loss of star Brandon Thomas to the draft, the Falcons will still be able to give qbs nightmares RB Denzel Porter 5-9 210 Jr Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City NY) 3.5 of 4.0 Power UTAH BUF While Porter is not a necessity for Buffalo, as they have 4.5 potential Alec Self redshirting, he could come in and start for two years, and when he graduates Self would be project to be a 4.0/4.5 with two years to play, continuing the dominating power running that Buffalo is known for. P Lane Adair 6-4 182 Jr Minnesota State CTC (Fergus Falls MN) 3.5 of 4.5 Power CMU Another special teamer from the JUCO fields is looking to play at CMU, as the strong-legged Adair follows the lead of Trent Michaels. The Chipps currently have a 3.5/3.5 starting at punter, but Adair would come in straight away and be an upgrade if he wasn't redshirted. FB E.J. Greer 6-1 249 Jr Little Big Horn College (Crow Agency MT) 3.5 of 4.5 Pass Blocking EMU EMU EMU is almost guaranteed one JUCO recruit, and he is in a position of need! They are currently starting a 2.5 TE at fullback, and with the signing of the nation's #2 RB, they will need to have a road paver in front of him, and Greer fits the bill perfectly. ILB Mosi Gary 6-3 236 Jr Wayne County Community College (Detroit MI) 3.5 of 4.0 Will EMU On top of that, EMU is the sole interest of an instate inside backer who will come in almost identical to current backup Julien Rinehart, so it will be interesting to see how much Jamzz pursues him, as he is not a major need. SS Steven Gordon 6-1 213 Jr CCBC-Essex (Essex MD) 3.5 of 4.5 Man Coverage KNT A successor to the captain of the Flash defense, Gordon will enter with a higher ceiling and a similar style of play, as well as being a bigger and faster player. Kent State could do with another 4.5 on defense after signing Geno Mason this season, and Gordon would provide an instant play maker. QB Emmett Mast 5-11 199 Jr North Iowa Area Community College (Mason City IA) 3.0 of 4.0 Hybrid ISU NIU The Huskies have started a scrambler and a pocket QB this year, will they try the in between next year with Mast, who is also linked to Iowa State, who have had well documented Quarterback troubles of their own. He is quite undersized, but brings an interesting option to the table for Coach Subsequent to begin building his own team and scheme, starting with the signal caller. OLB Ruben Cahill 6-3 220 Sr Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove IL) 4.5 of 4.5 Coverage NIU Northern Illinois are also being heavily considered by Cahill, who will make the young and promising and Husky linebacker core become a fearsome one, as they will have a 4.5 potential junior, a 5.0 potential sophomore and a 4.5 senior, a truly terrifying sight for MAC teams. DE Ezekiel Williams Jr. 6-1 265 Jr Southwestern Community College (Creston IA) 4.0 of 4.5 Blitz CINCY TOL Toledo looks to use family connections to pull Williams away from Cincy, who are looking to retool with an impressive recruiting class this year. Toledo have a relative weakness at left end, and sophomore Dwayne Briggs has been tearing it up this year, with 6.5 sacks, good for 3rd in the MAC. Pairing these two would be even scarier for #Toledo 2021 Due to the lack of upper tier recruits, the recruiting battles will only follow those on the list, and JUCO recruits will be incorporated when they begin to be bidden on and signed. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Alas, after being on here since the beginning Jennings will sign with the Spartans. Eastern Michigan got so close, but they had to go for the big punch, and they almost landed it. When MSU lost the race for Victor Austin, it spelled the end for Jamzz's hopes, and unfortunately for him he won't be an Eagle. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , After Toledo moved up next to Kent State, they pulled away again, perhaps signalling a fall in Toledo's interest. However, they can't be counted out, as they will definitely be looking for more recruits with starting potential, and Hunt is one of the few left. Riley Finch, Target, 2.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , OSU keeps their lead, and it seems like Finch will be going to the Big Ten. Not much could have been done here, they had a lead from the start and they have kept it all the way. But, there is still time, and we have seen some big turnarounds this season, one in particular by the Redhawks that we have covered, so I'm not ruling anything out just yet. That's all for this week, thanks for tuning in to another instalment, and remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack!
  11. Last Week’s Results: 4-3 Season to Date: 55-15 Welcome back for yet another exciting (if brief) week of #MACtion! Along with special silent guest star Dennis Powell, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week Everyone's Favorite Conference takes it easy with only three games on the slate, and we begin our show as always with the lovely #MACtion Jenny: Friday Night Bowling Green (1-9 overall, 0-6 conference) at Buffalo (7-3, 4-3) Last Week: The Falcons’ offense couldn’t get things going in chilly Ypsilanti (L at 13-16), while Buffalo did whatever they wanted against NIU (W vs. 48-21). The Falcons defense held up its end of the bargain against EMU. Even with future first-round pick Brandon Thomas off the statsheet, the Bowling Green Sack Factory dropped Eagle QB Giovanni Shaw twice, picked him off twice more, and generally made life miserable for Eagle offensive players. That was probably one of the most complete Sack Factory performances on the season, made even more impressive by the fact that Thomas wasn't propping up the stats in a meaningful way - heck, two of the BGSU players on the sheet were members of the secondary which isn't an area we talk about much on BGSU's defense. They - and everyone else - will need to keep that up against a more potent offense waiting for them in upstate New York. Speaking of which, what an explosion by the Bulls last week! We saw the return of MAMADOU SMASH (24 carries for 168 yards, 2 TDs) who outrushed the entire NIU running game all by himself. Heck, QB Blair Holcomb (22 of 29 for 350 yards, 4/0 TD/INT) had more passing yards than the entire Huskie offense had TOTAL yards. As weird as it is to say, the Bulls were starting to look like a one-dimensional passing team so Mamadou Wynn's monster game will force the Falcons to respect the running game again and give Holcomb time to find wideouts Cristian Holguin (tied for second in the MAC with eight receiving touchdowns) and George Boyd (averaging over 16 yards per catch). When BGSU had the ball last week, things didn't go any better for their offense than it did for Eastern's. The Falcons turned the ball over to Eastern Michigan twice (to balance out their two takeaways); once on an Eddie Connolly interception and once on a Zack Odell fumble (his third, which leads the conference). For all that the Sack Factory did to give Bowling Green a chance to win, the offense just couldn't do much with those chances. The Falcon offensive line was just overmatched by EMU's front four and while the Buffalo defensive line doesn't have a wrecker like Shane Horton, the Bulls have a more solid front seven than the Eagles. BGSU has talent on their offensive line but haven't put it to good use much this year; they've only reached a 6.0 rating or better twice - against Colorado State and East Carolina. And if the Falcon line can't protect Connelly or open holes for their running attack, Buffalo safeties Omari Easley and Thomas Gordon (combined 57 tackles, 6 interceptions) will be happy to clean up after any hurried throws in their direction. Prediction: 38-21 We’re not seeing a reason to doubt the Bulls in this one. With that running game finally resembling the MAMADOU SMASH days of yore while still throwing the ball at will wherever they wanted, Buffalo should overwhelm the BGSU defense while slowing down the Falcon attack enough to secure the win. Ball State (1-9, 1-4) at Northern Illinois (1-9, 0-6) Last Week: The Cardinals showed some fight but came up short against Best!Miami (L vs. 35-44), while the Huskies couldn’t quite do the same against the Bulls (L at 21-48). Good news for the Huskie offense - someone else besides Daniel Hutchins (26 carries for 149 yards 1 TD, 1 FUM) showed up! Big TE Emory Johnson went 7 for 75 yards and two scores. The bad news: Take away what Hutchins and Johnson did and the rest of the NIU offense was not very good. QB Dwayne Curry had three interceptions and only 67 total yards when Johnson wasn't targeted, and WRs Dave Parker and Jasiah Christian had a drop apiece. It seems to be "two steps forward, two steps back" with everyone in this offense not named Hutchins. The battle will be between the Huskie offensive line and Cardinal DTs Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga. Malcolm in particular has really stepped it up lately with 14 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery in Ball State's last four games. This is basically the trend opposite to what NIU's line is doing - their rating hasn't broken 5.0 since week seven versus Eastern Michigan. The good news is that the Ball State linebacker is average as best; if the Huskie O-line can seal Malcolm and Afamasaga away long enough to let Hutchins through, we like his chances to pick up extra yards at the second level. 35 offensive points for the Cardinals last week sounds really good, but there are some caveats when looking deeper into their game against Best!Miami. The Ball State defense forced three turnovers from Miami QB Zack Cera, giving their offense favorable field position. And despite that they were down 34-7 at halftime, it took a LOT of deep throwing to get the score to its final state. Cardinal QB Elias Causey had his best game of the season (18 of 25 for 260 yards, 2/2 TD/INT, 5 carries for 9 yards, 1 rushing TD), while RB Austin Laws had good counting stat numbers (96 yards, 2 TDs) without good efficiency (3.99 ypc). WR Chan Pease (4 catches for 85 yards, 1 TD) and TE Siali McMullin (4 catches for 72 yards, 1 TD) averaged over 21.25 and 18 yards per catch respectively. That’s some efficiency, but it also reinforces the “gotta go deep” mentality Ball State had. We know the Cardinals’ offense has had this capability, is this something they can maintain without having to be down big? This isn’t fantasy football…. But NIU’s defense hasn’t exactly played to potential either. Their conference ranks in some defensive categories: Last in takeaways (2) Second-to-last in sacks (7), although they’ve played one more game than the lowest sack compilers (CMU) Second-worst in yards allowed per game (368.40) Last in offensive TDs allowed (36) Their best player, DT Russell Brandt (18 tackles, 2.0 sacks), has not made the same impact for his team the way Marlon Bailey or Shane Horton has. His linemate Thierno Thomas (8 tackles, 2.0 sacks) hasn’t taken advantage of Brandt’s presence. Teams don’t throw near NIU’s #1 CB Samuel Echols (19 tackles, 1 INT) and go after #2 CB Alpha Mitchell who has yet to make a stat sheet. The Huskies’ leading tackler, OLB Ivan Rosenberg (38 tackles), is their leading tackler because teams aren’t afraid to run plays right at him. There is talent to be found here but it’s hard to say what the remedy for NIU’s defensive woes is, outside of more seasoning and experience. Prediction: 21-20 We approached this game wondering which offense we trust more. The obvious answer is N. Illinois', featuring a pair of possible first-round picks in Daniel Hutchins and Emory Johnson, but the declining play of their offensive line is very concerning. Meanwhile, Ball State's offensive numbers weren't overly impressive despite the 35 points, and it's fair to wonder how much they would have scored if their defense didn't gift them with short fields. But we think that the Cardinal defense is the better of the two right now. They should prove to be more effective at stopping the NIU gameplan than the Huskie defense is at stopping Ball State’s - as long as they don’t let Johnson loose down the middle. Saturday Morning Toledo (7-3, 4-2) at Central Michigan (2-7, 2-3) Last Week: The Rockets came out on the wrong end of a sloppy game that decided the MAC West (L vs. 16-30), while CMU planned out its Senior Day festivities for the season's last home game, including standout CB A'Shawn Ellison (BYE). Well, we knew coming in that the Rockets’ biggest weakness on offense was the offensive line. Despite the good rating (6.3) last week, W. Michigan dropped QB Benjamin Hanson three times, stripped him of the ball, and just generally harassed him into his worst performance of the season (17 of 32 for 222 yards, 1/1 TD/INT, 1 Fumble Lost). Toledo’s right side of the line gets the majority of the blame: Against RG Dovid Mace and RT Jake Boyce, WMU’s Michael McKinney and Silas Booker combined for 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and Hanson’s fumble. CMU’s Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough hopes to continue that trend. The Chippewas will want to follow Western’s blueprint and have edge pressure shorten the amount of time Hanson has to diagnose and dissect the defense - unfortunately CMU ranks last in sacks with only six on the year. If there was ever a game that DEs Tatum-Kimbrough (17 tackles, 1 sack) and Rory Bolin (15 tackles, 2 sacks) needed to step up for, this is it. If Hanson does get the time, WRs Justin Evans (48 catches for 717 yards, 8 TDs) and Thomas Yang (42 catches for 624 yards, 6 TDs) have over half of Toledo’s receiving yards. Even with A’Shawn Ellison and his 3 INTs on the other side they’re not likely to be shut down. Oh, and there’s still 1000-yard rusher Gabe Ciamo in the backfield to deal with. He’s pretty good, we hear. You hear these phrases often: Run to set up the pass. Throw to set up the run. But perhaps no offense in the MAC has a more symbiotic relationship between the run and the pass than the Central Michigan Chippewas. When both QB Matt Rowland and RB Makai Carr combine for more than 300 yards, it means wins for the Chips. Their stats from both CMU wins: vs. E. Michigan: Matt Rowland, 15 of 23 for 230 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT. Makai Carr, 25 for 150 yards, 0 TD. 380 combined yards. vs. N. Illinois: Matt Rowland, 15 of 24 for 222 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. Makai Carr, 23 for 101 yards, 1 TD. 323 combined yards. But that's only twice this season. More often than not, both facets aren't working well enough to reach that magic 300 number and it shows in a lot of stats: Second-worst offensive YPG in the MAC (266.33), while giving up over 40 YPG more to their opponents (306.44). -10 Sack Differential -6 Turnover differential Central needs to figure out how to keep a healthy run/pass balance, and it won't be easy this weekend. Toledo has the best defensive YPG average in the conference (281.50 YPG allowed), and it all starts up front with the Dwayne Brothers. DE Dwayne Briggs leads the team in sacks with 6.5 while DT Dwayne Montgomery (20 tackles, 1 sack) absorbs blockers, allowing the rest of the defensive front to make the play. CB Levern White (20 tackles, 5 INT, 1 TD) has really stepped up in his first year with Toledo, and when the Rockets' front and back ends are playing to their potential it covers Toledo's inexperience at LB very well. Redshirt freshmen Ryan Carr and Dennis Jarrett have been thrown into the fire and responded well for the most part but the teams that beat them presented enough playmakers to force Toledo to play more straight-up, then took advantage of the linebacking youth. We're not sure CMU has those pieces that command respect on the offensive side; TE Jasper Rowley has the skill but doesn't stretch the field down the middle (23 catches for 288 yards, 3 TDs). Prediction: 31-17 Toledo will no doubt want to make a statement, and it's a huge ask of the Chips defense to prevent that from happening. We expect to see a bigger dose - and a big day- of Gabe Ciamo in this one. BYES: Akron (7-3), Kent State (4-6), Miami (OH) (7-3), Ohio (7-3), Eastern Michigan (3-7), Western Michigan (9-1). On behalf of silent special guest star Dennis Powell and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack"). Until next time!
  12. Last week: WMU and Ohio have decisive wins. The Redhawks achieve bowl eligibility. Kent State is STILL tired of power runners rampaging through their defense, but managed to win anyway and keep bowl dreams alive. How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 12 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (72) Western Michigan Broncos (6) 8-1 (5-0) W7 - 2 (66) Ohio Bobcats 7-2 (6-0) W6 - 3 (59) Toledo Rockets 7-2 (4-1) W1 +1 4 (53) Akron Zips 7-2 (4-2) L1 -1 5 (49) Buffalo Bulls 6-3 (3-3) L1 - 6 (43) Miami (OH) Redhawks 6-3 (3-3) W1 - 7 (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-5 (3-6) W1 - 8 (29) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-7 (2-3) L2 - 9 (22) Eastern Michigan Eagles 2-7 (2-4) L2 - 10 (19) Bowling Green Falcons 1-8 (0-5) L6 - 11 (14) Ball State Cardinals 1-8 (1-4) L5 - 12 (6) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-8 (0-5) L5 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. And the Ohio two-step continues with Toledo and Akron. Following the Zips' loss to W. Michigan they trade spots with the Rockets again, while everyone else stays where they're at. The ranked (!) MAC teams (!!pluralZOMG1!1!!) stay at the top of the chart and below the dancing Ohio teams Buffalo and Best!Miami settle in. At this point it's very clear that there are two tiers to these rankings and that the teams in them aren't likely to change, only their placement inside of them. Looking forward to the rest of the season, there are three big story lines to follow: Who wins the MAC East, Ohio or Akron? Ohio has a huge advantage and is likely to repeat as MAC East champs. Akron must win both remaining conference games (@Toledo, vs. Ohio) AND hope that CMU upsets the Bobcats in week 15. Who wins the MAC West, Toledo or W. Michigan? Barring any upsets in week 14-16, this week's game between the Rockets and the Broncos is a virtual winner-take-all for the division. Going past this game Toledo has the harder remaining slate (@CMU, Akron) than WMU (Ball St., @EMU). Will Kent State achieve bowl eligibility? Reply hazy, try again later. This is pretty much scenario we expected: The Golden Flashes need to take two of three from Ole Miss, Best!Miami, and Central Michigan. Here's hoping they can get that crucial fifth win this weekend against the Rebels! Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (7-1), Buffalo (6-3), Miami (OH) (6-3), Ohio (6-2), Toledo (7-1), W. Michigan (7-1) Eligible with win this week: None Missing out on Bowl Season with a loss this week: None Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-8), Bowling Green (1-8), C. Michigan (2-7), E. Michigan (2-7), N. Illinois (1-8)
  13. Last Week’s Results: 5-0 Season to Date: 51-12 Welcome back for yet another exciting week of #MACtion! Along with special silent guest star Hong-Chih Kuo, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week #MACtion makes itself even more comfy on Saturday, and the MAC tries to prevent a sweep at the hands of some visitors from Oxford. But first, if you'll please direct your attention to #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night Bowling Green (1-8 overall, 0-5 conference) at Eastern Michigan (2-7, 2-4) Last Week: The Falcons came close but couldn’t overcome their Owl birdbros (L vs. 26-31), while the Eagles just couldn’t hang with the Bobcats (L vs. 17-44) We’re really excited to see EMU’s best player DT Shane Horton (24 tackles, 5.0 sacks) against Bowling Green’s best offensive lineman, LG Derrick Briggs. If the Falcons want to run their option attack successfully Horton will need to be neutralized, and that will be on Briggs with the occasional assist from center Jonas Zambrano. The dual-headed running threat of Connelly and Odell is so crucial for Bowling Green to not only to move the chains, but to open up the passing game. Despite having one of the less impressive receiving groups in the MAC the Falcons rank in the upper half of the conference in passing yards and TDs, and Connelly is aggressive in attacking any space he sees between his receivers and the defender. That aggression cuts both ways (double digits in both TDs and INTs), so FS Zachary Dumas could notch his first interception of the season here. When Eastern has the ball, things get more predictable. QB Giovanni Shaw has only broken the 200-yard mark in the air once this season. Last week against Ohio was the first time he threw 30 passes, and that was due to falling behind early. It didn’t end well for Shaw - a 16 of 30 for 150 yard, 1 TD, 3 INT performance is not going in his highlight reel any time soon. EMU has the second lowest passing yardage in the MAC, and if NIU didn’t try smashmouth for a week the Eagles would likely be the lowest. It’s difficult to implement a passing game based on play-action when stopping the run doesn’t command any extra defenders. It feels like RB Jamel Jamison gets most of his yards after contact; his O-line has a conference-worst 4.29 rating and doesn’t seem terribly proficient in opening holes for him. This is not good news for Shaw, who can expect to see a lot of OLB Brandon Thomas (41 tackles, 5.0 sacks) bearing down on him. TE Amir Nixon, EMU’s leading receiver (29 rec for 383 yards, 2 TDs), will have to do more work himself to provide a target for Shaw. We don’t expect that the Falcons will send extra help to bottle up the Eagle running game, so there probably won’t be many seams schemed open for Nixon. Prediction: 28-17 Eastern Michigan’s conservative offense won’t score many points on their own and if Horton can be contained, the Eagle defense won’t be able to provide the short fields and time they need to score. Barring several Bowling Green miscues (such as a Zack Odell fumble or two), the Falcons should win this going away. Northern Illinois (1-8, 0-5) at Buffalo (6-3, 3-3) Last Week: The Huskies again faded in the second half of their contest (L vs 24-38), while the Bulls turn their focus to jockeying to a better bowl berth. (BYE) NIU is getting closer. But they haven’t yet figured out how to get back into games, and that’s because they haven’t figured out how to throw the ball effectively. This is the combined statline of their QB position this season: 116 of 210 (55.2%) for 1286 yards, 142.89 YPG. 5/15 TD/INT ratio, 100.25 QBR. For goodness’ sake, they have only 165 more team passing yards than rushing on the season! For all the good work that Daniel Hutchins has done (216 carries for 1066 rushing yards, 4.94 YPC, 11 TDs), there’s only so much he can do when facing eight and nine-man boxes. The Huskies’ QB, whether Dwayne Curry or Charlie Sanford, haven’t proven that they can make defenses consistently pay for stacking the line of scrimmage and until they do it will be more of the same. It doesn’t help that Buffalo is solid across their defensive line and that their linebacking corps is their strongest unit. True freshman OLB Alexander Moffett is the Bulls’ leading tackler (31 tackles, 1 INT, 1 sack), look for him to cover TE Emory Johnson when he isn’t making stops. It also helps to have thumper Thomas Gordon hitting anyone who dares come near him with the ball. Is there any team in the country that has changed their offensive identity as much as Buffalo over the last two years? This year’s Bulls are the MAC’s third-best in passing yardage, and third-WORST in rushing yardage. Do you get cognitive dissonance reading that sentence? Then you remember last season’s “run the ball till you die” MAMADOU SMASH-fueled offense, where ten+ passing attempts was a disaster of the higher magnitude. This is certainly not those Bulls, with QB Blair Holcomb (182 of 287 (63.41%) for 2322 yards, 21/5 TD/INT) driving the offense and RB Mamadou Wynn (178 carries for 827 yards (4.65 YPC), 11 TDs) taking a secondary role. WR Christian Holguin (34 rec for 523 yards, 6 TDs) and TE Xavier Frey (31 rec for 503 yards, 6 TDs) are Holcomb’s primary targets, but WR George Boyd (31 rec for 469 yards, 2 TDs) also gets in the mix. NIU may find themselves often using all three of their cornerbacks on the field simultaneously. Yes, NIU only has three CBs listed on the depth chart, with no FS or SS behind them. Some Huskie interior pressure would be welcomed in order to relieve the burdens placed on a young linebacking corps and DT Russell Brandt has responded (18 tackles, 2 sacks) while DT Thierno Thomas has just started finding his groove - his 4 tackles and 2 sacks on the season all occurred during the Weeks 10 and 11 games. Prediction: 34-14 Buffalo is just too strong on both offense and defense for the Huskies to handle, and it doesn’t help that NIU has played as a collection of individual parts instead of as the sum of them. The Huskie coaching staff could very well be using the rest of this season to try different schemes and tactics out. Ole Miss (4-5) at Kent State (4-5): non-conference (NOTE: shortened due to time constraints, sorry.) Last Week: Ole Miss got to hear PAWWWWWWWL talk all about their loss (L at 17-31), while Kent State moved a step closer to bowl eligibility (W at 38-24). This is OIe Miss' second go-around at a MAC team, having dispatched Ball State earlier this year. We don't expect the Rebels to change their formula from the first time; Marquise Laws will chuck the ball early and often to WR Geno Harris (56 rec for 717 yards, 4 TDs) and TE Hunter King (50 rec for 749 yards, 7 TDs). Sometimes Laws will run the ball himself (51 carries for 343 yards, 6 TDs) to see if they can catch the Golden Flash defenders with their heads turned, and RB Caleb Easley will get ample goal-line carries as needed (180 carries for 697 yards, 11 TDs). Junior MLB Markus Golden is having quite the season (55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT) and may heed the siren song of early declaration. He's easily the best player on Ole Miss' defense, but he's close to the only one that has the caliber and experience. If promising youngsters FS Shane McCrary and OLB Gabriel Keene have off days, Kent State can do some real damage forcing Golden to cover sideline-to-sideline by directing traffic to the outside. Look for Kent receivers Iye Parris and Thaddues Torrez to have good days. Prediction: 37-31 Kent State's defense has to be a team effort, and there are just too many variables on the Rebel offense to shut them down completely. We don't see an area on this side of the ball that the Golden Flashes can win one-on-one battles, and that's a shame because Garland and Co. can make some serious hay against an Ole Miss defense weak around the edges. (Friday/Saturday games to follow.)
  14. Welcome back to the MAC Network, I am your host Tim Timms, and we are back with another week of recruiting here on the MAC Recruiting Recap Show, and JUCO recruiting will begin this week, so there is excitement in the air! 14 recruits this week, with two 4.0 prospects, two 3.5 prospects, 4 3.0s and 6 2.5s. Most teams are looking to bring in depth at this stage, but some teams, as we will see when we look at our recruiting battles, are managing to bring in solid starting talent near the end of the campaign. Western Michigan keeps building a highly rated and diverse class, and Ohio adds to their top end. Toledo makes up for lost time by signing 4 2.5s this week just to make some semblance of a class for this year. The table is shaken up by Toledo again who go from number four to number 12, as their mass signings do them no good. Ohio keeps their high talent class, and Western Michigan and Kent State share the number 4 spot, having the same number of recruits and the same average potential. Bowling Green leaves the bottom only due to Toledo's massive fall, but I'm sure they will take it. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 6 Ohio 0 1 2 1 1 1 6 23.5 3.92 5 Buffalo 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 6 Miami (OH) 0 1 1 4 0 0 6 22.5 3.75 12 Western Michigan 0 3 5 2 1 1 12 44 3.67 12 Kent State 0 1 7 3 1 0 12 44 3.67 4 Northern Illinois 0 1 2 0 1 0 4 14.5 3.63 11 Ball State 0 4 5 1 1 0 11 38 3.45 13 Central Michigan 0 6 4 2 1 0 13 44.5 3.42 16 Eastern Michigan 1 7 6 0 0 1 16 53.5 3.34 17 Akron 3 5 7 1 1 0 17 55.5 3.26 11 Bowling Green 3 7 0 1 0 0 11 32.5 2.95 6 Toledo 5 0 0 0 0 0 6 17.5 2.92 Western Michigan (Class rank: 41) +1 Ohio (Class rank: 62) +10 Kent State (Class rank: 65) -3 Central Michigan (Class rank: 76) +0 Akron (Class rank: 77) +0 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 82) -1 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 90) +11 Ball State (Class rank: 91) +2 Buffalo (Class rank: 92) -2 Toledo (Class rank: 103) +0 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 107) -1 Bowling Green (Class rank: 112) +0 In the interview portion, I was able to speak with SodapopSeth, the only other remaining coach apart from deathcpo from the conference's innaugural season. We discussed Tim Timms: Great to have you here coach. Coach SodapopSeth: No worries. Tim Timms: Many were intrigued by your signing of Blair Holcomb in JUCO recruiting last year based on your identity at the time as a run first team. How do you think he has helped this team this year, and how he will help next year when Mamadou Wynn graduates at the end of this year? Coach SodapopSeth: Oh, he has been phenomenal at shifting the focus of the team away from Mamadou, allowing him to really shine in the offense. When Mamadou leaves, I can't wait to see how Blair does when we let him go wild with his own offense. It's kind of a balancing act now, but next year, woo, watch out. Tim Timms: Any thoughts on your recruiting class this year? Any reasons for the small number of recruits compared to some other teams like Akron, Eastern Michigan and Kent State? Coach SodapopSeth: We haven't had the best year, to be frank, but the guys we have pulled in slot nicely into our system. I was gunning for high skill guys, a boom or bust kind of mentality and it failed me and the team this year. Tim Timms: What has been the biggest surprise for you this year, for example a player's performance or a certain aspect of your team? Coach SodapopSeth: Our offensive line has held especially firm this year, and I am incredibly proud of our guys down in the trenches. Without them, we'd probably be stuck in the bottom of the conference right now. I'm really gonna miss them next year. Tim Timms: There was talk of Buffalo being in the contention for being ranked, receiving a few votes in the Coaches Poll. This week Buffalo has disappeared from the list, and the team that beat you last week, Akron, are now receiving votes. Do you take this as a positive or motivation moving forward? Coach SodapopSeth: That's what happens when you lose close games. I'm still seething a bit from our last loss but there's nothing that we can do but put our heads down, dig in, and power through. Now to the recruits. Some new signings this week, and so we will bring in a couple of new ones onto the show. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Despite all the positivity for the Eagles, Michigan State never fell out of the race, and now that they have resources free they used them on Jennings, getting neck and neck with EMU. This might spell the end of Jamzz's hopes of grabbing a big target for Shaw CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Ohio went from being behind for a while, to being even, and now being the lead dog in the race, getting Rainey's commitment this past week. An important position for both teams, but Ohio manages to take another Corner this class, hoping to strengthen a position group that is a weakness in almost all MAC teams. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Miami wins this one as Kent State drops out hoping to pursue other recruits in less-red pastures. Miami played this one very well, almost falling out and then the next week taking a commanding lead. The Redhawks are not well rated in the national rankings, but 4 4.0 potential players with two on the O-line and two in the back seven, this team will continue to be a presence in the MAC. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , Not so boring anymore! Toledo jumps into a small lead over Kent State, who left this battle alone while focusing on McCormick. This could be another one that comes back to bite them for not locking it up earlier. The Irish are still nonexistent in this competition, but now the Rockets have pole position. This will be one to keep an eye on. Riley Finch, Target, 2.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , The Buckeyes jump to a comfortable lead as they push past the instate Redhawks and the out of state Chips. It seems the only way that Finch is coming to the MAC is if that Miami wants him, as the resources they were using on McCormick are now freed up. And that's it for this week, thanks for tuning in to another MAC Recruiting Recap Show. And remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack! Thank you to @SodapopSethfor the interview.
  15. Now that we're closer to the end of the CFBHC season than to the beginning, talk naturally starts concerning who has played the best and deserving of various things; Awards, Playoff Births, Gas Vouchers, etc. Unfortunately our budget here at the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!") won't allow us to hand out vouchers, and it's a little too soon to talk MAC Playoffs. So what we can do is talk about some players deserving of individual awards that may have escaped the notice of the general CFBHC realm. NOTE: Just because a player doesn't show up here does NOT mean they're having a bad season. It just means they don't look to be within realistic spitting distance of the top contenders. *spoiler alert* For example, no MAC RBs will be profiled in this section despite 's Daniel Hutchins, 's Owen Walton, and 's DeSean Madison having over 1000 yards and double-digit TDs already. But stack them next to Florida's Ethan Newby, who has 1253 rushing yards and 19 TDs or LSU's Jayden Huff, who has 1133 yards and 18 TDs and it's hard to make a realistic case for them. But the does have players who have a case for national individual awards! Without further ado.... (NOTE: All statistics are through nine games) John Mackey Award: top tight end: Casey Swann, (So), Miami (OH). 54 catches for 693 yards (12.83 ypc), 8 TDs. Swann's emergence as a reliable receiver for the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA sparked a remarkable resurgence for the Redhawks, who have already tripled their win total from last year and will surely earn a bowl invitation this year. While built more like a WR than a traditional TE (6'1" 206), Swann uses tremendous footwork and body positioning skills to do work over the middle of the field. With two more years of eligibility for both Cera and Swann, MAC defenses will get tired of dealing with this combination over and over and over. Jim Parker Trophy: top offensive lineman: Marcus Waterman, Sr, Buffalo. Offensive line has a 6.13 rating, allowed 7 sacks. The Bulls have traditionally had the best offensive line in the MAC, and this year isn't that different. Waterman and his fellow hogs' seven sacks allowed are the lowest figure in the conference, and he's primarily responsible for keeping QB Blair Holcomb upright as he guards his quarterback's blind side. Waterman has a good shot at hearing his name called early in next year's NFLHC draft. Bronko Nagurski Trophy: top defensive player Bill Willis Trophy: top defensive lineman Rotary Lombardi Award: top defensive lineman/linebacker Outland Trophy: top interior lineman on either offense or defense: DT Marlon Bailey, (Jr), Akron. 44 tackles, 6.0 sacks. Defensive tackle isn't a position that traditionally gets a lot of attention for the Rotary Lombardi or the Nagurski, but big Marlon Bailey absolutely should receive consideration for all of them and then some. The "Eater of Worlds" was tabbed in the pre-season as a player to watch, but he's absolutely exceeded those expectations. One of the biggest reasons for the best season in Zips history to date is that their defense leads the conference in sacks with 19.0, and that all begins with Bailey. If this is his last season in an Akron uniform, then Bailey should enter the NFL with a shiny trophy or two under his arm. Jack Lambert Trophy: top linebacker: OLB Brandon Thomas, Jr, Bowling Green. 41 tackles, 5.0 sacks. Bowling Green's been a bit of a mess this season with all the coaching chaos and whatnot. But the one player who never let it get to them was Thomas. He was expected to be the centerpiece of a revamped Bowling Green Sack Factory, but his five sacks double the amount anyone else on the team has - instead of the Sack Factory's centerpiece, he's virtually the only worker there. Coach @Popadom17 is hoping he can convince Thomas to stick around for 2021 and help Bowling Green go, well, bowling. Jim Thorpe Award: top defensive back: CB Levern White, Jr, Toledo. 15 Tackles, 4 INT, 1 TD. SS Thomas Gordon, Jr, Buffalo. 30 Tackles, 3 INT. CB A'Shawn Ellison, Sr, C. Michigan. 15 Tackles, 3 INT, 1 TD. CB Sean Taylor, (Jr), W. Michigan. 15 Tackles, 3 INT, 1 TD. Let's be clear. There are a lot of other secondary candidates with similar numbers to our cornerback trio we could put in here, and they all lag behind the SEC's Thorpe candidate David Triplett (27 tackles, 6 INT) numbers-wise. So why focus in on them? They've all taken one back to the house for starters, and each of them is a huge cog in their team's defenses. With a hot spell or two their numbers could become award-worthy, so we can't write them off just yet. A'Shawn Ellison is by far the Chippewas' best defender, and the biggest reason why Central Michigan ranks third in the MAC in passing yards allowed (182.78). The Chips are also the only MAC team to surrender less passing TDs (11) than rushing TDs (15). Who ranks first in passing yards allowed? Toledo (171.89 ypg). It looked like Adam Haywood would be the hot Rocket CB to watch coming into this season, but Levern White has used his superior change-of-direction skills and aggression to punish offenses that test him one too many times. Speaking of dynamic, Sean Taylor hasn't quite had the numbers this season to back up his preseason All-American nomination. But there isn't a player in a MAC secondary that offensive coordinators pay more attention to than Taylor. In his WMU career, Taylor has 14 interceptions. An incredible 6 of them have been returned for touchdowns. Buffalo's Thomas Gordon isn't worried about scoring, he just wants to introduce himself to the ball repeatedly - and if there happens to be an offensive player between him and the ball, so much the better. Whenever Gordon shows up on the box score, you know it's because he's making a statement; the only time he didn't record an interception was when he made nine tackles in the game. Talk about impact! Lou Groza Award: top placekicker: K Timmy Wilhelm, Sr, Ohio. 20/21 FGs made (95.24%), long 46. Meet the all-time leader in MAC Player of the Week awards! Bobcat fans know what it's like to see your kicker trot onto the field and feel relief and confidence, and they've been blessed to place their trust in TIMMAY for several seasons now. Wilhelm's only miss came from 46, so it certainly wasn't a gimme that he choked on. K Harry DeMarco, (Fr), W. Michigan. 20/20 FGs made (100.00%), long 47. That feeling of relief and confidence in your kicker? It's something Bronco fans happily are getting used to and they hope to continue it for three more seasons after this one. The redshirt freshman from Pottsboro, TX has been a revelation for WMU, especially considering a couple of games this year where the Bronco margin of victory rested on DeMarco's right foot. Special: Burlsworth Trophy: top player with a current skill of 3.0 or less We're going to be stricter than the guideline above and mention only players with a potential of 3.5 or less. Otherwise, that's no fun. RB Makai Carr, (Jr), C. Michigan. (2.5 of 3.5) 189 carries for 823 yards, 5 TDs. CB Richard Roberts, (SR), Kent State. (3.0 of 3.0) 14 tackles, 4 INT. CB Shamar McClendon, Sr, Miami (OH). (3.0 of 3.0) 14 tackles, 2 INT, 1 TD OLB Raymond Smith, (SO), Akron. (3.0 of 3.5) 28 tackles, 1 INT, 3.5 sacks, 1 FF
  16. Last week: That oft-forgotten third phase of the game rears its head in the Buffalo-Akron game. WMU and Toledo have closer-than-expected wins over the other directional Michigans. Kent State is getting real tired of power runners rampaging through their defense. How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 11 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (71) Western Michigan Broncos (5) 7-1 (4-0) W6 - 2 (66) Ohio Bobcats (1) 6-2 (5-0) W5 - 3 (58) Akron Zips 7-1 (4-1) W1 +1 4 (57) Toledo Rockets 6-2 (4-1) W1 -1 5 (48) Buffalo Bulls 6-3 (3-3) L1 - 6 (42) Miami (OH) Redhawks 5-3 (2-3) L1 - 7 (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 3-5 (2-6) L1 - 8 (26) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-6 (2-2) L1 - 9 (22) Eastern Michigan Eagles 2-6 (2-3) L1 - 10 (19) Bowling Green Falcons 1-7 (0-5) L5 - 11 (15) Ball State Cardinals 1-8 (1-4) L5 - 12 (8) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-7 (0-4) L4 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Tranquilo. That's the theme for this week's poll as only two teams changed spots, and a minor re-arranging at that - Akron and Toledo switch spots while eyeing each other sideways. Western Michigan not only keeps the top spot in these rankings, but also cracks the Top 25! With Ohio, Akron, and Toledo also knocking on the door, the biggest match-up this weekend is definitely the Zips traveling to Kalamazoo. Buffalo lost but stays in fifth as voters didn't ding them hard for a close loss to Akron (oh, those special teams) and that pretty much locks the rest of the poll in place with the Redhawks on bye and everyone else under them having expected results. Central and Eastern Michigan both fought hard and kept it close in their losses though, so I guess that cements them even harder in those spots just behind Kent State. Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (7-1), Buffalo (6-3), Ohio (6-2), Toledo (7-1), W. Michigan (7-1) Eligible with win this week: Miami (OH) (5-3, at C. Michigan) Missing out on Bowl Season with a loss this week: C. Michigan (2-6, vs. Miami (OH)), E. Michigan (2-6, vs. Ohio) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-8), Bowling Green (1-7), N. Illinois (1-7)
  17. Last Week's pick record: 5-1 Overall pick record: 46-12 Welcome back for yet another exciting week of #MACtion! Along with special silent guest star Roy Corcoran, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we welcome some visitors from the Lone Star State, and #MACtion continues to grace prime time! But first, if you'll please direct your attention to #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night Rice (5-3) at Bowling Green (1-7): non-conference Last Week: The Owls were fortunate to leave Houston for Ohio before Harvey came and shut everything down, so the Falcons got to show their Bird Bros around the town early. At least the Car Museum was pretty cool! (Both on BYE) This is the MAC’s first look at C-USA West leading Rice and their Sophomore QB sensation Eric McLean. The Falcons kinda wish their view wasn’t quite so close. McLean drives the Owls’ offense, throwing for nearly 300 yards a game and sporting a shiny 23/4 TD/INT ratio. His primary target is big wideout Keith Triplett, all 6’5”, 223 pounds of him. Triplett has the majority of the catches and yards, but he trails his fellow tall WR (6’3”) Jamir Irving in TDs. Triplett (47 rec. for 644 yards, 6 TDs), Irving (38 rec. for 543 yards, 7 TDs), and TE Jamari Redmond (39 rec. for 506 yards, 5 TDs) receive the vast majority of looks from McLain and will receive most of the attention from the Bowling Green back seven. Lead back Nate Wooten has six TDs, but less than sixty rushing yards per game. The Falcons’ defense isn’t likely to worry about him until Rice gets to the red zone. We’ve highlighted Bowling Green’s less-than-optimal cornerback group before (though to be fair the same designation could apply to a lot of MAC defenses), and the Owl passing attack is definitely not one we expect the Falcon pass defense to handle on their own. The good news for the BGSU secondary is that with the safeties and linebacking group free to watch the receivers and tight ends their zone defense should be more effective and the Owls’ height advantage mitigated somewhat. Well, except for OLB Brandon Thomas. If he drops into coverage on a regular basis that portends bad things for the Falcons. He’s the only one on the team putting any type of consistent pressure on the QB, and they’ll need him to rattle the young signal caller if they don’t want to be picked apart. If Thomas can make McLean reset his feet often it could buy time. An additional facet to this game is that Rice’s offensive line has been okay at best this year. Their average O-line rating is 5.23, and that’s even after facing and blowing out a couple of winless teams in Louisiana Tech and UAB. The relative strength of this line is also concentrated on the interior, so Thomas and LDE Malachi McKnight could find some paths to the QB. The Owls defense centers around true freshman MLB Andres Arriaga. Between Arriaga and Virginia’s Soldier Brooks MAC teams are getting unfortunate looks at elite true freshman linebackers, and Arriaga is definitely playing well beyond his years right now (56 tackles, 1 INT). He anchors a linebacking corps that is the strength of the Owls’ stop unit. Rice seems to play a defense that funnels opposing offenses to that group, with a pair of 300+ pound tackles that are primarily there to soak up blocks and defensive ends that can set the edges but don’t contribute much more. Having said all that, we expect the Falcons try and impose their will on the ground anyway. The Owls secondary is young but talented, and we think the BGSU O-line will win its fair share of battles on the line of scrimmage. Bowling Green would best be served by using their option game to avoid the middle of the field, string out, and then wear down Arriaga and the Owl front seven. If all goes well for the Falcons TE Marquise Mayo will probably see most of the passes from Eddie Connelly. Prediction: 31-28 This could actually be a LOT closer game that people expect, we actually started to lean towards a Bowling Green upset as we were doing our research. Rice is weak on both lines of scrimmage and can get pushed around quite a bit (next year, though... woof, those redshirts). Unfortunately for the Falcons, @Bubada is one of the better coaches in the country and @Popadom17 is one of the newest - he's learning quickly but this is a steep test. It's this disparity in coaching experience that has us leaning towards the visitors. Kent State (3-5 overall, 2-3 conference) at Northern Illinois (1-7, 0-4) Last Week: The Golden Flashes were unable to keep up their mojo against the Bobcats (L at 13-23), while NIU stayed within two scores of Virginia! Then the second half started…. (L at 14-40) As stated elsewhere, Kent State seems to have a real issue with stopping power runners. Perhaps it's because the vast majority of their front seven is more proficient at rushing passers, but they've had a bad time lately against the bruisers in the MAC. We've obtained footage of some Kent State defenders after the game last week where Owen. Freaking. WALTON went 26 for 124, 1 TD against them: (Fun fact: Mufasa is Swahili for Owen Walton.) And then back in Week 8, DeSean Madison galloped 26 times for 128 yards and 2 TDs. (Fun fact: Mufasa is also Zulu for DeSean Madison.) So now conference leader in rushing YPG Daniel Hutchins (934 yards, 9 TDs, 116.75 YPG) takes his shot. Oh boy! If there's any solace Kent State can take in this matchup, it's that they can probably focus 99.999% on stopping the run and move SS Quinn Benson next to the line of scrimmage. Dwayne Curry continues to struggle as the Huskies' QB, posting a QBR under 100 for the season (not breaking 200 passing yards in any game and a 3/10 TD/INT ratio will do that for you). TE Emory Johnson has big-play talent and leads all NIU receivers with 399 receiving yards and 2 receiving TDs, but has only broken 50 yards twice this season. So if you're a fan of rugby scrums where a lot of people just bull into each other, the Kent State defense/NIU offense half might be for you! (Fun question: Is Mufasa also Yoruba for Daniel Hutchins?) John Garland will have to be careful. WRs Thaddeus Torrez and Iye Parris are matched up against one of the better CB pairings in the conference, although the stats don't bear that out (#1 CB Samuel Echols has 10 tackles and 1 INT, #2 CB Alpha Mitchell has yet to make a sheet). As a matter of fact, why IS NIU so poor at takeaways? They only have two interceptions on the year despite a talented defensive depth chart. It could be the secondary scheme fit; the corners are comfortable in a zone scheme while the safeties prefer man coverage - that's an awkward mix. It could be the inexperience of the linebackers; 2 freshman and a sophomore. Whatever the reason, it's something the Huskie coaches will struggle to correct through the rest of the season. Back to Kent State' offense: TE Jaeden Salazar (31 rec for 413, 2 TDs) has started getting more work as Garland becomes more comfortable throwing over the linebackers, but the Kent State rushing attack isn't full-on chopped liver. "Ol' Reliable" FB/RB Harrison Mullin will get you about 60-90 yards a game and usually a touchdown per game - he's only failed to find the end zone twice this season. Garland can still run the ball a bit too, chipping in with another three scores on the ground. Those totals aren't the most impressive, but they've been good enough to force some defensive respect and give the passing game some room. We expect that canny mix-ups of the run/pass option game can exploit the NIU linebackers' youth. Prediction: 27-17 The Huskies have the superior athletes, but haven’t been able to get any of them to perform to expectations (Daniel Hutchins excepted) this year. But mostly it's NIU’s [comment redacted] QB play that makes us think the Golden Flashes’ more cohesive team will win out in the end. Miami (OH) (5-3, 2-3) at Central Michigan (2-6, 2-2) Last Week: The Redhawks regroup and take a second shot at bowl eligibility (BYE), while the Chips put up a good fight but ultimately fell short (L at 17-20). Let’s start with the easy half of the ball; we know Best!Miami will throw. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA has indeed been hot this year; 298 passing yards per game and a 22/5 TD/INT ratio pace the MAC. This team is built around his right arm, and that arm is busy - Cera averages 44 passes a game. (We can neither confirm nor deny rumors that RB Ajani Garrett’s handoffs come only when Cera needs to rest his arm a bit.) While you expect the Redhawk leading receivers to be their top two WRs and the tight end, you may not expect their best one to be the tight end. Casey Swann (49 rec. for 635 yards, 7 TDs) leads the MAC in receiving yards and touchdowns per game - as a tight end. His emergence forces defenses to stop bracketing Kenneth Harrison and Keith Barnes, and now that Cera doesn’t have to force the ball so much his interception numbers are well down from last year (13 in 2019, on pace for 8 this year). Fortunately for Central, their best players on defense are on positions that can directly impact that passing game - DE and CB. Senior CB A’Shawn Ellison and Sophomore DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough set the tone for the Chips, although Tatum-Kimbrough (17 tackles, 1 sack) has fallen off his 6-sack pace from last year. Tatum-Kimbrough and fellow DE Rory Bolin can make some hay against the Redhawk offensive line though; despite one of the better line ratings in the MAC Miami is tied for most sacks allowed (14). Part of that is on Cera, who will hang in the pocket attempting to go to his third or fourth reads. If the back seven can hold up long enough to force him to make extended progressions, he can get sacked. So, about that other side of the ball. CMU went conservative against Western Michigan, dialing down the pass attempts to avoid Sean Taylor and Jaylin McQueen and leaning more on RB Makai Carr. Carr had a good day (24 rushes for 100 yards, 1 TD), but the Chips found themselves down 14 entering the 4th quarter and just not enough time to come back. All of that to say that we don’t expect the same plan against a cornerback duo that isn’t as scary, even if safeties Nicholas Mingo and Kristian Isaac are pretty good. QB Matt Rowland will likely be asked to throw down the field a bit more, certainly more than the 5.26 yards per attempt he put up last week. The vast majority of CMU receiving yardage come courtesy of WR Mendy Schofield (25 rec for 325 yards) and TE Jasper Rowley (19 rec for 244 yards, 3 TDs), and we expect Miami’s coverage to roll their way accordingly. Remember earlier we mentioned Best!Miami is tied for giving up the most amount of sacks in the conference? CMU is one of those teams they’re tied with, and their O-line rating is the conference’s second worst. Redhawk defensive ends Donte Pennel and Jabari Hilliard have three sacks apiece, and this week may be a good time for them to pad those totals. But they’ll need to be careful to not abandon their run responsibilities, Carr has reeled off three straight 100-yard games now. How the Redhawks choose to deploy their linebackers will be instrumental in determining the winner on this side of the ball. Prediction: 38-20 Kenneth Harrison vs. A’Shawn Ellison is a tasty matchup, but Harrison is actually Best!Miami’s third leading receiver this season. Casey Swann and Keith Barnes will feast on crispy passes from the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA due to not having Ellison’s attention on them. We don’t think the Chippewa offense will ultimately be able to keep pace, even if the gameplan calls for more Rowland dropbacks. (Friday/Saturday games to follow.)
  18. Welcome back to the MAC Network everybody, I am your host Tim Timms, and I am proud to be presenting you with these week's Recruiting Recap show! I'd like to call this a week of firsts, and our first first is Toledo's first recruit! In the not so holy city people are going wild after the first croot sighting of the season, after a much delayed start to crootin' season in Toledo. The fact that he is a 2.5 star recruit isn't being taken into account, the excitement is just too real. This was a big week, with 25 recruits signed to the MAC, with 3 4-star players and a 4.5 committing, and a number of 3 and 3.5 stars. Western Michigan has just added on to what is quickly becoming the best class in the conference, while Bowling Green added 5 players, all of 3.5* potential or lower. Now, the table has been shaken up this week as Toledo jumps up to number four on average, despite having the 103rd ranked class nationally, again showing the flaws within the system. Also, Miami Ohio drops from a nice round 4 star average this week, and with that drops to 5th place. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 4 Ohio 0 0 2 0 1 1 4 16.5 4.125 9 Western Michigan 0 1 4 2 1 1 9 34.5 3.83 5 Buffalo 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 2 Toledo 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 7.5 3.75 5 Miami (OH) 0 1 1 3 0 0 5 18.5 3.7 12 Kent State 0 1 7 3 1 0 12 44 3.67 4 Northern Illinois 0 1 2 0 1 0 4 14.5 3.63 12 Central Michigan 0 5 4 2 1 0 12 41.5 3.46 10 Ball State 0 4 4 1 1 0 10 33.5 3.45 15 Akron 1 5 7 1 1 0 15 50.5 3.37 16 Eastern Michigan 1 7 6 0 0 1 16 53.5 3.34 11 Bowling Green 3 7 0 1 0 0 11 32.5 2.95 The national rankings are a bit disappointing this week, with the lack of commitments leading to our top 6 schools falling slightly. However, Toledo finally is out of the 119 spot, and that means Bowling Green falls to the bottom of the MAC here, as well as in the table (sorry @Popadom17). There are still some strong classes here for the appeal that a G5 conference gathers, and there is still room to go up before season's end, with signing day and JUCOs on the horizon. Western Michigan (Class rank: 42) -1 Kent State (Class rank: 62) -3 Ohio (Class rank: 72) -3 Central Michigan (Class rank: 76) -2 Akron (Class rank: 77) -2 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 81) -3 Buffalo (Class rank: 90) +0 Ball State (Class rank: 93) +1 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 101) +2 Toledo (Class rank: 103) +16 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 106) -1 Bowling Green (Class rank: 112) +0 For my interview this week, I was able to talk to deathcpo, one of the two longest tenured MAC coaches, and probably the most prolific coach, with a 40-21 (.656) record. I was able to talk with him about his season as a whole, which to many, including the coach, has been a disappointment, as in the preseason they were almost ranked, only 8 points behind then #25 Maryland. Tim Timms: Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for an interview Coach! Coach deathcpo: Thanks for having me here. Tim Timms: Any thoughts on your season thus far? Any games that stick out to you as particularly positive or negative? Coach deathcpo: Pretty disappointing year in general, really feel like we have the talent to be 12-0, but poor coaching decisions have limited the success my team has had on the field. There hasn't been a single game this season where I could say my team played at their best. Ohio is probably the biggest example of the teams failures this year. A D-line with 4 4.5*+ potential player got no pressure on their QB, let Owen Walton run for like 120 yards and 2 scores, a superior secondary got torched by average receivers, and my QB who's been great threw a couple INTs including a pick 6 which is the difference in the game. I accept full responsibility for the failures of the team as i haven't put an effort consistent with what the team deserves as head coach this season. I intend to use the remainder of the season to continue learning the strengths and weaknesses of the team. Looking ahead I want this team to grow up, learn how to win and get ready for a playoff run in 2021. Tim Timms: What is your ideal final record, and do you think you will make the championship game again? Coach deathcpo: I really don't think i should lose any remaining games on paper, but obviously Akron and WMU are scary. Going 1-1 in those games means I'm probably not going to be in the championship game. So I think the ceiling is 11-2 with a conference title. The floor is probably 8-4. It would be a huge disappointment to achieve anything less a conference title considering how close we have been the last few years. Tim Timms: After having signed your first recruits in the past two weeks, how do you think this will help you moving forward, and what do you expect your class to like come signing day? Coach deathcpo: Recruiting has been a total nightmare this year. I've had a ton of success in the past but the new NCAA regulations this season, I quite frankly was unprepared for, and that shows in the class we have managed to sign so far. A Whopping 2 recruits, 1 of which is a projected starter. I have no comment on what went wrong but accept full responsibility for being unprepared. To close the season I would love to sign a DE we have been talking to all year down in FL, but for now he is leaning towards FAU. Other than that the goal is to focus on signing some depth players and secure at least 1 JUCO recruit that can make a large contribution to next years playoff hopeful run. Tim Timms: Are there any players on your team that you would like to highlight that you don't think are receiving as much attention as they should be? Coach deathcpo: As the former coach of the Carolina Panther's I have an appreciation for a great full back. Donnie Hubbert was the unsung hero of the Panthers offense, overshadowed by stars Skaggs and Latta, but let me tell you something, without Donnie that offense would have been much more pass reliant. A good fullback is a total game changer when making an offensive gameplan. Knowing you have a guy that can make a key block on a run, pick up a blitz on a pass or get you that extra inch up the gut is a huge advantage. That guy for Toledo is FB Jacob Holt. Now to the recruits. Some new signings this week, and so we will bring in a couple of new ones onto the show. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: (signed) Got him. It took them a while, and as we heard just before, frustrated the pants of Coach deathcpo, but he is signed up and ready to go. Toledo has addressed the biggest weakness on their team, O-line, and done it with a guy who could start next year, as Toledo gets ready to make the push. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Even though Victor Austin signed to the Wolverines, Jamzz keeps a lead on the big bodied receiver out of Monroe. Some thought this would be the week that MSU started to reign in the Eagles, but it hasn't happened yet. CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Ohio has pulled within striking distance, and this is one that just seems to keep coming back. WMU has been leading this most of the way, and both team's have recruiting very well over this period, and both have signed instant starters at corner. Which team will get another solid player to help lock down receivers as the MAC begins to see more dangerous passing attacks. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , This stays exactly the same as last week, so I think this is as far as it will go. Kent State is now out of resources, and Miami managed their's better to help secure McCormick. This one has swung back and forth and up and down, but now it looks to be settled on the Redhawk side of things. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , BORING! No movement here since the start, but we will see if someone shows Hunt some interest and then maybe he'll move someone up or down his list. SS Trevor Nolan Jr., Man Coverage, 1.5/3.5 Top Teams: (signed) For the second time in a row covering a safety Ball State is targeting, he's gone after one week. But this time he's coming to the MAC. I think this is an interesting signing for the Cardinals, as they already have 2 redshirt freshmen starting at the safety spots, but maybe they want to have the consistency of solid safety play in years to come. WR Riley Finch, Target, 2.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , A surprising name still left on the board, Finch is a possession receiver with a high floor coming in, and projects to come out at as a solid starter at the position. Interest in Finch has really picked up over the past weeks, with Ohio State and CMU displaying their interest, and this week Miami (OH) have come into the picture as well. CMU trails due to the other two being instate, but they aren't out of this one just yet. And that's it for this week, thanks for tuning in to another MAC Recruiting Recap Show. And remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack! Thank you to @deathcpo for the interview.
  19. Last week: Buffalo plays one heck of a game again, overcoming pass-happy Best!Miami. Ohio finds yet another way to stun Toledo. Western Michigan does not beat the spread, hangs on to beat Georgia State. How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 10 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (71) Western Michigan Broncos (5) 6-1 (3-0) W5 - 2 (65) Ohio Bobcats (1) 5-2 (4-0) W4 +2 3 (58) Toledo Rockets 6-2 (3-1) L1 -1 4 (56) Akron Zips 6-1 (3-1) L1 -1 5 (50) Buffalo Bulls 6-2 (3-2) W3 - 6 (42) Miami (OH) Redhawks 5-3 (2-3) L1 - 7 (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 3-4 (2-2) W1 - 8 (27) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-5 (2-1) W2 +3 9 (25) Eastern Michigan Eagles 2-5 (2-2) W1 +1 10 (16) Bowling Green Falcons 1-7 (0-5) L5 -2 11 (15) Ball State Cardinals 1-7 (1-4) L4 -2 12 (7) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-6 (0-4) L3 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. For once, let's start with the lower half of the rankings. The big story is the mini-resurgence of the Central Michigan Chippewas. Once left for dead, they've managed to string quite a few impressive games together and are keeping their slim bowl hopes alive. If they can win next week's game against the Broncos that assures them the Michigan MAC Trophy, something CMU has never won in their short history. Eastern Michigan isn't far behind CMU on the heels of a sound victory over Ball State. The directional Michigan climbing comes at the expense of the aforementioned Cardinals and the Bowling Green Falcons but they didn't surpass Kent State, probably because 3 > 2. The Broncos are still at the top of the rankings, but it's Ohio that jumps into the runner-up position ahead of Toledo. The Rockets stay in third just ahead of the Akron Zips, and that Week 13 matchup against WMU looms even larger now. Buffalo stays in fifth, but that by no means is a knock on their impressive feats, taking out UCLA and Best!Miami in consecutive weeks. The Redhawks are on track to make a bowl game, but the MAC East title is probably out of reach now with losses to both Ohio and Buffalo. Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (6-1), Buffalo (6-2), Toledo (6-1), W. Michigan (6-1) Eligible with win this week: Ohio (5-2, vs. Kent State) Missing out on Bowl Season with a loss this week: N. Illinois (1-6 @ #7 Virginia. Yikes!) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: Ball State (1-7), Bowling Green (1-7)
  20. Last Week's pick record: 4-2 Overall pick record: 41-11 Welcome back! Along with special silent guest star Brian Fuentes, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week the conference play takes center stage! (No, seriously, don't look at the out-of-conference slate this week. They almost made us put an "R" rating on this preview for the excessive violence and gore that may result from the OOC games.) But first, #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: Thursday Night Kent State (3-4 overall, 2-2 conference) at Ohio (5-2, 4-0) Last Week: Coach TazerMan hired a hypnotist to convince his team they were playing Akron every week (BYE), while Ohio used their defense to win a wild shootout versus the Rockets (W vs. 45-38) Quite possibly the MAC player with the biggest out-of-conference fanclub (*ahem* @paperllamasunited and @ImposterCauster ), Kent State QB John Garland has quietly put together a solid string of games, capped off by his Week 9 POTW performance (22 of 33 for 291 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT). Garland has completed passes at a 62% clip with an 8/3 TD/INT ratio in his last four games and is becoming the focal point of the offense. TE Jaeden Salazar is the primary beneficiary, catching 20 balls for 270 yards and 2 TDs during this period. "Ol' reliable" FB/RB Harrison Mullin continues to live up to his moniker, and his steady presence in the backfield can only help Garland's confidence. But Ohio's defense isn't fazed by any newfound Golden Flash swagger. The Bobcats are tied for the conference lead in interceptions with eight and they're spread out across five defenders, so it's not a matter of simply avoiding any specific player. Their secondary gave up 4 TD passes to Benjamin Hanson but took away 2 interceptions, including a crucial pick-six by SS Lucas Key. They're battle-tested, having already faced potent offenses from Maryland, Buffalo, Best!Miami, and Toledo (To be fair, they haven't always come out on top in all of those contests). The Bobcats coaches will want to clean things up at this side, but the defense believes in each other and know their offensive teammates will pick them up if needed. 23 rushes for 128 yards, 2 TD. This is Owen Walton's statline from last week. Normally it's POTW worthy, but it played second fiddle to Stephen Peters' performance against Toledo - maybe third fiddle depending on how you view TE Aaron Thibodeaux's 6 catches for 103 yards and a TD. Ohio seems to be rounding into form at just the right time, being picked by national publications to win the MAC East. The driving force is Peters' maturation; the Bobcats offense has become more than just the Owen. Freaking. WALTON. Show (which is still a pretty sweet show). As stated elsewhere this week Peters has already surpassed his season highs in passing yardage and touchdowns, and done so through only seven games. He gets a lot of help from Thibodeaux, who looks like a legit NFL prospect. Kent State's defense has punched above its weight at times this year. They frustrated the crap out of T.J. Zamora like no else has this season, they blitzed the crap out of Bowling Green with an early pick-six. They'll need to do this again and the question is, "Who?" SS Quinn Benson is always a good bet to show up, but he can't do it alone. DE Jacob Dennison may need to make his third appearance on the statsheet, perhaps to pressure Peters into making an ill-advised pass or two to CB Richard Roberts and CB/FS Kai Boykin. But with Owen. Freaking. WALTON. in the backfield, the Golden Flashes can't afford to drop their linebackers into coverage that often. Prediction: 30-17 As good as Garland's been lately, Peters has been better. And the Golden Flashes have to deal with Owen. Freaking. WALTON, while Ohio doesn't. Says here Ohio gets a step closer to answering Walton's question in a way the rest of the MAC doesn't want to hear. Ball State (1-7) at Texas A&M (1-7): non-conference Last Week: Ball State’s switch to Elias Carter failed to produce desired results (L at 13-20), while 1-win Aggie had to host #2 Auburn? Furk. (L vs. 14-37) When looking at a roster, the first position we often look at is QB. Texas A&M's Nathan Singletary is a redshirt freshman who enjoys scrambling. But he's thrown for over 1850 yards this season in eight games? And he's run for less than 100 yards combined in those eight games? Why would you take a scrambler and make him a pass-first qua- WR Jarvis Ward 5-9 189 (Jr) Brookhaven College (Farmers Branch TX) 4.5 of 5.0 [Speed] WR Lese Ponifasio 6-1 210 Sr Western Texas College (Snyder, TX) 4.0 of 4.0 [Target] WR Kristian Douglas 6-0 206 (Fr) Houston Lutheran North (Houston, TX) 3.0 of 4.0 [Target] Oh. Not that Ponifasio or Douglas are anything to sneeze at, but Jarvis Ward is clearly the player to watch. The redshirt junior leads the SEC in all receiving counting stats: receptions (62), yards (877), and touchdowns (11) and yards per game (109). He's on the Heisman watchlist. And for this week he's Ball State's problem. It's pretty easy to see what the Cardinals' defensive gameplan will be, but actually shutting Ward down is a different kettle of fish entirely. CB Terrell Foster will obviously get some help from FS Eddie McGill, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility that Ball State uses a linebacker to jam his release at the line of scrimmage and disrupt his timing with Singletary. Overkill? Maybe, but Ward has more receiving yards than everyone else on his team combined, and all but one of TAMU's receiving TDs. So maybe not. Aggie RB Kapueo Fepulea'i is noteworthy because he has a killer name. And he gets to run the ball sometimes too (118 carries for 485 yards, 5 TDs this season). Ball State's defense has a lot of work to do; not only will twin tower DTs Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga need to collapse the pocket (against a mediocre offensive line, they can do it), but the DEs and OLBs will need to prevent Singletary from escaping outside if he avoids the interior pressure. Ball State's coaching staff did not want to see the result they got from Elias Carter's first start in almost two years: 14 of 28 for 160 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. Part of that is due to game situation (down 14-0 after the 1st), but getting Austin Laws only 18 carries certainly isn't how they were likely to win the game. How will Carter respond to his rough re-debut? It won't be easy to redeem himself against an Aggie defense that may actually be the more talented of the two TAMU squads overall, Jarvis Ward notwithstanding. They boast six upperclassmen starters, and only two of their starters weren't 4-star recruits or better when they signed with Texas A&M. The Cardinals may think about targeting those safeties in the passing game with bombs to Chan Pease, but can Carter get the ball there, and can his line get him that kind of time? They will have to commit to running the ball more with Laws than they have in the past regardless of score if they want to catch those safeties flat-footed. Prediction: 31-20 Unlike last year, Ball State does not hold the distinction of being the best 1-win team in the nation. Texas A&M will continue to pour the ball into Jarvis Ward's hands, and we don't see Ball State making enough stops to contain him. If the Cardinal offense could help the defense out that would be amazing, but we haven't seen consistent signs of life from them in some time. (Saturday games to follow.)
  21. Last week: Toledo joins Akron in being bowl eligible! Toledo does not join Akron in losing WTF games to Kent State! Buffalo plays one heck of a game, overcoming pass-happy UCLA! (Now do it again vs. Best!Miami) How did this affect the rankings? Let's find out: To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 9 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (71) Western Michigan Broncos (5) 5-1 (3-0) W4 - 2 (66) Toledo Rockets (1) 6-1 (3-0) W6 +1 3 (57) Akron Zips 6-1 (3-1) L1 -1 4 (55) Ohio Bobcats 4-2 (3-0) W3 - 5 (46) Buffalo Bulls 5-2 (2-2) W2 +1 6 (45) Miami (OH) Redhawks 5-2 (2-2) W1 -1 7 (38) Kent State Golden Flashes 3-4 (2-2) W1 - 8 (26) Bowling Green Falcons 1-6 (0-5) L4 - 9 (20) Ball State Cardinals 1-6 (1-3) L3 - 10 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-5 (1-2) L1 - 11 (17) Central Michigan Chippewas 1-5 (1-1) W1 - 12 (8) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-5 (0-3) L3 - Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. The chair-shuffling in the upper half continues. Toledo picks up a first-place vote to break up the Western Michigan stranglehold at the top (that Week 13 game is going to be huge), while Buffalo's impressive win over the Bruins lumps them over a Redhawk squad that barely held off coachless Bowling Green. In the lower half of the rankings, the Golden Flashes maintain the #7 spot by virtue of having more than one win. Bowling Green leads the pick of 1-win teams, probably due to their loss vs. Best!Miami looking better then Ball State's defeat at the hands of Army. The other three didn't play, so out of sight.... The big things to watch besides at for bowl eligibility? and . Now that new coaches have been hired for these teams, can they start playing up to their potential? And because it's that time of year, Bowl Watch! Who's going bowling this season, who's almost there, and who will be watching a lot of ESPN in December and January? Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: Akron (6-1), Toledo (6-1) Eligible with win this week: Buffalo (5-2, @ ), Miami (OH) (5-2, vs. ), W. Michigan (5-2, @ ) Definitely watching Bowl Season from the couch: None
  22. Last Week's pick record: 2-3 (eh. conference games, amirite) Overall pick record: 37-9 Welcome back to this week! Along with special silent guest star David Aardsma, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we're going from conference play to not as much conference play! But first, you've been waiting for this: #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: Thursday Night Arizona State (4-3) at Bowling Green (1-6) Last Week: Sparky easily handled a slumping Oregon State team (W @ 24-10), while Bowling Green couldn’t hold on to beat Best!Miami (L @ 35-37) The Sun Devils travel to Bowling Green to try their luck against another MAC team. They came up short against Akron last year, can they avoid making it two in a row? Except for the pedestrian showing by RB Noel Mason (21 carries for 89 yards, no TDs) the Sun Devil offense of last week closely resembled what many think of as the typical MAC offense: QB Parker Townsend completed 16 of 23 passes for 189 yards, 2/0 TD/INT ratio and ran 4 times for 8 yards and a TD. At first glance the short pass game looked like a concession to Oregon State’s cornerbacks, but a longer look at the statsheet tells us that Townsend is averaging 173 passing yards a game so this is typical for ASU’s offense. Which since he’s a running QB makes some sense. But he may not be the player to watch here; despite that bad performance against the Beavers Noel Mason has had a good season, averaging 114 YPG and scoring 9 rushing TDs before then. This may be an option-type attack, but Mason is clearly Option A. When they go Option B the ball gets spread pretty evenly between their top two WRs and their TE, all with about 260-300 receiving yards each on the season. So like we said, a MAC offense! At least the Falcons have plenty of experience facing this type of attack. By this time, faithful readers know the BGSU defense has not been playing anywhere near their potential. Getting the defense back up to par has to be one of new coach @Popadom17's highest priorities, whether it’s via scheme change or benching underachievers. Will he take risks from the start and attack the ASU run game, leaving his patchwork secondary to fend for themselves? Bowling Green has been uncharacteristically pass-happy these last few games. Eddie Connelly has over 30 attempts in each of the last three games with mixed results, varying from a 201-yard 2/2 TD/INT game versus Toledo to a 307-yard 3/0 game against a Miami squad that probably wasn’t expecting it. Will they stick with it? We’re not sure. Throwing into the teeth of an experienced and talented Sun Devil secondary (3 seniors and a junior) doesn’t seem like a great idea, but the front seven led by likely first-round pick ILB Garrett Holliday (31 TKL, 2 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 Def TD) is just as good - the entire ASU defense is pretty hard to take advantage of is what we’re saying. So will BGSU emphasize the run or the pass? The Falcon personnel strength suggests run, recent performance says pass. This will be an interesting debut for Bowling Green’s new coach. Prediction: 27-14 We know the Bowling Green Sack Factory has the ability to take over a game (even if they've rarely done so this year), but we’re not quite sure how the Falcon offense plans to break down that tough Sun Devil defense. Maybe if they played next year after virtually everyone on ASU’s defense graduates…. (Friday and Saturday games to come shortly.)
  23. Welcome back everybody to the MAC Recruiting Recap show! I am your host Tim Timms, and its good to be back again with some more recruiting news. 9 recruits signed to the MAC schools this week, only a single 4 star, the rest being 3 and 3.5. Akron and Eastern Michigan continue building large classes of solid players and depth for down the road. Kent State manages to keep a large and well rounded class, while , , and continue to struggle this year. As for the table, Kent State falls out of the top three for the first time this season, despite signing 3 more 3.5* players. Buffalo, despite signing no players since week 4 are maintaining a solid place. No team is likely to move into the top 3 until those schools sign some more recruits to lower their average. Despite what I said before, the Redhawks are doing well on the table, which may show some minor flaws in the system. Total Recruits Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars 3 Ohio 0 0 1 0 1 1 3 13 4.33 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8 4 5 Ball State 0 0 3 1 1 0 5 19 3.8 10 Kent State 0 0 6 3 1 0 10 37.5 3.75 4 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 15 3.75 7 Western Michigan 0 1 4 1 0 1 7 26 3.71 3 Northern Illinois 0 1 1 0 1 0 3 11 3.66 9 Central Michigan 0 3 3 2 1 0 9 32 3.56 13 Akron 1 4 6 1 1 0 13 44 3.38 13 Eastern Michigan 1 5 6 0 0 1 13 43.5 3.35 5 Bowling Green 0 4 0 1 0 0 5 16 3.2 0 Toledo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 On to the national rankings. Only two teams have gone up this week, and both are very small rises. The Golden Flashes maintain their strong class, which is currently the best in program history by about 50 spots. Ohio stays second, and CMU jumps Akron this week, as and WMU jumps EMU to take second place for Michigan schools. The lack of major jumps in likely due to the fact that only one recruit above a 3.5 star committed this week. Kent State (Class rank: 55) +1 Ohio (Class rank: 62) -4 Central Michigan (Class rank: 69) -4 Akron (Class rank: 72) -8 Western Michigan (Class rank: 73) +7 Eastern Michigan (Class rank: 80) -8 Ball State (Class rank: 92) -2 Buffalo (Class rank: 101) -3 Northern Illinois (Class rank: 104) -1 Miami (OH) (Class rank: 109) -1 Bowling Green (Class rank: 113) -1 Toledo (Class rank: 119) +0 Now the interview. I was able to talk to Coach Lrickar1 of Ball State after his loss to Army. Tim Timms: Its good to be able to talk to you coach, welcome to the show! Coach Lrickar1: Thanks for having me, looking forward to it. Tim Timms: You are building a pretty solid recruiting class this year after a strong one as well last year. What were your main focuses? When do you think this team can make a bowl? Coach Lrickar1: My main goal this year was to focus on some weak areas that the team has. Mainly, the linebackers. This has been one of our weakest positions since I have been coaching here. The aim was to target players that could easily start here at Ball State but that would not be a first choice for most of the larger programs in the area. Gregory Wilkins is a prime example. He could easily play for most CFBHC teams, but since he was not a "5 star recruit" the bigger teams didn't focus on him and I was able to get his commit pretty early. As for a bowl, we almost have the talent, it's just a matter of getting all the pieces to work together. Tim Timms: Ball State has had 2 1-11 seasons in a row, and are currently 1-6. What do you think will be your win total on the season, and what games do you expect to win? Coach Lrickar1: We have had some rough seasons recently. But the W-L doesn't tell the whole story. Last year, most of our games (save for our games against Top 25 teams) were lost by 7 points or less. This year has seen more games that weren't as close, but we are still going into each games expecting to win. I see us pulling out a few more W's. Tim Timms: Marquis Casey has really struggled this season, throwing 4 TDs to 7 Ints. How much of your performance do you believe is due to his poor performance? Do you have any plans on what you need to fix for the rest of the season? Coach Lrickar1: I agree that Marquis has struggled. He came out strong in his debut, but has not really performed to the level that I know he is capable of. We stuck with him for a long time trying little tweaks that we hoped would help, but nothing is seaming to work. His play is having a large, negative impact on the team, but you can't place the blame completely on his shoulders. However, we sat all of our QBs down this week and have decided to mix things up. So we'll see how this weeks changes play out. Hopefully we can spark our offense and get the ball moving again, and give our defense a much needed break. Tim Timms: What did you expect to happen against Army? Any feelings about it afterwards, did you learn anything more about your team? Coach Lrickar1: I expected a hard fought game in the trenches against Army, and that is what we prepared for. Unfortunately, their receiving corp out played our secondary and it showed. And with no air game of our own, they stacked the box and stopped our running game. Not much new learned, as these are the same issues that we have been having all year. Now to the recruits. Some new signings this week, and so we will bring in a couple of new ones onto the show. OT Isaac Decker, Run Blocking, 2.0/5.0 Top Teams: , ,+ Toledo takes the lead on Decker, and there is no way now that Nortwestern can get him. It has been a long time coming for Deathcpo, but he will have his man, and the Wildcats have just lost on a big roll of the dice, this didn't look like a good move for them, and it seems to have failed for them. WR Ajani Jennings, Target, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Coach Jamzz has stayed aggressive on Jennings, and it might be paying off, as they hold their lead and as the season winds down, it looks more and more like he will be an Eagle in the coming years. They have already signed Kevin Guzman, a 3.5* Possesi on receiver out of Florida, and the two of them will pair up nicely in a few years time. QB Misu Curtis, Hybrid, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Western Michigan have a signal caller to take over as a redshirt sophomore when Sims graduates. Curtis will most likely be close to, or at his full potential by then, which will be a great help to future Bronco teams, and if DeSean Madison doesn't declare (which by my calculations is uhhhh, 1%?), he will have one of the best backs in the nation by his side, a truly deadly combo (which we hope never arises). CB Cooper Rainey, Man Coverage, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Western Michigan takes the lead on another recruit, and if Jieret continues with his magical ways, this is shaping up yo be a top tier class in the MAC at the very least. As I have discussed before, Rainey would be a huge pickup for both teams, but Ohio is behind here, and this is becoming a tough one for them. OT Felix McCormick, Pass Blocking, 1.0/4.0 Top Teams: , Well, at least this week there is some consistency. McCormick keeps his top option the same, and the Redhawks hold a solid lead here. WIll the Golden Flashes drop out of this race, or will they push to secure a blindside tackle for new QB1 Cameron Hare? FS Donte Murphy-Neal, Zone Coverage, 1.5/4.0 Top Teams: (signed) Annndddd hes gone. Illinois looked to be in command here, and one solid push from them left the Cardinals at the altar. Illinois signs another free safety, and Ball State missed out on a very solid player here, even though it was unlikely that they would sign him. DE David Hunt, Contain, 1.0/3.5 Top Teams: , , No action on the Hunt-Front (patent pending), but some interest might come his way when the major battles finish up, and schools are looking to finish up with some depth players, or adding to lesser needs. CB Savion Willingham, Man Coverage, 2.5/3.5 Top Teams: , , + The Redhawks are looking for the second CB of this class in plug-n-play Willingham, who could play very early and often in his career. Ohio also targets another Corner, as they are losing out on Rainey. Unfortunately for them, and two other schools, caesari's efforts have helped to build a sizeable lead on the Wooster native. And that wraps it up. Thank you for tuning in to the week 9 MAC Recruiting Recap Show, and ... wait a minute, I have just received word that I will lose my job if I don't use this. And remember, if it's not MAC, it's wack! I'll be seeing you all next week! Thank you to @lrickar1 for the interview.
  24. That Akron-Miami tilt was about everything outside observers could have asked for in a game. Did the double overtime victory encourage voters to finally push the undefeated Zips past Western Michigan? To the chart! (Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too.) MAC Power Rankings After Week 8 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (72) Western Michigan Broncos (6) 5-1 (3-0) W4 - 2 (64) Akron Zips 6-0 (3-0) W6 - 3 (62) Toledo Rockets 5-1 (3-0) W5 - 4 (54) Ohio Bobcats 4-2 (3-0) W3 - 5 (48) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-2 (1-2) L2 - 6 (41) Buffalo Bulls 4-2 (2-2) W1 - 7 (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 2-4 (1-2) L2 - 8 (29) Bowling Green Falcons 1-5 (0-4) L3 - 9 (22) Ball State Cardinals 1-5 (1-3) L2 +1 10 (16) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-5 (1-2) L1 -1 11 (15) Central Michigan Chippewas 1-5 (1-1) W1 +1 12 (5) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-5 (0-3) L3 -1 Number of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. So...no, not really. It didn't help Akron's case that DeSean Madison and company ran all over Kent State's defense. But, interesting fact time! Two-thirds of the teams stayed where they were! That doesn't happen often! Ball State gets a small bump while chilling at home at Eastern Michigan's expense, thanks to Central Michigan picking up their first win of the season. Northern Illinois looked awful against Toledo and settles in at the bottom. Bonus Content! Since we're at the halfway point, why not throw out a quick blurb about what's working well for each team, not so much, and some to look forward to! Western Michigan Working Well: RB DeSean Madison has stepped in the large shoes vacated by Gabriel Shields and filled them admirably. When you make a Heisman watchlist, you're doing some things right. Not So Much: There isn't too much for WMU that is a giant red flag, but they do lead the conference in penalties which could come back to bite them in the rear. Look Forward To: Week 13 at Toledo. The Broncos' road to the MAC conference championship aspirations goes through Toledo. Western surely figures to play better than they showed in a 24-6 dud last year. Akron Working Well: T.J. Zamora got his mojo on a consistent level. Marlon Bailey is devouring offensive lines whole and the defense leads the conference in sacks. There's a lot to be happy about if you're a Zips fan. Not So Much: Despite the sack totals, the Zips struggle to force opposing QBs into bad decisions. Akron has the second-lowest amount of takeaways (4) in the conference. Look Forward To: The second half of their schedule. You can only play whoever is in front of you but the hardest opponent the Zips have faced so far is Best!Miami. This is the last six weeks of their schedule: Buffalo, @W. Michigan, S. Carolina, BYE, @Toledo, Ohio. If Akron gets to ten wins before the MAC Championship game, they absolutely positively deserve to be ranked. Toledo Rockets Working Well: Almost everything. The offense is balanced and effective. CBs Levern White and Adam Haywood pick off a lot of passes when the QB manages to evade sack leader Dwayne Briggs. Not So Much: Perhaps it stems from not needing 3rd down as much (only 66 3rd down attempts to date) , but Toledo ranks in the lower half of the MAC for 3rd down conversion percentage. Look Forward To: That matchup with Western Michigan looms ahead, but can Toledo stay focused on the business in front of them? We don't need to repeat the number of MAC championships they have despite being a trendy pick to win several years now. Ohio Bobcats Working Well: Owen. Freaking. WALTON. is an obvious choice here, but QB Stephen Peters isn't the liability he was last year. Peters is playing well, assuaging the fears of a fanbase that wanted freshman Austin Lowe to come in right away instead of taking a redshirt. Not So Much: Yes, Ohio has had a brutal OOC slate (@Maryland, SMU), but to this point they still sport a negative point differential. Look Forward To: Rivalry Week (16) at Akron. Similar to Toledo-WMU, it's easy to see this game determining the MAC East. Miami (OH) Working Well: The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA CARRIES ON HIS BROAD CAPABLE SHOULDERS THE REDHAWK OFFENSE. But seriously, he's improved leaps and bounds over last season so it's a good thing he can handle the pressure. Not So Much: RB Ajani Garrett's 327 rushing yards is the lowest among all MAC starters and constitutes only 15% of Miami's total offense. Look Forward To: Their Rivalry Game against Cincinnati. If the Redhawks beat the Bearcats, someone may need to put @Rome on suicide watch. Buffalo Working Well: The Buffalo Passing Game. What? This isn't last season's "Three things happen when throwing the ball and two are bad" offense. JuCo transfer Blair Holcomb stormed out of the gates chucking the ball all over the place, and never really stopped despite essentially the same supporting cast. Not So Much: MAMADOU... SMASH? The workload for the MAC's iconic bulldozer has lessened, but has it also lessened his efficiency? His stats aren't terrible for the year, but he's seventh in total yardage and sixth in yards per carry - not an area we expect to see Mamadou Wynn. Look Forward To: Weeks 9-11 against UCLA, Best!Miami, and Akron. The first two because those teams like to chuck it and chuck it often, and Buffalo's secondary is not the strongest part of their defense, and the game versus the Zips is a must-win if Buffalo wants to compete for the East division. Kent State Working Well: After a one-game stint as a fullback, FB Harrison Mullin got moved back to his accustomed position as the lead back and stabilized the position. "Ol' Reliable" changed the focus of many an opposing gameplan. As a side benefit, John Garland didn't have to die as much! Not So Much: Pass rush? What's a pass rush? The Golden Flashes only have four sacks on the year, worst in the conference. Look Forward To: Week 16 versus Central Michigan. If Kent State wants to go bowling, they have a LOT of work to do. Find four wins out of this remaining schedule! @Akron, @Ohio, @NIU, Ole Miss, Best!Miami, CMU. Suffice it to say that the best-case scenario likely has Kent State at 5-6 coming in to the CMU game. (Tempted to choose the Zips game for the lulz, as the Golden Flashes wrecked Akron's bowl dreams last year, but we'll refrain) Bowling Green Working Well: OLB Brandon Thomas. Next. Okay, QB Eddie Connelly is playing above-average. There. Not So Much: Abdoul Hurt. Malachi McKnight. Theodore Bergeron. Do you know these names? Probably not, because they're members of the Falcon defense. These players should have stepped up to replace the hole left by Isaiah Hall, but Bowling Green is giving up WAY more points than they should be. Look Forward To: The Falcons getting a new coach. Their top priority should be to recruit players for next year and the years to come, and they need a coach who won't let the final years of Connelly and Thomas (if he stays for his senior year) go to waste. Ball State Working Well: RB Austin Laws has quietly put up the 6th best rushing total in the conference. He's carrying this offense. He has to, because.... Not So Much: Oh, Marquis Causey. The step he took this season was most definitely not in a forward direction. We imagined lots of Causey-to-Chan Pease action going on at the start of this season, but with Causey not even breaking 200 passing yards in any game the receivers constantly go hungry. Look Forward To: The obligatory "He's in the best shape of his life!" pre-season stories that will surround Mr. Causey next year. With no Cardinals QBs either redshirting or committed to enroll, it will be Causey under center again (or Elias Carter, who couldn't beat Causey out for this year). Eastern Michigan Working Well: DT Shane Horton is the sole EMU representative on the All-MAC Mid-season team, and he's more than earned the nod. Here's hoping you get drafted this year. Coach @Jamzz has started to get his team buying in to the identity he wants the Eagles to be. Not So Much: The Eagles have the worst O-line rating in the conference (4.20). That poor play has a cascading effect on so many pieces of Eastern's offense; QB Giovanni Shaw's passing struggles, the conference's worst 3rd-down conversion rate and the worst point differential (-105, yuck). Look Forward To: Freshmen Orientation. Jamzz is putting together a solid group of recruits, and solid bodies for 2021 and beyond is exactly what this program needs. Central Michigan Working Well: CB A'Shawn Ellison is showcasing his skills for those teams that play on Sunday. His 12 tackles show that he is willing to bloody his nose a bit in run support, a valuable trait to have for an NFL corner. Also, how can you root against this heartwarming story? Not So Much: What do you get when you consistently try something and hope the results change? Some call it insanity, others call it the Chippewa running game. Even with Makai Carr's 150-yard outburst last week, that barely got him to average over 90 yards a game on the season. CMU needs to figure some stuff out to get the run game on track for the home stretch. Look Forward To: Week 11 against Western Michigan. If they can upset the Broncos, that gives the Chips their very first Michigan MAC Trophy! Northern Illinois Working Well: Daniel Hutchins will need to hire a chiropractor, with all the carrying he's doing for his team. The days of Cover 0 nine-men boxes against the Huskie offense may soon be upon us. Not So Much: How much time do you have? Look Forward To: The Job Market. Will NIU hire a coach that can recruit and plan well enough to save them from falling into irrelevance?
  25. Last Week's pick record: 4-1 Overall pick record: 35-6 Welcome back to this week! Along with special silent guest star Joe Beimel, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. This week we're going from conference play to not as much conference play! But first, you've been waiting for this: #MACtion Jenny lights our ceremonial torch: (Producer's Note: Friday and Saturday games to come due to technical difficulties.) Thursday Night UCLA (3-3) at Buffalo (4-2): non-conference Last Week: UCLA rallied from 14 down but couldn't seal the deal (L vs 41-44), while Buffalo enjoyed some quiet time before a tough three-game stretch began (BYE). We've talked about Buffalo's secondary getting tested before, but they haven't been stressed like THIS: Steven Gore and the Bruins are coming to town. Earlier this season Steven Gore threw for 290 yards. That was his worst performance of the year. He's hit the 400-yard mark in a game twice already - it takes some MAC QBs 2.5 games to reach that. His totals on the season? 212 of 346 (61.3%) for 2216 yards, a 26/11 TD/INT ratio, 369.3 YPG. And this is going against a cornerback group led by a converted free safety. At least they won't have to worry about the run; lead back Frederick Girard has 21 carries for 73 yards and 2 TDs. Yes, those are his season totals. We know Buffalo will defend the pass. The defensive gameplanning basically revolves around how much they want to blitz; the Bruins O-line grade is an okay 5.76, but they've given up 18(!) sacks on the season. Could this be MAMADOU SMASH's time to shine again? He hasn't looked like one of the best backs in the MAC this season, but the Bulls may call his number more than they have this season to play keep-away from the potent Bruin offense. However, the best players on UCLA's defense are DE Blake Tipton (18 TKL, 1 INT, 6.5 Sacks) and ILB Norris Toney (37 TKL), and like Buffalo, the Bruin secondary is their weak point. Blair Holcomb gives the Bulls hope they can take advantage of the back four, but will they need to? Or should they even try to? Big decisions for Buffalo's offensive coordinator. Prediction: 38-31 This feels like a shootout, and we have a hard time seeing the Bulls secondary play well long enough to hold Steven Gore down, even with a swiss-cheese looking offensive line. Toledo (5-1) at UMass (0-6): non-conference Last Week: Toledo handily disposed of a lifeless NIU squad (W vs 31-3), while the Minutemen were an even more impressive doormat for the Vols (L at 0-35). No, we're not doing this. Just, no. Prediction: Toledo covers the 46.5 point spread.