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  1. A week without too much action has come and went. With only two games involving MAC teams, did that equate to a lot of status quo in the rankings? To the chart! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 7 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (58) #19* Western Michigan Broncos (3) 5-0 (3-0) W5 - 2 (57) #16* Toledo Rockets (2) 4-1 (3-0) W1 -1 3 (50) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-1 (3-0) W1 - 4 (41) Akron Zips 2-3 (1-2) L1 - 5 (39) Ball State Cardinals 3-2 (2-1) W3 - 6 (35) Ohio Bobcats 3-2 (2-1) L2 - 7 (30) Bowling Green Falcons 3-2 (0-1) W3 - 8 (28) Buffalo Bulls 2-3 (0-2) L1 - 9 (21) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-3 (1-2) L3 - 10 (16) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-4 (1-1) L1 - 11 (9) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-5 (0-3) L5 - 12 (6) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-5 (0-2) L5 - Numbers of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. * Coaches' Poll Ranking, week 7. The only change is at the top, where Toledo (barely) drops to second again. Everyone else? So, there just isn't much to discuss from Week 7. Neither game provided many significant talking points unless you want to re-hash how WMU RB DeSean Madison made a near-300 yard, 3 TD performance from WMU QB Chase Sims a mere footnote. But Week 8 promises to change that. This Week's MAC Slate... is full. And oh my are there some spicy games on tap: Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-4) at Liberty (0-5) Friday Night Central Michigan (2-3) at NC State (3-2)Eastern Michigan (0-5) at Ball State (3-2)* Saturday Morning Miami (OH) (4-1) at Buffalo (2-3)* Saturday Afternoon Miami (FL) (3-2) at Akron (2-3) Bowling Green (3-2) at Ohio (3-2)*Western Michigan (5-0) at Kent State (0-5)* Saturday Evening Vanderbilt (3-2) at Toledo (4-1) Byes: None The MAC Network's Pick to Click: Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2) at Toledo Rockets (4-1). Lot of important games on the schedule, but this OOC bout is critical for the Rockets. The dream of #Toledo2021 is on life support, so this high-profile game against a second visiting SEC squad is a must-win for Toledo in order to make the playoffs. Bowl Watch! Are we that far into the season already? Guess so, even though 2021's inaugural Bowl Watch only features one team. Bowl Watch is your one-stop shop for seeing which teams from Everyone's Favorite Conference are, could, or won't be making a bowl. Let's take a look! Eligible with win this week: W. Michigan (5-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  2. Disclaimer: Due to a cricket infestation in the office of Tim Timms, the MAC Recruiting Recap Show crew was unable to work this week. Fortunately the cricket issue has been solved and we will be back to a normal schedule from now. Sorry for the delay, welcome back everyone! I am your host Tim Timms, and its good to be back to look at the last two weeks of recruiting in the MAC. A pretty good two weeks for the MAC as 4 4.0 and 2 4.5 potential players were signed this week, as well as a bunch of 3.5 and below players. Also, we finally have at least 1 recruit to every team. TE Miles Hooker was a hotly contested target by Ohio and Kent State primarily, and he signed with the Bobcats in the last two weeks. 3 important CBs were signed in these two weeks, as WMU signed Michigan's top outside cover man in Damani Powell, looking to bring in what will hopefully be a player in the same stratosphere as Sean Taylor. Toledo signed CB DeVante Gilliam while CMU picked up their top target in Matthew Edmonds. Finally, Ball State got their QB of the future in Erik Parker out of Don Bosco Prep, NJ. Kent State moves up to #1 as they sign another 4.0+, while Toledo's average drops a bit, moving them down. Western Michigan retains the 3 spot, even though their class contains the most talent, while Ball State holds on to 4th. Ohio got a big signing this week, moving them from T-8th to T-5th, and CMU also jumps up after a big week for their recruiting department Committed Recruits (by potential) Total Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 2 Kent State 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 8.5 4.525 1 7 Toledo 1 1 1 2 1 1 7 26.5 3.79 1.79 14 Western Michigan 0 4 6 1 1 2 14 51.5 3.68 1.5 6 Ball State 0 0 5 1 0 0 6 21.5 3.58 2 3 Ohio 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 2.33 3 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 1.167 7 Central Michigan 0 2 4 1 0 0 7 24 3.43 1.07 3 Miami (OH) 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 10 3.33 1.17 23 Akron 0 14 8 0 0 0 23 74 3.22 1.26 19 Eastern Michigan 4 11 4 0 0 0 19 57 3 1.25 5 Northern Illinois 1 3 1 0 0 0 5 15 3 1.8 4 Bowling Green 1 3 0 0 0 0 4 11.5 2.88 1.38 The National Rankings are again a mixed bag, with WMU continuing to use their Playoff points well, continually climbing the rankings and almost having a top 30 class. The next three fall a bit despite making some solid signings, and then Ohio and CMU make massive jumps after strong weeks for them. The only other riser is Bowling Green after getting their first signings. Western Michigan (National rank: 31) +3 Toledo (National rank: 48) -5 Kent State (National rank: 76) -1 Akron (National rank: 84) -7 Ohio (National rank: 85) +25 Ball State (National rank: 88) +0 Central Michigan (National rank: 95) +27 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 98) -12 Miami (OH) (National rank: 109) -12 Buffalo (National rank: 115) -16 Northern Illinois (National rank: 119) -5 Bowling Green (National rank: 127) +3 Now to the analysis of the weekly and seasonal recruiting for each team Western Michigan (National rank: 31) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Here we go again. Jieret continues to use his newly gained recognition as a top collegiate coach and also the head of a rising program to secure even more talent for this roster. Vainu'upo (I will call him Vili from now on) looks to be another target for either Misu Curtis or potentially Gabe Baker, and he brings plenty of size, and he is heavier than their Tight End! Damani Powell is another top tier cornerback for the program, adding to a young and talented secondary. Looking forward: Gabe Baker is the man, as the Broncos look to build an aerial attack to rival or best the likes of Holcomb, Hanson and Cera. Nehemiah Daniel was snatched by Michigan State, but Vili will do just fine for the Broncos. Toledo (National rank: 48) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: An RB with a good floor and okay ceiling, a ready to get possession receiver and one of Ohio's top two corners represents another solid bit of work for Toledo, trying to make up for the disaster that was last year. Looking forward: Atamu Tatupu is wanting to be a Rocket, and Pittsburgh seems to be their main competition, and they could pose a big problem with their playoff prestige. DeVante Nesbitt was convinced by coach Rome to be a Bearcat, so the other main target is Alvin Hines, who they are leading Ohio on. A very good spot for the Rockets/ Kent State (Class rank: 76) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another quality defender, again from Ohio. It looks like Monroe will redshirt and be playing as a redshirt freshmen when Steven Gordon graduates, adding another quality piece to what is looking like a solid defence in a few years time. Looking forward: Kent State looks to sign some talent from out of state now including ILB Felder to pair with Maxwell and Merritt, WR A.J. Addison (2.0/3.0), as well as Jacob Kellogg and Makai Porter look to be at the top of their board. UTSA overtakes the race for C Isaac Grover, and sign Jermon Bailey away from the Flashes. Akron (National rank: 84) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: More depth this week for the Zips, nothing too special here. Looking forward: Akron still leads the race for Calvin Bernard, ahead of Miami (OH), and they still lead Kentucky on WR Ryan Buckner, as well as Ohio on Paul Boykin, another Blitz specialist outside linebacker. Ohio (National rank: 85) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Despite a strong push from Kent State, Hooker is going to Athens to pair up with Austin Lowe in a few seasons time, coming in at a perfect time to replace Aaron Thibodeaux as a redshirt freshmen. Looking forward: Clinton Noel followed Ryan Anthony Jr. to Penn State, leaving Ohio with a few less targets to chase after, as Drew Edge stays uninterested in the Bobcats. Also, they trail Toledo on Alvin Hines, as well as Temple on 4.5 potential OT Karl Koehler. Apart from that, Chad_Michael is looking at high skill 3.0 potential players to improve their depth situation. Ball State (National rank: 88) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Klemm has his man. Parker might not start straight away, but he gives Ball State a solid signal caller down the road, and a complement to potentially one of the conference's best running games. Looking forward: Louisville swooped in and took Gavin Pugh right out of the hands of Kentucky and Ball State, and C Isaac Grover was just introduced to a very interested UTSA. They still lead on Bruce Edmondson as another target for Parker, but as Kent State found out, Jermon Bailey signed his name down on a UTSA paper. Central Michigan (National rank: 95) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: A really good week here for johnkirk. Their top target, Edmonds, commits, and so do two solid pass protectors for Byron Suggs, as well as a potential back up to him, and a stand up pass rusher from Ohio. Looking forward: A huge week for the Chipps leaves a few less names to target, mainly pretty much all of the ones we were covering on the show. We will be back on the next installment with a fresh batch of recruits to have a gander at (hopefully) Eastern Michigan (National rank: 98) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing this week for the Eagles. Looking forward: EMU trails both San Jose State and Ohio State for C Sean Price, while DE Christopher Dorner was signed away by Sparty. One the bright side, they are still close-ish to CB David Jefferson, keeping within striking distance of Cincy. Miami (OH) (Class rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The Redhawks are having it rough this year, and Hammond is no real consolation for them. Looking forward: Miami is in second place on a lot of recruits, which is obviously quite painful for caesari, being so close yet so far to getting what could be a really nice class. They are in second for Calvin Bernard, Drew Edge and DeShaun Jackson, but have been completely ignored by Alvin Hines, Atamu Tatupu and Gavin Goode committed to Cincinnati. Buffalo (National rank: 115) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing for the Bulls this week. Looking forward: After being overtaken on both of their high potential recruits, Laquon Boston has now returned to favouring Buffalo over Army, giving them a hope at a redeeming factor in this year's class. Apart from him, it is mostly 3.5s on the board. Northern Illinois (National rank: 119) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another solid-ish QB for the seemingly never satisfied Huskies, giving them another option under center in a few years. Looking forward: The two main recruits left for Northern Illinois are both secondary players, who they both lead Illinois on. Johnathon Cooper and Tyus Rawls are the two remaining targets, and both have Northern Illinois as their top school. Hopefully the Huskies can finish strong with this class. Bowling Green (Class rank: 127) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The first recruits have signed to the Falcons, only depth players at the moment. Looking forward: DeVante Gilliam was snatched up by Toledo, leaving the Falcons with one less star player to target. Unfortunately for them, Micah Bean is now being courted by Louisville, who are giving him a fair bit of attention, leading to him putting them as his #1. Thanks for passing by again, I have been Tim TImms, and this has been a very delayed MAC Recruiting Recap show! We might have to have another episode covering 2 weeks, but we are trying to get back on tack, and remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" See you next time!
  3. Last Week's Picks: 7-0 Season to Date: 32-10 Welcome back to a restful week for Everyone's Favorite Conference! There are only two games on the docket, but coaches and fans across the conference will surely keep an eye on the results while they focus on their own practices and recruiting battles. Along with this week's silent special guest Owen Schmitt, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get to the games! Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-3) atArizona State (2-2) Last Week: Northern got that elusive first win (W at 28-16), while Arizona State celebrated a win of their own - their first commit! (BYE) Injuries:FS Ibrahim Marshall - OUT (Severe ACL Rupture) Charlie Sanford (17 of 32 for 209 yards, 2 TDs) had his best game of the season against Kent, but Arizona State is a bit stouter than the Golden Flashes. Defensively the Sun Devils get their push up front from the inside, courtesy of redshirt freshman Alpha Goldman (9 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.0 Sacks). The 300-pounder anchors their young defensive line - no one on it is older than a sophomore. But with that youth comes some struggle; as a team they only have about five sacks on the season. The good news for ASU is that the Huskies are likely to have one of the weaker offensive lines they've faced. The bad news is that NIU still has some capable players there, especially C Cooper O'Neill who will take on Goldman. It's very important for Northern that O'Neill and tackles Lorenzo Bales and Jermon McCullough control the line of scrimmage, not only to help Sanford out but also to help RB Julian Holcomb try and replicate his two-TD performance from last week. But ASU's best defensive player, OLB Timothy Greer (12 TKL, 1 TFL, 0.5 Sacks), is incredibly active and will throw a wrench in those plans. Greer will likely be key to the Sun Devils' ability to disrupt the Northern passing game, although CB Jeremy Tolliver will look to punish the Huskies if they throw in his direction. We don't like WR Nathaniel Alford's chances against him. Arizona State’s offense runs through Israel Carlson. The 5-star recruit is already living up to the billing as a redshirt freshman, averaging 136.75 rushing yards per game and scoring 6 rushing touchdowns this season. QB Parker Townsend (60 of 94 for 761 yards, 5/3 TD/INT, 19 rushes for 152 yards, 2 rush TDs, 1 Fum Lost) is capable in his own right, but his primary role in this offense seems to be to take advantage of the defense when they over-commit to stopping Carlson. Northern Illinois will likely load up to stop the run and try to make Parker Townsend win the game with his arm. Hopefully this attempt works better than the last time they played a similar team; against Western Michigan in week 5 they gave up 136 yards and 3 TDs to DeSean Madison and 299 passing with 2 passing TDs to Chase Sims. Perhaps a scheme change is the tonic - we've heard whispers from Huskie insiders that they are strongly considering moving to a 3-4. This lets ILBs Kieran Linn (13 TKL, 1 INT) and Oliver McNeal (16 TKL, 1 TFL) play in their natural positions, but talented DT Thierno Thomas (5 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) may be miscast as a nose tackle. Prediction: 30-21 Whether or not Northern is moving to a 3-4, it's hard to see the Huskies bottling Carlson up. We expect him to have a big day, and while there are holes in the Sun Devil defense we don't think NIU will be able to consistently take advantage of them. Not with Greer and ILB Omar Gore controlling the middle of the field. Saturday Morning Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-2) at Western Michigan (4-0, 2-0) Last Week: Eastern felt Toledo’s frustrations firsthand (L vs. 6-42), while Western won thanks to DeSean Madison and their… defense? (W vs. 20-10) Injuries: None We’re truly blessed. A week after the Ball State Daily published an excellent preview of their game against Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan has a very comprehensive preview of their game against Western Michigan. Check it out! Eastern’s preview covered the majority of what we would talk about, but we’ll add a couple of things. Defensively, we’re not sure why the Eagles are the conference’s worst in several metrics: Points allowed/game, Yards allowed/game, and Opponent’s 3rd down conversion percentage. It’s a bit puzzling because although Eastern is not an elite defense, they aren’t the MAC’s worst on paper - yet here we are. The fine folks in Ypsilanti hope that new coach @tsweezy brings a fire to light under an underperforming group. They’ll need it - RB DeSean Madison leads the conference in rushing touchdowns (10) and rushing yards per game (143.7). They would also love it if tsweezy could do the same with the offense. The Eagles have struggled there as well although not to the same extent. However, averaging only 1.75 offensive touchdowns per game is very much no bueno and won’t cut it against a Bronco team averaging over 30 points a contest. EMU is seemingly built to run the ball, but Chris Morton (2 TDs, 41.75 rypg) simply has not been up to the task. Will the Eagles just disavow the running game until redshirted stud Tyler Pearson is ready next year? We expect Eastern will try to attack the middle of the field against the Broncos’ linebacking corps but that's not an area they've seemingly gone to often; TE Amir Nixon only has nine catches on the season for 108 yards. Prediction: 27-14 Expect EMU ILBs Julien Rinehart and Mosi Gary to rack up a lot of tackles on Madison at the second level. If Eastern sells out on the run like we expect, Sims will probably continue his incredibly efficient passing versus an Eagle secondary that’s going to be left on islands. On top of that we just don’t think that Giovanni Shaw and company have the horses to keep pace offensively. Byes: Akron (2-3), Ball State (3-2), Bowling Green (3-2), Buffalo (2-3), Central Michigan (2-3), Kent State (0-5), Miami (OH) (4-1), Ohio (3-2), Toledo (4-1) On behalf of silent special guest star Owen Schmitt and #MACtion Jenny (in absentia), this is Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack"). Until next time!
  4. So today folks, we're gonna take a bit of the Titanium White and mix it in with some Van Dyke Brown. Add a little dab of Titanium Blue, and we're just gonna paint some happy little MAC Charts of Dubious Value right over here. Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 6 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1-tie (46) #15* Toledo Rockets (2) 4-1 (3-0) W1 +1 1-tie (46) #24* Western Michigan Broncos (2) 4-0 (2-0) W4 - 3 (40) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-1 (3-0) W1 +1 4 (33) Akron Zips 2-3 (1-2) L1 -1 5 (31) Ball State Cardinals 3-2 (2-1) W3 +1 6 (29) Ohio Bobcats 3-2 (2-1) L2 -1 7 (24) Bowling Green Falcons 3-2 (0-1) W3 +1 8 (22) Buffalo Bulls 2-3 (0-2) L1 -2 9 (16) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-3 (1-2) L3 -1 10 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-3 (1-1) W1 +1 11 (8) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-4 (0-2) L4 -1 12 (4) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-5 (0-2) L5 - Numbers of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. * Coaches' Poll Ranking for week 5. Another week, another tie as Toledo climbs back atop the poll and shares the summit with Western Michigan once again. It's really starting to look like these two teams will be locked into the top two spots until they meet in week 13, probably for the MAC West. Best!Miami is hovering right below them after holding off Akron, and the Redhawks' week 16 matchup with the Bobcats is likely to decide the MAC East. Continuing their surge up the chart are the Ball State Cardinals and coach @npklemm, who recently set an ambitious goal for his team to be the unofficial winners of the Michigan MAC Trophy. They're one-third of the way there after dispatching Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan is next for them. Likewise sliding down are a pair of traditional powers in the East, Ohio and Buffalo. Ohio's run into a pair of tough opponents in Akron and Hawaii, while Buffalo's weaknesses on the line and in the kicking game were on display once again. Add to that rumors that their coach is considering leaving.... The NIU Huskies make a small jump up the chart with their first win of the season. Congrats on getting rid of the goose egg! This Week's MAC slate is... not so full this time: Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-3) at Arizona State (2-2) Saturday Morning Eastern Michigan (0-4) at Western Michigan (4-0)* The Network's Pick to Click: Eastern Michigan (0-4) at Western Michigan (4-0). It's slim pickings, but this is the official first game to decide the Michigan MAC Trophy's home for 2021. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  5. Last Week's Picks: 4-4 Season to Date: 25-10 Last week didn't go so swimmingly for Everyone's Favorite Conference, as the Redhawks and Rockets lost close games to ranked opponents. This week the focus turns inward as the majority of our #MACtion is conference-based. For this week's silent special guest Derrick Fenner, I'm Bruce Baguen. To the (long-awaited) games! Thursday Night New Mexico State (0-4) at Bowling Green (2-2) Last Week: The Aggies’ search for their first program win continues (L at 14-19), while the Falcons managed to win their second straight without a coach. (W at 24-45) Injuries: None There’s really not much to say here. NMSU has some players with pro potential such as LT Shane Hardison and LG Donald Reilly, and coach Jamarquan has the right idea in featuring the offense around RB Shane Walker (101 rushes for 444 yards, 5 TDs in 4 games). But first-year teams just come with too many holes to compete against established FBS schools. This should be a nice welcoming present for new Falcons coach @Jhaa4 - if he shows up. He might have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Prediction: 38-7 The bigger battle this week for Bowling Green will be on the recruiting trail. Ball State (2-2 overall, 1-1 conf.) at Central Michigan (2-2, 1-1) Last Week: The Cardinals avoided the dreaded 21-3 curse in a comfortable win (W at 28-17), while there was no fourth quarter magic for the Chips this time. (L vs. 17-21) Injuries: RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) This is a very important conference matchup, one that both teams believe they can win. A victory here goes a long way toward a bowl berth and towards staying in contention for the MAC West. An aside here: The MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!") loves seeing more coverage of any and all things MAC, and the Ball State Daily put out an excellent preview of this game. You should totally check it out! Warning signs are popping up all over the offense for the Chippewas. QB Byron Suggs (75 of 126 for 896 yards, 7/4 TD/INT) is also their leading rusher for the season (23 rushes for 139 yards, 1 TD). Granted that's with starting RB Makai Carr (49 rushes for 129 yards, 1 TD) missing a game to an ankle injury, but look at these numbers: 52, 99, 51. Those are their rushing yardage totals for their last three games. With the running game struggling Suggs is feeling the pressure to try and do more himself, and it allows opposing defenses to just tee off on him. The freshman QB is the face of the CMU offense, yes, but he needs help from both the running game and from his wideouts. Suggs' 7.11 YPA shows a lack of successful deep shots and while TE Jasper Rowley has picked up some slack lately (14 rec for 234 yards, 2 TD, 2 Drops), WR Joseph Aikman is struggling. The big freshman (17 rec for 225 yards, 3 TD, 2 Drops) hasn't broken 70 yards since week 1 and has more drops over the last three games (2) than TDs (1). He and Suggs need to find that chemistry that they showed in week 1 where Aikman had 102 receiving yards and 2 TDs. Obviously Ball State has no interest in letting that happen. Their "bend don't break" defense worked very well against the Blazers last week, limiting UAB's Lorenzo Deaton to 82 yards on 20 carries and harrassing poor Elijah Currie-Madison into a woeful 13/25 for 140, 1 TD, 1 INT day. Granted Central is much more talented offensively than UAB. But that's where DE/DT Isamaeli Afamasaga (5 TKL, 2 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) and DT Rashaad Malcolm (6 TKL, 2.0 Sacks) come in against a Chips O-line ranked eighth in the conference, while SS DeAndre Simms cleans up on the back end (12 TKL, 0.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 1 PD). Ball State has won their last two. RB Austin Laws has had back-to-back 100-yard days. Coincidence? We think not. Laws (88 rushes for 371 yards, 3 TDs) has been an underrated back for years, although that was due to the Cardinals' consistent struggles - in the past he's put up some good numbers on some bad teams. Will this be a repeat? That depends on Elias Carter. The Drifter has pedestrian numbers (55 of 93 for 692 yards, 4/4 TD/INT) but his last two games have looked much better than the 125-yard clunkers he put up in the first two. We're not saying the 16 or 26 for 209 with a TD and an INT he had against UAB is ideal, but as long as Carter shows sufficient game manager skills at QB that's all coach @npklemm wants out of him. This might be a game where the Cardinals can use their short passing game to good effect, running lots of option routes with Jayson Zarate-Lima and Sebastian Amato against a cornerback duo of 3-star Sebastian Simpson and redshirt freshman DeSean Mathis who are probably the weak spot on the Central defense. CMU defensive ends Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough have five of the six Chippewa sacks on the year, yet they are going to be asked to take the lead on bottling Laws up and force Carter to make plays. It's going to be harder for them this week than last, UTSA doesn't have an offensive lineman as talented as LT Aiden Hammer. Can NT Jabari Hardy step up? He hasn't made the box score yet and while his role is primarily to eat up blockers for the linebackers, it sure would be nice for the Chips if he can make some plays and force Carter into uncomfortable decisions. Prediction: 27-17 Ball State is finding its groove while Central is scuffling. We're not sure that the Chips offense will rediscover the form they showed in week 1, which they'll need to keep pace with a rejuvenated Austin Laws. Friday Night Northern Illinois (0-3 overall, 0-2 conf.) at Kent State (0-4, 0-1) Last Week: The Huskies regrouped (BYE), while all things considered a 26-point loss to a ranked team on the road doesn't look horrible for the Golden Flashes. (L at 0-26) Injuries: FB Harrison Mullin - OUT (Severe Achilles Rupture) This one is also an important conference game, but for a different reason: Someone's going to have a win after this game! It's hard to say what NIU is trying to do on offense, because neither QB Charlie Sanford (40 of 67 for 462 yards, 3/4 TD/INT, 154.0 YPG) nor RB Julian Holcomb (55 rushes for 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 Fum Lost) have been effective through the Huskies' first three games. Even Sanford's three TDs are a bit misleading, as two of them came in garbage time after the game was already over. Two numbers that aren't misleading are NIU's OL rating of 4.87 (third-worst in the conference), and 25.58% (NIU's 3rd down conversion rate). When the offense continually finds itself in third and long situations, they typically don't get to stay on the field. (We'll come back to these stats later.) Facing overmatched CBs Alpha McNeill and Gregory Ponder Northern may be tempted to air it out, except that Kent State's best defender SS Steven Gordon (14 TKL, 1 INT, 1 PD) is in support there. Is that a gamble they want to make, even if by stats WR Nathaniel Alford (12 rec for 180 yards, 3 TDs) is their best offensive weapon right now? The Huskies may best be served by staying patient with Holcomb and expecting a beleaguered OL to wear down a front seven giving up the second-most rushing yards in the MAC (115.25). Take 90% of everything we've said up above about NIU's offense, remove the names, and put them against a defense marginally better than Kent State's. That's basically Kent State's offense versus NIU's defense. What's odd is that the Huskies have good talent on defense such as ATH/MLB Oliver McNeal, ILB Kieran Linn, and CB Samuel Echols, yet the average score in a typical NIU game this season? Opponent 30, NIU 12.33. What's going on? They are shorthanded at CB - only three on the roster, and playing Linn out of position at OLB, so that's not helping. They're just thin all over the roster except at MLB; the Huskies have 11(!) ILBs on the roster including McNeal. Good thing for them that they're playing against an offense scuffling even worse than their own. Remember we were going to come back to the horrific NIU offensive stats? (4.87 OL rating and 25.58% 3rd down conv.) 3.93 and 22%. Those are Kent State's numbers for those same stats - even worse. These numbers also come with another - 12, as in sacks surrendered. That's 3 times per game QB John Garland goes down with the ball in his hands behind the line. The Kent State coaching staff has tried almost everything to keep the games close, but basically nothing has worked. Garland is completing just over 50 percent of his passes, RB James Ridley-Henley is rushing for just over 50 yards a game since "Ol' Reliable" Harrison Mullin tore his Achilles. Again Kent State has played a rough stretch of games, but they won't have that excuse this week if they struggle again. So is this where the Golden Flashes say, "Damn the Torpedoes?" Will Kent State pull out all the stops in this game? Looking at their remaining schedule, this is perhaps the best chance they have to get that elusive first win. The talent disparity between them and Northern Illinois isn't as obvious as it is with other teams, especially looking at NIU's offense vs. Kent State's defense. Prediction: 17-14 Kent State's done it before, pulling out games where they looked outclassed. We're sure they'll do it again at some point this season, but it's hard to predict when so we can't in good conscience call it here*. Not against a team with a bit more talent spread across the roster and an active coach. We think this will be a sluggish, conservative game. What we don't think will happen is Northern playing reckless enough to give the Golden Flashes the openings they need to pull this out. (* It's Akron. When in doubt choose the Akron game) (Saturday to follow)
  6. Live! From studio B Everyone's Favorite Conference Network, it's this week's Chart of Dubious Value! Ladies and gentlemen, did you think there wasn't enough change? Were the not enough green and red numbers for your taste? We've got your fix! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 5 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (47) #24 Western Michigan Broncos (3) 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 2 (45) #15 Toledo Rockets (1) 3-1 (1-0) L1 -1 3 (39) Akron Zips 2-2 (1-1) W1 +2 4 (36) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-1 (2-0) L1 -1 5 (31) Ohio Bobcats 3-1 (2-1) L1 -2 6-tie (26) Ball State Cardinals 2-2 (1-1) W2 +2 6-tie (26) Buffalo Bulls 2-2 (0-1) W1 +1 8-tie (19) Bowling Green Falcons 2-2 (0-1) W2 +1 8-tie (19) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-2 (1-1) L2 -2 10 (11) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-1) L3 - 11 (8) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-3 (0-2) L3 - 12 (5) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-4 (0-1) L4 - Numbers of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. We don't think we've seen this before. A team ranked higher in the Coaches Poll ranked lower in the Power Rankings. Is it that Toledo has a one in the loss column and Western doesn't? Is it that Toledo's starting left tackle is out until Week 11 or so? Who knows? But the numbers are what they are, and so these are the results. We also don't think we've seen two ties before - we certainly don't recall seeing two back to back like this. Ball State and Bowling Green are riding the waves of good play to surf on up the rankings, forcing ties with Buffalo and Central Michigan respectively. We haven't forgotten about Akron. This season's MAC Team No One Can Figure Out (previous winners: 2020 Kent State, 2019 Akron) doubled up Ohio in the first half en route to a thrilling 40-35 win. The voters haven't forgotten either, shooting them past the Bobcats and a Redhawk team that barely fell to Air Force. This Week's Slate is a full one: Thursday Night New Mexico State (0-4) at Bowling Green (2-2)Ball State (2-2) at Central Michigan (2-2)* Friday Night Northern Illinois (0-3) at Kent State (0-4)* Saturday Morning Miami (OH) (3-1) at Akron (2-2)* Buffalo (2-2) at Western Michigan (3-0)* Toledo (3-1) at Eastern Michigan (0-3)* Saturday Afternoon Ohio (3-1) at Hawaii (1-2) The Network's Pick to Click: Miami (OH) (3-1) at Akron (2-2). A critical battle that gives the winner a big leg up in the MAC East division race. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  7. Last Week's Picks: 4-2 Season to Date: 21-6 A big week this week for Everyone's Favorite Conference, including a huge statement game for the Conference in general and a certain team's playoff hopes! For this week's silent special guest David Kirtman, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get going on the games! Thursday Night UTSA (1-2) at Central Michigan (2-1) Last Week: The Roadrunners couldn’t come back from a 21-7 deficit (L at 23-27), while the Chips lost a hard-fought game to the Bobcats in double overtime (L vs. 23-29) Injuries: RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) UTSA was a preseason dark horse favorite to challenge perennial C-USA powerhouse Rice for the conference crown, and they looked like they would vindicate that faith when they knocked off a USF team that harbored 2021 playoff aspirations. Then they dropped games to Memphis and Marshall, and it’s kind of interesting how those teams beat the Roadrunners. When you look at the UTSA offense you would think that with QB Justin Radford (55 of 93 for 717 yards, 6/4 TD/INT) throwing to NFL prospect WR Sebastian Porter (17 rec for 210 yards, 3 TDs, 2 drops) and Tyler Hansen (11 rec for 189 yards, 1 TD), the passing game is the aspect of the Roadrunner offense that needs to be contained. Yet their two losses came when 6’1” 165-lb (!) Power RB (!!!) Elias Cameron was held to around 15 carries and Radford threw 30+ times. And while Marshall did it by jumping on UTSA early and forcing them to play catch-up, that doesn’t explain the playcalling for a Memphis game that was close until the second half. Is this a gameplan the Chips would follow though? While their front seven is the best part of their defense, and they are more comfortable defending against the run, how will coach @johnkirk decide to support his secondary? Will he trust his back four against Radford, Porter, and Hansen enough to focus on shutting down Cameron and letting DEs Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough loose on the Texas freshman QB? Byron Suggs almost did it. The redshirt freshman threw two fourth quarter TDs and led the team down the field a third time to get the tying FG and send the game into overtime, but it wasn’t enough. Thus is the up-and-down life of the most watched freshman in the MAC. He finished with good-looking stats (21 of 36 for 278 yards, 2/1 TD/INT, 8 rushes for 42 yards) but they were pretty bad until the fourth. Yeah, but that fourth quarter though. Yeah, but everything before that though. In all fairness Ohio is a really good team and Suggs had little help. WR William Coates lost a fumble. Fellow freshman Joseph Aikman had a bad drop. Backup RB Patrick Thurman struggled to get going (15 carries for 57 yards). Having Makai Carr back in the lineup will help; he’ll probably be better suited than Thurman to take on a linebacking corps that is the veteran presence on an otherwise young Roadrunner defense. And we mean young; there are six freshmen or sophomores starting for UTSA, including their nose tackle Eli Lalana and cornerbacks Dillon Bradley and Joshua Finney. All three are promising 4-star prospects but are still growing into that promise. But their teammate, Will linebacker Paul Quick? He’s pretty much there. Quick lives up to his name, flying all over the field to make stops. He is the Roadrunner’s leading tackler with 13 and is integral to their defense. But outside of him the UTSA defense's youth shows in its inconsistency. They held USF to 214 yards and 21 points in their win, surrendered only 238 yards but 31 points in a loss to Memphis, and 419 yards and 27 points last week to Marshall. That's not a good trend line for any defense. Even more worrying is the way Marshall racked up the yards - however they wanted. Herd QB Brandon Adler completed 72% of his passes for 273 yards and 2 TDs while RB Cayden Gipson had 140 and a score on the ground. Prediction: 31-28 This may be a slight homer pick. On paper you'd probably give the overall edge to the Roadrunners, but Byron Suggs is the more dynamic of the two QBs and already shown the ability to bring his team back. Add that to the Mt. Pleasant atmosphere and fact that the Chips are playing better right now, and we'll take the hometown MAC team. (Friday and Saturday to follow.)
  8. From Everyone's Favorite Conference, the MAC Network present the 2021 season's fourth Chart Of Dubious Value! This week saw quite a few interesting games, so how did the voters process all of this? Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 4 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1-tie (69)* #11 Toledo Rockets (3) 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 1-tie (69)* Western Michigan Broncos (3) 3-0 (1-0) W3 +1 3 (59) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 4 (52) Ohio Bobcats 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 5 (48) Akron Zips 1-2 (0-1) L1 - 6 (38) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-1 (1-1) L1 +1 7 (34) Buffalo Bulls 1-2 (0-1) L1 -1 8 (33) Ball State Cardinals 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 9 (26) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 10 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-1) L3 -2 11 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-3 (0-2) L3 - 12 (8) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-3 (0-1) L3 - Numbers of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Ooh, movement! Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first tie atop the polls in the history of these Power Rankings for as long as we can remember. Toledo and Western Michigan have the honors of sharing the summit, and Best!Miami and Ohio aren't far behind. This week's #QUALITYLOSS winner goes to the Akron Zips, who gave the visiting Rockets all they could handle! Eastern Michigan will surely be happy to hand that trophy over to them. Runner-up goes to CMU and their double-overtime roller coaster against Ohio. Ball State continues their climb out of the basement ending up just behind the Buffalo squad they beat, while Bowling Green parlayed their kinda-surprising-but-not-as-much-as-you-think win into a bit of upward mobility. Buffalo's hanging in there, but they have some issues that are getting harder to work around. The week's most intriguing matchup is a big step towards the fulfillment of #TOLEDO2021, with 11th-ranked Toledo welcoming the #15 Gators of Florida to Ohio. Don't sleep on Best!Miami hosting Air Force either, bound to be some fireworks in that one! This Week's Slate: Thursday Night UTSA (1-2) at Central Michigan (2-1) Friday Night Ball State (1-2) at UAB (1-2) Bowling Green (1-2) at UMass (0-3) Buffalo (1-2) at Liberty (0-3) Saturday Morning Akron (1-2) at Ohio (3-0)* Saturday Afternoon Kent State (0-3) at Illinois (3-0) Saturday Evening Air Force (3-0) at Miami (OH) (3-0) Florida (3-0) at Toledo (3-0) Byes: Eastern Michigan (0-3), Northern Illinois (0-3), Western Michigan (3-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" *Nice.
  9. Welcome back everybody! I am your host Tim Timms, and we are back to look at the second week of recruiting commits to the MAC for 2021. A solid week for the MAC this week, with two big time playmakers on defense and one on offense, two of which went to Western Michigan. FS Julius Reese was projected by some as the #2 free safety in the nation, and one of the best players in the Midwest, adding to the talented core of Kayden Soriano and Julius's long-lost brother (or so we hope) Christian. OLB Shiloh Maxwell was one of the top 4 players in Ohio, and the second OLB to Blake Gauthier, and he will anchor the Kent State defense along side Geno Mason for years to come. Also, WMU's signing of tweener TE William Griggs adds a dynamic option to an offense that is compiling more and more such weapons. Miami brought in two solid players on the defensive line, and Akron and EMU continued to bring a number of players. A major shift in the table, as Kent State jumps to second with their lone signee, and WMU jumps to 3rd, while Miami goes from the bottom to 5th place, equal with Ball State and Buffalo, but not a lot else happening on this front. Committed Recruits (by potential) Total Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 3 Toledo 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 13.5 4.5 1.33 1 Kent State 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4.5 4.5 1 10 Western Michigan 0 2 6 0 0 2 10 37 3.7 1.65 5 Ball State 0 0 5 0 0 0 5 17.5 3.5 2.2 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 3.5 1.25 3 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 1 21 Akron 0 13 8 0 0 0 21 67 3.19 1.29 19 Eastern Michigan 4 11 4 0 0 0 19 57 3 1.32 2 Ohio 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 6 3 3 1 Central Michigan 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 3 1 4 Northern Illinois 1 3 0 0 0 0 4 11.5 2.87 2.625 0 Bowling Green 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 This week in the National Rankings there were some big jumps, particularly from Kent State, with one player changing the perception of their entire class entirely. Also, Western and Miami (OH) both jumped up significantly. Akron was the only other team to rise, as the rest struggled to sign any recruits at all. Toledo (National rank: 43) -16 Western Michigan (National rank: 34) +43 Kent State (National rank: 76) +55 Akron (National rank: 77) +2 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 86) -4 Ball State (National rank: 88) -7 Buffalo (National rank: 99) +8 Miami (OH) (National rank: 109) +13 Ohio (National rank: 110) -12 Northern Illinois (National rank: 114) -14 Central Michigan (National rank: 122) -11 Bowling Green (National rank: 130) -4 On to the analysis of each team's weekly recruiting efforts Toledo (National rank: 41) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No commitments this week for the Rockets, but they stay in good position across the board Looking forward: Toledo is being the Toledo of years not named 2020, dominating Ohio and building up one of if not the most talented core in the MAC, and they look to continue this by leading on DeVante Gilliam, and being second to Cincinnati for DeVante Nesbitt, Ohio's top outside cover men. Toledo is also leading the race to sign the talented Atamu Tatupu, with Pittsburgh and Miami (OH) following closely, in what will be a bloody fight for the speedy wideout. Western Michigan (National rank: 53) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: A huge week for the Broncos, signing 2 5.0s, including the #2 FS in the nation by some sources, and one of the best Move Tight Ends in the nation, despite his Wide Receiver frame. Looking forward: WMU is not done yet, almost having secured the services of Gabe Baker, one of the top 7 QB's in the nation, despite a challenge from Michigan. Western also leads on Rafael Montanez, the 3.5 potential OT from Texas, and Nehemiah Daniel, another Michigan native to catch passes from Baker in the years to come. I, for one, welcome our new Bronco overlords. Kent State (Class rank: 75) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Their first signing of 2021 is similar to 2020, signing another 4.5 potential defender from Ohio, coming almost out of nowhere to steal Shiloh Maxwell from the clutches of Ohio. Looking forward: Kent State tried to make a move on TE Miles Hooker, but were unable to gain significant ground on the Bobcats, but they are leading on SS Aiden Monroe, keeping Western Kentucky and Temple at bay. They are looking out of state at C Isaac Grover, WR Jermon Bailey, and P Walt Cote (all 2.5/3.5), as well as WR Jacob Kellogg (1.0/4.0) and ILB Dwayne Felder (1.5/4.0). The Golden Flashes are spread across the country, trying to use their new-found fame to attract recruits who have received less attention than they may have deserved. Akron (National rank: 78) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another big lot of signings by the Zips this week, with a focus on the offensive line. Looking forward: They got signatures from two of the players we highlighted last week: OG Maurice Longoria and OT Nick Irvin. Now, they look to get their only 4.0+ potential player so far, FS Calvin Bernard, who they lead the race for over Miami (OH). Two other players on their radar are OLB Paul Boykin, who they lead Ohio for, and WR Ryan Buckner, who is being lightly contested by Kentucky. Ball State (National rank: 89) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Ball State keeps with the plan of taking 3.5 potential players with higher floors from Florida, with another two this week. Looking forward: The Cards want Erik Parker to be their signal caller of the future, and it looks like it will be that way, as they retain a large lead on him. Another player with 4.0 potential they are eyeing is OLB Gavin Pugh, who the instate Kentucky lead Ball State on with some comfort. After signing one target for their QB of the future, they are also looking at Jermon Bailey, who has Kent State in first place, and Bruce Edmondson, who Ball State lead on, to be targets for him in the future. Eastern Michigan (National rank: 90) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Eastern Michigan continues to build a big class, bringing in 7 more recruits, but only one with a potential of 3.5. Looking forward: All the prospects highlighted last week for the Eagles are all committed, so on to some new ones. CB David Jefferson (1.5/3.5) is favouring Cincy, but EMU isn't too far behind, and they are in a similar spot with DE Christopher Dorner (1.0/3.5), this time behind Michigan State. Also, they are behind both SJSU and OSU for C Sean Price (1.0/3.5). Miami (OH) (Class rank: 104) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Solid depth being picked up on the defensive line with two boys from instate, both of which will see some time as backups and later in their time at Miami as starters. Looking forward: The Redhawks still lead on Alvin Hines, breaking away from Ohio and leaving Toledo in the dust for now. Shamar Wiley has only received any attention from Miami, so expect him to commit soon. The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky have vaulted into the lead for QB DeShaun Jackson, and Miami now has to decide who to target between him and Atamu Tatupu, who they are behind Toledo and Pitt in terms of interest. Akron now leads on Calvin Bernard, but Miami is a close second with no one else close, and they are all but out of the picture for DeVante Nesbitt. Miami is also trailing Cincinnati in the race for SS Gavin Goode (2.0/4.0), the top safety in Ohio. Finally, Drew Edge is one prospect that caesari can feel good about, having breathing room in front of Ohio State, and no one else particularly close behind them. Ohio (National rank: 106) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No croots this week, and Ohio lost Shiloh Maxwell, who they were leading on for the majority of the season to date, but were jumped by Kent State in the last few weeks. Looking forward: Ohio is in a few major battles, and a few of these aren't looking good for the Bobcats. Despite Penn State being interested, DE Clinton Noel has Ohio down as his #1, and with a bit of space now they might pull away from the repeat national champions. they are still trailing for Alvin Hines, but are not impossibly far away from Miami (OH), and they retain their lead on TE Miles Hooker, holding back Kent State and Temple. Linebackers didn't seem to like Ohio, or vice versa, as ILB Ryan Anthony Jr commited to Penn State last week, and OLB Drew Edge is now leaving them out of the picture. Northern Illinois (National rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No commits this week for Coach subsequent Looking forward: Northern Illinois stick with their strategy of going after the big fish, Freddie Cooper, and they are leading Illinois to be the team to get his commitment. Also, they are leading on CB Tyus Rawls (1.0/3.5), ahead of Illinois and Northwestern, and QB Nathan John, who they are in a comfortable lead for. Buffalo (National rank: 115) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Two more solid players, but none of the stars they were hoping for. Looking forward: Not looking good for Seth here, both of the big recruits that they were gunning for are starting to favour other schools. Eric Lanier, one of the two best road paving tackles in the country has been courted by Penn State, and Buffalo isn't close on this one. This was always going to be a tough one, considering they are fighting perhaps the most prestigious university, and as he was from Pennsylvania that was an added hurdle for the Buffs. Laquon Boston, the best man-to-man defender in this class, is now being favoured by Army, putting this class in real danger of producing nothing more than a group of 3.5 potential players. Central Michigan (National rank: 119) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing big this week for the Chipps. Looking forward: Central Michigan retains a big lead on CB Matthew Edmonds, who might commit next week, and they retain their leads on Bill Mccauley and Viliamu Mea'ole, and Mccauley may commit soon, however, they have been overtaken by Akron on Javon McCoy, and we will see how that pans out. They are also leading Indiana on C Noah Patrick (1.0/3.0). Bowling Green (Class rank: 129) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The Falcons are now the only MAC team without a commitment yet. Looking forward: The Falcons stay in second for one of their big targets DeVante Gilliam, but they are going to have to change something to stop Toledo from building a lead. They do have a chance because Toledo is involved in so many battles, they may begin to get spread too thin to cope. Also, Bowling Green still leads on Micah Bean, and these two look to be the stars of the class. Thank you for tuning into another installment of the MAC Recruiting Recap Show. Looking forward to seeing you all next week, and until then remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" See you next time!
  10. Last Week's Picks: 7-0 Season to Date: 17-4 Welcome back for yet another exciting week in Everyone's Favorite Conference! Conference play becomes more prevalent this week, although the OOC slate presents some statement games if they can be won. Along with this week's silent special guest Will Tukuafu, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get to it! Thursday Night Ohio (2-0 overall, 1-0 conf.) at Central Michigan (2-0, 1-0) Last Week: The Bobcats fended off the visiting Eagles (W vs. 23-20), while Central took a week to figure out how to get the Byron Suggs Hype Train back on track (BYE). Injuries: WR Charlie Link - Probable (Mild Concussion) RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) The biggest storyline of this game is definitely Central Michigan's offense versus Ohio's defense. After an outstanding debut CMU QB Byron Suggs struggled against Northern Illinois, only throwing for 166 yards and running for 27 more. With his top receiver Joseph Aikman being shadowed and shut down by NIU standout CB Samuel Echols (3 rec for 22 yards), Suggs was able to find WR2 Richard Mace (6 for 56) and TE Jasper Rowley (2 for 51, 1 TD) enough to get the win. But did this game provide a blueprint of how to contain the Central offense, or will the Chips be able to adjust? It didn't help that leading rusher Makai Carr was ineffective (16 rushes for 25 yards) and hobbled by an ankle sprain; coach @johnkirk is not taking any chances with Carr's health and starting backup Patrick Thurman against a formidable Bobcat front seven. We're sure the Bobcats noticed what NIU could do against CMU's passing attack. Their cornerback group is in a similar situation to NIU's; a top-flight #1 CB with a not-bad #2 and an untested #3. Shawn Tillman will draw the job of shadowing Aikman, while Savion Willingham gets Mace. Highly-touted but raw nickelback Cooper Rainey is the one to watch here, as either William Coates or Mendy Schofield could take advantage of him if Suggs has enough time. Will Suggs have time? Although his offensive line is playing better than it was last year, it still isn't great - their rating of 5.15 ranks 7th in the conference. Against a formidable 3-4 front with probably the best linebacking group in the MAC, the Chips OL has to step up their game. We're especially looking at the right side of the line, where RG Roman Yarbrough and RT Rocco McDonough will have their hands full with DE Chase Woodson who already owns a pair of sacks on the season. We're not exactly liking Thurman's chances to bust loose against DT Brady Whittaker and ILBs Calvin Blue and Finn Ricketts either. With the offense scuffling, the Chippewas needed their defense to step up against the Huskies - and they did. Central's bookends Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough each had a sack and their starting corners Sebastian Simpson and DeSean Mathis each had a pick - talk about symmetry. The Chips will need repeat performances this week; the Bobcats have a significantly better offense than what the Huskies presented. Ohio's own freshman QB phenom Austin Lowe is off to a sterling start through two games; a completion rate over 68% with an average of 304.5 passing yards per game and 4 TDs with no interceptions to his credit. He hasn't been shy about spread it out either; none of his receivers have yet hit 200 yards on the season although senior Dwayne Simpson (16 rec for 189, 2 TDs) comes closest. With Lowe playing well Ohio's opponents can no longer simply focus on the ground game, although RB Jeffrey Flowers (36 carries for 249 yards, 2 TDs, 6.92 YPC) makes them wish they could. The base Chippewa defensive scheme isn't overly aggressive, but they may need to incorporate some exotic packages to force early stops. One of the reasons Eastern Michigan was able to keep it so close against Ohio last week was the pressure the Eagles put on Lowe, especially coming from the defensive left side courtesy of DE Kyle Whitten. The Chips secondary isn't likely to hold up for 6-7 seconds of coverage if Lowe has time, so Tatum-Kimbrough and Bolin will be key to denying Lowe that time. Prediction: 30-17 This is a matchup of unbeatens, but Ohio is clearly the better team. Not a knock on Central who are much improved over last year, but the talent is greater for the Bobcats on both sides of the ball. We especially think Ohio's offense will be able to push the Chips defense around and keep them off-balance. Central will try to keep pace, but we're skeptical of their ability to present a significant running game here and that will allow the Ohio front seven to come after Byron Suggs relentlessly. (Friday and Saturday to follow.)
  11. It's that moment you've all been waiting for, ladies and gentlemen, the season's third MAC Chart Of Dubious Value! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 3 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (70) #9 Toledo Rockets (4) 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 2 (68) #25 Western Michigan Broncos (2) 2-0 (0-0) W2 - 3 (60) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 4 (52) Ohio Bobcats 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 5 (46) Akron Zips 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 6 (44) Buffalo Bulls 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 7 (37) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 8 (31) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-2 (0-1) L2 - 9 (20) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-1) L2 +1 10 (18) Bowling Green Falcons 0-2 (0-1) L2 -1 11 (14) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-2 (0-1) L2 - 12 (8) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-3 (0-1) L3 - Numbers of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. With last week's results being pretty much what most thought they would be, there isn't much to talk about overall. Bowling Green and Ball State swapping spots is the only movement, but considering the margins of not-victory in their respective games that isn't a surprise. Eastern retains its spot at the top of the winless tier due to a second #QUALITYLOSS, this time a narrow defeat to Ohio in Athens. The week's most intriguing matchup might just be the aforementioned Bobcats visiting Mt. Pleasant to take on Central Michigan and the Byron Suggs Hype Train. Both teams are 2-0, and this game will tell us a lot about where these programs are. This Week's Slate: Thursday Night Ohio (2-0) at Central Michigan (2-0)* Friday Night Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Virginia (1-1) Bowling Green (0-2) at Stanford (0-2) Saturday Morning Toledo (2-0) at Akron (1-1)* Ball State (0-2) at Buffalo (1-1)* Northern Illinois (0-2) at Western Michigan (2-0)* Byes: Kent State (0-3), Miami (OH) (3-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"