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  1. A 5-3 record for the this week, all against OOC foes. How did our voters process the weekend slate of games and apply them to the MAC pecking order? Remember, if you don't like where you are, play better. MAC Power Rankings After Week 4 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (58) Western Michigan Broncos (3) 2-1 (1-0) W1 +1 2 (54) Miami (OH) Redhawks (2) 3-0 (0-0) W3 -1 3 (48) Toledo Rockets 2-1 (0-0) W2 - 4 (44) Akron Zips 3-0 (2-0) W3 +2 5 (42) Ohio Bobcats 1-2 (1-0) L1 - 6 (39) Buffalo Bulls 2-1 (0-1) L1 -2 7 (30) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 - 8 (24) Kent State Golden Flashes 1-2 (0-0) W1 - 9 (19) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 10 (17) Ball State Cardinals 0-3 (0-2) L3 -1 11 (9) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-3 (0-0) L3 - 12 (6) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-0) L3 - Number of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Was it the 3 INT game by WMU's defense and another 100-yard game from DeSean Madison? Did overtime discount Miami's win in the eyes of the voters? We can't be sure, but the game of hot potato continues with the top spot; this week it's the Broncos who are kings of the MAC hill despite the Redhawks' undefeated start. It's kind of a shame that Miami's potent passing attack and WMU's excellent secondary don't get to play each other during this regular season, that would be a fun matchup to watch for sure. Toledo is lurking at #3, and Akron jumps past an idle Buffalo squad and an Ohio team that put up one heck of a fight against SMU (#QualityLoss). In the other half of the rankings, NIU and Ball State exchange deck chairs thanks to coach Noobie's first career win. But it's starting to look like many of these lower teams may have to wait until conference play begins in earnest before they make any serious headway up the chart.
  2. A much better showing for the MAC this week, as everybody's favorite conference went 4-3 in out of conference play. Did Best!Miami proving they are Better!Miami than Other!Miami(FL) sway the voters this time around? What about Kent State and Bowling Green picking up their first wins of the season? To the chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 3 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (65) Miami (OH) Redhawks (3) 2-0 (0-0) W2 +2 2 (63) Western Michigan Broncos (2) 1-1 (1-0) L1 - 3 (61) Toledo Rockets 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 4 (53) Buffalo Bulls (1) 2-1 (0-1) L1 -3 5 (51) Ohio Bobcats 1-1 (1-0) W1 +1 6 (49) Akron Zips 2-0 (2-0) W2 -1 7 (36) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 8 (28) Kent State Golden Flashes 1-2 (0-0) W1 +2 9 (24) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-2) L2 -1 10 (19) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-2 (0-1) L2 -1 11 (13) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 12 (6) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-0) L3 - Number of voters: 6 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. It turns out that indeed Best!Miami's performance in Florida did get them to the top of the polls, although there isn't much separation between them, Western Michigan, and Toledo. The biggest fall is Buffalo's who continues to have a Bobcat problem. The Bulls will be kicking themselves if this Ohio loss costs them the MAC Championship game like it did last year. You can start to see a divide between the top and bottom halves of the chart, but it's still early and conference play has yet to truly begin. Also, a pair of MAC teams have YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE visibility games against ranked opponents; Ohio hosts #11 SMU while Ball State travels to #19 Virginia. Good luck, gentlemen! Did You Know? This is the first poll in the history of this iteration of MAC Power Rankings that doesn't have a first-place Toledo vote. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  3. Last Week’s pick record: 5-1 Pick record reaction gif: Pick record to date: 10-1 Welcome back! On behalf of the lovely #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest star Calvin Jones, I’m your host Bruce Baguen. But first, the ceremonial torch lighting as performed by #MACtion Jenny: Thursday Night UTEP (0-1) at Akron (2-0, 2-0) : non-conference Last Week: (Both teams on BYE) The Zips have been inconsistent enough in their history that they should know not to take any game for granted, but if there was ever a temptation to do so it could be this one. Akron outclasses UTEP at every position except Kicker, and it's hard to see how T.J. Zamora and Nathaniel Ruff don't get to run where they want against a defense whose best player is a 3.5 of 3.5 ILB. The Akron wideouts versus the UTEP secondary is a closer battle but one the Zips can fight on their own terms, especially if the linebackers and safeties have to creep up to defend the run. True freshman Darnell Prince struggled in his college debut (13 of 26 for 140 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 4 rushes for 28 yards) against Utah State, who in turn have been outscored 82-14 by Cincinnati and Air Force. Akron will probably load the box against RB Justin Barksdale (23 for 118 yards, 2 TD) and make Prince prove he can beat them, but DTs Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley won't even want to give him that chance. And against an O-line that graded a 3.4 in their first game and is starting a 1.5 of 3.0 center? It could be a long, LONG day for Prince. Prediction: 31-10 Akron gets halfway to a bowl with a win over a rebuilding UTEP team. We'll even throw in a bold prediction; the Zips have more than 200 rushing yards. Friday Night Florida International (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2, 0-1): non-conference Last Week: The Panthers couldn’t stop the Rebels from doing pretty much whatever they wanted in Miami (L at 13-45), while the #BradyBus was brutally efficient in hitting open receivers and picking up where the #ConroyConvoy left off (L vs. 10-23) Northern Illinois is one of the biggest question marks in the MAC. They have talent on offense but haven’t done much with them over the last couple of seasons. Charlie Sanford struggled once again (14 of 26 for 150 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT), prompting a change at quarterback. Out goes Sanford, in comes redshirt junior Dwayne Curry. Curry is more of a runner than Sanford is; does this signal a scheme change for the Huskies? RB Daniel Hutchins (48 rushes for 232 yards, 2 TDs) is a legitimate NFL prospect and has played like it so far, but he can’t carry this offense by himself. We don’t know if Curry is the answer, but coach @Noobie MUST find a way to get some production from the quarterback position. Fortunately for him and the Huskies, FIU’s defense is about as soft a landing as you can ask for. Only three of the Panthers’ defensive starters are Juniors or older, so there is a lot of inexperience to take advantage of all over the field. Poor Brannon Austin. Take what we said about Hutchins above and multiply it by 50. It’s very hard to be the only threat on the team, especially when your QB has a season statline of 29 of 56 for 319 yards, 1 TD, and 5 INT through two games. The FIU RB has dreams of playing on Sunday, but pro coaches will have to look past the putrid line play and overall lack of help on his game tapes. Suffice it to say that although there are holes on NIU’s defense (thin secondary, true freshman ROLB), FIU will not be able to exploit them with any regularity. Prediction: 24-7 Noobie is looking for his first win, and against a coachless C-USA team he should get it. Central Michigan (0-2, 0-2) at UTSA (0-2) BYE: non-conference Last Week: CMU took a lead into the fourth quarter against THE GREATEST but came up short (obv.)(L at 28-34), while UTSA? Meep meep. (BYE) Hats off to coach @johnkirk , from up here it looked like a pretty good gameplan against the Wildcats. Matt Rowland seriously dinked and dunked his way down the field (22 of 37 for 170(!) yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) taking what was given to him and taking time off the clock and away from Rahim Murrell. Buoyed by an A’Shawn Ellison pick-six, the Chips looked like they could pull off the upset but just couldn’t run the dang ball at the end - 60 yards on 16 carries for Makai Carr is pretty bad. Carr should have a chance to redeem himself against a UTSA front seven that’s weaker than K-State’s, although ROLB D’Andre Newton is no slouch (12 tackles, 1 INT in 2 games). When Rowland does pass he may have to turn to his WR corps more this game, especially if TE Jasper Rowley is Newton’s responsibility as we expect. True freshman Luca Sorenson showed his good side (15 of 30 for 196 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) and his bad side (Luca Sorenson, UTSA, 10 of 23 for 106 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT) in the span of two weeks. Granted though, one was against Memphis and one was against Georgia, and no one will mistake the Chips for the Dawgs. But Sorenson is currently running a sub-50% completion rate; compound this with dismal line play (4.1 season O-line rating) and there’s a good possibility Ellison may take another to the house courtesy of pressure from DEs Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough and Rory Bolin. Central may choose a “bend but don’t break” approach to defense and force third-and-longs for the Roadrunner offense. Prediction: 24-13 The Roadrunner offensive line isn’t good enough to get sustained pushes up front, and it will be up to Sorenson’s scattershot arm to score points. But he isn’t accurate enough to take advantage of the height disparity between Ellison and his wideouts. Meanwhile the Chips should be able to nickle and dime their way down the field; a better showing from Carr will give Central their first win of the season. Saturday Morning #11 SMU (2-0) at Ohio (1-1, 1-0): non-conference Last Week: SMU galloped out to a comfortable lead and cruised to a win against the Bearcats (W at Cinn 31-17), while Ohio jumped on the Bulls early and didn’t let them come back (W at Buff 31-23). The Bobcat defense brought Buffalo QB Blair Holcomb back down to earth, picking him off twice and holding him to 235 yards (although he did toss a pair of TDs). However, as good as Holcomb is Andre Webb has been doing it longer and better. Andre Webb also has gifted WRs Sebastian Hatcher and Preseason All-American Dean Burkhart to throw to; between them the duo has caught over 43% of Webb’s 642 passing yards so far this season. That’s quite the daunting task for an Ohio squad whose secondary is the weakest part of their defense. Coach @beeznik may have to sell out to stop the pass and take their chances with talented but underutilized Mustang RB Terrell Holland (33 rushes for 142 yards, 2 TDs in 2 games). Not to say that it’s all doom and gloom for the Bobcats. SMU has allowed 100-yard rushers in both their games this season and Owen. Freaking. WALTON. looks to continue that trend. Heck, he’ll probably have to for Ohio to stay in this game. Stephen Peters will likely have to get his passing yards building off of play-action and taking advantage of an aggressive Mustang linebacker corps, as @Time’s secondary is stout all across the board. We don’t expect to see WR Dwayne Simpson get a lot of deep targets against CB Adam Young; this would be a great week for TE Aaron Thibodeaux (8 receptions for 112 yards, 1 TD) to step up. Prediction: 34-24 SMU has a lot of weapons at their disposal and that talented WR group may be too much for an overmatched Bobcat secondary; Webb has no problems spreading the ball around and there just isn’t enough talent to cover them all. Old Dominion (0-2) at Toledo (1-1, 0-0): non-conference Last Week: Old Dominion is silently waiting until the conference portion of their schedule starts (BYE), while Toledo righted the ship with a good old-fashioned Tiger stomping (W vs. 35-7). The Monarchs looked bad against the Hoos, and less bad against the Rebels of UNLV. This is going to trend more towards the Virginia game, especially when Old Dominion has the ball. Only their starting tackles have skill ratings of 2.5, both guards have a 1.5 skill. The Rockets had two sacks and three INTs last week against a better Memphis offensive line and the Toledo defense looks to feast this week as well; we think we’ll set the sack over/under totals at 3.0. ODU TE Montee Griffin (7 receptions for 140 yards, 2 TDs) is going to see a lot of work as Dylan Hamlin’s safety valve. The Monarch defense has not recorded a takeaway yet this season, and that’s something they definitely need to do if they want a chance at upsetting Toledo. We think there will be a steady diet of Gabe Ciamo (49 rushes for 217 yards, 2 TDs) in this game, as the ODU defensive talent has promising corners Darren Logan and J.J. Fowler. With the Rocket O-line able and likely to overpower the front seven on a regular basis, why take chances throwing? Prediction: 38-10 We just can’t see a quasi-realistic way that the Monarchs steal this game from Toledo. Bold prediction: Ciamo racks up 150+ yards rushing. Ball State (0-2, 0-2) at #19 Virginia (2-0): non-conference Last Week: Ball State prepared for a non-conference foe - finally (BYE), while Virginia looked more like we expected when drubbing Western Kentucky (W at WKU 56-24). The Cardinal’s athletic director did not do them any favors with their OOC schedule: After their date in Charlottesville, Ball State travels to Ole Miss, to Army (who just upset Boston College), and eventually to Texas A&M. (...all road games too?) The Cardinals are trying to involve the passing game more, but with middling results so far - QB Marquis Causey only has 317 passing yards and a 2/1 TD/INT ratio through two games. The rationale is solid; Jayson Zarate-Lima and Chan Pease are one of the best WR duos in the conference. But for whatever reason it just hasn’t clicked yet. At least Austin Laws - probably the most underappreciated RB in the conference - is pacing the Cardinals with his usual strong workload (47 rushes for 217 yards, 2 TDs). Virginia’s stud freshman MLB Soldier Brooks will lead the effort to keep Laws under 100 yards for the first time this season. The Hoos offense looked strangely lethargic against Old Dominion but woke up in a big way against the Hilltoppers; Matteo Rook (47 of 76 for 603 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs) hit the 300-yard mark again but had 4 TDs to go with it. Meanwhile RB Reginald Saunders was very economical, plunging in for 3 TDs on only 15 carries. What makes the Cavaliers a tougher task for the Cardinal defense is that TE Jonathan Greer is such a force down the middle; there isn’t a safety or linebacker on their team can cover him one-on-one. Ball State can’t even fully expect their twin tower DTs Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga to pick up the slack, every single starter on Virginia’s offensive line has legitimate pro potential led by LT Shawaun Holsey (5.0 of 5.0). Prediction: 35-14 It’s not looking good for the team from Indiana, in a mini-theme for this weekend the MAC team’s secondary doesn’t have enough pieces to keep up with their foe’s passing game. Western Michigan (1-1, 1-0) at Navy (0-2): non-conference Last Week: Bronco coaches were paying close attention to the Navy game (BYE), where the Midshipmen's offense failed to reach 300 total yards on the day (L at 20-31). Last Friday is a day Navy would very much love to forget. Their offense sputtered and left a lot of short fields for Tulsa - 3 of 15 on 3rd down conversions, three sacks allowed, and a 4.3 O-line rating will do that. How will the Middies try and fix their offensive woes? Their QB Isaiah Best has so far thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and not yet broken 200 passing yards. Their running back is averaging around 85 yards a game, and their offensive line is better at pass blocking than running. Preseason All-American CB Sean Taylor has been quiet so far this year, he'll get a couple of chances to make some noise against Navy's top receiver Joshua Willis (7 receptions for 114 yards, 1 TD). Navy's defense played okay, but not great. They got a good amount of pressure on Tulsa QB, even sacking him a couple of times, but got burned by WR Jerry Jackson for 105 yards and a score and surrendered another score through the air and two more on the ground. Defensive linemen Abdoulaye Hannah and Zion Salcedo are playing well, but they're not getting any help from the rest of their teammates so far. The team's focus is going to be on RB DeSean Madison and for good reason, but that could lead to some shots from Chase Sims working the deep game to Josh Whitt and the intermediate routes to TE Carlos Vargas. Prediction: 27-14 We expect Navy's offensive struggles to continue and lead to great field position for the Broncos. If Western can open holes at the line of scrimmage Madison can get some extra yards against the linebackers and wear down the Middie defense. Saturday Afternoon Miami (OH) (2-0, 0-0) at Southern Miss (1-1) BYE: non-conference Last week: Down in Florida, Miami(OH) indeed proved they are Best!Miami (W @ 31-16), while Southern Miss went ahead with plans for Etric Pruitt Appreciation Day (BYE). The Redhawks will have to play “pick your poison” when it comes to defending against the Southern Miss aerial attack; already three different players have over 100 receiving yards on the season. The Golden Eagles love to exploit mismatches in the passing game, and coach @Wooden clearly trusts redshirt freshman Alexander Cassidy enough to let him find them. It does help when you can depend on Harrison Weir for anywhere between 90-100 rushing yards a game. USM’s offensive line isn’t the greatest, so getting to Cassidy early and not letting him scan the field will be crucial if Best!Miami wants to limit the damage. If DE Donte Pennel can own the battle with USM LT Tony Shepherd that would help immensely. USM’s defense is clearly rebuilding after Dexter Flowers graduated. Senior SS Demetrius Kirkpatrick is their leader, but the rest of the defense is either a year or two away (DE Leonard Graves, ILB Micah Griffin) or average at best. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA has been off to a hot start (48 of 80 for 590 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs), and we think that will continue this week. Miami's offensive line should win the battle up front and give Cera time to find Kenneth Harrison and Keith Barnes. Prediction: Last team with the ball wins. 49-45 A fun game if you’re a neutral observer. We think that Cera will stay upright more than Cassidy will and that will lead to more USM punts. In what we expect to be a high-scoring game where punting definitely does not equal winning, those missed scoring chances could come back to bite the Golden Eagles in the rear. Bold Prediction: There will be over 35 combined 3rd down attempts in this game. BYE: Bowling Green (1-2), Buffalo (2-1), Kent State (1-2), Eastern Michigan (0-3) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and special silent guest Calvin Jones, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). Until next time!
  4. So... let's not talk about those OOC results. Have some colored chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 2 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (55) Buffalo Bulls (3) 2-0 (1-0) W2 +1 2 (52) Western Michigan Broncos (1) 1-1 (1-0) L1 -1 3 (49-tie) Miami (OH) Redhawks (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 3 (49-tie) Toledo Rockets 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 5 (42) Akron Zips 2-0 (2-0) W2 +1 6 (38) Ohio Bobcats 0-1 (0-0) L1 -2 7 (32) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-2) L2 +1 8 (22-tie) Bowling Green Falcons 0-2 (0-1) L2 +1 8 (22-tie) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-1 (0-1) L1 -1 10 (14) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 11 (13) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-2 (0-0) L2 - 12 (6) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-1 (0-0) L1 - Number of voters: 5 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. Voter were clearly impressed with how WMU took Duke to double overtime on the road and didn't drop them too much, but the Bulls grab the top spot this week after staying undefeated following a win over a tough Ball State squad. Best!Miami and Toledo tie for third place, and Akron continues to creep up the rankings. Ohio is the biggest faller through no fault of their own; they'll have a chance to head back up the rankings against Buffalo next week. Ball State and Bowling Green looked impressive enough in defeat that they both moved up a spot. The bottom three teams seem to have settled into their spots for the time being. But it's early in the season and there's going to be a lot more fluctuation as the weeks go by. Who claims the top spot next week? Tune in and find out! "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  5. Last Week's pick record: 5-0 WHAAAAAAAAAAT? Pick record reaction gif: Pick record to date: 5-0 I'm Bruce Baguen, your host for the MAC Network's highest-rated weekly show! With me this week is special silent guest Mark Gardiner, and always with us is the lovely #MACtion Jenny, here to perform the ceremonial torch lighting. #MACtion Jenny, if you would please? In order to get these previews to you in a timely manner, we're presenting Thursday's previews now. The Friday and Saturday games will follow soon. Thursday Night Memphis (2-0) at Toledo (0-1 overall, 0-0 conference): non-conference Last Week: Memphis beat up on overmatched FIU (W vs. 34-20), while the Rockets were forced to wait and get that bad taste from Michigan State out of their mouths. (BYE) Kyle Davidson threw to all parts of the field in the Spartans' Week 1 victory over Toledo, but that isn't a gameplan Memphis is equipped to duplicate. The Tigers would much rather run the option game with RB Colin Putnam and QB Miguel Cook, throwing when the opportunity presents itself. That might be hard to do against a stiff Rocket front four; Memphis must do a better job on the offensive line, defensive tackles Dwayne Montgomery and De'Shawn Beckwith are looking forward to attacking an O-line that's graded out under 4.5 in both their games. The Toledo offense is better overall than the Tiger defense, but that doesn't mean they can just show up and expect to find success. Their offensive line will be huge in this game, Memphis DE Jaylen Love is off to a blazing start with 3.5 sacks in two games and must be accounted for at all times. If the Rockets can consistently get a blocker to the second level against ILB Troy McClain, RB Gabe Ciamo is in line for a big day. Prediction: 31-17 Memphis is justifiably proud of their 2-0 record, but Toledo is a big step up from UTSA and FIU. It's hard to see Cook put up efficient numbers against White and Haywood, and Hanson should have a good day against those Tiger corners. Ohio (0-1, 0-0) at Buffalo (2-0, 1-0) Last Week: The Bobcats (BYE), while Buffalo rallied from 11 down to avoid the upset against Ball State (at 24-21). The weakness in the Ohio defense is the secondary, but before this season we would have said that didn't matter. But the arrival of Blair Holcomb changed all that. Now that coach SodapopSeth has a QB he can trust the Bulls can air it out with success - see the fourth quarter comeback last week against the Cardinals or the 52-21 pasting of Tulsa in Week 1. How beeznik deploys his Bobcat front seven (and ILB Calvin Blue in particular) against Buffalo will be a huge factor in this game - do you focus on Holcomb (580 passing yards, 67% completion rate, 6/1 TD/INT ratio this season), MAMADOU SMASH (225 rushing yards, 4 TDs), or cover your bases against both? Ohio will have to make hay on the offensive side of the ball, as the Bulls looks weaker on defense. Owen. Freaking. WALTON will get his chunk of yards, but targeting those Bulls cornerbacks (and a free safety playing as a CB) has to look awfully tempting. The Bulls secondary has yet to be truly tested, and having SS Thomas Gordon back there is a great safety blanket. But Ohio WRs Dwayne Simpson and Jeffery Templeton will have to be better than a combined 5 catches for 68 yards and no TDs, regardless of how big a part of the Bobcat gameplan they are. Prediction: 24-21 It feels odd that the matchup of the preseason MAC East favorites comes so early in the season, but here we are. We can't ever count out the defending MAC champions, but Buffalo is very impressive right now. It's easier to see more ways for the game to flow in Buffalo's favor than Ohio's. Friday and Saturday nights to follow....
  6. It wasn't the best week for the MAC (2-6 in non-conference games), but the OOC wins we did have were awfully impressive. Buffalo blew out Tulsa and Best!Miami upset former playoff participant Nevada in a game that wasn't as close as the final score seemed. How did the voters react to that? Will Miami's impressive win vault them to the top? To the chart! MAC Power Rankings After Week 1 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (54) Western Michigan Broncos (1) 1-0 (1-0) W1 +1 2 (52-tie) Buffalo Bulls (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 2 (52-tie) Toledo Rockets (2) 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 4 (46) Ohio Bobcats 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 5 (43) Miami (OH) Redhawks (1) 1-0 (0-0) W1 +2 6 (35) Akron Zips 1-0 (1-0) W1 -1 7 (32) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-1 (0-1) L1 -1 8 (26) Ball State Cardinals 0-1 (0-1) L1 - 9 (19) Bowling Green Falcons 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 10 (13) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-1 (0-0) L1 +1 11 (12) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-1 (0-0) L1 -1 12 (6) Central Michigan Chippewas 0-1 (0-0) L1 - Number of voters: 5 12 points for first, 11 for second, etc. Well, that was unexpected. With four different teams receiving a first-place vote, it turns out our voters couldn't agree on who belonged at the top. The votes for Western Michigan were more consistent in their high placement than the other contenders for the Power Rankings crown, so they barely edge out Buffalo and Toledo for the week. The Rockets weren't punished as much as you might think for their stumble against Michigan State, that's still a talented team in Toledo. And there's no shame in Ohio stumbling on the road against a top-25 Maryland squad. But Miami (OH)? One first-place vote yet in fifth place? Opinions varied wildly on the Redhawks. Quite a few voters want to see them do it again before they buy in, but they'll have to wait until Week 3 for that. Watch out for Akron, they have a chance to sneakily get a jump on the MAC East race if they can knock off Bowling Green this week. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  7. And welcome to the first MAC Preview show of the 2020 season! We're glad to be back! I'm Bruce Baguen, your host for the highest-rated weekly show on the MAC Network today! Helping me this week is special silent guest Rich DeLucia, and as always we have the beautiful #MACtion Jenny to start this program off right with the ceremonial MAC torch lighting... Akron (1-0 overall, 1-0 conf.) at Bowling Green (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: Nathaniel Ruff's 124 rushing yards through and around a stout Ball State defense paced the Zips to a valuable conference win (W vs. 17-14), while Bowling Green found out firsthand that even though the Conroy Convoy is gone, the Rams can still ride the Brady BusTM all over the stadium (L at 14-30). Akron has an enviable situation; they can potentially be two games up on the rest of the MAC East in the conference race if they win here. Ruff was key to their week 1 victory, and will be crucial again to counteract Bowling Green's pass rush - if they show up. For a defense that prides itself on sacking the quarterback, that was an embarrassing performance out in Colorado. The Falcons could not get any pressure on CSU QB Wesley Brady, and that gave him time to tear the Bowling Green secondary apart (22 of 32 for 285 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT). That front seven MUST do a better job collapsing the pocket this week; even though T.J. Zamora isn't the passing threat Brady was, he can unravel a defense with his legs. The bright side is that the Zips O-line can be had, Ball State dropped Zamora three times last week. Bowling Green didn't do much on offense either; two Falcon touchdowns scored during garbage time upgraded the offensive stats from bad to eh (274 total offensive yards, 2 TDs, 2 turnovers). Is it growing pains from implementing coach AltShapes' new scheme? The Falcons' interior is the most talented part of their offensive line, and they have another tall task ahead of them in the form of Akron DTs Marlon Bailey and Corey Brantley a week after battling Ball State's twin behemoths Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga. But even if they fight to a standstill, what can Falcon QB Eddie Connelly do with the rest of the offense? Can he and old reliable WR Steven Muse take advantage of holes in the Zips secondary? Prediction: 24-14 We just have a hard time seeing Bowling Green holding off on the Zips front seven long enough to take advantage of the Akron cornerbacks and while the Falcons can stymie the Zips offense for a time, the time of possession battle should swing Akron's way and let them get past a tired BGSU defense. ~~~ (Editor's note: This section was written prior to Thursday morning but not published until after the TNF games were out. Whoopsadoodle!) ~~~ Eastern Michigan (0-1, 0-0) at Virginia Tech (0-0): non-conference Last Week: The Eagles went cross-country and faltered late against San Jose State (L at 21-34), while Virginia Tech gobbled excitedly in preparation for their season and home opener. (BYE) That was quite the interesting game from EMU QB Giovanni Shaw. Despite only 23 pass attempts he threw 2 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions, one of which was returned by Spartan FS Raymond Hayward for a touchdown. And yet all that action with only 146 passing yards! He was still their most efficient weapon, though. Transfer RB Jamel Jamison struggled to find running room, only getting 70 yards and a 2-yard TD plunge on 19 carries. Even though he pulled attention away from Shaw's legs (7 rushes for 55 yards), Jamison must do better if Eastern is going to continue with their option attack. Despite a pair of sacks, the Eagles struggled to get any consistent pressure on San Jose QB Chris Rector (21 of 35 for 230 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 60.0% Comp) and his receivers had enough time to separate from Eastern's secondary. The Hokies present a similar QB and WR talent level as San Jose, but also have a bowling ball of a Fullback carrying the rock in senior Maurice Ervin (5.0 of 5.0) - something EMU fans are well-familiar with from their time with Mohamed Lackey. It will be fascinating to see if coach Jamzz chooses to focus on stopping one part of Virginia Tech's offense over the other. Prediction: 21-13 It feels like Virginia Tech and Eastern Michigan are similarly-built teams, but the Hokies have the better players to implement their ball-control scheme and the more experienced coach. Buffalo (1-0, 0-0) at Ball State (0-1, 0-0) Last Week: The Bulls went and layeth the smackdown on some jabronis in Oklahoma (W at 52-21), while Austin Laws provided the only real offense for Ball State (L at 14-17). Wow. Where do we begin when it comes to the Bulls offense? Long known as an offense that just MAMADOU SMASH'D you into submission, they did whatever they wanted to the poor Tulsa defense. Blair Holcomb had perhaps the best debut game of any quarterback ever in the MAC, and maybe in the discussion as one of the best ever (21 of 29 for 340 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT). The Cardinals' defense will present a stiffer test than the Golden Hurricane's did, especially up front with Rashaad Malcolm and Isamaeli Afamasaga. But Ball State has some holes in their linebacking and safety positions; the question remains how Buffalo will look to exploit them. It's not like MAMADOU SMASH had a bad game either (22 rushes for 125 yards, 3 TD). We expected more from Ball State's offense last week. RB Austin Laws had a good game (24 rushes for 110 yards, 1 TD), but QB Marquis Causey (13 of 25 for 118 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) was unable to take advantage of a not-strong Zip secondary. Perhaps Causey was forcing too many balls at his best WR? Take away Chan Pease's statline (6 receptions for 70 yards) and Causey's numbers are downright abysmal. We trust coach lrickar1 to fix some of these issues, but that is a very worrying flag. If Causey can get his head on straight though, those Bulls cornerbacks can be had. Prediction: 34-21 We don't expect a repeat blowout; Ball State is a better team than Tulsa. But gameplanning against the Bulls got a lot harder than it used to be, and Buffalo just has less holes in their game than the Cardinals do right now. Western Michigan (1-0, 1-0) at Duke (1-0): non-conference Last Week: The Broncos broke serve by holding the Huskies to 302 total offensive yards (W at 21-14), while Duke held BYU to a pair of short field goals in an impressive road win (W at 24-6). It feels like the majority of Western Michigan wins have a certain flow to them. The teams jockey back and forth for a bit, the Broncos grab the lead, then the defense makes a big stop at the end to preserve the win. Coach Jieret would like a bit more breathing room in these games; he's already expressed his dissatisfaction with the Broncos' ability to maintain drives (3 of 15 on third downs last week) and is clearly expecting more efficiency from his offense. But the Duke defense had a great showing at BYU and has solid, experienced players (nine of eleven starters are juniors or seniors) up and down that side of the roster. DeSean Madison's game stats looked good (20 rushes for 99 yards, 2 TDs), but you can't expect a 29-yard TD run in every game to boost the totals. He'll need to put his power to better use against a tough front seven led by ILB Ahmed Mark. With three rushing touchdowns, Duke's freshman sensation QB Bryce Thompson is clearly the man to watch on the Blue Devil offense. But coach Darman has to be hoping for a slightly better performance from RB Christian Collins in order to prevent WMU from keying solely on Thompson. Duke has talent at the wideout position, but the Broncos may still think about leaving Sean Taylor and company on islands to prevent Thompson from gashing them. We expect ILB Kareem Boykin to be a busy, busy man Saturday. Prediction: 24-21 Against a solid team like Duke, the Broncos can't afford to display the rust they did last week. If it was at home we might call a minor upset for WMU, but in Durham Thompson might Tebow his way into the end zone one time too many for the Bronco offense to keep up with. Kent State (0-1, 0-0) at #5 Purdue (0-0): non-conference Last Week: The Golden Flashes were very hospitable hosts to San Diego State (L vs. 30-14), while Purdue? CHOO CHOO MUTHERFUKERS (BYE). Well let's just pull up their respective depth charts and- Oh. Oh dear. Purdue has better starters at every position. They have Matt Jones who is almost certainly a lock to declare for the NFL draft and be one of the first QBs taken. Kent State kept it close against SDSU, pulling to within two late in the third before the Aztecs hit paydirt twice in the fourth to put the game away. But San Diego State is not #5 ranked Purdue, who is in the opinion of this reporter the best team in the Big Tweleven Fourteen B1G. @stormstopper, what's the spread on this game? Prediction: 49-10 'P' is not only for Purdue but also for Patience, as in what coach TazerMan will have to preach to the Kent State faithful. Hang in there, coach, recruit hard and recruit well! John Garland died so that Kent State may live! BYES: Miami (OH) (1-0), Ohio (0-1), Central Michigan (0-1), Northern Illinois (0-1), Toledo (0-1) On behalf on #MACtion Jenny and Special Silent Guest Rich DeLucia, I'm Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"). It's good to be back! The MAC is back. We're here. Until next time!
  8. .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;} .tg th{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;} .tg .tg-uqo3{background-color:#efefef;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-baqh{text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yzt1{background-color:#efefef;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-xgyj{font-weight:bold;font-style:italic;font-size:18px;background-color:#9b9b9b;color:#ffffff;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-5frq{font-style:italic;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-jogk{font-style:italic;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yw4l{vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yvo5{background-color:#656565;vertical-align:top} And now, preseason MAC Power Rankings because you can never have enough charts of dubious value (especially for a new season). Thanks to the voters! MAC Power Rankings Preseason Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (59) Toledo Rockets (4) - - 2 (55) Western Michigan Broncos (1) - - 3 (46) Ohio Bobcats - - 4 (42) Buffalo Bulls - - 5 (37) Akron Zips - - 6 (34) Northern Illinois Huskies - - 7 (30) Miami (OH) Redhawks - - 8 (tie-24) Ball State Cardinals - - 8 (tie-24) Bowling Green Falcons - - 10 (17) Eastern Michigan Eagles - - 11 (12) Kent State Golden Flashes - - 12 (10) Central Michigan Chippewas - - A team received 12 points for 1st, 11 points for 2nd, 10 for 3rd, etc. Number of voters: 5 Top of the list: Some may wonder about MAC Champion Ohio in third, but general consensus is that the Bobcats don't have as complete a roster as Toledo or Western Michigan. That's just fine with Owen. Freaking. WALTON, though. Oh, and don't mind MAC East runner-up Buffalo either. They'll just be over here in the corner ready to run some fools over. The voters clearly see the MAC West as a two-horse race, though. Second-tier: Akron has the best roster they've had in some time and with a sketchy 2019 recruiting class, their bowl window is now. NIU has some special talent, but it remains to be seen what new coach Noobie can do with it. Trendy dark-horse pick Ball State isn't quite the trend yet, and Bowling Green's front seven is among the best in the conference. Bringing up the rear: Eastern and Central Michigan just hired new coaches (Jamzz and johnkirk, respectively), and they have a LOT of work to put in to get their programs up to snuff. Kent State's coach TazerMan has a couple of weeks on them, but the Golden Flashes are one of the weaker MAC teams from a talent standpoint. Week 1 Matchups! Akron Zips: vs. Ball State Ball State Cardinals: at Akron Bowling Green Falcons: at Colorado State Buffalo Bulls: at Tulsa Central Michigan Chippewas: vs. Oregon State Eastern Michigan Eagles: at San Jose Kent State Golden Flashes: vs. San Diego State Miami(OH) Redhawks: at Nevada Northern Illinois Huskies: vs. Western Michigan Ohio Bobcats: at Maryland Toledo Rockets: at Michigan State Western Michigan Broncos: at Northern Illinois Until next time, remember: "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" .tg {border-collapse:collapse;border-spacing:0;} .tg td{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;} .tg th{font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;padding:10px 5px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:hidden;word-break:normal;} .tg .tg-uqo3{background-color:#efefef;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-baqh{text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yzt1{background-color:#efefef;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-xgyj{font-weight:bold;font-style:italic;font-size:18px;background-color:#9b9b9b;color:#ffffff;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-5frq{font-style:italic;text-align:center;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-jogk{font-style:italic;vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yw4l{vertical-align:top} .tg .tg-yvo5{background-color:#656565;vertical-align:top}
  9. Welcome, welcome, welcome! Back again for the MAC Network, this is Bruce Baguen, and it's a pleasure to be back again! Spring Games and Depth Charts and Croots, oh my! Spring Games and Depth Charts and Croots, oh my! You know what that means, don't you? DON'T YOU? You know what time it is? Uh, not quite, McCree. How about our other guest. Vader? Sigh, no. It... it just means it's the first MAC article of the season. Let's just get on with it. ****** We're starting with capsule-sized looks at each team in the MAC, focusing on position groups of interest. Helping us with this article is our special guest, Toledo head coach Deathcpo! Many, many thanks for your insights. Without further ado, in no particular order: Northern Illinois Huskies (4-8 last year) Coach: Noobie (1st year) Returning Starters: Offense: 7 Defense: 8 Overview: Northern Illinois returns a lot of starters from last years team and looks to see improvement from last season under newly hired head coach Noobie. With a lot of key players returning including senior RB Daniel Hutchins (5/5 power), the Huskies appear poised to contend for a bowl game, and maybe even be a dark horse candidate in the MAC conference race. Position of Strength: Defensive Line. NIU returns its entire starting line from last season and three of them are seniors and the 4th a junior. Coach Noobie will look to this unit to lead a solid looking defense in their 2020 campaign. The entire front seven for the Huskies will be really solid if these upperclassmen can perform as the defense also features two young but high potential LBs in sophomore Kieran Linn (3.5/4.5 Will) and freshman Oliver McNeal (2/5 Mike). Position of Weakness: Wider Receiver. Despite returning two productive seniors at WR, the Huskies have a serious depth problem at WR. There are only three wideouts on the entire team, yeah three. Fortunately sophomore QB Charlie Sanford (3/4 Pocket) still has his most talented target, senior TE Emory Johnson (5/5 receiving), and a solid running game to lean on. Position to Watch: Linebacker. Last years starting Mike linebacker Kieran Linn (3.5/4.5 Will) has been shifted over to OLB this season to make way for freshman sensation Oliver McNeal (2/5 Mike). There is a lot of question marks surrounding how well Linns skill set transfers to the OLB position. There is certainly a lot reason to be excited about the Huskies front seven, but the LB situation seems to be boom or bust. The other OLB is true freshman Ivan Rosenburg (1.5/3 Blitz) who seems to be the black sheep on an otherwise talented defense. If this unit can perform this could be one of the better front sevens in the MAC. Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-7 last year) Coach: jdboyd (2nd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 5 Defense: 5 Overview: Eastern Michigan has some players to watch out for in seniors DT Shane Horton (4.0/4.0) and FS Zachary Dumas (4.0/4.0), but a lack of depth in key positions could force coach jdboyd to take some risks if he wants his stud players to taste a bowl game in their final season. Position of Strength: Defensive Line. The D-line has two of EMU's five returning starters. This is easily the Eagles' most experienced unit, led by Horton, a 2019 2nd Team All-MAC selection. If we evaluate strictly on talent, this is not one of the better lines in the conference. The hope is that coaching will get them to play harder and better, as Eastern will need them to be a disruptive force and get opposing teams off the field as quickly as possible. Position of Weakness: Running back/fullback. The offense looks to be less efficient at the methodical ball-control/play-action game they preferred last year. Even though Eastern was helped tremendously by the transfer window, receiving Sr RB Jamel Jamison from Illinois and saving them from having to start 1.5/3.5 redshirt freshman Chris Morton, the Eagles are starting a 2.5/2.5 TE at fullback. The team still looks to be heavily run-based, so Jamison may need to break more than his fair share of backfield tackles. Position to Watch: Offensive Line. You want to know how to make a ball-control offense spicy? How does moving your starting tackles inside to guard and your starting guards outside to tackle sound? EMU's best guards are pass blockers, while their best tackles are run specialists. Jdboyd looks to bolster the interior running game, but will the position switches and chemistry issues negate the benefits? This is definitely a fascinating story to watch as the season unfolds. Ohio Bobcats (9-5 last year) Coach: Beeznik (2nd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 6 Defense: 8 Overview: The Bobcats were the MAC's top team last season, earning a conference title in Coach Beeznik's first season. The Bobcat faithful expect another conference title this season and appear poised to make that run, returning a lot of last years starters and gaining three talented new starters in CB Shawn Tillman (2/5 Man), DT Brady Whitaker (2/4.5 2 Gap) and TE Aaron Thibodeaux (2/5 Receiving). All these studs are sophomores with limited playing time in their freshman campaigns. It will be exciting to see what they can do as the number one guy on the depth chart in their respective positions. Position of Strength: Running Back. Junior College transfer Owen Walton (4.5/4.5 Power) was a key part of the Bobcats success last season as junior and looks to make his senior year his best season yet. Earning a controversial 1st team MAC selection headed into the 2020 season shows the confidence many have in Walton to lead this offense to its second consecutive conference title and bowl victory. Position of Weakness: Cornerback. On an otherwise solid team it's hard to find a weakness on this roster especially when you have a stud like Tillman leading the unit. Looks can be deceiving though as the Bobcats only have three corners on roster, and while talented Tillman (2/5 Man) is young and untested. The next up is new starter junior Kristian Mitchell (2.5/2.5 Zone). The nickel corner is a converted SS Xavier Bailey, a young sophomore (1.5/3.5 Man) with absolutely zero experience in the position. This unit is a big headache for coach Beeznik who will have to constantly gameplan around this unit and hope the rest of the defense, particularly a very solid front seven, can mask the weakness. Position to Watch: Offensive Line. As a run-first team with a problem in the secondary the Bobcats are going to need to control the time of possession on offense. The combination of QB Stephen Peters (3.5/3.5), RB Owen Walton (4.5/4.5 Power) and FB Abdoul Harley (3/4 Run Blocking) look promising but the question mark is how good is the OL. The OL features two talented true freshman in RG Drew Platt (2/4 Pass Blocking) and RT Shane Poe (2/3.5 Run Blocking), but critics question whether they're ready to to carry the load expected of them this season. Fortunately the other three OL are returning junior starters from last years team to provide some experience and leadership; LT Damien Arroyo (3/4 Run Blocking), LG Jayden Grover (4/4 Pass Blocking) and C Jake Jennings (3/3 Run Blocking). If they can come together and get a push for the backfield to make plays this team could be tough to get off the field. Kent State Golden Flashes (5-7 last year) Coach: TazerMan (1st year) Returning Starters: Offense: 7 Defense: 6 Overview: Coming from Down Under, new head coach TazerMan hopes to instill a culture of toughness and winning into a Kent State program that hasn’t much of either lately. TazerMan realizes that a long rebuild is needed, so that’s a step in the right direction already for the Golden Flashes. It’s just a matter of how many lumps they’ll take along the way. Position of Strength: Safeties. Seniors SS Quinn Benson (4.0/4.0) and FS Billy Switzer (3.5/3.5) form one of the most experienced safety tandems in the conference, and your last line of defense isn’t a bad place to have your best players. They’ll need to play up to that level -and then some- to keep games close. Benson, especially, has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders as the one Kent State player with a shot at playing on Sundays. Position of Weakness: Running Back. FB Harrison Mullin did a fine job carrying the ball last year, but coach TazerMan has decided to move him back to his natural position and is handing the rock to 2.5/2.5 true sophomore Abdoul Donald. 2.5/3.5 James Ridley-Henry and Mullin himself stand ready to take over if Donald falters, but no matter who carries it at the end it’s a fair step down from other MAC RBs like Gabe Ciamo, MAMADOU SMASH, Owen. Freaking. WALTON, and Austin Laws. Position to Watch: Cornerback. Except for Benson, Kent State’s entire starting roster has a potential between 2.5 and 3.5 - the very definition of “okay.” What makes the cornerbacks stick out, though, is that two of their top three cornerbacks aren’t CBs at all - they’re free safeties filling in. From a talent standpoint it’s definitely the right call, but it remains to be seen how it plays out against some of the more proficient aerial attacks such as Miami(OH) and… Purdue? Oh boy. Western Michigan Broncos (10-3 last year) Coach: Jieret (2nd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 7 Defense: 10 Overview: The Broncos were one the top teams in the MAC last season dropping just one conference game all season to division rival Toledo. The Broncos are expected to contend for the conference once again this season but will have to get by Toledo to win the division. This team returns a TON of talent from last years team including the entire defense but for one DT that was replaced by an even more talented DT in Silas Booker (2.5/4.5 1-Gap). The only thing missing is last years top rusher in the MAC Gabriel Shields who totally smashed any preseason expectation anyone had of the young back. Shields mysteriously transferred to MSU one year after previous head coach Raybaxter who recruited Shields left for the Spartans, but the twist? Raybaxter isn't the coach at MSU anymore either, long time coach Slinky Jr. is. Position of Strength: Cornerback. Led by the conference's most electric player CB Sean Taylor (5/5), the Broncos appear to have the conference's top secondary once again this season. Depth is no issue for this unit which also returns its starting CB2 and nickel from last season CB Jaylin McQueen (4/4 Man) and CB Emmanuel Faulk (3.5/3.5 Man). With solid experienced help over the top from their safeties this unit will likely be very aggressive and disruptive for opposing offenses forcing many turnovers and incomplete passes. Position of Weakness: Uhh... This is a pretty fantastic team and it's pretty difficult to identify a weakness. So I'll be awfully specific and declare the right side of the OL the weakness of the team. True freshman RT Avery Curley (1/4.5 Run Blocking) has the potential but is very raw. RG Harry Keith (3/3 Run Blocking) replaces the team's top lineman from last year Ian Braden (4.5/4.5 Run Blocking) and the gap in talent is very noticeable. For a team that is reliant on their run game a weak cog in the machine is something to watch but likely shouldn't be an issue due to the talent around them. Position to Watch: Running Back. Was there ever any question? Following the departure of Gabriel Shields there is a new running back in town at WMU with tons of hype. Redshirt freshman DeSean Madison (2.5/5 Power) has great size for the WMU offense at 5'7” 222 pounds and many people are calling him the next Emmanuel Fields. WMU has seamlessly passed the torch at RB the last 3 years as they posted the top rushing numbers in the conference year in and year out and they hope to do the same this year with Madison. Critics says that inexperience and turnover on the OL could spell trouble for Madison, but Head Coach Jieret has given his RB his vote of confidence by naming Madison the starter over Shields during the spring, even before the transfer was announced. Ball State Cardinals (1-11 last year) Coach: lrickar1 (3rd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 6 Defense: 5 Overview: Medium-take alert: Ball State was easily the best 1-11 team in CFBHC last year. Medium-hot-take alert: Ball State has the pieces to jump all the way up to the upper half of the MAC West. With solid players in the skill positions and a pair of fearsome space-eaters anchoring the defensive line, coach lrickar1 could take the Cardinals bowling this season. Position of Strength: Defensive Tackle. Running up the middle is a miserable proposition against Ball State. Juniors Rashaad Malcolm (4.0/4.5) and Isamaeli Afamasaga (4.0/4.0) are a formidable pair who devour interior blockers. Excellent in occupying space and at the point of attack, both could easily find themselves on numerous award watch lists. Position of Weakness: Linebackers. Often times the purpose of the defensive tackles in a 4-3 is to absorb the blockers so the MLB can clean up the running back. Malcolm and Afamasaga may be asked to more than that, as they have a redshirt freshman Jon Carpenter (2.0/3.5) starting behind them at Mike. But despite his inexperience Carpenter may actually be the best of the Cardinal linebacking starters; LOLB Liam Dickinson (3.0/3.0) and ROLB Henry Hagan (2.5/2.5) won’t scare anybody. Position to Watch: Free Safety. The job belongs to redshirt freshman Eddie McGill (2.0/3.0) - at least for this year, with 4-star recruit Geno Atkins taking a redshirt this season. The Cardinals hope that McGill can hold down the fort, or at least that he won't create a hole in the secondary. But McGill will seriously need to play out of his skin in order for coach lrickar to not burn that redshirt, especially if a bowl berth is at stake. Miami (OH) Redhawks (2-10 last year) Coach: Caesari (2nd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 5 Defense: 8 Overview: The once elite Redhawks have faded since coach FSUalumni has left the team a few seasons ago. The team seemingly under-performed last season and was never really in the hunt for the division, much less the conference. In his second season coach Caesari will look to correct mistakes from last season and lean on his experienced defense to propel his team to bowl eligibility. This, however, will be no easy task in the ever improving MAC. They are built to play Buffalo and Ohio tough this season though! Position of Strength: Quarterback. No doubt about it, the Redhawks have one of the best passers in the conference in SO QB Zack Cera (3.5/4.5 Pocket). Cera has his favorite target from last season back this year, WR Kenneth Harrison (4/4 Speed). The Redhawks have a much improved OL from last year with 2 returning starters along with some fresh talent. If everything comes together, Cera should have plenty of time to find his target and give Harrison some nice deep balls. If there is one game I know Bobcat Coach Beeznik and Bulls Coach SodapopSeth have circled on their schedule this season, it's the Redhawks who have all the tools to exploit their secondary weaknesses. Position of Weakness: Cornerback. The Redhawks are another MAC team desperate for talent and depth at the CB position. With just three corners on the roster and none with more than mediocre talent (3/3 Man) and (3/3 Zone), it's easily the most vulnerable unit on the team. Fortunately for the Redhawks, their safeties Nicholas Mingo (4/4 zone) and Ian Huntley (4/4 Man) are the highlight of the defense. It's necessary for them to consistently make plays to hold this secondary together, as they're likely to see many attempts against them. Position to Watch: Front seven. Playing in the MAC East, it's no secret that the division’s two best teams Buffalo and Ohio love to run the ball. The unit as a whole is pretty decent but nothing special. Lead by DE Donte Pennel (4/4 Contain) and Mike LB Jayden Kessler (3.5/3.5 Mike) they will need to hold strong if the Redhawks want to make noise in the conference this season. Perhaps with punter Maximilian Wilkes' (2.5/4 Power) strong leg and good safety play they can force teams to put together long drives to score. Akron Zips (5-7 last year) Coach: darkage (2nd year) Returning Starters: Offense: 9 Defense: 7 Overview: Coach Darkage has full control of an Akron squad that returns a surprisingly large amount of production. The Zips are looking to elevate themselves from the ranks of the MAC also-rans and prove the team that upset Arizona State last season are the real Akron football team, not the squad that laid an egg against Kent State the following week with a bowl berth on the line. Position of Strength: Defensive Tackle. As a sophomore last year defensive tackle Marlon Bailey had a nice year with 4.5 sacks (as a 2-gap player too!), but he was often overlooked by scouts watching Gabriel Beauchamp. He’s taken those slights as motivation and is ready to take it out on opposing linemen this year. A strong year may have Bailey (5.0/5.0) thinking about declaring early for the draft. If he does, he may be doing so with his current trenchmate Corey Brantley who also shows Sunday potential. Position of Weakness: Cornerbacks. Akron is starting a 2.5/2.5 true junior as their CB2 and a 3.0/3.0 free safety as their nickel. Oh, and they only have three cornerbacks on the roster period; one is redshirting, the other is a senior. Against pass-happy teams, Akron may have to turn the game into a 59-56 track meet in order to win. Position to Watch: Quarterback. Senior T.J. Zamora’s (4.0/4.0) career to this point has been inconsistent, to put it mildly. In previous years, he didn’t have much offensive help outside of redshirt junior RB Nathaniel Ruff (1073 rushing yards, 11 TDs last season) and he didn’t have a consistent coach. Zamora has both of those things now and no more excuses. With probably the best offensive supporting cast he’s ever had, it’s on his arm and legs to lead the Zips to a bowl. Buffalo Bulls (8-5 last year) Coach: SodapopSeth (5th year) Returning Starters: Offense: 6 Defense: 5 Overview: The longest-tenured coach in the East, SodapopSeth has steadily improved in each of his 5 seasons at the helm of the Bulls. The Bulls started off as a bottom feeder in 2016 when SodapopSeth took the job and he has turned the program into a conference contender over the years, falling just short of winning the East division last season. The Bulls' Champion RB Mamadou Wynn (4/4 Power) will accept nothing less than a championship in his final year. Position of Strength: Running Back: Mamadou Wynn (4/4 Power) has been the big man on campus in Buffalo since day one. Coach SodapopSeth built this team around Wynn and wants to see him achieve greatness in his last season in a Bulls uniform. Buffalo has always been known for the star OL talent they bring in every year. With arguably the best Center and Tackle in the conference, D.J. Wilkinson (4/5 Run Blocking) and Marcus Waterman (5/5 Run Blocking), the holes should be there for Wynn. Position of Weakness: Cornerback. It seems like everyone not named WMU has a weakness at CB and the Bulls are no different. The top corner on the depth chart this season is converted safety Travis Doe (3.5/3.5 Zone). After Doe is talentless Kai Hatcher (2.5/2.5 Man) and Jamel Bullock (2.5/2.5 Zone). The Bulls have both safeties back from last year Omar Easley (3.5/3.5 Man) and Thomas Gordon (4/4 Zone) which helps but it's hard to imagine this team is going to be able to prevent big plays and lots of passing yards. The key to victory lies on offense and clock control for the Bulls. Position to Watch: Quarterback. To the surprise of many, the top junior college QB last season stayed home and chose the Bulls. QB Blair Holcomb (4/5 Pocket) will provide a new dimension to a team known for running the ball down your throat all day long. It will be incredibly interesting to watch this offense evolve under this pro caliber passer behind one of the top OLs in the MAC. Bowling Green Falcons Coach: AltShapes (1st year) Returning Starters: Offense: 7 Defense: 6 Overview: Although the Bowling Green Sack Factory lost its foreman to the NFL (MAC Defensive Player of the Year DE Isaiah Hall), it lives on through DE Malachi McKnight and OLB Brandon Thomas and MLB Abdoul Hurt wants to add to the party. But the Falcons will only go as far as the offense can take them and new coach AltShapes has a lot of work to do in order to wring every last bit of talent out of that side of the ball. Position of Strength: Linebacker. Isaiah Hall may have gotten the sack numbers and the NFL contract, but it was OLB Brandon Thomas (5.0/5.0) that really cleaned up behind him last year (70 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR in 2019). The true junior has an eye on Sundays, but he won’t have to be a one-man show for the Falcon defense; redshirt junior Abdoul Hurt (4.0/4.0) is ready to make his mark. Position of Weakness: Wide Receiver. Senior Steven Muse (3.0/3.0) has been a reliable target for the Falcons through his career, but that’s likely the best thing you can say about him. He won’t stretch the field or open space for others, and there isn’t much behind him - a 2.0/3.0 true freshman and 2.0/2.5 true sophomore are the flanker and slot wideouts respectively. Bowling Green has not been much of a passing team over the last couple of seasons, but you must at least present the notion of passing against a stacked box (unless you’re Buffalo). Position to Watch: Cornerbacks. In what has become a recurring theme for the majority of the MAC this year, Bowling Green’s corner position is thin. Just as Kent State did, two of their top three on the CB depth chart are converted free safeties in 3.5/3.5 senior Alfonso Bates and 2.5/2.5 junior Jahmir Toney. Central Michigan Chippewas (6-7 last year) Coach: DjDrew43 (1st year) Returning Starters: Offense: 4 Defense: 7 Overview: CMU has had a knack for being the Kingslayer the last couple season but under new coach DjDrew43, the team appears to be in shambles. With many questionable decisions all over the depth chart where seemingly more talented players are benched in favor of lesser players, It looks like the glory days of CMU may have been short lived. Position of Strength: Defensive Line. The only unit that looks to compete this year for the Chips is the DL. Lead by its two returning starters DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough (4/4 Contain) and Rory Bolin (3.5/3.5 Contain), it’s built nicely for a 3-4 defense. The unit is rounded out with Jabari Hardy (3/3 2 Gap) who stole the starting job from Ajani Goodson. The hope for the Chips is this unit can dismantle opposing OLs and give the rest of the defense a chance to compete. Perhaps with help from senior CB A'Shawn Ellison (4.5/4.5 Man), they can hold this defense together. Position of Weakness: Quarterback. With sensation Walt Sutherland gone and freshman talent Byron Suggs (1/5 Scrambling) not ready to play college ball, the task of leading this offense has fallen on junior QB Matt Rowland (3/3 Pocket). Rowland has never attempted a pass in his college career and has virtually no help at WR or RB and has a mediocre OL. This is a recipe for disaster for the inexperienced QB. It's hard to imagine CMU having anything but the worst offense in the MAC, but only time will tell. Position to Watch: Tight End. TE Jasper Rowley (3.5/4.5 Blocking) is about the only talent on the offense and the Chips are going to need him to block, catch, convert, and score if they're going to do anything on offense this season. Lots of question marks loom however, as Rowley saw limited action last season as the 2nd TE and doesn't seem to have the skill set to be the receiving threat the Chips need. ************ We hope you enjoyed these brief looks at the teams of the Mid-American Conference! Stay tuned for more from the MAC Network and again, a very special thank you to Coach Deathcpo for providing his expert insight!
  10. We know, you came here for the power rankings. (Sorry, nothing with #MACtion Jenny jumping into chilly water while wearing a bikini. We're disappointed too.) But why don't we first take quick looks back at the bowl games with MAC participants? January 18th, 2017 Bahamas Bowl: Western Michigan 23, USF 17 MVP: Sean Taylor, CB (WMU): 1 Interception return for a TD. It was over when: Three Ralph Phillips field goals took WMU’s lead from 14-0 to 23-3, avoiding the dreaded 21-3 curse. Buoyed by the Taylor pick-six, the Broncos jumped out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bulls pulled to within a score with 6:28 to go but couldn’t find a way to score a touchdown in the time left. Both teams did a good job of keeping the other’s main offensive weapons in check, but the slowed and grindy nature of the game favored Western Michigan. Winning the field position battle put the Broncos in better shape to have more scoring drives than USF, and they cashed in. Independence Bowl: Notre Dame 41, Central Michigan 28 MVP: Tyler Dotson, TE (ND): 10 receptions for 180 yards, 3 TDs. It was over when: Tyler Dotson caught his third TD pass with just under six minutes to play, extending the Fighting Irish’s lead to two scores. The game was much closer than the final score indicates – CMU even had the lead in the third quarter on Justin Brunson’s second touchdown run. But the Chips defense never found answers for QB D.K. Bates (27 of 38 for 309 yds, 3/0 TD/INT) and Dotson, and Walt Sutherland’s magic ran out. Central Michigan did not make this game easy on themselves. While the scoreboard stayed tight, some of the Chips’ underlying metrics were worrisome. Their 3rd down conversion struggles (2 for 13) continued and an exhausted CMU defense allowed big statistical rushing and passing days, finally breaking late in the second half. January 22nd, 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio 41, Fresno State 14 MVP: Owen Walton, RB (OHIO): 26 receptions for 128 yards, 2 TDs. (Or is it Dacder for not realizing he could coach this game for the Bulldogs?) It was over when: Timmy Wilhelm kicked a 38-yard field goal as the clock hit zeroes, putting a bow on a dominant 31-7 first half for the Bobcats. Most outside observers figured this would be a showcase for Sam Hiller-Weeden (and he did have a good game), but they were forcibly introduced to Owen. Freaking. WALTON. It’s a shame that Fresno State was effectively coachless, this could have been a really thrilling game. #FireDacder On the other hand it was a convincing statement for the MAC champions, who had plenty of doubters. Even Stephen Peters had a really good game! (for him!) Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 Texas Bowl: Rutgers 24, Buffalo 6 MVP: Elijah Moffett, QB (RUT): 20 of 25 for 315 yards, 3/1 TD/INT It was over when: Elijah Moffett’s five-yard touchdown pass to Ali Crosby gave the Scarlet Knights a 21-6 lead late in the third, forcing Buffalo to move out of their comfort zone. This meant that Stephen Coates had double-digit passing attempts. MAC observers know nothing good happens when Stephen Coates is forced to throw more than 9 passes. (5 of 12 for 61 yards, 0/2 TD/INT) MAMADOU SMASH was downgraded to Mamadou Smash, held to his lowest yardage total of the season. Elijah “The Prophet” Moffett took a little bit to get going but once he did he lit up the Buffalo defense. Rutgers did to the Bulls what almost no other team has done this season; impose their will on Buffalo and hold them to season lows in virtually every game metric. Saturday, January 28th, 2017 Miami Beach Bowl: SMU 30, Toledo 18 MVP: Dean Burkhart, WR (SMU): 8 receptions for 123 yards, 1 TD It was over when: SMU’s Adam Young intercepted Benjamin Hanson late in the fourth to preserve a two-score SMU lead. We know the game situations warranted throwing the ball more, but that’s two games in a row that Gabe Ciamo carried the ball less than 20 times. Was Hanson pressing too much over these last few games? Full credit to a tough SMU defense that held the Rockets to just 4 of 14 on third-down conversions. Congrats to the MAC winners, and commiserations for the MAC non-winners. But enough of these bowl recaps, they're not what you're here for. Without further ado, the final MAC Power Rankings for 2019! MAC Final Power Rankings 2019 Post-Bowl Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (81) Ohio Bobcats (4) 9-5 (6-2) W2 +3 2 (77) Toledo Rockets (3) 10-4 (6-2) L2 -1 3 (71) Western Michigan Broncos 10-3 (6-1) W4 -1 4 (64) Buffalo Bulls 8-5 (4-2) L1 -1 5 (57) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-7 (4-3) L2 -1 6 (43) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-7 (3-4) L1 +2 7-tie (36) Akron Zips 5-7 (3-4) W1 -1 7-tie (36) Kent State Golden Flashes 5-7 (4-3) L1 -1 9 (29) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 +1 10 (28) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 -1 11 (15) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-10 (2-5) L5 - 12 (9) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - A team received 12 points for 1st, 11 points for 2nd, etc. Number of voters: 7! Le roi est mort, vive le roi! For the first time all season Toledo is not on top of the MAC Power Rankings. They were supplanted by conference champion Ohio. But despite the Rockets' two-game losing streak, they are still a very good team - enough that quite a few voters still put them at first. The race for first was the closest between the top two teams, after accounting for the number of voters. Everyone else at the top moves down one. Somewhat surprisingly Eastern Michigan leads up the second tier of teams, ahead of Akron and Kent State. It's likely due to the fact that EMU looks to be in a better spot than the other two moving forward (better recruiting class than Akron, has a coach while Kent St. doesn't). Meanwhile it somehow doesn't surprise that the Zips and Golden Flashes tied. Finishing up, NIU moves ahead of Bowling Green. It's been an honor and a pleasure to put these together for you. We'll be back soon, ready to put out more charts of dubious value! Thank you and until next time, remember: "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  11. February 3, 2017 In what is hopefully the first of many to come, the Mid-American Conference watched with pride as one of our own was finally picked in the first round. Congratulations to Bowling Green defensive end Isaiah Hall, as he gets to prove himself with the Kansas City Chiefs! KC traded up to get his rights after New Orleans selected Hall with the 27th overall pick. Glad to see you doing this on Sundays, Isaiah. Just... not too many against Denver, okay? Isaiah Hall Career Highlights (2 years): 65 Tackles 14.5 Sacks 1 Fumble Forced 1 Fumble Recovered 2018 Second Team All-MAC 2019 First Team All-MAC 2019 MAC Defensive Player of the Year 2019 Lott Award Winner Again, congratulations to Hall and all the other MAC players he joins in the NFL (Fields pls) and those who will follow Hall into the NFL this weekend and weekends to come! Because! New! Day Rocks! Wait. There we go.
  12. -by Kenny Oberst, special to the MAC Network "Supposed To." There was a lot of talk before the MAC Championship game kicked off, and very little of it had to with the game itself. After all, it seemed pretty straightforward. Under the guidance of their longtime coach deathcpo, Toledo was the class of the MAC, its “Chosen One.” In a conference still searching for relevancy, the Rockets were far enough ahead of the rest that their sights were set on something higher than winning the conference; an eventual place in the CFBHC playoffs. It almost felt like winning the MAC was just something Toledo was supposed to do on their way to the playoff conversation. The Ohio Bobcats, on the other hand, weren’t supposed to be here - a 1-4 start to the season will put that in many people’s minds. Ohio then hired coach beeznik after NDNathan departed from the program, and the turnaround was stark even if no one noticed. The Bobcats went on the quietest tear you’ll ever (not) see, winning five in a row and six of their last seven to end the season. Included in that winning streak was a 24-21 victory over Buffalo in week 10 that gave the Bobcats the MAC East division, spoiling the storyline of the two last original MAC coaches facing each other in the Championship game. Even with Ohio’s stud RB Owen Walton piling up over 1200 yards and 12 TDs, it somehow felt to many like the Bulls were supposed to be here instead. Things went as they were supposed to at first. A 45-yard opening kickoff return by WR Thomas Yang gave the Rockets great field position on their first possession and not even four minutes later, QB Benjamin Hanson found his big tight end Nate Linsley down the middle for an 8-yard score. And then the game stalled. For nearly twenty minutes of game clock neither team could consistently move the ball, trading punts and possessions like hot potatoes. Toledo linebacker Shia Reeder and his Ohio counterpart Calvin Blue made their presences known during this time, snuffing would-be third down conversions seemingly at will. Toledo would finally break through again, with Noah Cohen connecting on a 39-yarder to give the Rockets a 10-0 lead. And yet…. And yet there was a sense in the stadium that things may not be playing out exactly like they were supposed to. Wasn’t Toledo a multiple-score favorite? Aren’t they supposed to just blow out their opponents in the first half like they’ve done multiple times this season? CB Adam Haywood did his best to calm the Rocket fans’ fears, picking off a Stephen Peters pass at the Toledo 27 and giving the Rockets one last chance to extend the lead. However, Cohen’s 52-yarder pushed wide right as the half expired, and the teams entered the locker room with the score Toledo 10 - Ohio 0, and with those worried mutterings still in the air. The Bobcats came out for the second half determined. They felt they had taken Toledo’s best yet were within striking distance. Bookended by a pair of pass interference penalties, Owen Walton began to exert his will on the Toledo defense with bruising downhill runs - 30 of his 148 total rushing yards came on this drive. Not even three minutes after the half started, Timmy Wilhelm kicked a 37-yard field goal to give the Bobcats their first points of the game and suddenly Ohio was within a score. Toledo answered with a long drive, ending in Cohen kicking his second field goal of the game to restore the Rockets’ 10-point lead. But the uneasiness remained for the Toledo faithful. “This isn’t how this game is supposed to go,” was written all over their faces. And then Ohio’s next drive happened. On third-and-four from the Bobcat 31 Walton plunged into a stacked line of scrimmage, but he didn’t have the ball. The playcall, taking advantage of a hyper-aggressive defense, instead went from Peters to TE Caleb Holman on a corner route for 23 yards. On the very next play, Ohio ran a counter. Walton took the handoff, juked a linebacker that drifted too far inside, and went off to the races. Toledo’s safety knocked him out of bounds at the four, but it didn’t matter. Walton took it up the middle for the score on the very next play. The funny thing is that at this point Toledo is still winning. Maybe it was because Ciamo was finding no room to run or maybe it was because Toledo felt like they needed to reestablish their swagger by scoring quickly, but the Rockets chose to pass and pass often. It worked before - during Toledo’s week seven game against Bowling Green, Hanson tossed two fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Rockets the comeback win. It didn’t work here. Ohio CB Michael Newman made a beautiful play on a deep route, snaking his hand in between the two belonging to Yang and stealing the ball from the wideout. Then after seven minutes of nondescript back-and-forth resembling that long stretch in the first and second quarters, Toledo found themselves with a second-and-five at midfield. Hanson threw a slant behind WR Aaron Hughes who could only futilely swipe at it. FS Robert Mahoney was there to catch the deflection and return it to the Toledo 22 and now with just under four minutes to go, the promised land was within sight for the Bobcats. Steady was their march. 1st & 10, Toledo 22 - Owen Walton off left tackle for six yards. 2nd & 4, Toledo 16 - Owen Walton up the middle for two. 3rd & 2, Toledo 14 - Jeffery Templeton on a speed out for his only catch of the game, but a crucial three yards and a first down on the reception. 1st & 10, Toledo 11 - Owen Walton tackled in the backfield for a three yard loss. 2nd & 13, Toledo 14 - Play-action faking the toss to Walton, Stephen Peters to Caleb Holman for 12 yards. 3rd & 1, Toledo 2 - Owen Walton, 2 yd TD run - 1:30 (17-13) “This wasn’t how the game is supposed to go!” screamed the announcers in their booth. “Has Ohio just done what everyone said they couldn’t and knocked off Toledo?!” The following squib kick was returned to the 29 and Toledo had 71 yards, 82 seconds, and 1 timeout to pull off their own miracle. But the Bobcat defense, which had been so strong throughout the entire game, rose up and met the challenge once more. If it was a throw near the sidelines, Ohio was there to knock it away. A throw down the middle was caught if short but always seemed to have multiple defenders nearby if it traveled more than 10 yards. Toledo was put in a sandbox that was nine yards deep and as wide as the hash marks, and all the while the clock ticked, ticked on. The final play seemed almost anti-climactic. Ohio was made of magic during the game – in how they held Gabe Ciamo to 57 yards, in how they came up with two crucial interceptions, in how a playfake and a juke result in momentum turning for the Bobcats even though they were still losing. They were so magical that there was none left for the Rockets, Hanson's Hail Mary knocked down eight yards shy of the endzone. Hordes of Ohio fans stormed the field past stunned Toledo supporters, jumping and screaming joyously. In their midst a sideline reporter interviewed coach beeznik, “Coach, congratulations on an incredible victory. All the pundits had Toledo winning this game easily, how did you pull off the upset?” The coach smiled. “What were we supposed to do, let them win?” Final Score: Ohio Bobcats 17 - Toledo Rockets 13
  13. "Seriously, we couldn't have put this up BEFORE the MAC Championship Game as scheduled?" "We did have it ready to go, but we started looking for reaction gifs, didn't realize the time, and lost our timeslot." "So what aired in our normal spot?" "'Bikini Polar Bear Plunging with #MACtion Jenny.'" " that on DVR?" If you don't like where you're ranked, guess you should have done something different. Producer's note: This was compiled prior to today's MAC Championship Game and does not take it into account. MAC Power Rankings Week 16 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (36) Toledo Rockets (3) 10-2 (6-1) W2 - 2 (33) Western Michigan Broncos 9-3 (6-1) W3 - 3 (30) Buffalo Bulls 8-4 (4-2) W4 - 4 (tie-25) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-6 (4-3) L1 - 4 (tie-25) Ohio Bobcats 7-5 (5-2) W1 - 6 (tie-19) Akron Zips 5-7 (3-4) L1 - 6 (tie-19) Kent State Golden Flashes 5-7 (4-3) W1 +2 8 (17) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-7 (3-4) L1 -1 9 (11) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 +1 10 (10) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 -1 11 (6) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-10 (2-5) L5 - 12 (3) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - A team received 12 points for 1st, 11 points for 2nd, etc. Number of voters: 3. Reacti- eh, whatever. Who likes ties? We like ties? We like them so much we had two of them! The big news coming out of Week 16 is coachless Kent State knocking Akron out of a definite bowl berth, catapulting the Golden Flashes up to 6th! Now these two teams and Eastern Michigan await the mercies of the various Bowl Selection Committees to see if one of them gets to join the five Bowl-bound teams (Toledo, WMU, Buffalo, CMU, Ohio) in representing the MAC. None of the other Week 16 results really changed anything. (The small switch of Bowling Green and NIU between last week and week is odd, but minor.) After Bowl Season we will host the final MAC Power Rankings for this season. Tune in then to find out where your favorite MAC team ultimately ends up based upon subjective rankings by Internet strangers! Or to catch girls in bikinis jumping into frigid water, either or. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  14. MAC Power Rankings Week 15 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (60) Toledo Rockets (5) 9-2 (5-1) W1 - 2 (55) Western Michigan Broncos 8-3 (5-1) W2 - 3 (48) Buffalo Bulls 8-4 (4-2) W4 - 4 (tie-42) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-5 (4-2) W2 - 4 (tie-42) Ohio Bobcats 6-5 (4-2) L1 - 6 (35) Akron Zips 5-6 (3-3) W2 - 7 (30) Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-6 (3-3) W2 - 8 (28) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-7 (3-3) L2 - 9 (17) Northern Illinois Huskies 4-8 (2-5) W1 +2 10 (15) Bowling Green Falcons 4-8 (1-6) L4 -1 11 (13) Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-9 (2-4) L4 -1 12 (5) Ball State Cardinals 1-11 (1-6) L2 - 12 points for a 1st place vote, 11 for 2nd, etc. Number of Rankers: Five! (ah ah ah) What a pair of wins by Akron and Eastern Michigan! Would it be enough to vault them past an Ohio squad that fell to Western Michigan? No. But it definitely boosted their stock and kept them alive for those tantalizing bowl berths (and the extra croot point(s) that come with it) ! This week already featured several exciting games, but the stakes got raised on several fronts after last week. Every game means something! If Akron wins their rivalry game with Kent State, not only do they get the Wagon Wheel but they also achieve bowl eligibility. Both Toledo and Eastern Michigan have something to play for this week. Toledo needs the win to clinch the MAC West division, while EMU needs the win to achieve bowl eligibility. During their game, Western Michigan and Central Michigan will be sneaking peeks at the scoreboard while rooting for their in-state brethren. If EMU wins, the Broncos-Chips winner takes home the Michigan MAC Trophy AND the MAC West! Oh yeah, Ohio still has to beat Best!Miami to lock up the MAC East division. Otherwise, the Buffalo Bulls take it. Savor the thought of the most smashmouth team in the MAC rooting for the most pass-happy team! Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Buffalo, Central Michigan, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan Can attain Bowl-eligibility if they win this week: Akron (vs. Kent St.), Eastern Michigan (at Toledo) Nope, watching bowl season from a comfy couch: Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami(OH), Northern Illinois, Ball State "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  15. Last week's pick record: 3-3 Pick Record Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 19-22 Our last week with a full slate of hot #MACtion, welcome back! Along with this week’s silent partner Sarunas Marciulionis, I’m Bruce Baguen. This week we have a team trying to clinch a division and several others trying to defend the honor of the MAC against out-of-conference interlopers. And now for the final team in the regular season, please rise for the sacred lighting ceremony. #MACtion Jenny, the floor is yours…. Kent State (4-7 overall, 3-3 conf.) at Akron (5-6, 3-3) Last Week: Kent State considered holding a promotion to drum up interest in the football team; a Madden tournament, winner is coach for the week (BYE), while Akron SHOCKED THE WORLD by taking down Sparky. ASU is the one in the purple helmet, by the way. (W at 35-21) Standing in the way is Kent State, who would love nothing more than to deny their rivals the Wheel and the bowl. Thanks to their late-season charge, a shiny bowl berth appears at the end of the tunnel. This year’s fight for the Wagon Wheel has added meaning to the Zips. (We think. We’re not 100% sure because we haven’t found anyone from Kent State to talk to. Who’s their coach this week anyway?) With only two Golden Flash starters on offense with a skill rating of 3.5 it wouldn’t surprise us if Akron could duplicate the results. Gabriel Beauchamp had a day worthy of his status as a high NFL draft pick (2 Sacks, 1 Safety, 5 Tackles) and WR Ahmed Fleming had probably the longest kickoff return for a TD in the MAC this year. While Akron’s offense had an efficient day, the defense and special teams are what came through for the Zips against ASU. Nathaniel Ruff and T.J. Zamora should have their way running through and around them. Kent State’s defense is chock-full of 3.0 players. Prediction: 28-10 Akron Akron will gladly take the ‘W’ and a bowl berth – they all count the same in the left-hand column. Kent State’s roster is below average even by MAC standards, and without a coach to gameplan no way to cover up deficiencies. Miami (OH) (2-9 overall, 2-4 conf.) at Ohio (6-5, 4-2) Last Week: Fans of Best!Miami wondered if they would ever get to unleash their Zack Cera-related memes this season (BYE), while the Bobcats found themselves outgunned versus Western Michigan (L vs. 21-35). Best!Miami has not held a lead since halftime of their week 9 game against Central Michigan, and all three of their games since then have followed a depressing trend; go down by at least 21 then try to come back with varying degrees of unsuccessful. The closest the Redhawks have been during that stretch was down four to Buffalo with 10:20 to play but if there’s one team that knows how to protect a lead by running, it’s the Bulls. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA’s stats don’t look horrible in those three games, averaging roughly 280 passing yards and throwing at least 2 TDs in each game. But at least three of them were basically garbage time touchdowns. Useful for CFBHC Fantasy Football if that’s your thing, not so much for the real games. Will Damien Mays make more than a cameo appearance and give the Miami offense some balance? Ohio held WMU’s Chase Sims in check through the air (16 of 24 for 188 yards, 1/2 TD/INT) but not on the ground (2 rushing TDs). Cera doesn’t present the same running threat but is deadlier through the air, which the Bobcats certainly recognize and plan for. It’s not really about the Redhawk offense though. Whether it’s facing MAMADOU SMASH or the potent Southern Miss passing game, Miami’s defense was as effective as using a paper bag to catch the water from a fire hose. They are a very young defense that will only lose two starters to graduation, but it makes it harder for them to play up to their potential and it can lead to breakdowns in their gap responsibilities and coverage. Expect a lot of 4-6 yard inside runs from the Bobcats that move the chains and wear out Miami’s defensive unit even more. And now they have to face Owen. Freaking. WALTON, accompanied by a Stephen Peters that didn’t embarrass himself against WMU. Prediction: 31-27 Ohio Best!Miami would love to end this season on a high note, but the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA by himself isn’t enough to compensate for an incredibly leaky Redhawk defense. Eastern Michigan (5-6, 3-3) at Toledo (9-2, 5-1) Last Week: Eastern came back from 14 down to upset the Lobos (W at 34-21), while Toledo finished the MAC sweep of non-conference opponents by demolishing UCF in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score seemed. (W at 45-28) Left for dead several times this season, coach jdboyd and the Eagles have run through several concrete walls and refused to let their bowl dreams die. Now, there’s only one game left – and it’s against division-leading Toledo. Oh, boy! DeNorris Jackson broke off a pair of long TDs for UCF, but the game never felt in doubt after the first quarter. Toledo bombarded the Knights scoring the first 28 points of the game, forcing Dwayne Bennett to throw more than he wanted – and often to the wrong jerseys. The Rockets didn’t record a sack, but made the freshman QB uncomfortable enough to complete less than half of his passes and throw four interceptions. Eastern’s offense won’t be very likely to toss four picks, but they MUST be better than 20 percent (3-15) on 3rd down conversions. Will Mohammed Lackey move the pile and keep his team in manageable 3Rd and short situations? What will Eagle coach jdboyd dial up on the defensive side? Aided by some short fields, the Toledo offense fired on all cylinders last week – both Benjamin Hanson (24 of 29 for 377 yards, 3/0 TD/INT) and Gabe Ciamo (25 carries for 179 yards, 2 TDs) put up numbers worthy of national POTW consideration, with WR Aaron Hughes (7 catches for 165 yards, 1 TD) not far behind. Of course, a 7.1 O-line rating lets your backfield do pretty much whatever it wants. A sound defensive effort from the EMU front seven is vital to ensure their secondary isn’t picked apart. Prediction: 31-17 Toledo Can the Eagles defy the odds once more and reach the magical 6-win mark? It’s possible, but not likely. Toledo is a better and more balanced team than New Mexico. If EMU falls behind early they’re going to see a steady diet of Ciamo to bleed clock and minimize the turnover factor, something the Lobos were unable to do last week. Central Michigan (6-5, 4-2) at Western Michigan (8-3, 5-1) Last Week: Central Michigan petitioned the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility for Walt Sutherland, but sadly the stated medical reason of “llamas and ImposterCauster are heartbroken” was denied (BYE), while the Broncos realized they could use Chase Sims’ legs to beat Ohio (W at 35-21) Maybe the Bobcats focused too much on Gabriel Shields last week, because Sims ran for two TDs and tossed one more against Ohio. We don't expect three TDs from him every week, but it's an encouraging sign for the young QB. The two interceptions, however, weren't; the Broncos were fortunate the picks didn't cost them any points. The Chips want to make Sims prove he can do it again, and A'Shawn Ellison will be waiting to prove him wrong. Gabriel Shields will probably get his 100+ yards, but how much more damage will he do along the way? We know there are other players on Central's offense besides Walt Sutherland, but almost everything begins and ends with him. We wouldn't be surprised to see Bronco leading tackler Kareem Boykin spy Sutherland on passing plays. Will Chips RB Justin Brunson get over 20 carries? Brunson getting 20+ touches for over 100 yards and an efficient 17 for 23 passing line for Walt usually means things are clicking for CMU. The Chips' third-down conversion rate will be a huge stat to watch during this game. Prediction: 24-17 Western Michigan It's a tense fight to the end but Western's secondary is among the best in the conference, creating a domino effect that allows the linebackers to focus more on containing Sutherland and that will be the difference. We don't expect the winner (whoever it is) to clinch the division, but the Michigan MAC Trophy is a good consolation prize for a season better than the pundits foresaw - for either of these teams. Byes: Ball State , Bowling Green , Buffalo , Northern Illinois For Sarunas Marciulionis and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you at Championship Week!
  16. If you don't like where you are, TOO BAD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT LIKE PLAY BETTER AND TURN IN SOME RANKINGS. MAC Power Rankings Week 14 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (24) Toledo Rockets (2) 8-2 (5-1) L1 - 2 (22) Western Michigan Broncos 7-3 (4-1) W1 - 3 (20) Buffalo Bulls 7-4 (4-2) W3 - 4 (tie-17) Central Michigan Chippewas 6-5 (4-2) W2 - 4 (tie-17) Ohio Bobcats 6-4 (4-1) W5 +1 6 (14) Akron Zips 4-6 (3-3) W1 - 7 (11) Eastern Michigan Eagles 4-6 (3-3) W1 +2 8 (10) Kent State Golden Flashes 4-7 (3-3) L2 -1 9 (9) Bowling Green Falcons 4-7 (1-4) L3 -1 10 (6) Miami (OH) 2-9 (2-4) L3 - 11 (4) Northern Illinois Huskies 3-7 (1-5) L2 - 12 (2) Ball State Cardinals 1-10 (1-5) L1 - 12 points for a 1st place vote, 11 for 2nd, etc. Number of Rankers: TWO. AGAIN. CMU is still riding high off their huge win over Toledo, and the Bobcats have won five straight. Seriously, go look it up. The top three teams are pretty solid and have been there all season, save for a two/three week Buffalo stumble. You could probably make a case for including CMU or Ohio in that top tier but, you know, that would require your participation. Having said that, Ohio gets to make a huge statement (and capture the MAC East Division) when they host the Broncos this week. The bottom three teams stay where they are, and with Best!Miami off this week and Ball State and NIU playing each other don't expect much movement. Bowling Green gets the biggest chance to really spin the MAC mid-tier blender when they play at Buffalo - everyone else playing has an out of conference game. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Ohio Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Must win out: Akron, Eastern Michigan Nope, watching bowl season from a comfy couch: Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami(OH), Northern Illinois, Ball State "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  17. Last week's pick record: 3-2 Pick Record Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 16-19 Another week, another slate of hot #MACtion. Welcome back! Along with this week’s silent partner Olden Polynice, I’m Bruce Baguen. This week we have a team trying to clinch a division and several others trying to defend the honor of the MAC against out-of-conference interlopers. And now, please rise as we observe our sacred lighting of the opening flame by our very own #MACtion Jenny. Bow your heads…. Northern Illinois (3-8 overall, 1-5 conf.) at Ball State (1-10, 1-5) Last Week: The Huskies were steamrolled by the Conroy Convoy ( L at 13-38), while the Cardinals couldn’t get much going against Eastern Michigan. (L at 14-27) Both of teams had seasons they’d much rather forget. Which one gets to go out on a bit of a high note as they look forward to the promise of ‘croots and redshirts? Like most games against MAC opponents, both teams will focus on stopping the run and forcing the opposing QB to make plays. Considering the strength of both defenses are their stout tackles, expect this gameplan to be successful on both sides. Sooo… Charlie Sanford vs. Marquis Causey, who ya got? Prediction: 19-14 Ball State Ball State’s receivers are better and will give Causey more help than the Husky receiver give Sanford. NIU TE Emory Johnson is a beast but he hasn’t been utilized at all. Like, he hasn’t shown up on a stat sheet all year. Really a shame too, as he could have his way with a weak Cardinal LB corps. We expect Sanford to have a performance closer to his CSU game (15 of 26 for 150 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) than his dreadful game against WMU (15 of 23 for 150 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT), but probably not an efficient one. Efficient is what will win what looks to be a slog-fest. Eastern Michigan (4-6, 3-3) at New Mexico (4-6) : non-conference Last Week: Listening to Journey before the game Eastern Michigan believed and kept the bowl dream alive (W vs. 27-14), while New Mexico littered Albuquerque with lots of signs saying “Turn Left” just in case a certain Wascally Wabbit showed up. (BYE) The Lobos welcome the Eagles for another shot at a MAC team after their first try versus Akron didn’t go so well. How well Eastern Michigan implements the “Peyton Manning defense” and ball control the ever-living crap out of this game will determine their fate. Much like that famous commercial actor, Tom Stacy can’t score if he’s standing on the sidelines. On defense, look for FS Zachary Dumas to roll towards whatever side of the field WR Vincent Ortiz lines up on. We’re not sure if CB Daniel Mendoza will follow as well, but the Lobos offensive scheme dictates that there’s more to the passing game than just Ortiz and the rest of the Eagles’ back seven must stay alert and disciplined. The Lobo running game? They’re starting a fullback at RB, but unlike EMU Ethan Guthrie isn’t that integral to the offense. Prediction: 27-13 New Mexico Sorry EMU, we want to believe. But New Mexico seems to have recovered somewhat from their mid-season swoon. The Lobos are one-dimensional and certainly aren’t unbeatable, but the Eagles defense isn’t quite good enough to force Tom Stacy into a ton of mistakes and the EMU offense can’t win a race against New Mexico. Akron (4-6, 3-3) at Arizona State (7-3) : non-conference Last Week: Akron was chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool, watching on the couch (BYE) as their opponent used a last second field goal to upset #6 Southern Cal (W at 27-24). Much less maxin’ and relaxin’ was had after that. We were surprised to see ASU has a 4-star RB and 4.5-star FB considering how pass-happy they’ve been, but when you have a pair of stud wideouts like Arturo Beckham and Daniel Marshall it pays to keep them involved. Charles Parker’s rushing statistics (161 carries for 685 yards, 6 TDs, 4.25 YPC) won’t wow anybody but he can do some damage if forgotten about. Akron’s defensive line – especially DE Gabriel Beauchamp – must come up huge and pressure RSr QB John Miller into mistakes. CB Justin Rouse can hold his own against whoever his assignment is, but what about his fellow cornerbacks? Akron has a good offense, when compared to the rest of the MAC. Unfortunately ASU’s 3-4 defense is very good from front to back and it’s hard to see an edge the Zips can take advantage of. Akron may have to scheme Zamora out of the pocket and have him exploit breakdowns in coverage. Prediction: 30-16 Arizona St. This probably puts a cap on the MAC’s Bowling Team. The Zips have not fared well against Power 5 teams this season (outscored 111-16 by Michigan, LSU, and Utah), and they’re not likely to reverse that against a Sun Devil team potent on both sides of the ball. T.J. Zamora will be in for a long day. Western Michigan (7-3, 4-1) at Ohio (6-4, 4-1)* Last Week: Ohio reduced its division-clinching Magic Number to one AND attained bowl eligibility by beating Kent State (WIN 20-10), while Western Michigan diligently worked on special oars usable by horses. (BYE) The focus of the media and the fans are on star RBs Gabriel Shields and Owen. Freaking. WALTON, but that probably isn’t where the game will be won. Expect both defenses to sell out on the run and force the QBs to win through the air. (Gosh, think we’ve heard this one before?) Neither Chase Sims nor Stephen Peters are world-beaters but they have some promising targets in WMU WR Josh Whitt and Ohio WR Dwayne Simpson. Ohio also has TEs Holman and Thibodeaux that can do some damage if the ball comes their way. SS Jaylin Hinds will be responsible for watching that part of the field. Prediction: 24-17 Western Michigan See the Northern Illinois-Ball State prediction blurb, cut and paste WMU and Ohio in their places. Make sure to put Stephen Peters in the spot where you had Charlie Sanford. Two differences though: Peters has put up some atrocious numbers, and the Broncos’ excellent secondary can play one-on-one better than Ohio’s. You can’t stop Owen. Freaking. WALTON, you can only hope to contain him. But that is probably enough this week. Bowling Green (4-7, 1-4) at Buffalo (7-4, 4-2)* Last Week: Bowling Green welcomed another coach into the fold (BYE), while Buffalo (the city) got to revel in the stability and identity coach SodapopSeth stamped on the Bulls - unlike that other Buffalo team with a similar name and a pair of fired coaching brothers. (BYE) How devoted is Buffalo to their smashmouth style? They have a JuCo Pocket QB interested in them and they’re letting Virginia take the lead for his services. But MAMADOU SMASH and a brute of an offensive line (plus two blocking TEs!) doesn’t need your fancy passing game. MAMADOU SMASH need only to grind defenses into submission. Falcon DEs Isaiah Hall and Malachi McKnight plus OLB Brandon Thomas (aka the Bowling Green Sack Factory) will be sorely tested on their run-stopping skills. Consider this an extra audition for Hall to put on for NFL scouts! Without a coach Bowling Green’s offense lost their way over the last few weeks, failing to score more than 17 points in any of their last three games. Even Mr. Automatic K Nathaniel Layne missed a couple of field goals. New coach Stubbylegz has a couple of pieces in scrambling QB Eddie Connelly and a offensive line that’s probably a year away, but the skill positions are decidedly meh. Buffalo will look to play outside-in and force BGSU ball carriers into the waiting arms of DT Patrick Garber and ILB Lucas Callaway. Prediction: 21-13 Buffalo MAMADOU SMASH. MAMADOU SMASH. MAMADOU SMASH MAMADOU SMASH SMASH MAMADOU. MAMADOU MAMADOU? SMASH SMASH MAMADOU! But seriously, we want to see what coach Stubbylegz will bring to the table. He has some good pieces to work with in the Sack Factory and the Law Firm, but Buffalo is not a fun first game for any coach to walk into. Toledo (8-2, 5-1) at UCF (6-4) : non-conference Last Week: Sources state that a dumpster full of used dartboards was found outside the University of Toledo. Oddly enough, they all had Walt Sutherland's face plastered to them. (BYE) Meanwhile, Orlando police shut down a ring of counterfeit Citronaut gear. When asked about it, coach UBL denied any knowledge while nervously tugging at his "CEETRONAWT LUV OOBL" ballcap. (BYE) Oh, this will be a fun one. Against Western Michigan Toledo sold out to stop their star RB Gabriel Shields and it worked. Will they do the same against future NFLer DeNorris Jackson? It won't be as easy, DNJ has a stronger supporting cast around him - RJr WR Justice Pierre and RFr QB Dwayne Bennett can wreak some havoc themselves. The middle of Toledo's defense is its strength with DT Dwayne Montgomery and ILB Shia Reeder; can Cental Florida get Reeder to chase DNJ and Bennett instead of moving forward to meet them? Likely All-AAC RJr CB Kevin McQueen is the leader of an otherwise young secondary, but there's no true No. 1 Rocket WR to shadow - Benjamin Hanson likes to spread the ball around. The Knights will likely focus their attention on RB Gabe Ciamo and rely on McQueen and their defensive line to keep the Toledo passing game in check. We're picking TE Nate Linsley as the X-Factor in this game. Can he outwork UCF linebackers Zaire Finney and Luca Carroll to find those soft spots in the middle of the field? Prediction: 30-27 Toledo We're not sure what the line is on this game, but it will be a close game. We're perhaps being a little homerish, but we think Toledo has the players to rattle Bennett into making mistakes. The Rockets probably took their foot off the gas pedal last week and coach Deathcpo is doubtless spending a lot of time forcing his players into the film room to avoid a repeat. Jackson will get his, but as long as that's all he gets this is a winnable game for Toledo. Byes: Central Michigan (6-5), Kent State (4-7), Miami (OH) (2-9) For Olden Polynice and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you next time!
  18. And now the MAC Power Rankings after Week 13. If you don't like where you are, play better and MAYBE ALSO TURN IN A FREAKING POWER RANKING. Because tables are not so much right now, rankings are in basic list form. (1st place Votes) Team, Record (Conf. Record): Streak, Poll Points, Change from Last Week (2) Toledo Rockets 8-2 (5-1): Streak L1, 24, - Western Michigan Broncos 7-3 (4-1): Streak W1, 22, - Buffalo Bulls 7-4 (4-2): Streak W3, 20, - Central Michigan Chippewas 5-5 (4-2): Streak W1, 18, +1 Ohio Bobcats 5-4 (3-1): Streak W4, 16, -1 Akron Zips 3-6 (2-3): Streak L1, 14, - Kent State Golden Flashes 4-6 (3-2): Streak L1, 12, - Bowling Green Falcons 4-7 (1-4): Streak L3, 10, - Eastern Michigan Eagles 3-6 (2-3): Streak L1, 8, - Miami (OH) Redhawks 2-8 (2-3): Streak L2, 6, +1 Northern Illinois Huskies 3-7 (1-5): Streak L1, 4, -1 Ball State Cardinals 1-9 (1-4): Streak W1, 2, - 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Number of Voters: 2. 2. The biggest question coming out of the weekend was: How did the voters view CMU compared to Ohio? Did the Chips' big win over Toledo carry more weight than the Bobcats impressive winning streak? Turns out that, yes, it did. A well-coached (if inconsistent) Chips team moves ahead of a Bobcat squad that actually controls its own destiny when it comes to the MAC East Division title. But we still have three weeks left in the season, these spots are definitely not carved in stone. The remaining results led to almost everyone else holding steady - Northern Illinois gave Best!Miami another turn to hold the #10 spot, but that's about it. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Win one out of three: Ohio Win one out of two: Central Michigan Must win out: Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent State Watching from a comfy couch: Miami(OH), Ball State, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois
  19. Last week's pick record: 3-1 Reaction gif: Pick record to date: 13-17 Welcome back for another week of hot #MACtion! Along with this week’s silent partner Desmond Mason, I’m Bruce Baguen. We’re really looking forward to this week’s slate of games as quite a few teams still harbor bowl aspirations. But before we dive into that, let’s have a moment of silence as we observe our sacred opening ceremony. #MACtion Jenny? Ball State (1-9 overall, 1-4 conf.) at Eastern Michigan (3-6, 2-3) Last Week: Did You Know? Eastern Michigan’s student body is larger than the population of Ypsilanti. Did You Know? Ball State, um, Ball State, uh… is still in Muncie, Indiana. (Both teams on BYE) On offense, Eastern Michigan is who they are; a ball control team that throws bowling balls at a defense to force the safeties and LBs to creep up, then toss a play-action pass. Sometimes it works (see: NIU), sometimes it doesn't (see: CMU). QB Giovanni Shaw flashes the ability to take over a game but he won't likely put it together for another year, so ball control and play-action it is. Ball State will be relying heavily on their stud defensive tackles Isamaeli Afamasaga and Rashaad Malcolm to control FB-turned-RB/bowling ball Mohammed Lackey and keeping reads simple for their linebacker corps. HOT RUMOR: After their win over Bowling Green, Austin Laws told their bench, "I JUST WHUPPED YOUR ASS." (No, he really didn't.) But no one could have faulted him for doing so after he got that 800-lb gorilla off of Ball State's back in a most emphatic way (26 carries for 170 yards, 2 TD). He's been excellent all year for the Cardinals and deserves more recognition than what he's gotten. Now if only Marquis Causey could get the ball to Chan Pease more often, Ball State would really have a stew going. FS Zachary Dumas is looking to spoil said stew and keep the Cardinal offense one-dimensional, even if it is a very good dimension. Prediction: 20-13 Ball State Ball State is better than their record and has many close-fought battles on their resume this year. This may be little more than a hunch, but we get the feeling that coach lrickar is finally getting his team in shape. A Ball State squad playing to potential can take down a middling Eagles squad that hasn’t figured out how to get back to the form they displayed when beating NIU. Northern Illinois (3-7, 1-5) at Colorado State (3-6) : non-conference Last Week: Northern Illinois misplaced their offensive prowess, failing to score a touchdown against Western Michigan (L 6-19), while the Conroy Convoy was badly upstaged by Tom Stacy and the New Mexico Lobos. (L 23-27) The Huskies’ back seven will have to be on point for this game – they will be seriously tested this week. RS Jr Devin Conroy has thrown for over 3000 yards and 24 TDs this season and is easily the best QB they will face this year. Unfortunately for the Rams Conroy is the entire offense, their running game is virtually an afterthought. A one-dimensional offense is relatively easy to gameplan for, but planning does not always guarantee execution. On defense the Rams have a good collection of pieces led by their imposing safeties Damani Crump-Jackson and Mohamed Latham, but for some reason they haven’t really been clicking on this side of the ball. Maybe it’s due to scheme (their CBs specialize in zone but the safeties are best in man?), and maybe it’s that their front seven still use the old playstyle tags on the depth chart. NIU will need the Charlie Sanford they got against CMU (16 of 25 for 200 yards, 2/0 TD/INT) and not the one they got against WMU (15 of 23 for 150 yards, 0/3 TD/INT), because the cornerbacks can be had. Prediction: 35-21 Colorado State We suspect that the Rams stout front four can hold the point of attack against the Husky run game and leave the linebackers to collect the tackles against Daniel Hutchins, allowing the safeties to sit back and roam centerfield. Sanford will likely have a day closer to the Western game than Central and that won’t get it done against the Conroy Convoy. Akron (3-6, 2-3) at Miami (OH) (2-8, 2-3) Last Week: Plans for a friendly get-together of tea and crumpets were sadly scuttled when both teams realized they’d have to drive through Columbus to meet. (Both teams on BYE) The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA keeps chucking, but the lack of balance is really starting to show. Despite good numbers over his last three games (combined 77 of 131 for 835 yards, 7/4 TD/INT) the Redhawks have gone 0-3. A big part of that is the failure to get Damien Mays on track; his highest amount of rushing yards during this span is 80. Heck, he hasn't rushed for over 90 yards in a game this season! For all his talent, Cera is still learning to read defenses and learning not to believe his arm can get any pass anywhere. Against a strong Akron defensive line featuring DT Marlon Bailey and DE Gabriel Beauchamp, he will be looking to his hot reads often. T.J. Zamora has quietly improved his game over the last two weeks, but when Nathaniel Ruff is shut down Zamora is limited in what he can accomplish. (Welcome to the plight of the common MAC QB) A pedestrian WR corps doesn't help, but Miami's defense isn't very imposing - they've given up 32.0 ppg over their last three games. This isn't a weakness to a specific gameplan either - during that stretch they gave up 34 to both the passing attack of Southern Miss and MAMADOU SMASH of Buffalo. Prediction: 28-24 Akron We expect Nathaniel Ruff will break the century mark again and unlock Zamora to be an effective dual threat. The FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA will get his but the Redhawks defense doesn't seem like it can hold up their end of the bargain. Iowa (4-6) at Central Michigan (5-5, 4-2) : non-conference Last Week: Iowa put up a huge fight vs. #5 Wisconsin, losing the game on a pick-six with less than five minutes to go (L 17-24), while Central SHOCKED THE (MAC) WORLD by beating #20 Toledo on a last-second field goal. (W 24-21) “To this very day, they say if you listen carefully, that you can still hear ImposterCauster singing love ballads to Walt Sutherland.” The uneven legend of Walt Sutherland and the Chips rolls on, but Justin Brunson continues to be an unsung hero for Central Michigan with another clutch 120-yard performance. Can they do it again? They come up against a solid Hawkeye defense that boasts 4-stars virtually across the board, the outside linebackers being the only exceptions. The Chips offense may consider targeting them with the option game and intermediate crossing routes but RS Fr CB Benjamin Parris (23 tackles, 3 INT) will be looking for any errant passes. Iowa’s offense is imposing. Led by potential top 10 draft pick LT Taylor Randolph no one on the Hawkeyes O-line has a rating under 4, and they have potential everywhere at the skill positions. A’Shawn Ellison and Graham Lankford can hold their own against Iowa, but coach llamas will have to gameplan the absolute crap out of this one to compensate for a decided talent disadvantage. Prediction: 27-21 Iowa If Iowa isn’t the best 4-win team in the nation, they’re really close to it. Their record is result of 1) playing in the B1G, and 2) going coachless for several weeks. We don’t know if Iowa’s new coach has placed his stamp on the team yet (i.e. Is he on the interface yet?), but it’s going to take a Coach of the Year effort for Central Michigan to pull off another upset and reach a bowl game. Ohio (5-4, 3-1) at Kent State (4-6, 3-2) Last Week: Ohio overcame an ugly game from Stephen Peters to shake off Bowling Green (W 21-13), while Kent State couldn’t keep the winning streak alive and was MAMADOU SMASH’D by Buffalo. (L 7-17) Raise your hand if you had this pegged as a crucial game for control of the MAC East a month ago. Now put it down because clearly you are a delusional and obvious liar, yet here we are. The Bobcats currently have the longest winning streak in the conference, taking four in a row, and are currently in the division lead - but that’s because the Golden Flashes fell a half game behind due to last week’s loss. Kent State has the added motivation of needing to win out to attain bowl eligibility, while Ohio’s magic number to clinch the division falls to one with a win. Kent State’s offense never got going last week. Once Buffalo’s Patrick Garber completed the trifecta of a strip-sack, fumble recovery, and touchdown on the same play it somehow felt like a hole the Flashes could not climb out of, even when Harrison Mullin scored in the 4th to make it a one possession game. Their recent win streak was propelled by an efficient passing game; John Garland did enough to make defenses honest and not have them focus solely on Mullin. But the early deficit against the Bulls forced Kent State to have Garland to throw more; he instead became a target his O-line (4.3 rating) couldn’t protect. The Bobcats hope they can replicate the effort, or at least tie up enough blockers to let Calvin Blue do his work. The Kent State defense will look to contain Owen. Freaking. WALTON and have Stephen Peters prove last week was an aberration. The problem is that Kent State doesn’t have the players that Bowling Green did, and Peters should be more comfortable in the pocket this week. We don’t expect 250 yards and 2 TDs, but nothing close to that ugliness that is 13 of 26 for 120 yards, 0/3 TD/INT. Prediction: 24-14 Ohio The Bobcats have the deadlier player in Owen. Freaking. WALTON and they have an active coach. Coach beeznik moves one step closer to capturing a division title in his first year. BYES: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Toledo, Western Michigan For Desmond Mason and #MACtion Jenny, this is Bruce Baguen. On behalf of the MAC Network (“If it’s not MAC, it’s Wack!”), see you next time!
  20. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Streak Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - W8 Toledo Rockets (6) 72 8-1 (5-0) 2 - L1 Western Michigan Broncos 66 6-3 (3-1) 3 +1 W2 Buffalo Bulls 59 6-4 (3-2) 4 +1 W3 Ohio Bobcats 48 4-4 (2-1) 5 -2 L1 Central Michigan Chippewas 47 4-5 (3-2) 6 - L1 Akron Zips 40 3-6 (2-3) 7 +2 W3 Kent State Golden Flashes 39 4-5 (3-1) 8 -1 L2 Bowling Green Falcons 29 4-6 (1-3) 9 -1 L1 Eastern Michigan Eagles 26 3-5 (2-2) 10 +1 W1 Northern Illinois Huskies 21 3-6 (1-4) 11 -1 L2 Miami (OH) Redhawks 14 2-8 (2-3) 12 - W1 Ball State Cardinals 7 1-9 (1-4) [/table] · Number of voters: 6 · 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. · Biggest riser: Kent State, up 2 spots from 9th to 7th. · Biggest fall: Central Michigan, down 2 spots from 3rd to 5th. Remember that talk last week about tiers? Yeah. The top and bottom are still well-defined, but look! Ball State is no longer a unanimous choice for last! Toledo is still clearly in a class of its own and will probably lock up the #1 spot for the rest of the year if they beat CMU this week. Heck, they'll probably stay #1 even if they lose to CMU. Western Michigan is still solidly at #2, but Buffalo continues to steadily climb up the rankings, followed by Ohio making a late-season surge and CMU. Everyone else is pretty much in a blender. Bowl Watch! Eligible for a Bowl: Toledo, Western Michigan, Buffalo Can attain Bowl-eligibility if: Win two out of four: Ohio Win two out of three: Akron, Central Michigan, Kent State Must win out: Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois Watching from a comfy couch: Miami(OH), Ball State
  21. Last week's pick record: 2-4 Pick record to date: 10-16 Reaction gif: Along with this week's silent partner Xavier McDaniel, I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you back with us for this week's #MACtion slate! And now a sacred tradition, the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. Jenny? Kent State (4-5 overall, 3-1 conf.) @ Buffalo (6-4, 2-3) Last Week: Kent State(!) pulled ahead of Ohio to take the MAC East lead (!!) by beating Eastern Michigan and running their win streak to three (!!!) (W 20-14), while Buffalo’s MAMADOU SMASH had an off day, had a fumble, and ran the ball less than 30 times. They still beat up on Akron though. (W 24-16) We think QB Stephen Coates got ahead of himself. Emboldened by his 7 of 7 performance the week prior, he tried throwing the ball a number of times in double digits! The results? 7 of 13 for 93 yards, 0/1 TD/INT. Well, you tried! MAMADOU SMASH did actually have a decent day (27 carries for 136 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM), but lines that look good on mere mortals are but mere triflings on all that is MAMADOU SMASH. One thing we will give Buffalo full credit for; their big uglies in the trenches simply wore Akron down. They were instrumental in taking a close game and turning it into a relentless flood of power in the 4th. Also, we just wanted to point out that we did call the lost fumble. We didn’t get much else right last week, let us have this. Akron actually outgained the Bulls in yardage 328-264 but Buffalo ran a “bend don’t break” defense to perfection, holding the Zips to a TD and three FGs (and one miss). We’ll see if Kent State can change that to “bend and break.” The Golden Flashes were efficient in taking what Eastern’s defense gave them last week until it was time for the game-winning and TD pass from John Garland to Justin Maurer. Harrison Mullin did yeoman’s work for Kent State, but he (and Garland) will have to do more because the Bulls won't give you many chances if you miss your shot. Prediction: Buffalo 21-13. Buffalo must win out if they want a chance at claiming the MAC East title. Unfortunately for the Bulls the majority of their losses have come in-conference, putting them behind the 8-ball. Kent State has lowkey been one of the MAC’s surprises (seriously lowkey, no one realized they had a three-game winning streak), but we expect that MAMADOU SMASH will defend his turf and keep Buffalo’s division hopes alive. Ohio (4-4, 2-1) @ Bowling Green (4-6, 1-3) Last Week: Ohio came alive in the second half to pull away from a game Western Kentucky squad (W 24-10), while Bowling Green let Austin Laws run for 170 yards en route to Ball State’s first win of the season. (L 14-28) Owen. Freaking. WALTON. had 180 yards and 2 TDs against the Hilltoppers. The man has been unstoppable of late, rushing for 475 yards and 6 TDs in his last 3 games - all Ohio wins, by the way. You’d think a defensive line as formidable as the Bowling Green Sack Factory would be up to the challenge, but Ball State laid down the Laws against them - and held Isaiah Hall completely off the statsheet! We know the Sack Factory will be looking to redeem themselves against the Bobcats but they'll need that extra motivation; Ohio is one of the hottest in the conference right now. Outside of the bad line play and Makai Petty’s paltry 68 rushing yards (think they’re related?), the Falcons actually didn’t have a horrible offensive game. Eddie Connelly’s final stat line (20 of 38 for 217 yards, 1/1 TD/INT) is decent by MAC standards, but that pick came as they were driving for a tying score in the 3rd Quarter. When Ball State’s Marquis Causey scored with seven minutes left to extend the Cardinal lead to two scores, Bowling Green’s... deliberate (deliberate? Yeah, let’s go with deliberate.) offense was unable to go up-tempo and pick up the points. Prediction: Ohio 24-14. On of the hottest teams in the MAC, the Bobcats are more than capable of using the same game plan Ball State used: Run the ball and throw safe, short passes to neutralize Isaiah Hall and company. We trust Ohio’s offense more than we do Bowling Green’s, and we don’t think Owen. Freaking. WALTON. will be denied this week. Northern Illinois (1-4, 3-6) @ Western Michigan (6-3, 3-1) Last Week: Northern Illinois got their groove back against Central Michigan (W 28-14), while Western Michigan fell flat on television against Toledo. (L 6-24) We’ve seen this before. Northern Illinois showed what they can do when they play to their potential, but it comes and goes. Coach robcarlson77 is hoping that he's got the right gameplan to keep the party going for Sandford & Hutchins. How will Coach Jieret plan to stop the Huskies? His defensive gameplan against Toledo didn't seem very effective, and he vowed to rectify that against this week. Will he have his linebackers play closer to the line and let the secondary work on islands? The Broncos offense will be looking to wipe the dirt off their face after that faceplant against Toledo. Gabriel Shields won't say anything about it, but the rest of the offense is upset that they weren't good enough to keep his streak of 100+ yard games going. Chase Sims in particular knows he must be better. And he needs to be - expect NIU to imitate the Rocket gameplan and sell out to stop the run. Prediction: Western Michigan 24-17. Oh NIU, we want to love you, really. Some day we'll actually get a read on you and figure out when you'll play well and when you won't as much. But the Broncos have been very consistent and good for the majority of the year, and we're valuing that in making our picks. #20 Toledo (8-1, 5-0) @ Central Michigan (3-2, 4-5) Last Week: Toledo continued its cruise through the MAC, convincingly dispatching Western Michigan (W 24-6) while Central Michigan’s defense allowed the NIU offense to methodically do whatever it wanted. (L 14-28) At its best the Husky offense is a balanced machine. Toledo presents a better version this week, and if the Chips’ defense looked out of sorts against NIU what will happen Saturday? Coach llamas said after the Husky loss that they struggled to get players in the right spot and hinted that they would work on cleaning up their fundamentals. DE Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough, MILB Graham Lankford, and CB A’Shawn Ellison are excellent players, but they can’t do everything on their own. We expect that the Rockets will force Sutherland to beat them through the air and would happily take a stat line similar to his output against NIU last week (14 of 18 for 173 yards, 1/1 TD/INT). The Chips will try to get linemen to the second level to block standout ILB Shia Reeder, but Toledo will likely have a second linebacker tasked with containing the CMU QB. Prediction: Toledo 31-14. Unless the Rockets are looking way too far ahead to the MAC Championship game, there’s no compelling reason we can see to predict a Chippewa victory. With a few defensive exceptions, Toledo just has a better roster and CMU’s recent inconsistency certainly won’t help. We expect Coach deathcpo and his players to be celebrating the MAC West title in the locker room after the game is over. Note: Either SageBow or Stormstopper pointed out the conference division clinching scenarios after Week 12 (can’t find it), so a big h/t to whoever it was that pointed out Toledo’s magic number is 1 (Toledo win OR CMU/WMU loss). Ah hell, h/t to both of them for the great work they’ve been doing all year. Byes: Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami(OH) On behalf of the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"), for Xavier McDaniel and #MACtion Jenny this is Bruce Baguen. Until next time!
  22. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - Toledo Rockets (7) 84 7-1 (4-0) 2 - Western Michigan Broncos 77 6-2 (3-0) 3 - Central Michigan Chippewas 70 4-4 (3-1) 4 +1 Buffalo Bulls 55 5-4 (2-2) 5 - Ohio Bobcats 53 2-4 (2-1) 6 -2 Akron Zips 52 3-5 (2-2) 7 - Bowling Green Falcons 39 4-5 (1-2) 8 +2 Eastern Michigan Eagles 36 3-5 (2-2) 9 - Kent State Golden Flashes 30 3-5 (2-1) 10 -2 Miami (OH) Redhawks 29 2-7 (2-3) 11 -1 Northern Illinois Huskies 14 2-6 (0-4) 12 - Ball State Cardinals 7 0-9 (0-4) [/table] Number of voters: 7 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Biggest riser: Eastern Michigan, up 2 spots from 10th to 8th. Biggest fall (tie): Akron and Miami(OH), down 2 spots each from 4th to 6th (Zips) and 8th to 10th (Redhawks). The voters were again unanimous with the top three teams in the MAC and the bottom two, but a little bit of reshuffling going on in the middle. What's really fascinating about this poll is that you can start to see the teams sorting themselves into certain tiers based on the points received: 1-3, 4-6, 7-10, 11-12. Having said that, with everyone in action this week I fully expect those tiers to get blown up and smushed together. #MACtion, amirite? Toledo, however, has a golden chance to separate themselves as the class of the MAC with their next two games: At Western Michigan, at Central Michigan. If the Rockets sweep, that virtually guarantees they'll stay atop the Power Rankings until season's end.
  23. Last week's pick record: 1-2 Pick record to date: 8-12 Reaction gif: Along with this week's silent partner Tom LaGarde I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you back with us for this week's #MACtion slate! We'll start with the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. Jenny, if you please.... Ohio (3-4, 2-1) @ Western Kentucky (2-6) - non-conference Last Week: Ohio retained a share of the MAC East lead by doing nothing (BYE), while Western Kentucky did whatever they wanted on offense to hapless FIU. (W 49-24) Despite the Hilltoppers’ impressive showing last week, we think that says more about FIU’s roster than anything else. WKU’s offense is very nondescript, and their best player may be SR TE Bryan Nicholson – who hasn’t even shown up on the statsheet. The Bobcats have a solid defense at all three levels and should avoid the missed tackles that gave leading WKU WR Michael Landrum his impressive stat line against FIU (8 catches for 123 yards, 1 TD). The Hilltoppers have a pair of stud linemen in Jr DT Benjamin Chappell (22 tackles, 5 sacks) and RS Jr DE Saniel Spivey (18 tackles, 5 sacks) but not much else on defense. If Owen Walton breaks through the first level, he’ll be rampaging for plenty of yards before getting gang-tackled. Prediction: Ohio 31-13. The Bobcats roster is just better all-around than Western Kentucky’s, and Ohio has been on a roll lately. We expect Walton and Co. to make the .500 mark on the season. Central Michigan (4-4, 3-1) @ Northern Illinois (2-6, 0-4) Last Week: Central Michigan’s QB tried to figure out the Chamberlain SNAFU (“I mean, he’s got an ‘I’ in the name, I have an ‘A.’ Plus he had like eight inches on me!” thinks Walt) (BYE), while the Huskies roster continues to sputter through their conference schedule, this time falling to Eastern Michigan. (L 21-35) Yet more of the Wilt Chamberlain Wally Amberlin Waltzing Oberon Kiefer Otherland Walt Sutherland show in action last game; the Chips QB was responsible for all but 45 yards of their offense, spreading the ball around and chipping in with the occasional rushing TD. The Huskies have the potential to put the Sutherland Show on hiatus, but will they? If Justin Brunson can put in more than a cameo appearance the Chips should win this side of the ball. The Husky offense... whew. Daniel Hutchins is doing what he can, but it's becoming painfully clear that NIU offense needs the passing game to function and Charlie Sanford is throwing some ill-timed interceptions, including a pick-six - A'Shawn Ellison would LOVE the chance to take one back to the house. It makes you really wonder why the Huskies aren't targeting stud TE Emory Johnson more, a reliable safety option seems just like the thing the doctor ordered for this ailing offense. Prediction: CMU 28-14 Look no further than how these teams played against Eastern Michigan in the last two weeks. While Central pulled away to a comfortable win, Northern struggled to mount any meaningful offense. Coach robcarlson77 has some tough questions for his team that they haven't answered yet; the Huskies should be playing better than they are, but potential doesn't do much in the win-loss columns where it counts. Ball State (0-9, 0-4) @ Bowling Green (4-5, 1-2) Last Week: Ball State kept it closer against Toledo than they did against Virginia - progress! (L 14-30), while Bowling Green engaged in heated debate: The Law Firm or the Sack Factory, which group nickname is better? (BYE) Whatever Kent State did to keep Isaiah Hall off the statsheet, Ball State would pay a pretty penny to replicate it. Brandon Thomas had a good game in the box score (1 sack, 8 tackles), but shutting Hall down forced Thomas to make most of his plays at the second level instead of in the backfield. Hall's fellow bookend Malachi McKnight couldn't take advantage of the extra attention Hall got and was also quiet. Unfortunately, one of Canes' (many) proposals were denied and we have no video replay or All-22 film to watch. If Ball State can protect Marquis Causey, the Falcons' secondary is vulnerable but we don't see how he will have time to get the ball to Chan Pease or anyone else, really. The Sack Factory will want to get production back on track, and this looks like a favorable game to do so. On the other side of the ball, Toledo got to do whatever it wanted against the Cardinal defense. Granted Toledo has the overall best offense in the MAC, but outside of a Troy Odom pick-six there was nothing for Ball State to hang its hat on. The Law Firm of Connelly, Layne, and Petty should be able to ride a balanced run/pass attack to methodically move down the field. Can the Cardinals pull a few more turnovers out of their hat to spark an upset? Prediction: Bowling Green 27-10 Over/Under on sacks of Marquis Causey: 4.5. What'cha got? Akron (3-5 overall, 2-2 conf.) @ Buffalo (5-4, 2-2) Last Week: Akron pondered deep meaningful questions such as, "Why DO the Cleveland Browns show up as a sports attraction on the official City of Akron webpage?" (BYE), while Buffalo got the jump on the Redhawks and never let up. (W 34-24) Akron is already sad that they won't be able to replicate their 3-INT performance against New Mexico, since the defensive gameplan this week is all about stopping MAMADOU SMASH. Against the Redhawks the Bulls constantly put themselves in third-and-short situations and broke their will: A 7 of 14 third-down conversion rate is really REALLY good, especially when Stephen Coates only* throws the ball five times. We know that stud DE Gabriel Beauchamp is great against the pass, will he and the rest of the Akron D-line be able to corral MAMADOU SMASH? If Buffalo's offense gets going early, it's nigh-impossible for many teams to fight that momentum. The Zips' D must gang tackle and stand MAMADOU SMASH up as much as possible, he's shown a tendency to put the ball on the ground (4 Fumbles lost this season). Akron's offense looked great against New Mexico, but it's very hard to get a handle on them. T.J. Zamora is one of the best when he's on, but when he's not it can get ugly - which Zamora are we getting? The Bulls' safety duo of Omari Easley and Thomas Gordon will be ready to pick off any errant Zamora tosses; the Zips may want to feature continually underrated Nathaniel Ruff a bit more. *We say "only" as if that's not a high-volume game for him. And that stat line! 5 of 5 for 70 yards and a TD! Good thing the Buffalo Applebee's (Marshawn-approved for the decor, mind you) didn't start their "$1 off for every Coates completion" promotion until this week. Prediction: Akron 28-24 In the hardest game to pick this week, we'll side with the Zips. MAMADOU SMASH will get his, but it's amazing the difference in Buffalo play when they're ahead vs. when they're coming from behind. We believe that Akron will have a good start to the game behind Zamora and Ruff, plus we wouldn't be surprised to see another Buffalo turnover via fumble. Eastern Michigan (3-5, 2-2) @ Kent State (3-5, 2-1) Last Week: Eastern Michigan rolled in all three phases of their game against NIU (W 35-21), while Kent State’s new coach Stretch72hornet spent the week installing his playbook. (BYE) EMU's gameplan is simple: Mohammed Lackey will run effectively, the defense will start dropping a safety into the box, then Giovanni Shaw will drop a pass right over the safety's head. Rinse and repeat. This game will ask a lot of the Kent State back seven to properly read their keys and not chase after the ball. Harrison Mullin leads Kent State's mini-resurgence with two straight games of over 100 yards and 2 TDs. He's shown very good patience is waiting for the creases in the line to form before making his move. The Eagles defense will look to limit his effectiveness and force John Garland to beat them through the air, where Zachary Dumas and the EMU secondary will be waiting. Prediction: Eastern Michigan 21-16 Kent State is starting to play up to their potential, but that potential is that of an average team with occasional Flashes. The Eagles should be able to run almost at will against the Golden Flashes and ruin coach Stretch72hornet's debut. Southern Mississippi (6-2) @ Miami (OH) (2-7, 2-3) - non-conference Last Week: We've learned at the MAC Network from reliable sources that Southern Miss will announce its list of all-time football greats just before their bowl game. We've also learned that #1 is Etric Pruitt. Like it could be anyone else. (BYE) The Redhawks did the exact opposite of what they needed to do against Buffalo and fell in the early hole themselves. (L 24-34) Season stats haven't appeared on the Wiki for the Golden Eagles but with Harrison Weir, they look to be primarily a run-first team that can sling the ball as needed. But Southern Miss is certainly unafraid to let RS So Johnathan Keller grip it and rip it, such as when he threw 41 times in their 3 OT loss to Rice in Week 10. With good targets in RS Jr WR Randall Johnson and Sr TE Kenneth Wright, it's not hard to see why Keller sometimes gets to chuck it deep. The Golden Eagles' LT is very young and may give up the occasional sack, but the Redhawks must execute solid team defense to limit the damage Keller and Weir does. The strength of the Golden Eagles defense is clearly their line, led by future 1st-rounder Dexter Flowers (12.5 sacks, 41 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR). He's terrorizing QBs all over the country and now it's FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA's turn to feel the pain. Of course, the last time Best!Miami faced a dominating D-line Cera threw 4 TDs and no picks against Bowling Green, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Prediction: Southern Miss 28-21 Southern Miss has a very "Stars and Scrubs" roster that Best!Miami's offense may be able to exploit. But in a game that we think will be closer than many observers expect, Coach Wooden's experience will have the Golden Eagles on top in a battle of birdbros. #20 Toledo (7-1, 4-0) @ Western Michigan (6-2, 3-0) Last Week: Toledo took care of business against an overmatched Ball State squad (W 30-14), while the Broncos faithful started a letter campaign to have CFBHC Gameday imitate RL Gameday and come to Kalamazoo. (BYE) Gabriel Shields is the engine in the Broncos train, and Western Michigan hopes to keep him rolling. QB Chase Sims has proven serviceable, but he will need to do more than hold serve against a strong Toledo defense and connect with Josh Whitt on a deep shot or two. The Rockets are strong up the middle of the defense with DT Dwayne Montgomery, ILB Shia Reeder, and FS Anthony Davis, and good almost everywhere else. If there's a weak spot it would be the CB depth after Adam Haywood, but the Broncos offense isn't really built to exploit that. The Rockets also run Reeder often on A-gap blitzes, so Shields will have to be ready to adjust running lanes quickly - there may be some daylight where the ILB used to be if Shields can make him miss. On Toledo's offense, Benjamin Hanson and Gabe Ciamo lead a balanced attack. Because a defense can't key on a specific aspect, they will usually have to play straight up and match personnel against the Rockets - something almost no one in the MAC is prepared to do. The Broncos's back seven may be among the conference's best, but if they have to blitz to help a so-so D-line get to Hanson that opens space for the Rocket receivers. Prediction: Toledo 24-21 The Rockets are a very good team, as is Western Michigan. The difference is that Toledo has more high-level depth and we expect that to be the difference in a tight affair. Byes: None On behalf of the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!") for Tom LaGarde and #MACtion Jenny, I'm Bruce Baguen. Until next time!
  24. [table] Rank Change from Last Wk. Team (1st place votes) Points Record (Conf. Record) 1 - Toledo Rockets (4) 48 6-1 (3-0) 2 - Western Michigan Broncos 44 6-2 (3-0) 3 - Central Michigan Chippewas 40 4-4 (3-1) 4 +2 Akron Zips 32 3-5 (2-2) 5 (tie) -1 Buffalo Bulls 28 4-4 (1-2) 5 (tie) +4 Ohio Bobcats 28 3-4 (2-1) 7 -2 Bowling Green Falcons 25 4-5 (1-2) 8 - Miami (OH) Redhawks 22 2-6 (2-2) 9 +2 Kent State Golden Flashes 21 2-5 (1-1) 10 (tie) -3 Eastern Michigan Eagles 10 2-5 (1-2) 10 (tie) - Northern Illinois Huskies 10 2-5 (0-3) 12 - Ball State Cardinals 4 0-8 (0-3) [/table] Number of voters: 4 12 Points were given for a first-place vote, 11 Points for second, etc. Biggest riser: Ohio Bobcats, up 4 spots from 9th to 5th. Biggest fall: Eastern Michigan, down 3 spots from 7th to 10th. Once again voters were unanimous with regards to the top and bottom of the rankings, and this unanimity now includes Central Michigan. Everyone else? It's not so much that spots four through eleven are interchangeable, it's that everyone in this area has pretty much beaten up on each other. Considering the slate of MAC games this week, I expect similar results next week; the top and bottom locked in place while the middle teams try to claw over each other.
  25. Last Week: 3-3 Season to date (Since Week 8): 7-10 Welcome back to another week of hot #MACtion! Along with this week's silent partner Dana Barros, I'm Bruce Baguen; glad to have you with us! And now, the ceremonial lighting of the torch by #MACtion Jenny. If you would, Jenny? This week's picks and previews come with a 100% money back guarantee! (We guarantee that one of the teams in each game will win.) Eastern Michigan (2-5 overall, 1-2 conf.) at Northern Illinois (2-5, 0-3) Last Week: EMU couldn't recover from a Walt Chamberlain dagger to the heart right before halftime of their game with Central Michigan (L 14-38), while the Huskies licked their wounds and tried to circle the wagons (BYE). The bad news? Both teams are scuffling badly heading into this week. The good news? They can't tie, so someone will win this game! It feels like the Eagles' offensive strength plays into NIU's defensive strength up the middle; EMU may have to work the short-to-intermediate passing game against the Husky linebackers a bit more than usual to move the chains. The Husky offense has regressed and QB Charlie Sanford is one of the reasons why; after a torching start to his season Sanford has a paltry 5.68 passing yards per attempt and a 3/2 TD/INT ratio in NIU's last two games, both losses. One of the story lines of this game will be how the Huskies try to cure themselves of this offensive malaise; the Eagles have a bit of talent on the defensive front and back ends, but with the right gameplan NIU can move the ball. Prediction: 24-14 Northern Illinois Ever since beating Buffalo, the Eagles went from a pair of extra points away from upsetting UCF, to coming up short in a comeback against Western Michigan, to getting blown out by Central Michigan. They're seriously trending down and although NIU has not played up to their talent the last few weeks, we expect Coach robcarlson77 to get his team turned around first in a game that both teams badly need. Buffalo (4-4, 1-2) at Miami(OH) (2-6, 2-2) Last Week: Somehow, Stephen Coates couldn't dig Buffalo out of the early hole they found themselves in (L 21-24) while the Redhawks' shipment of flame-retardant uniforms arrived, all so they could handle the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA better (BYE). For such a straightfoward team, Buffalo is sure hard to figure out. We all know what their game plan is, and we all know that they are not built to come back if the game plan falls apart; 3 completions on 5 attempts for 30 yards (WARNING: The preceding Buffalo passing stats are whited out for your protection. This statline is rated R for violence and foul language) speaks for itself. But they possess the best O-line in the conference and the most relentless bulldozer in MAMADOU SMASH, and we tend to like that kind of strong foundation. But Miami is more than capable of a fast start; if they do so and if the Redhawks stack the box, this will totally end up the opposite of 'The Tortoise and the Hare.' Prediction: 27-14 Miami(OH) For better or for worse Buffalo are what they are. We expect the Redhawks will take advantage, and they have just the right offense to put the Bulls into an early hole; something Buffalo hasn't proven they can overcome. Have you seen that passing game? Did you hide your children's eyes while doing so? Ball State (0-8, 0-3) at #21 Toledo (6-1, 3-0) Last Week: Virginia's Matteo Rook visited Muncie and found their hospitality (and end zones) rather welcoming (L 13-42)*, while Toledo spent lots of time figuring out ways to get their players ALL THE AWARDS (BYE). *(Holy crap we were so close to getting this one) The MAC's best team against its only winless team. Doubtless this will be a highly competitive and tense game followed by tea and crumpets in the student section. There really isn't much to say here, folks. Ball State really does have some talent but it's spread thin and outclassed by the Rockets' roster. Prediction: 40-10 Toledo For the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!"), this is Dana Barros and Bruce Baguen. Until next time!