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  1. Welcome back everyone to your weekly roundup on all thing 'Crooting for Everybody's Favorite Conference. This is Trevor Cargill live from the Studios at MAC Headquarters (Sponsored by Marathon Oil™)! This week wasn't quite as exciting overall for the school of the MAC but we still have future footballers coming in, so let's take a closer look at how it all went down last week. Bonus! This week, we have previews. With the regular recruiting cycle starting to wind down, junior college players are ready to make their decisions on where to continue their careers. And it's not just the typical JuCos - a small group of international players have impressed enough to gain the notice of the CFBHC world. Conference Rankings: Last week we expressed our concern for the schools with smaller classes, and they've all responded - some more than others. Kent State stays atop the average-star chart, although their lead shrinks due to signing a 3.5 star (again, never a bad thing) and Western Michigan signing a 4-star. Best!Miami slipping doesn't mean they're doing badly, it means that they've signed more bodies. Which is good! Committed Recruits (by potential) >=2.5 star recruits Tot. Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 5 Kent State 0 1 1 2 1 0 5 19.0 3.80 1.70 20 Western Michigan 0 4 10 2 1 3 20 74.5 3.73 1.40 14 Ball State 1 3 9 1 0 0 14 47.0 3.36 1.89 25 Akron 0 14 9 2 0 0 25 81.5 3.26 1.24 9 Ohio 0 7 1 0 1 0 9 29.0 3.22 2.44 5 Miami (OH) 0 3 2 0 0 0 5 16.0 3.20 1.30 18 Toledo 8 3 2 3 1 1 18 57.5 3.19 1.61 14 Central Michigan 1 8 4 1 0 0 14 44.5 3.18 1.32 9 Buffalo 4 1 3 0 0 1 9 28.5 3.17 1.22 17 Northern Illinois 2 11 3 1 0 0 17 52.5 3.09 1.53 28 Eastern Michigan 4 18 5 1 0 0 28 85.5 3.05 1.34 14 Bowling Green 3 9 1 1 0 0 14 42.0 3.00 1.25 National Rankings: With only one 4-star signing and a handful of 3.5s, the MAC's overall ranking picture dropped a bit. But after last week's commit haul, it would have been near-impossible to keep up that overall momentum. There are very few high school targets remaining that would allow a MAC school to continue climbing at this rate. But hey, JuCo is coming! Western Michigan (National rank: 26) -2 Toledo (National rank: 52) +0 Kent State (National rank: 79) +0 Akron (National rank: 86) +7 Buffalo (National rank: 87) -2 Ball State (National rank: 88) -2 Ohio (National rank: 89) -2 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 105) +2 Central Michigan (National rank: 106) +0 Northern Illinois (National rank: 108) +1 Bowling Green (National rank: 116) -1 Miami (OH) (National rank: 124) -1 (National average ranking: 89) Weekly/Seasonal Analysis: Western Michigan (National rank: 26) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Texas continues to be a friendly state to the Broncos. A week after defensive tackle Leonard Landrum signs, 3.5-star DE Khalil Norman follows him north spurning SMU to do so. Looking Forward: With the bulk of the class secured, Western Michigan seems to be casting a wide net out of state for depth. Florida C Marco Bray and Washington ILB Cyrus Hoffman are pursued by not only WMU but other MAC schools, while the Broncos have also contacted Alabama RB Rakeem Bland and Mississippi ILB Javorius Wallace. Toledo (National rank: 52) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Only depth signings this week for the Rockets as they ratchet up the pursuit on WR Atamu Tatupu. OLB Roach could start in a pinch, but for Toledo that would be disaster if that ever happened. Looking Forward: To borrow a poker term, does Toledo feel pot-committed at this point? Tatupu is currently listed as the 3rd-most popular recruit in the country and Pitt is in the driver's seat for his services. Does Toledo feel they need to stay the course and hope that Pitt slips up? There's also a battle for Georgia tackle Maxim Skaggs they are involved in, where they're neck-and-neck with Wake Forest and Georgia State. Kent State (National rank: 79) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: No signatures, but movement on the Jacob Kellogg front. The Golden Flashes have pulled into the lead for the Alabama 4-star WR over Troy, and that's easily the biggest battle for Kent State right now (#11 most popular recruit). Looking Forward: With NMSU and Texas taking a huge lead on CB Darius Wright, the WR duo of Kellogg and Kai York (who Kent still leads on over Texas State) is among their biggest priorities. Kent State and Texas State are also competing for Texas CB Carlos Tolbert, with the southern Bobcats holding a slim lead. There's also Florida C Marco Bray who they are pretty close on with WMU, and local product Jasiah Muse who they hope to steal away from Ball State. Akron (National rank: 86) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: The Zips are this week's biggest winner with FS Calvin Bernard taking his talent to the Rubber City. The highest-profile MAC commit this week, Bernard figures to be a 4-year starter after he redshirts in 2022. Looking Forward: Akron took the lead on Indiana tackle Charlie Ricci over the in-state Hoosiers. With the Zips' class nearly full the coaching staff will probably focus on this one battle and not fight as hard on some of the other recruits. But if they did choose to look at their other battles, they're in a virtual dead heat with Bowling Green for SS Christian Peppers. Buffalo (National rank: 87) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Nothing this week for the Bulls, but their battles with Army grow more intense. They've fallen behind on WR Samir Humphrey and OT Ayden Zuniga but kept their lead on OG TeJay Briggs. Looking Forward: The trio of 3.5-stars probably gets the majority of the coaching staff's attention, but they are the other MAC school that extended an offer to Washington ILB Cyrus Hoffman (along with WMU) and took a lead on Prince Tatum, a 3-star WR out of Louisiana. Again, how will Buffalo prioritize these battles? Ball State (National rank: 88) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Only a depth signing for Ball State. Looking Forward: California OT Giovanni Blank got a late offer from the local Golden Bears and was reportedly blown away by their offer - it shows in Cal's status as Blank's new favorite. Ohio DT Jasiah Muse still likes the Cardinals more than anyone else, but Kent State has entered the picture for him and is breathing down Ball's neck. And some familiar faces reunite at Florida DT Will Sloan's house as the Cards and Ohio both made pitches to the 3-star recruit. Ohio (National rank: 89) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Another high-floor player for the Bobcats this week as Cali kid William Coates goes east to the Midwest. It's not out of the question he could find playing time next year as a rotational DE. Looking Forward: They still trail Best!Miami for 3-star linebacker Eddie Ybarra on their radar, and they're also behind Ball State on the aforementioned Will Sloan. Eastern Michigan (National rank: 105) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: The biggest class in the MAC continues to get bigger as they sign another five recruits to push their class to a whopping 28 players. None of them look to be starters down the road, although Manning may get a chance in a couple of years. Looking Forward: None of the commits this week plays cornerback, so Florida CB David Jefferson would still be a HUGE get for the Eagles. Fortunately he still favors the Eagles over Cincinnati. SMU took the lead on Texas DE Hugo Delgado, and that would be an uphill battle for EMU if they still want to fight that fight. They have taken the lead on 3-star WR Abraham Adame over UNC, and with no WRs in this class he would be a much needed commit also. P.S. @tsweezy, if you do end up oversigning (more than 30 recruits), you will choose which ones to cut at a later date. Central Michigan (National rank: 106) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: A depth FB signing, nothing special here. Looking Forward: Is CMU using the "croot bomb" technique where they just focus on one recruit exclusively? It seems like it as scouring the recruiting boards didn't show their names in contention for basically anyone right now. Where will they fire their croot laser this week? Northern Illinois (National rank: 108) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: WRs OUT OF NOWHERE. A trio of 3-star wideouts is just what the doctor ordered for the Huskies (including one of our favorite new names in Mojag McIntosh), and one of them is very likely to start next year in the slot. It's not an ideal spot to start a true freshman, but beggars and all that. Still, kudos to NIU for patching a big hole in their roster. Looking Forward: So much for that progress with Kentucky guard Eric Lockwood. They've fallen behind both Ole Miss and UNC. They also trail the Okies on Texas WR Timothy Lara but with 3 WR signees already Lara isn't as crucial as he was a week ago, so going all-out on Lockwood might be the play for the Huskies. Bowling Green (National rank: 116) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: The Falcons bring in their second TE in this class, pulling Tierre Norman away from the Hoosiers. This class still needs work, but it's looking a lot better than it did three or so weeks ago. Looking Forward: BGSU and Kentucky are really close to signing Illinois CB Reginald Foy, we can't tell who has the advantage there. The Falcons and Akron are still vying for SS Christian Peppers and that's also a virtual tie. Both 3-star players would really help the Falcons in the secondary, with both of them having higher ceilingd than some players already on campus. Miami (OH) (National rank: 124) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Nothing this week, sadly. Looking Forward: The fight with Akron over Calvin Bernard may have been the reason they now trail Western Kentucky on 4-star QB DeShaun Jackson. If they want him badly enough they can probably get him still, but how much would that hurt their other recruit battles? They still lead on 3-stars DE Je'Rod Lacey and CB Lavonte Toney, and both are also players they can use. ~~~~~~~ JuCo/International Player Preview: The JuCo list came out the other day, and players who are interested in Everybody's Favorite Conference (shouldn't that be everyone, really?) are listed below. With some schools at a disadvantage point-wise, they'll have to think long and hard about their strategies for this short two-week period. (Family Legacy schools start at 35 points. Primary and National Exposure schools start at 25, secondary schools get 15 to start. Rules! http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/21537-2021-juco-recruiting-rules) QB Akiem Williams III 6-3 235 Sr Hutchinson CC (Spring, TX) 5.0 of 5.0 [Scrambling] Primary favored school: Ohio State. Secondary schools: Ohio, Cincinnati WR Freddie Jackson 6-3 218 (Sr) Arizona Western College (Yuma, AZ) 4.5 of 4.5 [Target] Primary favored school: Indiana. Secondary schools: Purdue, Ball State OT Sawyer Dobbs 6-7 258 Jr Lackawanna (Scranton PA) 4.0 of 5.0 [Pass Blocking] Primary favored school: None. Secondary schools: Buffalo, UMass OG Jonah McCullough 6-2 315 Sr Cincinnati State Technical & Community College (Cincinnati OH) 5.0 of 5.0 [Run Blocking] Primary favored school: Nebraska. Secondary schools: Notre Dame, Michigan State. Family Legacy: Eastern Michigan OG Brayden Coburn 6-1 260 Jr Hudson Valley CC (Troy NY) 3.5 of 4.0 [Run Blocking] Primary favored school: Kent State. Secondary schools: Bowling Green, Toledo. Family Legacy: UConn DT Olivier Ponder 6-5 281 Jr College of the Desert (Palm Desert CA) 4.5 of 5.0 [2-Gap] National Exposure-favored school: Akron. DT Frank Cuadrado 6-4 309 (Jr) Pima Community College (Tucson AZ) 3.5 of 4.0 [1-Gap] Primary favored school: Michigan. Secondary schools: Michigan State, Central Michigan ILB Greg Causey 6-2 242 Jr Columbus State Community College (Columbus OH) 3.5 of 4.0 [Will] Primary favored school: Miami (OH). Secondary schools: Michigan State, Memphis OLB Connor Bradshaw Jr. 6-2 247 (So) College of Central Florida (Ocala FL) 3.5 of 4.5 [Blitz] Primary favored school: Michigan State. Secondary schools: Ball State, Purdue CB Zaire Hooker 5-11 166 Sr Tyler JC (Tyler TX) 4.5 of 4.5 [Man Coverage] Primary favored school: Western Michigan. Secondary schools: Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan CB Ousmane King 5-10 189 Jr College of the Siskiyous (Weed CA) 4.0 of 4.5 [Zone Coverage] Primary favored school: Ohio. Family Legacy: Miami (OH) SS Myles Mathis 5-10 183 Sr Marion Military Institute (Marion AL) 4.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage] National Exposure-favored school: Akron. Interestingly enough, you can see that some recruits seem to have chosen favorite schools based on current/prior success with similar players. See DT Olivier Ponder liking Akron (Marlon Bailey) and CB Zaire Hooker favoring WMU (Sean Taylor). The real interesting JuCo to watch is OT Sawyer Dobbs. Although he likes Buffalo (and UMass), he doesn't "like" like them, so they're only Secondary schools. Dobbs could have quite a few sharks trying to steal him away from the Bulls! Those internationals? They don't have that same bias, they're just excited to play American Football. Our personal favorites are Polish OT Slawomir Krychowiak and Australian punter Jack Brown, because MEMES. Full list of JuCo and International recruits found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1y95r6uXdRqQ1AjVQgPVejWsX27_YD0-oSSjsqBTqCKQ/edit#gid=0 Thanks for coming by, everyone. For the MAC Network, this is Trevor Cargill giving you the lowdown on the future of Everybody's Favorite Conference. Remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" Until next time!
  2. When every team is on the gridiron, you should expect some movement in the MAC Chart of Dubious Value. And sure enough, the results resulted in some interesting results! Let's take a look at it: Remember: If you don't like where you are, play better. And vote. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 8 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (47) #19* Western Michigan Broncos (3) 6-0 (4-0) W6 - 2 (45) #14* Toledo Rockets (1) 5-1 (3-0) W2 - 3 (37) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-2 (3-1) L1 - 4 (33) Bowling Green Falcons 4-2 (1-1) W4 +3 5 (31) Buffalo Bulls 3-3 (1-2) W1 +3 6 (26) Akron Zips 2-4 (1-2) L2 -2 7 (24) Ohio Bobcats 3-3 (2-2) L3 -1 8 (22) Ball State Cardinals 3-3 (2-2) L1 -3 9 (19) Central Michigan Chippewas 3-3 (1-2) W1 - 10 (15) Northern Illinois Huskies 2-4 (1-1) W1 - 11 (9) Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-5 (1-3) W1 - 12 (4) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-6 (0-3) L6 - Numbers of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. * Coaches' Poll Ranking, week 8. Interestingly enough, all the movement is in the middle of the chart. It certainly looks like WMU and Toledo are separating themselves from everybody else again, but that second tier got pretty muddled with last week's results. Buffalo and Bowling Green made big jumps up with victories over Best!Miami and Ohio respectively, but only Ohio dropped due to it - enough voters believed in the Redhawks pedigree and record to still place them behind the WMU/Toledo duo. The other fallers are an Akron squad that may have a defense tiring out from supporting a constantly injured offense, and Ball State who graciously gave Eastern Michigan their first win of the season. Despite CMU, NIU, and EMU all winning, they couldn't make progress up the chart although they did get closer. Week 9 sees the MAC primarily defending its honor against those rapscallion schools from other conferences: Thursday Night Ohio (3-3) at Middle Tennessee (2-4) Buffalo (3-3) at Bowling Green (4-2) Georgia State (2-4) at Eastern Michigan (1-5) Friday Night Kent State (0-6) at Central Michigan (3-3) Saturday Morning (10 Games) Akron (2-4) at North Carolina (0-6) Florida International (3-3) at Toledo (5-1) Troy (2-4) at Miami (OH) (4-2) Georgia (4-2) at Ball State (3-3) Byes: Northern Illinois (2-4), Western Michigan (6-0) The MAC Network's Pick to Click: Buffalo Bulls (3-3) at Bowling Green (4-2). While the Georgia-Ball State tilt is bigger from a name perspective, this game features two teams experiencing a turnaround due to recent coaching hires and suddenly became a LOT more relevant in the MAC East race. Buffalo currently has a losing conference record, but their one win is against division leader Miami - a big feather in the cap for coach @Wooden. Meanwhile don't look now, but coach @Kirby has the Falcons playing well and owning the conference's second longest winning streak. Bowl Watch! Bowl Watch is your one-stop shop for seeing which teams from Everyone's Favorite Conference are, could, or won't be making a bowl. Let's take a look! Bowl-Eligible: W. Michigan (6-0) Eligible with win this week: Toledo Rockets (5-1) Misses out on a bowl with loss this week: Kent State (0-6) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  3. Welcome back once again! Trevor Cargill back here once again from the Studios at the headquarters of Everybody's Favorite Conference! Another week of recruiting is in the books, and we have good news; every team in the conference got new signatures on the dotted line! The MAC continues to build on its future, so let's take a closer look at how it all went down last week. Conference Rankings: Last week we expressed our concern for the schools with smaller classes, and they've all responded - some more than others. Kent State stays atop the average-star chart, although their lead shrinks due to signing a 3.5 star (again, never a bad thing) and Western Michigan signing a 4-star. Best!Miami slipping doesn't mean they're doing badly, it means that they've signed more bodies. Which is good! Committed Recruits (by potential) >=2.5 star recruits Tot. Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 5 Kent State 0 1 1 2 1 0 5 19.0 3.80 1.70 19 Western Michigan 0 4 9 2 1 3 19 71.0 3.74 1.39 12 Toledo 2 3 2 3 1 1 12 42.5 3.54 1.75 13 Ball State 0 3 9 1 0 0 13 44.5 3.42 1.96 8 Ohio 0 6 1 0 1 0 8 26.0 3.25 2.44 13 Central Michigan 0 8 4 1 0 0 13 42.0 3.23 1.27 24 Akron 0 14 9 1 0 0 24 77.5 3.23 1.25 5 Miami (OH) 0 3 2 0 0 0 5 16.0 3.20 1.30 9 Buffalo 4 1 3 0 0 1 9 28.5 3.17 1.22 14 Northern Illinois 2 8 3 1 0 0 14 43.5 3.11 1.64 23 Eastern Michigan 4 13 5 1 0 0 23 70.5 3.07 1.30 13 Bowling Green 3 9 0 1 0 0 13 38.5 2.96 1.27 National Rankings: A much better week from the national viewpoint for the MAC. Some 4-star signings and an emphatic victory for Buffalo in signing hotly contested blue-chip CB Laquon Boston lead to a majority of MAC teams actually moving upwards in the rankings! Boston's commitment is a serious shot in the arm to the Bulls' class and that reflects in their massive jump. Whether this momentum for Buffalo and everyone else can be maintained depends on if there are any significant targets remaining on the various recruiting boards. If not... when is JuCo again? Western Michigan (National rank: 24) +2 Toledo (National rank: 52) +4 Kent State (National rank: 79) -3 Buffalo (National rank: 85) +34 Ball State (National rank: 86) +4 Ohio (National rank: 87) +2 Akron (National rank: 93) +0 Central Michigan (National rank: 106) -3 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 107) +2 Northern Illinois (National rank: 109) -2 Bowling Green (National rank: 115) +12 Miami (OH) (National rank: 123) -1 Weekly/Seasonal Analysis: Western Michigan (National rank: 24) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Leonard Landrum is coming north. The big defensive tackle from Texas committed to the Broncos over nearby Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and looks to be an important piece of the defensive line down the road. Looking Forward: Is Western Michigan finally running out of targets? They're still in the hunt for another Texas target, this time DE Khalil Norman. Although with Ben Flaherty already signed and Kayden Soriano redshirting, WMU doesn't have a great need for DEs at this point. Other targets such as C Marco Bray and ILB Cyrus Hoffman (ironically also pursued by MAC schools) look to be depth signings. Toledo (National rank: 52) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: One big target down, one to go. Toledo fended off Ohio to sign Alvin Hines, the eventual heir-apparent to Gabe Ciamo's Rocket RB crown. They also signed local product Iverson, but it's interesting to see a pocket QB signed when Mario Pierre's presence suggests Toledo is moving away from a pocket-friendly scheme. Looking Forward: Now on to WR Atamu Tatupu. The cost of securing Hines meant Pitt took the lead on the wideout, and if it becomes an all-out war for Tatupu it isn't one that Toledo looks likely to win. Kent State (National rank: 79) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Kent State gets an important commit in Porter. The Louisiana commit looks to start for @sybex99 as the CB1 once he steps on campus. No pressure! Looking Forward: On the receiver front Kai York still favors Kent over Texas State, while in-state Troy leads slightly on Alabama 4-star Jacob Kellogg. This duo is probably the Golden Flashes' priority now, as they've fallen behind NMSU and Texas on CB Darius Wright. Buffalo (National rank: 85) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: The overall 4th-rated CB in this cycle, Boston is a big win for a Bulls class that badly needed it. As talented as he is he probably leaves for the NFL early, but for the time Buffalo has him they have a potential shutdown corner to lock up half of the backfield. He isn't the only signee though, guard Logan Crow will help reinforce an offensive line that badly needs bodies. Looking Forward: The Bulls are all still leading Army on WR Samir Humphrey, tackle Ayden Zuniga, and guard TeJay Briggs, so @Wooden has them in pretty good shape. How will he prioritize these recruits? Ball State (National rank: 86) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Mission (temporarily) complete. Last week we highlighted Isaac Grover and Bruce Edmondson, and @npklemm convinced them to come to Muncie. Pending JuCo these are likely the last significant recruits from a national standpoint. It doesn't make a sexy class, but this group as-is makes a solid first step for Ball State. Looking Forward: The Birds are tangling out of state for a couple of 3-star players. Ohio DT Jasiah Muse and Cali OT Giovanni Blank both favor the Cardinals, and would make good depth for them. Ohio (National rank: 87) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: OLB Paul Boykin will probably complete for a starting spot next fall. He and Humphries replenish a linebacking group that loses almost everyone after this year. Looking Forward: 3-star California DE William Coates favors the Bobcats over the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii. They also have 3-star linebacker Eddie Ybarra on their radar, but the Redhawks currently lead for him. Akron (National rank: 93) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Local WR Ryan Buckner gives the Zips a receiver with upside who could be their #1 or #2 in a couple of years. That will help to ease the sting of losing OLB Paul Boykin to the Ohio Bobcats. Looking Forward: Akron still leads Miami for 4-star FS Calvin Bernard and still trail for Indiana tackle Charlie Ricci. This is probably where @darkage's attention will be for the foreseeable future. Central Michigan (National rank: 106) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Only one commit, but one that could conceivably step into the slot CB role immediately. Central paid a lot of attention to Nazir Rouse, and the cornerback decided to call Mt. Pleasant home for the next few years. Looking Forward: ...we're not sure. The CMU recruiting board may be barren, which probably means offers to overlooked 2.5 and 3-stars that haven't received any yet. Eastern Michigan (National rank: 107) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: A.J. Montgomery is Eastern's first 4-star this cycle. A kicker isn't the most exciting position to recruit, but Montgomery is someone that should be ready to start in a couple of years. Goodson, along with Daniel Harvey, provides more depth for both defensive tackle positions should EMU ever want to go back to a 4-3 defense. Looking Forward: Florida CB David Jefferson still favors the Eagles over Cincinnati, and with no CBs in this class he's probably a priority for Eastern. There's also Texas DE Hugo Delgado, but in-state SMU is breathing right down Eastern's neck for him. Florida Leon Manning is in play, but B1G powerhouse Illinois is also interested. Northern Illinois (National rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: More depth, but depth with a very good chance of starting in the next two years. Street is the only DT 3-star or better and Herbert makes only the third CB on the Huskies' roster who will be on the roster after 2022. Looking Forward: NIU picked up almost all the targets we mentioned last week. They've inched closer to Kentucky guard Eric Lockwood, as they're in a virtual dead heat with Ole Miss and UNC. But we still don't see them listed by any WR recruits as having interest. The NIU coaching staff really needs to rectify that. Bowling Green (National rank: 115) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Last week in this space we talked about the lack of any commits with greater than 3 stars. Lo and behold they wrested local 4-star OLB Micah Bean away from Louisville and picked up a future starting CB in 3-star Donovan Poole from Maryland. Bringing Bean on board was enough to give the Falcons the MAC's second double-digit rankings climb this week. Looking Forward: There's still a couple of targets Bowling Green would love to sign. Among contested recruits, the highest-rated one is probably local 1.0/3.5 TE Tierre Norman from Brecksville, just a couple of hours down the road. The Falcons has a very slight lead on Indiana for his services. Illinois CB Reginald Foy is also considering them but Kentucky leads slightly there. Finally, an inter-MAC battle is going on between BGSU and Akron for SS Christian Peppers. Miami (OH) (National rank: 123) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Best!Miami picks up their first non-line commits, and while they're not sexy they do fill holes. For example, right now Stewart would be in line to start after the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA graduates in 2022. Looking Forward: They've increased their lead on in-state 4-star QB DeShaun Jackson over Western Kentucky, but the rest of this space remains unchanged from last week. They still trail Akron on 4-star FS Calvin Bernard, while local 3-stars DE Je'Rod Lacey and CB Lavonte Toney both lean towards the Redhawks with Indiana (Lacey) and Michigan State (Toney) in consideration. Thanks for coming by, everyone. For the MAC Network, this is Trevor Cargill giving you the lowdown on the future of Everybody's Favorite Conference. Remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" Until next time!
  4. Last Week's Picks: 2-0 Season to Date: 34-10 And welcome back everybody! Between the break and the bye week that almost every team of Everyone's Favorite Conference had last week, the MAC is chomping at the bit to get back to work. And work they will, as every team is in action this weekend. Along with this week's silent special guest Tre Madden, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get to the games! Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-3) at Liberty (0-5) Last Week: Northern Illinois: Lost at Arizona State 6-24. Liberty: Lost at Texas A&M 0-44. Injuries: None How is David Clevenger still alive let alone healthy at this point? Liberty's senior QB has been sacked 29 times through his five games, and with an O-line sporting a 2.22 average grade it's not going to get any better any time soon. Northern Illinois may only have six sacks on the season but expect that to reach double digits after this game. Senior DT Thierno Thomas (8 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) has to pad the resume somewhere! The Flames' pass-heavy attack won't help matters any as the Huskie rushers can ignore RB Justin McNeil and head straight for Clevenger - with only 16 carries for 36 yards on the season, McNeil almost never sees the ball. Even Best!Miami shakes their heads and says Liberty's gotta run more. On the defensive side, Liberty's best player is junior DE Warren Rose (5 TKL, 2 TFL, 4.0 Sacks) and it's not even close. If NIU can shut him down they'll be able to do whatever they want on offense - something that will feel real nice after how Arizona State completely stifled them last week (205 yards total offense, only 5 yards rushing, 3 sacks surrendered, 2 INTs). Coach @subsequent may use this game to try some different things and test them out for their game against Buffalo in two weeks. Prediction: 35-14 Both of these teams have uninspiring records, but only one of them isn't a first-year team that is currently coachless. That's the one we're going with. Friday Night Central Michigan (2-3) at NC State (3-2) Last Week: Central Michigan: Bye. NC State: Won vs. Wake Forest 35-28. Injuries: TE Elijan Scanlan - Probable (Severe Concussion) Ah, the Walt Sutherland Bowl. If there's anything shared between former CMU/ current Wolfpack coach @ImposterCauster and former CMU/Iowa coach paperllamasunited, it's a love for the plucky QB transfer from Auburn who dragged the Chips to several big wins during his time there before taking a job on Causter's coaching staff in Raleigh. Llamas is retired from coaching now, but there's no doubt as to why this OOC game was scheduled. Last week the Wolfpack found an offensive spark they were missing for a good amount of the season, riding a 14-0 surge in the 4th quarter to knock off Wake Forest. Both QB Jacob Eubanks (22 of 29 for 275 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Keith Harley (23 rushes for 126 yards, 2 TDs) had their best games of the season, stepping up when NC State needed them the most. But based off of the Wolfpack's offensive profile to date, it's probably Harley and the rushing game Central will focus on stopping first. Both CMU ends Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough and Rory Bolin are proficient at setting the edge against the run, vital when facing a speedy back like Harley. However we expect Harley to often run to the strong side of the formation where TE Dwayne Lawton lines up. Lawton is very good at sealing his man, so it's vital for the Chippewas that Bolin and/or Tatum-Kimbrough win their 1-vs.-1 matchups against him. What about the rest of the battles along the trenches? Those will be fascinating also, but in a different way. The Wolfpack offensive line is starting two true freshmen along the left side and it shows in a 4.54 rating and 13 sacks allowed. If the Chips can get penetration with a minimum of blitzing that lets 7 or 8 drop into coverage and limits the damage Lawton (17 rec for 264 yards, 3 TDs) and talented but young WR Felix Browning (26 rec for 274 yards, 3 TDs, 1 drop) can do after catching a pass. Relying on the defensive line to make life easier for the secondary is probably a better bet for CMU than vice versa. On offense it continues to be all about Byron Suggs. The redshirt freshman may not have the best QB stats in the MAC, but there are very few quarterbacks who you could say are as vital to their entire offense as he is to Central's. Suggs is directly responsible for a whopping 84.65% of the total CMU offensive yardage (the conference average currently sits at 74.24%, in case you were wondering). Coach @johnkirk would love to get RB Makai Carr on track but at 62 carries for 194 yards, he only has 15 more rushing yards than Suggs himself (to be fair, Carr did miss one game due to injury). With an inconsistent running game, it usually boils down to Suggs making plays with his arm AND his legs as he extends the play or takes off for yardage. The problem for CMU is that NC State's best defenders are primarily in the back seven. CB/ATH Kamari Cheatham (7 TKL, 3 INT) is a likely first-round pick in the 2022 draft, FS Jabari Scott could be the same in a year or two, and OLB Stuart Patterson also has pro potential. One big (6'3" 305) exception to that is redshirt sophomore DT Emmanuel McDermott who will probably line up against CMU's worst lineman in guard Roman Yarbrough. With McDermott in the middle and the Chips already struggling to run effectively, will Central have to take their chances with Suggs and the passing game against Cheatham and company? If there's one possible advantage for the visitors it's Joseph Aikman (17 rec for 225 yards, 3 TDs). The freshman WR is a HUGE target at 6'5", even if he draws Cheatham all day long he has a seven inch height advantage on him. Will CMU be able to put that to good use? Prediction: 20-10 Both offenses should struggle in this game, but we expect that NC State is better equipped to mask their offensive deficiencies than Central Michigan is. If Suggs starts forcing passes we wouldn't be surprised if Kamari Cheatham has a big game, Aikman or no. Eastern Michigan (0-5, 0-3) at Ball State (3-2, 2-1) Last Week: Eastern Michigan: Lost at Western Michigan 17-45. Ball State: Bye. Injuries: E.J. Greer, FB - Probable (Mild Concussion) Once again, the Ball State Daily News published an excellent preview of their game against the Eagles. When Eastern Michigan puts one out, we'll make sure to link it here. There isn't much to add here! Except maybe for this interesting factoid: EMU's Giovanni Shaw is the conference leader in percentage of offensive yardage he's directly involved in, at 85.43%. (Suggs is second to Shaw) EDIT: Here's the game preview from the Eastern Michigan side! http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/21432-eastern-michigan-look-ahead-week-8/ Prediction: 34-20 We don't expect that Eastern will get their running game on track against the Twin Towers of DTs Isamaeli Afamasaga and Rashaad Malcolm. The Eagles may have better luck throwing the ball against the Cardinals than they did against the Broncos last week, but it probably won't be enough to keep up with a Ball State offense that's working smoothly. Saturday Morning Miami (OH) (4-1, 3-0) at Buffalo (2-3, 0-2) Last Week: Miami (OH): Bye. Buffalo: Bye. Injuries: OG Xavier Bridges - OUT (Severe Achilles Rupture) FB Christopher Heller - OUT (Severe Wrist Fracture) As MAC bylaws state, we start this Best!Miami preview by talking about the Redhawk offense and the FLAMETHROWER ZACK CERA. Cera is leading the MAC in TD passes (18) and passing yards (1666), not a surprise. But it's not just about volume; Cera is also connecting on nearly 69% of his attempts (nice). His placement on intermediate and deep throws is greatly improved from last season's, aided by his chemistry with Mackey Award winner Casey Swann. The junior TE is on pace for over 1230 yards and 16 TDs for the season and is clearly Cera's go-to man. But Buffalo OLB Alexander Moffett is one of the best coverage linebackers in the conference and will probably be Swann's primary defender. The Bulls certainly do look like they're preparing against the pass; their depth chart now shows penetrating 1-gappers Joel Raji and Alex Gilbert atop the DT position versus 2-gap Aidan Watts who started the first five games. It would help Moffett and a slightly outmatched Bulls secondary if the linebackers could reliably drop into coverage, and rely on the defensive line to move Cera off his spot. But a suddenly effective Miami running game could mess that plan up. RB Ajani Garrett has broken the 100-yard mark rushing in his last two games after not doing it in his previous three games or at all in 2020 (that we can recall). We'll see if losing road-grading guard Xavier Bridges affects Garrett's newfound running efficiency. On the other side Blair Holcomb looks to rebound from his worst performance this season - 16 of 30 for 156 yards, 1 TD, 1 Fum Lost - in a rainy game against the Broncos back in Week 6. Although to be fair, his teammates didn't give him much help - playmakers RB Denzel Porter and TE Xavier Frey also lost fumbles and punter Mohamed Saylor continued to struggle with placekicking, missing two more FG attempts. (Saylor is now 4 for 12 on the year, if you were wondering) The Redhawk cornerbacks can be taken advantage of - especially true freshman Jeremiah Christy - but will the patchwork Buffalo O-line give Holcomb the time he needs? Starting two centers and a true freshman at RT doesn't seem like a good recipe for success against DE Donte Pennel (9 TKL, 2 TFL, 3.0 Sacks), DE Jared Powell (15 TKL, 1 TFL, 4.5 Sacks, 1 FR), and DT Morris Jackson (9 TKL, 3.0 Sacks, 1 FF), but the Bulls don't have any other options available. And considering the shaky protection and the space-eater Jackson in the middle, Buffalo's gameplan may feature Holcomb slinging the ball 35-40 times. Prediction: 31-21 We expect to see around 80 pass attempts combined between Cera and Holcomb. But we trust in the better talent of the Redhawks in the passing game, and as weird as it to say it, in the running game as things stand. Buffalo has struggled this season against teams with a similar skill level or better, and we think that continues this weekend. Saturday Afternoon Miami (FL) (3-2) at Akron (2-3) Last Week: Miami (FL): Bye. Akron: Bye. Injuries: - OG Albert Palacios - OUT (Mild Shoulder Rotator Cuff/Severe Achilles Rupture?) WR Mason Burkett - OUT (Severe ACL Rupture) OT Aiden Johns - Questionable (Moderate Hamstring Tendonitis) Apparently there was some confusion about Palacios' availability to play the previous week, hence the injury notation above. But regardless of which injury the Miami guard is actually suffering from it should keep him out of this game. Losing a lineman does an offense no good, but when he's one of your better ones it's a bigger blow. It's going to be tougher sledding for RB Ronnie Peterson, but it's a task he'll willingly take on as the focus of the Hurricane offense. The JuCo transfer from California is nimble and reads his blocks well, staking him to a tidy average per game of 109.00 rushing yards and 1 TD. Miami is actually one three ACC teams that has more rushing TDs than passing - a 7/5 split in their case (QB Jason Ledford has the other two). (If you were wondering only two MAC teams can claim the same right now; Toledo and WMU.) That should make the job for Akron's defense pretty straightforward - shut down Peterson. That makes this a strength-on-strength battle; with DT Jeremiah Clarke, MLB Devin Frazier, and the "Eater of Worlds" DT Marlon Bailey stopping the run is something the Zips are good at, only allowing 83.60 rushing YPG (3rd in the MAC) and 6 rushing TDs (tied-4th in the MAC). Most teams try to beat the Zips through the air - they've surrendered the fourth-most passing yards in the conference (261.40) and are tied for second-worst when it comes to passing TDs given up (13). But that's not something the U is proficient at; Ledford averages less than 24 attempts and only 190.60 passing yards per game. Miami's Joaquin Bond has the potential to abuse the Akron secondary, but will Miami be able to get him the ball to do so? One of the biggest reasons Miami can lean on the running game and a conservative passing game is their defense. There's only two Hurricane starters worse than a 3.5/3.5, and three are at least a 3.0/5.0. It's no wonder that the Miami D averages only 290.40 yards and 20.6 points surrendered per game. Of the three 5-star players, DT Grant Barclay has made the most impact (9 TKL, 1 TFL, 4.5 Sacks) on the statline, but ILB Patrick Everett (10 TKL, 1 TFL) and CB/ATH Akiem Pryor (8 TKL, 1 INT, 2 PD) aren't slouches either. (And they're all underclassmen too! Enjoy, ACC!) @darkage has the unenviable task of solving that defensive riddle. QB Griffin Donahue sports a sparkling 13/2 TD/INT ratio, and he's done so with a receiving corps that wasn't deep even before they lost top wideout Mason Burkett to an ACL injury. But this will be the stiffest test for the Zips offense to date, as there isn't an area you can point to and think Akron has the high ground a positional advantage at. The Zips may have to get creative and find ways to isolate RB Nathaniel Ruff in space. Ruff has a couple of catches to his credit, perhaps a heavier dose of that is in order? Prediction: 17-10 We expect this to be a low-scoring, knock-down brawl between two defenses that won't give much quarter. But the superior talent on the Hurricane sideline should let them eke out enough incremental advantage to pull ahead. Bowling Green (3-2, 0-1) at Ohio (3-2, 2-1) Last Week: Bowling Green: Bye. Ohio: Bye. Injuries: RB Jeffrey Flowers - Probable (Mild Concussion) Two teams currently headed two different ways. Bowling Green has rattled off three straight wins, while the Bobcats have dropped two straight. Will this game keep the momentum going in both directions, or pull the emergency brake? Bowling Green's resurgence coincides with running back Zack Odell's improved play. In his first two games Odell averaged a measly 73.5 yards per game and fumbled the ball once in each game, continuing an issue with ball security he displayed last . But after getting called out on this show as a player likely to lose his job, he responded with three 100+ games and more importantly NO FUMBLES. Granted, these games were against Stanford, NMSU, and UMass. But as the saying goes, you can only play whoever's in front of you. Hopefully for the Falcons, Odell can continue his hot streak against a significantly better defense than any of those. If he does, it will have a lot to do with the play of the offensive line, especially the interior linemen. C Jonas Zambrano, LG Maximillian Pope, and RG Derrick Briggs will contend with Ohio NT Brady Whittaker (8 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.5 Sacks), DE Chase Woodson (17 TKL, 3 TFL, 5.0 Sacks), and ILB Calvin Blue (11 TKL, 1 TFL, 0.5 Sacks, 1 PD). If Bowling Green can move those defenders and get Zambrano or Pope to the second level on a consistent basis not only will it give Odell the room he needs, it allows QB Eddie Connelly to continue his efficient performance this season (94 of 140 [67.14%] for 1173 yards, 10/2 TD/INT ratio). Connelly will need the help, because his main receiver Brandon Lockhart will probably get a heavy dose of top CB Shawn Tillman. Lockhart (23 rec for 368 yards, 4 TDs) accounts for over 30% of BGSU's passing yards, so Connelly will have to go to his second and third reads more often. When you think about the Ohio offense, the first image that comes to mind is a powerful running game. But despite having Jeffrey Flowers and his 6 TDs, the majority of the Bobcats offense is going through the air. Redshirt freshman Austin Lowe (109 of 163 [66.87%] for 1385 yards, 12/3 TD/INT ratio, 1 Fum Lost) is actually outplaying fellow freshman Byron Suggs and is driving the Ohio attack. He's developed good rapports with TE Aaron Thibodeaux (30 rec for 428 yards, 5 TDs) and WR Dwayne Simpson (26 rec for 314 yards, 4 TDs, 2 Drops), allowing the Bobcats to stay in games even when Flowers has been contained. But this offense could be even more explosive except for, what was the phrase? "A hubcap and a plank of wood" on the offensive line. It's not that RG Ethan Felder and RT Devin Golden are the worst right side in the conference, but the Bobcats are allowing the fourth-most sacks to opposing defenses in the MAC. With conference sack leader Malachi McKnight (12 TKL, 1 TFL, 7.0 Sacks) lining up on the offensive right, this could be a recipe for disaster. And on the back end, SS Antonio Jackson (23 TKL, 1 TFL, 5 INT, 4 PD) is having an all-conference season keeping the Falcon defense afloat. Jackson actually has all but one of the BGSU takeaways on the season! So Bowling Green has a formidable presence at the front and at the back of their defense, but the rest of the defense isn't playing to the same standards. Despite their record BGSU still sports a slightly negative point differential (-2.60 PPG) and has surrendered the most passing TDs in the MAC to date. The Falcons need the likes of MLB Abdoul Hurt (17 TKL) to step up and help McKnight and Jackson if they want to contain Lowe, Thibodeaux, and Flowers. Prediction: 34-24 We think Malachi McKnight will have a sack or two in this game, but there are enough holes in the Falcon defense that the Bobcats can exploit. BGSU's offense vs. Ohio's defense is pretty even, but the different in talent on the other side of the ball points to a Bobcat win. Western Michigan (5-0, 3-0) at Kent State (0-5, 0-2) Last Week: Western Michigan: Won vs. Eastern Michigan 45-17. Kent State: Bye. Injuries: FB Harrison Mullin - OUT (Severe Achilles Rupture) Welcome to the MAC, coach @sybex99! We know you're just getting up to speed and all, so why don't we have your first game ever be against... the undefeated 19th-ranked Broncos? Oh. This season has been very unkind to the Golden Flashes.* A couple of tight games going into the fourth quarter turn into blowouts. Their heart and soul FB/RB Harrison Mullin tears his Achilles. Asked to carry the offense, QB John Garland's completion rate is under 60% and he's thrown twice as many picks (8) as TDs (4). The defense has yet to register a turnover. Almost anything that can go wrong so far has done so for Kent. And facing the potent Bronco offense, it's hard to see that turn around on Saturday. WMU QB Chase Sims is throwing at nearly a 70% completion rate, only has 1 INT and 1 Fumble, and leads the conference in QBR with 180.97 while spreading the ball around (only one Bronco pass-catcher averages more than 60 receiving yards per game). And yet he gets little fanfare because of RB DeSean Madison. The redshirt sophomore is averaging 156.20 yards per game and leads the conference with 13 rushing TDs, and has garnered Heisman buzz each year he's started. The Golden Flash defense will probably be forced to pick their poison because they aren't talented enough as a group to handle Madison and Sims playing straight-up. Whichever plan they focus on it will be fascinating to see how they deploy SS Steven Gordon, their best defender. Would they use him to load up against the run/pass, or use him to shore up whatever they don't focus on? We'd expect Western to avoid Gordon as much as possible, or at least make him run all across the field. The Kent State O-line currently grades as the worst in the conference (3.98) and is tied for the most sacks surrendered with 15. Those aren't promising numbers when you expect to be playing from behind as much as Kent State could be. Also consider that Western's secondary is one of their stronger defensive areas while all of Kent's wide receivers are in their first year starting. This could allow WMU DT Silas Booker (16 TKL, 1 TFL, 6.0 Sacks) enough time to add to his sack total - he's actually second in the conference in sacks behind Bowling Green's Malachi McKnight. If the Kent ground game could get going it would help, but James Ridley-Henry is averaging just over three yards per carry. Going against the interior duo of Booker and Rocco Gifford doesn't seem like a good bet to increase that average. Prediction: 42-13 It's hard to see where such a young Kent State squad has a realistic path to victory in this game. We don't get to see the Time of Possession stats, but it wouldn't surprise us if the TOP ratio was around 70/30 in favor of Western Michigan. *We really do like their chances in 2023 though. Saturday Evening Vanderbilt (3-2) at Toledo (4-1) Last Week: Vanderbilt: Lost vs. Florida 13-16. Toledo: Bye. Injuries: SS Isiah Poole - OUT (Severe ACL Rupture) ATH/OT Keith Holbrook - OUT (Severe Achilles Tendonitis) Here's Toledo second shot at an SEC team, and the Rockets desperately need an OOC win against a name opponent to keep the #Toledo2021 dream alive. After starting out 3-0, Vanderbilt dropped consecutive division games to Georgia and Florida and wants to avoid returning to .500. Top wideout DeAndre Felder is a big target, but Vandy hasn't been able to get him the ball as much as he'd like (24 rec for 327, 2 TDs). Heck, last week against Florida they rushed for more yards (122) than they gained passing (105). As you may have gathered from these statements, Vanderbilt is very much a running team. Of their 1329 total offensive yards, 44% of it comes off of the run. And almost all of that yardage comes from senior RB Kareem McGee (117 rushes for 546 yards, 6 TDs, 1 Fum Lost). McGee is built like a prototypical MAC back (5'7" 211) and runs accordingly. Unfortunately for the Commodores, their passing game resembles a stereotypical MAC passing game also - QB Justin Malloy is not having a very good year (62 of 118 [ 52.54%] for 742 yards, 5/5 TD/INT ratio). That's an average of less than 150 yards per game! Expect Toledo to have the linebackers close to the line and aggressively fill in the gaps, trusting their back four to handle Felder and fellow wideout Jaylen Crump. Florida was able to move that Rocket defensive front off the line of scrimmage, but Vandy doesn't have the same type of road graders there. Toledo DE Dwayne Briggs (16 TKL, 2 TFL, 5.0 Sacks) and DT De'Shawn Beckwith (16 TKL, 2 TFL, 2.5 Sacks) should perform better Saturday than they did against the Gators. Vanderbilt is much better on defense, where three potential first-round picks reside. Despite a lack of stats to start the season (4 TKL, 1 INT), OLB Damian Dailey could declare early for next year's draft, while MLB Adam Lovelace (22 TKL, 2 TFL) and FS Khalil Dennis already have scouts breaking down their game tape. Dailey and Lovelace help protect Vandy's third linebacker, true freshman Jonas Hooker. Toledo would love to exploit his inexperience, but going after him aggressively could result in turnovers if QB Michael Thompson gets tunnel vision and loses sight of the other two. Another plan to consider is just let Gabe Ciamo carry the mail repeatedly and trust that talented offensive line to give him space. Ciamo is second in the MAC with 720 yards (nearly as many yards as Vandy has passing yards) and 9 rushing TDs (again, second in the MAC). Despite losing LT Keith Holbrook, the Rockets still have the best offensive line in the MAC. As long as backup LT Jake Boyce and true freshman RT Isaac Decker can hold their own against Vanderbilt DEs Zachary Clemons and Shawn Manuel (combined 15 TKL, 2 TFL, 4.0 Sacks), Ciamo should be able to consistently churn out the yardage and simplify the game for Toledo. Prediction: 27-14 Vanderbilt may follow many of the same gameplans as Florida, but they don't have quite the same tools; they don't have the ridiculous offensive line, and they don't have Timothy Key. Toledo should be able to execute a methodical offensive gameplan and put enough pressure on the Commodores to abandon their steady running game. Byes: None On behalf of silent special guest star Tre Madden and #MACtion Jenny (in absentia), this is Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack"). Until next time!
  5. Producer's Note: We received permission from @TazerMan to continue this series of recruiting recaps. Enjoy! Welcome back once again! Feels like it was just yesterday that the last episode was on, but here we are to get everybody up to date on the recruiting in Everybody's Favorite Conference. My name is Trevor Cargill and I am taking over for Tim Timms, who was carted off by another cricket infestation somewhere in the general direction of Tennessee. Conference Rankings: Although by potential Kent State leads the conference, they - and several other schools - still have work to do. No matter how good the players, an incoming class of only four only leads to bad things down the line. Best!Miami, Ohio, Buffalo, and Bowling Green have similar classes with single-digit commits and have to step up their recruiting game to get bodies in the door. WMU trades places with Toledo, and Best!Miami rises to fifth mostly through inertia - with so many 3.0s being signed by other schools the average was due to drop. National Rankings: All in all a rough week for the majority of the MAC when it comes to national rankings. Only four players rated at four stars or better committed to a MAC school last week, and one is a long snapper. The only five star signed? QB Gabe Baker by the Western Michigan Broncos, allowing WMU to crack the top 30. But only one other school enjoyed a rise in the rankings; NIU rose twelve spots with their own QB signing of Brody Hill. Everyone else either stood pat or dropped. With most schools now looking at depth signings there may be limited chances left to pull in any big fish and make significant headway up the rankings - at least until JuCo. Western Michigan (National rank: 26) +5 Toledo (National rank: 56) -8 Kent State (National rank: 76) +0 Ohio (National rank: 89) -4 Ball State (National rank: 90) -2 Akron (National rank: 93) -9 Central Michigan (National rank: 103) -8 Northern Illinois (National rank: 107) +12 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 109) -11 Buffalo (National rank: 119) -4 Miami (OH) (National rank: 122) -13 Bowling Green (National rank: 127) +0 Weekly/Seasonal Analysis: Western Michigan (National rank: 26) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Western wins the services of 5-star QB Gabe Baker, beating out the Michigan Wolverines for his signature. As a pure pocket passer the strong-armed Baker is a departure from the traditional Bronco QB mold, and it will be fascinating to see how the offense changes when he takes over under center. Local CB prospect Honeycutt also signs, as coach Jieret clearly does not believe in the concept of too many cornerbacks - that's the third one WMU's signed this cycle. Looking Forward: The Broncos aren't done trying to leverage their playoff appearance yet - all Kalamazoo eyes are deep in the heart of Texas for two-gapping defensive tackle Leonard Landrum. WMU's recent push left a favorable impression on him, and the Broncos hope to have him committed in the next week or two. Toledo (National rank: 56) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Depth signings this week for the Rockets, although quite a few of them could start next year in a pinch. Still, these commits won't get the Toledo faithful excited. Looking Forward: Toledo's still in the middle of a few battles for big-time prospects. They lead on a pair of highly-touted Ohio recruits, RB Alvin Hines and WR Atamu Tatupu. While Toledo currently leads on both, they can't be secure in landing either just yet with the Bobcats (Hines) and Pitt (Tatupu) still hanging around. The fight for these recruits could last for several weeks yet. Kent State (National rank: 76) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Kent State doubled their recruit total! Yet another quality player for the Golden Flashes in Felder. A.J. Addison isn't as highly-touted but could find a starting role next year while Felder is very likely to redshirt. Looking Forward: A new coach dons the whistle for Kent, following Tazer's departure for Rocky Top. @sybex99 has some tough decisions to make already, as his biggest targets are all down south and he'll need to be prudent with his points. WRs Jacob Kellogg and Kai York currently favor Kent; they and CBs Makai Porter and Darius Wright will probably be the new coach's priorities on the recruiting trail. Ohio (National rank: 89) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Ohio continues to grab high-floor players, including big Bobby English who is ready to start but probably won't next year. They lose out on outside linebacker Drew Edge who went to the Buckeyes, but that was a race the Bobcats were unlikely to win. Looking Forward: They trail Toledo on local 4-star RB Alvin Hines. They do have a few more irons in the fire - a couple of in-state OLBs here, a Cali DE there, but Hines is the big name to watch even if only to see if the Bobcats choose to bail on his recruiting. Ball State (National rank: 90) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: @npklemm continues to overhaul his secondary by signing two more cornerbacks in Cooper Kimbrough and Richard Baugh, making it four secondary players who have committed to the Cardinals. Ball State's starting cornerback duo is likely to come from the trio of Kimbrough, Amara Flowers, and ATH Giovanni Valentine. Looking Forward: The Cardinals continue to look out of state for future starters, still leading on Texas C Isaac Grover and Jersey WR Bruce Edmondson. Those two appear to be the biggest priorities for Ball State, as their other battles seem to be for depth players. Akron (National rank: 93) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Good News! The Zips landed their first four-star player this cycle! Bad News? He's the Long Snapper we talked about way up above. Still, quality bodies should never be scoffed at. For as many 3-star players as they've landed, Akron needed some quality somewhere. Looking Forward: Akron has a couple of targets that would automatically be among their best gets if they sign. They currently have 4-star FS Calvin Bernard's attention over Best!Miami, lead on Johnstown native OLB Paul Boykin and Kentucky WR Ryan Buckner, and trail for Indiana tackle Charlie Ricci. Focusing on these quality targets would probably serve Akron best right now versus grabbing more 3.0 players. Central Michigan (National rank: 103) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: The Chippewas land one of the biggest signing groups this week in the MAC but still fall a few spots in the national rankings. All five of their commits are 3-star players, but at least none of them are needed to start right away. Looking Forward: It feels like Central put so much into going after Edmonds that they've mostly run out of recruiting targets. The only significant recruit we could find on CMU's radar was Florida 3-star CB Nazir Rouse who they lead on, but also has attention from Eastern Michigan and North Carolina. Northern Illinois (National rank: 107) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Northern Illinois also landed five players this week, but among them is their QBOTF Brody Hill and a solid (and badly-needed) CB in Tyus Rawls. This caused a notable uptick in class quality, as the Huskies were the MAC's only double-digit riser in the national rankings this week. Looking Forward: NIU has still not landed a receiver in this class, and it's a bit surprising that we didn't find any noteworthy ones they were in the mix for at this stage. Instead they're focusing on defense, leading on a trio of Illinois 3-star prospects: DT Oscar Street, ILB Jaden Irvin, and CB Kai Herbert. They've also dipped into the Bluegrass State for a look at 3-star guard Eric Lockwood, but Ole Miss and UNC have slight leads over the Huskies right now. Eastern Michigan (National rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Who says we don't love special teams here? Eastern obviously does, as they sign their second long snapper this year in Minnesota's Quinn Thacker. Thacker could start at center in a pinch, but you wouldn't want him to. The Eagles also take a flier on Illinois string bean Jose Carranza. At 6'2' 157 (!) Carranza definitely needs to hit the weight room, but as a return specialist he should see limited action and therefore limited chances to get folded in half. Looking Forward: Continuing with the theme above, the big name is 4-star K A.J. Montgomery. Montgomery favors the Eagles still as they hold off the Broncos and Michigan State for his services. With current placekicker Simon Hand about to graduate, coach @tsweezy would obviously love to have a long-term replacement for him. Another name to watch is Florida CB David Jefferson; EMU is battling the Cincinnati Bearcats for him, and with the news that coach @Rome is leaving for Auburn this could be the Eagles' chance to knock Jefferson's socks off. Buffalo (National rank: 119) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: As is tradition, Buffalo has a small class. However, this one isn't filled with exciting prospects such as Blair Holcomb, Alec Self, and Alexander Moffett. Coach @Wooden is definitely one of the busier MAC coaches on the recruiting trail, as he seeks to reverse the Bulls' declining fortunes. The three players brought in this week won't excite anybody but when you need bodies, you need bodies. Looking Forward: Buffalo definitely has the most exciting battles to watch, mostly with fellow New York school Army. The big one is for 5-star CB Laquon Boston, who the Bulls hold a slight lead on. Boston would be a huge coup for Wooden, who has done yeoman's work in regaining Boston's attention after the Bulls went coachless. But aside from Boston there's still 3.5-star targets WR Samir Humphrey, tackle Ayden Zuniga, and guard TeJay Briggs - all New York kids, all players the Bulls could really use, and all also being closely courted by Army. Make no mistake though, Laquon Boston is the big fish to reel in. Miami (OH) (National rank: 122) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Another frustrating week for Best!Miami as Drew Edge decided to play for the Buckeyes and no one this week decided to come to Oxford, Ohio. Looking Forward: They've gained a narrow lead on in-state 4-star QB DeShaun Jackson, and remain in second on FS Calvin Bernard behind Akron. But a smattering of 3-stars here and there shouldn't be ignored either - DE Je'Rod Lacey and CB Lavonte Toney would be welcome additions to the Redhawk fold at this point. But where are the wideouts? Bowling Green (National rank: 127) Commits: This week: Complete: This Week: Although 3-star players are needed depth, you can see how little they move the radar at the national level. Despite signing more players this week than Miami has in their entire class, Bowling Green stays behind them in the rankings. As the only MAC team not yet sign a 3.5 or better players, it really shows. Looking Forward: There's 3.5-star QB Austin Iverson they trail Toledo on, but with A.J. Coyne redshirting he may not be the biggest need right now. The biggest name that pops up in BGSU recruiting is OLB Micah Bean who they trail Louisville on, but with the Cardinals also fighting Vanderbilt for 4-star WR Tracy Poindexter the possibility is there for coach @Kirby to maybe go all-in on the in-state linebacker and steal him away. Thanks for coming by, everyone. For the MAC Network, this is Trevor Cargill giving you the lowdown on the future of Everybody's Favorite Conference. Remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" Until next time!
  6. A week without too much action has come and went. With only two games involving MAC teams, did that equate to a lot of status quo in the rankings? To the chart! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 7 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (58) #19* Western Michigan Broncos (3) 5-0 (3-0) W5 - 2 (57) #16* Toledo Rockets (2) 4-1 (3-0) W1 -1 3 (50) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-1 (3-0) W1 - 4 (41) Akron Zips 2-3 (1-2) L1 - 5 (39) Ball State Cardinals 3-2 (2-1) W3 - 6 (35) Ohio Bobcats 3-2 (2-1) L2 - 7 (30) Bowling Green Falcons 3-2 (0-1) W3 - 8 (28) Buffalo Bulls 2-3 (0-2) L1 - 9 (21) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-3 (1-2) L3 - 10 (16) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-4 (1-1) L1 - 11 (9) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-5 (0-3) L5 - 12 (6) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-5 (0-2) L5 - Numbers of voters: 5 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. * Coaches' Poll Ranking, week 7. The only change is at the top, where Toledo (barely) drops to second again. Everyone else? So, there just isn't much to discuss from Week 7. Neither game provided many significant talking points unless you want to re-hash how WMU RB DeSean Madison made a near-300 yard, 3 TD performance from WMU QB Chase Sims a mere footnote. But Week 8 promises to change that. This Week's MAC Slate... is full. And oh my are there some spicy games on tap: Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-4) at Liberty (0-5) Friday Night Central Michigan (2-3) at NC State (3-2)Eastern Michigan (0-5) at Ball State (3-2)* Saturday Morning Miami (OH) (4-1) at Buffalo (2-3)* Saturday Afternoon Miami (FL) (3-2) at Akron (2-3) Bowling Green (3-2) at Ohio (3-2)*Western Michigan (5-0) at Kent State (0-5)* Saturday Evening Vanderbilt (3-2) at Toledo (4-1) Byes: None The MAC Network's Pick to Click: Vanderbilt Commodores (3-2) at Toledo Rockets (4-1). Lot of important games on the schedule, but this OOC bout is critical for the Rockets. The dream of #Toledo2021 is on life support, so this high-profile game against a second visiting SEC squad is a must-win for Toledo in order to make the playoffs. Bowl Watch! Are we that far into the season already? Guess so, even though 2021's inaugural Bowl Watch only features one team. Bowl Watch is your one-stop shop for seeing which teams from Everyone's Favorite Conference are, could, or won't be making a bowl. Let's take a look! Eligible with win this week: W. Michigan (5-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  7. Disclaimer: Due to a cricket infestation in the office of Tim Timms, the MAC Recruiting Recap Show crew was unable to work this week. Fortunately the cricket issue has been solved and we will be back to a normal schedule from now. Sorry for the delay, welcome back everyone! I am your host Tim Timms, and its good to be back to look at the last two weeks of recruiting in the MAC. A pretty good two weeks for the MAC as 4 4.0 and 2 4.5 potential players were signed this week, as well as a bunch of 3.5 and below players. Also, we finally have at least 1 recruit to every team. TE Miles Hooker was a hotly contested target by Ohio and Kent State primarily, and he signed with the Bobcats in the last two weeks. 3 important CBs were signed in these two weeks, as WMU signed Michigan's top outside cover man in Damani Powell, looking to bring in what will hopefully be a player in the same stratosphere as Sean Taylor. Toledo signed CB DeVante Gilliam while CMU picked up their top target in Matthew Edmonds. Finally, Ball State got their QB of the future in Erik Parker out of Don Bosco Prep, NJ. Kent State moves up to #1 as they sign another 4.0+, while Toledo's average drops a bit, moving them down. Western Michigan retains the 3 spot, even though their class contains the most talent, while Ball State holds on to 4th. Ohio got a big signing this week, moving them from T-8th to T-5th, and CMU also jumps up after a big week for their recruiting department Committed Recruits (by potential) Total Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 2 Kent State 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 8.5 4.525 1 7 Toledo 1 1 1 2 1 1 7 26.5 3.79 1.79 14 Western Michigan 0 4 6 1 1 2 14 51.5 3.68 1.5 6 Ball State 0 0 5 1 0 0 6 21.5 3.58 2 3 Ohio 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 2.33 3 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 1.167 7 Central Michigan 0 2 4 1 0 0 7 24 3.43 1.07 3 Miami (OH) 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 10 3.33 1.17 23 Akron 0 14 8 0 0 0 23 74 3.22 1.26 19 Eastern Michigan 4 11 4 0 0 0 19 57 3 1.25 5 Northern Illinois 1 3 1 0 0 0 5 15 3 1.8 4 Bowling Green 1 3 0 0 0 0 4 11.5 2.88 1.38 The National Rankings are again a mixed bag, with WMU continuing to use their Playoff points well, continually climbing the rankings and almost having a top 30 class. The next three fall a bit despite making some solid signings, and then Ohio and CMU make massive jumps after strong weeks for them. The only other riser is Bowling Green after getting their first signings. Western Michigan (National rank: 31) +3 Toledo (National rank: 48) -5 Kent State (National rank: 76) -1 Akron (National rank: 84) -7 Ohio (National rank: 85) +25 Ball State (National rank: 88) +0 Central Michigan (National rank: 95) +27 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 98) -12 Miami (OH) (National rank: 109) -12 Buffalo (National rank: 115) -16 Northern Illinois (National rank: 119) -5 Bowling Green (National rank: 127) +3 Now to the analysis of the weekly and seasonal recruiting for each team Western Michigan (National rank: 31) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Here we go again. Jieret continues to use his newly gained recognition as a top collegiate coach and also the head of a rising program to secure even more talent for this roster. Vainu'upo (I will call him Vili from now on) looks to be another target for either Misu Curtis or potentially Gabe Baker, and he brings plenty of size, and he is heavier than their Tight End! Damani Powell is another top tier cornerback for the program, adding to a young and talented secondary. Looking forward: Gabe Baker is the man, as the Broncos look to build an aerial attack to rival or best the likes of Holcomb, Hanson and Cera. Nehemiah Daniel was snatched by Michigan State, but Vili will do just fine for the Broncos. Toledo (National rank: 48) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: An RB with a good floor and okay ceiling, a ready to get possession receiver and one of Ohio's top two corners represents another solid bit of work for Toledo, trying to make up for the disaster that was last year. Looking forward: Atamu Tatupu is wanting to be a Rocket, and Pittsburgh seems to be their main competition, and they could pose a big problem with their playoff prestige. DeVante Nesbitt was convinced by coach Rome to be a Bearcat, so the other main target is Alvin Hines, who they are leading Ohio on. A very good spot for the Rockets/ Kent State (Class rank: 76) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another quality defender, again from Ohio. It looks like Monroe will redshirt and be playing as a redshirt freshmen when Steven Gordon graduates, adding another quality piece to what is looking like a solid defence in a few years time. Looking forward: Kent State looks to sign some talent from out of state now including ILB Felder to pair with Maxwell and Merritt, WR A.J. Addison (2.0/3.0), as well as Jacob Kellogg and Makai Porter look to be at the top of their board. UTSA overtakes the race for C Isaac Grover, and sign Jermon Bailey away from the Flashes. Akron (National rank: 84) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: More depth this week for the Zips, nothing too special here. Looking forward: Akron still leads the race for Calvin Bernard, ahead of Miami (OH), and they still lead Kentucky on WR Ryan Buckner, as well as Ohio on Paul Boykin, another Blitz specialist outside linebacker. Ohio (National rank: 85) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Despite a strong push from Kent State, Hooker is going to Athens to pair up with Austin Lowe in a few seasons time, coming in at a perfect time to replace Aaron Thibodeaux as a redshirt freshmen. Looking forward: Clinton Noel followed Ryan Anthony Jr. to Penn State, leaving Ohio with a few less targets to chase after, as Drew Edge stays uninterested in the Bobcats. Also, they trail Toledo on Alvin Hines, as well as Temple on 4.5 potential OT Karl Koehler. Apart from that, Chad_Michael is looking at high skill 3.0 potential players to improve their depth situation. Ball State (National rank: 88) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Klemm has his man. Parker might not start straight away, but he gives Ball State a solid signal caller down the road, and a complement to potentially one of the conference's best running games. Looking forward: Louisville swooped in and took Gavin Pugh right out of the hands of Kentucky and Ball State, and C Isaac Grover was just introduced to a very interested UTSA. They still lead on Bruce Edmondson as another target for Parker, but as Kent State found out, Jermon Bailey signed his name down on a UTSA paper. Central Michigan (National rank: 95) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: A really good week here for johnkirk. Their top target, Edmonds, commits, and so do two solid pass protectors for Byron Suggs, as well as a potential back up to him, and a stand up pass rusher from Ohio. Looking forward: A huge week for the Chipps leaves a few less names to target, mainly pretty much all of the ones we were covering on the show. We will be back on the next installment with a fresh batch of recruits to have a gander at (hopefully) Eastern Michigan (National rank: 98) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing this week for the Eagles. Looking forward: EMU trails both San Jose State and Ohio State for C Sean Price, while DE Christopher Dorner was signed away by Sparty. One the bright side, they are still close-ish to CB David Jefferson, keeping within striking distance of Cincy. Miami (OH) (Class rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The Redhawks are having it rough this year, and Hammond is no real consolation for them. Looking forward: Miami is in second place on a lot of recruits, which is obviously quite painful for caesari, being so close yet so far to getting what could be a really nice class. They are in second for Calvin Bernard, Drew Edge and DeShaun Jackson, but have been completely ignored by Alvin Hines, Atamu Tatupu and Gavin Goode committed to Cincinnati. Buffalo (National rank: 115) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing for the Bulls this week. Looking forward: After being overtaken on both of their high potential recruits, Laquon Boston has now returned to favouring Buffalo over Army, giving them a hope at a redeeming factor in this year's class. Apart from him, it is mostly 3.5s on the board. Northern Illinois (National rank: 119) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another solid-ish QB for the seemingly never satisfied Huskies, giving them another option under center in a few years. Looking forward: The two main recruits left for Northern Illinois are both secondary players, who they both lead Illinois on. Johnathon Cooper and Tyus Rawls are the two remaining targets, and both have Northern Illinois as their top school. Hopefully the Huskies can finish strong with this class. Bowling Green (Class rank: 127) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The first recruits have signed to the Falcons, only depth players at the moment. Looking forward: DeVante Gilliam was snatched up by Toledo, leaving the Falcons with one less star player to target. Unfortunately for them, Micah Bean is now being courted by Louisville, who are giving him a fair bit of attention, leading to him putting them as his #1. Thanks for passing by again, I have been Tim TImms, and this has been a very delayed MAC Recruiting Recap show! We might have to have another episode covering 2 weeks, but we are trying to get back on tack, and remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" See you next time!
  8. Last Week's Picks: 7-0 Season to Date: 32-10 Welcome back to a restful week for Everyone's Favorite Conference! There are only two games on the docket, but coaches and fans across the conference will surely keep an eye on the results while they focus on their own practices and recruiting battles. Along with this week's silent special guest Owen Schmitt, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get to the games! Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-3) atArizona State (2-2) Last Week: Northern got that elusive first win (W at 28-16), while Arizona State celebrated a win of their own - their first commit! (BYE) Injuries:FS Ibrahim Marshall - OUT (Severe ACL Rupture) Charlie Sanford (17 of 32 for 209 yards, 2 TDs) had his best game of the season against Kent, but Arizona State is a bit stouter than the Golden Flashes. Defensively the Sun Devils get their push up front from the inside, courtesy of redshirt freshman Alpha Goldman (9 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.0 Sacks). The 300-pounder anchors their young defensive line - no one on it is older than a sophomore. But with that youth comes some struggle; as a team they only have about five sacks on the season. The good news for ASU is that the Huskies are likely to have one of the weaker offensive lines they've faced. The bad news is that NIU still has some capable players there, especially C Cooper O'Neill who will take on Goldman. It's very important for Northern that O'Neill and tackles Lorenzo Bales and Jermon McCullough control the line of scrimmage, not only to help Sanford out but also to help RB Julian Holcomb try and replicate his two-TD performance from last week. But ASU's best defensive player, OLB Timothy Greer (12 TKL, 1 TFL, 0.5 Sacks), is incredibly active and will throw a wrench in those plans. Greer will likely be key to the Sun Devils' ability to disrupt the Northern passing game, although CB Jeremy Tolliver will look to punish the Huskies if they throw in his direction. We don't like WR Nathaniel Alford's chances against him. Arizona State’s offense runs through Israel Carlson. The 5-star recruit is already living up to the billing as a redshirt freshman, averaging 136.75 rushing yards per game and scoring 6 rushing touchdowns this season. QB Parker Townsend (60 of 94 for 761 yards, 5/3 TD/INT, 19 rushes for 152 yards, 2 rush TDs, 1 Fum Lost) is capable in his own right, but his primary role in this offense seems to be to take advantage of the defense when they over-commit to stopping Carlson. Northern Illinois will likely load up to stop the run and try to make Parker Townsend win the game with his arm. Hopefully this attempt works better than the last time they played a similar team; against Western Michigan in week 5 they gave up 136 yards and 3 TDs to DeSean Madison and 299 passing with 2 passing TDs to Chase Sims. Perhaps a scheme change is the tonic - we've heard whispers from Huskie insiders that they are strongly considering moving to a 3-4. This lets ILBs Kieran Linn (13 TKL, 1 INT) and Oliver McNeal (16 TKL, 1 TFL) play in their natural positions, but talented DT Thierno Thomas (5 TKL, 1 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) may be miscast as a nose tackle. Prediction: 30-21 Whether or not Northern is moving to a 3-4, it's hard to see the Huskies bottling Carlson up. We expect him to have a big day, and while there are holes in the Sun Devil defense we don't think NIU will be able to consistently take advantage of them. Not with Greer and ILB Omar Gore controlling the middle of the field. Saturday Morning Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-2) at Western Michigan (4-0, 2-0) Last Week: Eastern felt Toledo’s frustrations firsthand (L vs. 6-42), while Western won thanks to DeSean Madison and their… defense? (W vs. 20-10) Injuries: None We’re truly blessed. A week after the Ball State Daily published an excellent preview of their game against Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan has a very comprehensive preview of their game against Western Michigan. Check it out! Eastern’s preview covered the majority of what we would talk about, but we’ll add a couple of things. Defensively, we’re not sure why the Eagles are the conference’s worst in several metrics: Points allowed/game, Yards allowed/game, and Opponent’s 3rd down conversion percentage. It’s a bit puzzling because although Eastern is not an elite defense, they aren’t the MAC’s worst on paper - yet here we are. The fine folks in Ypsilanti hope that new coach @tsweezy brings a fire to light under an underperforming group. They’ll need it - RB DeSean Madison leads the conference in rushing touchdowns (10) and rushing yards per game (143.7). They would also love it if tsweezy could do the same with the offense. The Eagles have struggled there as well although not to the same extent. However, averaging only 1.75 offensive touchdowns per game is very much no bueno and won’t cut it against a Bronco team averaging over 30 points a contest. EMU is seemingly built to run the ball, but Chris Morton (2 TDs, 41.75 rypg) simply has not been up to the task. Will the Eagles just disavow the running game until redshirted stud Tyler Pearson is ready next year? We expect Eastern will try to attack the middle of the field against the Broncos’ linebacking corps but that's not an area they've seemingly gone to often; TE Amir Nixon only has nine catches on the season for 108 yards. Prediction: 27-14 Expect EMU ILBs Julien Rinehart and Mosi Gary to rack up a lot of tackles on Madison at the second level. If Eastern sells out on the run like we expect, Sims will probably continue his incredibly efficient passing versus an Eagle secondary that’s going to be left on islands. On top of that we just don’t think that Giovanni Shaw and company have the horses to keep pace offensively. Byes: Akron (2-3), Ball State (3-2), Bowling Green (3-2), Buffalo (2-3), Central Michigan (2-3), Kent State (0-5), Miami (OH) (4-1), Ohio (3-2), Toledo (4-1) On behalf of silent special guest star Owen Schmitt and #MACtion Jenny (in absentia), this is Bruce Baguen for the MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack"). Until next time!
  9. So today folks, we're gonna take a bit of the Titanium White and mix it in with some Van Dyke Brown. Add a little dab of Titanium Blue, and we're just gonna paint some happy little MAC Charts of Dubious Value right over here. Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 6 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1-tie (46) #15* Toledo Rockets (2) 4-1 (3-0) W1 +1 1-tie (46) #24* Western Michigan Broncos (2) 4-0 (2-0) W4 - 3 (40) Miami (OH) Redhawks 4-1 (3-0) W1 +1 4 (33) Akron Zips 2-3 (1-2) L1 -1 5 (31) Ball State Cardinals 3-2 (2-1) W3 +1 6 (29) Ohio Bobcats 3-2 (2-1) L2 -1 7 (24) Bowling Green Falcons 3-2 (0-1) W3 +1 8 (22) Buffalo Bulls 2-3 (0-2) L1 -2 9 (16) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-3 (1-2) L3 -1 10 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 1-3 (1-1) W1 +1 11 (8) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-4 (0-2) L4 -1 12 (4) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-5 (0-2) L5 - Numbers of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. * Coaches' Poll Ranking for week 5. Another week, another tie as Toledo climbs back atop the poll and shares the summit with Western Michigan once again. It's really starting to look like these two teams will be locked into the top two spots until they meet in week 13, probably for the MAC West. Best!Miami is hovering right below them after holding off Akron, and the Redhawks' week 16 matchup with the Bobcats is likely to decide the MAC East. Continuing their surge up the chart are the Ball State Cardinals and coach @npklemm, who recently set an ambitious goal for his team to be the unofficial winners of the Michigan MAC Trophy. They're one-third of the way there after dispatching Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan is next for them. Likewise sliding down are a pair of traditional powers in the East, Ohio and Buffalo. Ohio's run into a pair of tough opponents in Akron and Hawaii, while Buffalo's weaknesses on the line and in the kicking game were on display once again. Add to that rumors that their coach is considering leaving.... The NIU Huskies make a small jump up the chart with their first win of the season. Congrats on getting rid of the goose egg! This Week's MAC slate is... not so full this time: Thursday Night Northern Illinois (1-3) at Arizona State (2-2) Saturday Morning Eastern Michigan (0-4) at Western Michigan (4-0)* The Network's Pick to Click: Eastern Michigan (0-4) at Western Michigan (4-0). It's slim pickings, but this is the official first game to decide the Michigan MAC Trophy's home for 2021. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  10. Last Week's Picks: 4-4 Season to Date: 25-10 Last week didn't go so swimmingly for Everyone's Favorite Conference, as the Redhawks and Rockets lost close games to ranked opponents. This week the focus turns inward as the majority of our #MACtion is conference-based. For this week's silent special guest Derrick Fenner, I'm Bruce Baguen. To the (long-awaited) games! Thursday Night New Mexico State (0-4) at Bowling Green (2-2) Last Week: The Aggies’ search for their first program win continues (L at 14-19), while the Falcons managed to win their second straight without a coach. (W at 24-45) Injuries: None There’s really not much to say here. NMSU has some players with pro potential such as LT Shane Hardison and LG Donald Reilly, and coach Jamarquan has the right idea in featuring the offense around RB Shane Walker (101 rushes for 444 yards, 5 TDs in 4 games). But first-year teams just come with too many holes to compete against established FBS schools. This should be a nice welcoming present for new Falcons coach @Jhaa4 - if he shows up. He might have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Prediction: 38-7 The bigger battle this week for Bowling Green will be on the recruiting trail. Ball State (2-2 overall, 1-1 conf.) at Central Michigan (2-2, 1-1) Last Week: The Cardinals avoided the dreaded 21-3 curse in a comfortable win (W at 28-17), while there was no fourth quarter magic for the Chips this time. (L vs. 17-21) Injuries: RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) This is a very important conference matchup, one that both teams believe they can win. A victory here goes a long way toward a bowl berth and towards staying in contention for the MAC West. An aside here: The MAC Network ("If it's not MAC, it's wack!") loves seeing more coverage of any and all things MAC, and the Ball State Daily put out an excellent preview of this game. You should totally check it out! Warning signs are popping up all over the offense for the Chippewas. QB Byron Suggs (75 of 126 for 896 yards, 7/4 TD/INT) is also their leading rusher for the season (23 rushes for 139 yards, 1 TD). Granted that's with starting RB Makai Carr (49 rushes for 129 yards, 1 TD) missing a game to an ankle injury, but look at these numbers: 52, 99, 51. Those are their rushing yardage totals for their last three games. With the running game struggling Suggs is feeling the pressure to try and do more himself, and it allows opposing defenses to just tee off on him. The freshman QB is the face of the CMU offense, yes, but he needs help from both the running game and from his wideouts. Suggs' 7.11 YPA shows a lack of successful deep shots and while TE Jasper Rowley has picked up some slack lately (14 rec for 234 yards, 2 TD, 2 Drops), WR Joseph Aikman is struggling. The big freshman (17 rec for 225 yards, 3 TD, 2 Drops) hasn't broken 70 yards since week 1 and has more drops over the last three games (2) than TDs (1). He and Suggs need to find that chemistry that they showed in week 1 where Aikman had 102 receiving yards and 2 TDs. Obviously Ball State has no interest in letting that happen. Their "bend don't break" defense worked very well against the Blazers last week, limiting UAB's Lorenzo Deaton to 82 yards on 20 carries and harrassing poor Elijah Currie-Madison into a woeful 13/25 for 140, 1 TD, 1 INT day. Granted Central is much more talented offensively than UAB. But that's where DE/DT Isamaeli Afamasaga (5 TKL, 2 TFL, 2.0 Sacks) and DT Rashaad Malcolm (6 TKL, 2.0 Sacks) come in against a Chips O-line ranked eighth in the conference, while SS DeAndre Simms cleans up on the back end (12 TKL, 0.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 1 PD). Ball State has won their last two. RB Austin Laws has had back-to-back 100-yard days. Coincidence? We think not. Laws (88 rushes for 371 yards, 3 TDs) has been an underrated back for years, although that was due to the Cardinals' consistent struggles - in the past he's put up some good numbers on some bad teams. Will this be a repeat? That depends on Elias Carter. The Drifter has pedestrian numbers (55 of 93 for 692 yards, 4/4 TD/INT) but his last two games have looked much better than the 125-yard clunkers he put up in the first two. We're not saying the 16 or 26 for 209 with a TD and an INT he had against UAB is ideal, but as long as Carter shows sufficient game manager skills at QB that's all coach @npklemm wants out of him. This might be a game where the Cardinals can use their short passing game to good effect, running lots of option routes with Jayson Zarate-Lima and Sebastian Amato against a cornerback duo of 3-star Sebastian Simpson and redshirt freshman DeSean Mathis who are probably the weak spot on the Central defense. CMU defensive ends Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough have five of the six Chippewa sacks on the year, yet they are going to be asked to take the lead on bottling Laws up and force Carter to make plays. It's going to be harder for them this week than last, UTSA doesn't have an offensive lineman as talented as LT Aiden Hammer. Can NT Jabari Hardy step up? He hasn't made the box score yet and while his role is primarily to eat up blockers for the linebackers, it sure would be nice for the Chips if he can make some plays and force Carter into uncomfortable decisions. Prediction: 27-17 Ball State is finding its groove while Central is scuffling. We're not sure that the Chips offense will rediscover the form they showed in week 1, which they'll need to keep pace with a rejuvenated Austin Laws. Friday Night Northern Illinois (0-3 overall, 0-2 conf.) at Kent State (0-4, 0-1) Last Week: The Huskies regrouped (BYE), while all things considered a 26-point loss to a ranked team on the road doesn't look horrible for the Golden Flashes. (L at 0-26) Injuries: FB Harrison Mullin - OUT (Severe Achilles Rupture) This one is also an important conference game, but for a different reason: Someone's going to have a win after this game! It's hard to say what NIU is trying to do on offense, because neither QB Charlie Sanford (40 of 67 for 462 yards, 3/4 TD/INT, 154.0 YPG) nor RB Julian Holcomb (55 rushes for 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 Fum Lost) have been effective through the Huskies' first three games. Even Sanford's three TDs are a bit misleading, as two of them came in garbage time after the game was already over. Two numbers that aren't misleading are NIU's OL rating of 4.87 (third-worst in the conference), and 25.58% (NIU's 3rd down conversion rate). When the offense continually finds itself in third and long situations, they typically don't get to stay on the field. (We'll come back to these stats later.) Facing overmatched CBs Alpha McNeill and Gregory Ponder Northern may be tempted to air it out, except that Kent State's best defender SS Steven Gordon (14 TKL, 1 INT, 1 PD) is in support there. Is that a gamble they want to make, even if by stats WR Nathaniel Alford (12 rec for 180 yards, 3 TDs) is their best offensive weapon right now? The Huskies may best be served by staying patient with Holcomb and expecting a beleaguered OL to wear down a front seven giving up the second-most rushing yards in the MAC (115.25). Take 90% of everything we've said up above about NIU's offense, remove the names, and put them against a defense marginally better than Kent State's. That's basically Kent State's offense versus NIU's defense. What's odd is that the Huskies have good talent on defense such as ATH/MLB Oliver McNeal, ILB Kieran Linn, and CB Samuel Echols, yet the average score in a typical NIU game this season? Opponent 30, NIU 12.33. What's going on? They are shorthanded at CB - only three on the roster, and playing Linn out of position at OLB, so that's not helping. They're just thin all over the roster except at MLB; the Huskies have 11(!) ILBs on the roster including McNeal. Good thing for them that they're playing against an offense scuffling even worse than their own. Remember we were going to come back to the horrific NIU offensive stats? (4.87 OL rating and 25.58% 3rd down conv.) 3.93 and 22%. Those are Kent State's numbers for those same stats - even worse. These numbers also come with another - 12, as in sacks surrendered. That's 3 times per game QB John Garland goes down with the ball in his hands behind the line. The Kent State coaching staff has tried almost everything to keep the games close, but basically nothing has worked. Garland is completing just over 50 percent of his passes, RB James Ridley-Henley is rushing for just over 50 yards a game since "Ol' Reliable" Harrison Mullin tore his Achilles. Again Kent State has played a rough stretch of games, but they won't have that excuse this week if they struggle again. So is this where the Golden Flashes say, "Damn the Torpedoes?" Will Kent State pull out all the stops in this game? Looking at their remaining schedule, this is perhaps the best chance they have to get that elusive first win. The talent disparity between them and Northern Illinois isn't as obvious as it is with other teams, especially looking at NIU's offense vs. Kent State's defense. Prediction: 17-14 Kent State's done it before, pulling out games where they looked outclassed. We're sure they'll do it again at some point this season, but it's hard to predict when so we can't in good conscience call it here*. Not against a team with a bit more talent spread across the roster and an active coach. We think this will be a sluggish, conservative game. What we don't think will happen is Northern playing reckless enough to give the Golden Flashes the openings they need to pull this out. (* It's Akron. When in doubt choose the Akron game) (Saturday to follow)
  11. Live! From studio B Everyone's Favorite Conference Network, it's this week's Chart of Dubious Value! Ladies and gentlemen, did you think there wasn't enough change? Were the not enough green and red numbers for your taste? We've got your fix! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 5 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (47) #24 Western Michigan Broncos (3) 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 2 (45) #15 Toledo Rockets (1) 3-1 (1-0) L1 -1 3 (39) Akron Zips 2-2 (1-1) W1 +2 4 (36) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-1 (2-0) L1 -1 5 (31) Ohio Bobcats 3-1 (2-1) L1 -2 6-tie (26) Ball State Cardinals 2-2 (1-1) W2 +2 6-tie (26) Buffalo Bulls 2-2 (0-1) W1 +1 8-tie (19) Bowling Green Falcons 2-2 (0-1) W2 +1 8-tie (19) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-2 (1-1) L2 -2 10 (11) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-1) L3 - 11 (8) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-3 (0-2) L3 - 12 (5) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-4 (0-1) L4 - Numbers of voters: 4 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. We don't think we've seen this before. A team ranked higher in the Coaches Poll ranked lower in the Power Rankings. Is it that Toledo has a one in the loss column and Western doesn't? Is it that Toledo's starting left tackle is out until Week 11 or so? Who knows? But the numbers are what they are, and so these are the results. We also don't think we've seen two ties before - we certainly don't recall seeing two back to back like this. Ball State and Bowling Green are riding the waves of good play to surf on up the rankings, forcing ties with Buffalo and Central Michigan respectively. We haven't forgotten about Akron. This season's MAC Team No One Can Figure Out (previous winners: 2020 Kent State, 2019 Akron) doubled up Ohio in the first half en route to a thrilling 40-35 win. The voters haven't forgotten either, shooting them past the Bobcats and a Redhawk team that barely fell to Air Force. This Week's Slate is a full one: Thursday Night New Mexico State (0-4) at Bowling Green (2-2)Ball State (2-2) at Central Michigan (2-2)* Friday Night Northern Illinois (0-3) at Kent State (0-4)* Saturday Morning Miami (OH) (3-1) at Akron (2-2)* Buffalo (2-2) at Western Michigan (3-0)* Toledo (3-1) at Eastern Michigan (0-3)* Saturday Afternoon Ohio (3-1) at Hawaii (1-2) The Network's Pick to Click: Miami (OH) (3-1) at Akron (2-2). A critical battle that gives the winner a big leg up in the MAC East division race. "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
  12. Last Week's Picks: 4-2 Season to Date: 21-6 A big week this week for Everyone's Favorite Conference, including a huge statement game for the Conference in general and a certain team's playoff hopes! For this week's silent special guest David Kirtman, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get going on the games! Thursday Night UTSA (1-2) at Central Michigan (2-1) Last Week: The Roadrunners couldn’t come back from a 21-7 deficit (L at 23-27), while the Chips lost a hard-fought game to the Bobcats in double overtime (L vs. 23-29) Injuries: RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) UTSA was a preseason dark horse favorite to challenge perennial C-USA powerhouse Rice for the conference crown, and they looked like they would vindicate that faith when they knocked off a USF team that harbored 2021 playoff aspirations. Then they dropped games to Memphis and Marshall, and it’s kind of interesting how those teams beat the Roadrunners. When you look at the UTSA offense you would think that with QB Justin Radford (55 of 93 for 717 yards, 6/4 TD/INT) throwing to NFL prospect WR Sebastian Porter (17 rec for 210 yards, 3 TDs, 2 drops) and Tyler Hansen (11 rec for 189 yards, 1 TD), the passing game is the aspect of the Roadrunner offense that needs to be contained. Yet their two losses came when 6’1” 165-lb (!) Power RB (!!!) Elias Cameron was held to around 15 carries and Radford threw 30+ times. And while Marshall did it by jumping on UTSA early and forcing them to play catch-up, that doesn’t explain the playcalling for a Memphis game that was close until the second half. Is this a gameplan the Chips would follow though? While their front seven is the best part of their defense, and they are more comfortable defending against the run, how will coach @johnkirk decide to support his secondary? Will he trust his back four against Radford, Porter, and Hansen enough to focus on shutting down Cameron and letting DEs Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough loose on the Texas freshman QB? Byron Suggs almost did it. The redshirt freshman threw two fourth quarter TDs and led the team down the field a third time to get the tying FG and send the game into overtime, but it wasn’t enough. Thus is the up-and-down life of the most watched freshman in the MAC. He finished with good-looking stats (21 of 36 for 278 yards, 2/1 TD/INT, 8 rushes for 42 yards) but they were pretty bad until the fourth. Yeah, but that fourth quarter though. Yeah, but everything before that though. In all fairness Ohio is a really good team and Suggs had little help. WR William Coates lost a fumble. Fellow freshman Joseph Aikman had a bad drop. Backup RB Patrick Thurman struggled to get going (15 carries for 57 yards). Having Makai Carr back in the lineup will help; he’ll probably be better suited than Thurman to take on a linebacking corps that is the veteran presence on an otherwise young Roadrunner defense. And we mean young; there are six freshmen or sophomores starting for UTSA, including their nose tackle Eli Lalana and cornerbacks Dillon Bradley and Joshua Finney. All three are promising 4-star prospects but are still growing into that promise. But their teammate, Will linebacker Paul Quick? He’s pretty much there. Quick lives up to his name, flying all over the field to make stops. He is the Roadrunner’s leading tackler with 13 and is integral to their defense. But outside of him the UTSA defense's youth shows in its inconsistency. They held USF to 214 yards and 21 points in their win, surrendered only 238 yards but 31 points in a loss to Memphis, and 419 yards and 27 points last week to Marshall. That's not a good trend line for any defense. Even more worrying is the way Marshall racked up the yards - however they wanted. Herd QB Brandon Adler completed 72% of his passes for 273 yards and 2 TDs while RB Cayden Gipson had 140 and a score on the ground. Prediction: 31-28 This may be a slight homer pick. On paper you'd probably give the overall edge to the Roadrunners, but Byron Suggs is the more dynamic of the two QBs and already shown the ability to bring his team back. Add that to the Mt. Pleasant atmosphere and fact that the Chips are playing better right now, and we'll take the hometown MAC team. (Friday and Saturday to follow.)
  13. From Everyone's Favorite Conference, the MAC Network present the 2021 season's fourth Chart Of Dubious Value! This week saw quite a few interesting games, so how did the voters process all of this? Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 4 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1-tie (69)* #11 Toledo Rockets (3) 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 1-tie (69)* Western Michigan Broncos (3) 3-0 (1-0) W3 +1 3 (59) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 4 (52) Ohio Bobcats 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 5 (48) Akron Zips 1-2 (0-1) L1 - 6 (38) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-1 (1-1) L1 +1 7 (34) Buffalo Bulls 1-2 (0-1) L1 -1 8 (33) Ball State Cardinals 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 9 (26) Bowling Green Falcons 1-2 (0-1) W1 +1 10 (19) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-3 (0-1) L3 -2 11 (13) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-3 (0-2) L3 - 12 (8) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-3 (0-1) L3 - Numbers of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. Ooh, movement! Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first tie atop the polls in the history of these Power Rankings for as long as we can remember. Toledo and Western Michigan have the honors of sharing the summit, and Best!Miami and Ohio aren't far behind. This week's #QUALITYLOSS winner goes to the Akron Zips, who gave the visiting Rockets all they could handle! Eastern Michigan will surely be happy to hand that trophy over to them. Runner-up goes to CMU and their double-overtime roller coaster against Ohio. Ball State continues their climb out of the basement ending up just behind the Buffalo squad they beat, while Bowling Green parlayed their kinda-surprising-but-not-as-much-as-you-think win into a bit of upward mobility. Buffalo's hanging in there, but they have some issues that are getting harder to work around. The week's most intriguing matchup is a big step towards the fulfillment of #TOLEDO2021, with 11th-ranked Toledo welcoming the #15 Gators of Florida to Ohio. Don't sleep on Best!Miami hosting Air Force either, bound to be some fireworks in that one! This Week's Slate: Thursday Night UTSA (1-2) at Central Michigan (2-1) Friday Night Ball State (1-2) at UAB (1-2) Bowling Green (1-2) at UMass (0-3) Buffalo (1-2) at Liberty (0-3) Saturday Morning Akron (1-2) at Ohio (3-0)* Saturday Afternoon Kent State (0-3) at Illinois (3-0) Saturday Evening Air Force (3-0) at Miami (OH) (3-0) Florida (3-0) at Toledo (3-0) Byes: Eastern Michigan (0-3), Northern Illinois (0-3), Western Michigan (3-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" *Nice.
  14. Welcome back everybody! I am your host Tim Timms, and we are back to look at the second week of recruiting commits to the MAC for 2021. A solid week for the MAC this week, with two big time playmakers on defense and one on offense, two of which went to Western Michigan. FS Julius Reese was projected by some as the #2 free safety in the nation, and one of the best players in the Midwest, adding to the talented core of Kayden Soriano and Julius's long-lost brother (or so we hope) Christian. OLB Shiloh Maxwell was one of the top 4 players in Ohio, and the second OLB to Blake Gauthier, and he will anchor the Kent State defense along side Geno Mason for years to come. Also, WMU's signing of tweener TE William Griggs adds a dynamic option to an offense that is compiling more and more such weapons. Miami brought in two solid players on the defensive line, and Akron and EMU continued to bring a number of players. A major shift in the table, as Kent State jumps to second with their lone signee, and WMU jumps to 3rd, while Miami goes from the bottom to 5th place, equal with Ball State and Buffalo, but not a lot else happening on this front. Committed Recruits (by potential) Total Recruits (all *) Team 2.5-Star 3-Star 3.5-Star 4-Star 4.5-Star 5-Star Croot Total Tot. Stars Avg. Stars Avg. Skill 3 Toledo 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 13.5 4.5 1.33 1 Kent State 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4.5 4.5 1 10 Western Michigan 0 2 6 0 0 2 10 37 3.7 1.65 5 Ball State 0 0 5 0 0 0 5 17.5 3.5 2.2 2 Miami (OH) 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 3.5 1.25 3 Buffalo 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 10.5 3.5 1 21 Akron 0 13 8 0 0 0 21 67 3.19 1.29 19 Eastern Michigan 4 11 4 0 0 0 19 57 3 1.32 2 Ohio 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 6 3 3 1 Central Michigan 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 3 1 4 Northern Illinois 1 3 0 0 0 0 4 11.5 2.87 2.625 0 Bowling Green 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 This week in the National Rankings there were some big jumps, particularly from Kent State, with one player changing the perception of their entire class entirely. Also, Western and Miami (OH) both jumped up significantly. Akron was the only other team to rise, as the rest struggled to sign any recruits at all. Toledo (National rank: 43) -16 Western Michigan (National rank: 34) +43 Kent State (National rank: 76) +55 Akron (National rank: 77) +2 Eastern Michigan (National rank: 86) -4 Ball State (National rank: 88) -7 Buffalo (National rank: 99) +8 Miami (OH) (National rank: 109) +13 Ohio (National rank: 110) -12 Northern Illinois (National rank: 114) -14 Central Michigan (National rank: 122) -11 Bowling Green (National rank: 130) -4 On to the analysis of each team's weekly recruiting efforts Toledo (National rank: 41) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No commitments this week for the Rockets, but they stay in good position across the board Looking forward: Toledo is being the Toledo of years not named 2020, dominating Ohio and building up one of if not the most talented core in the MAC, and they look to continue this by leading on DeVante Gilliam, and being second to Cincinnati for DeVante Nesbitt, Ohio's top outside cover men. Toledo is also leading the race to sign the talented Atamu Tatupu, with Pittsburgh and Miami (OH) following closely, in what will be a bloody fight for the speedy wideout. Western Michigan (National rank: 53) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: A huge week for the Broncos, signing 2 5.0s, including the #2 FS in the nation by some sources, and one of the best Move Tight Ends in the nation, despite his Wide Receiver frame. Looking forward: WMU is not done yet, almost having secured the services of Gabe Baker, one of the top 7 QB's in the nation, despite a challenge from Michigan. Western also leads on Rafael Montanez, the 3.5 potential OT from Texas, and Nehemiah Daniel, another Michigan native to catch passes from Baker in the years to come. I, for one, welcome our new Bronco overlords. Kent State (Class rank: 75) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Their first signing of 2021 is similar to 2020, signing another 4.5 potential defender from Ohio, coming almost out of nowhere to steal Shiloh Maxwell from the clutches of Ohio. Looking forward: Kent State tried to make a move on TE Miles Hooker, but were unable to gain significant ground on the Bobcats, but they are leading on SS Aiden Monroe, keeping Western Kentucky and Temple at bay. They are looking out of state at C Isaac Grover, WR Jermon Bailey, and P Walt Cote (all 2.5/3.5), as well as WR Jacob Kellogg (1.0/4.0) and ILB Dwayne Felder (1.5/4.0). The Golden Flashes are spread across the country, trying to use their new-found fame to attract recruits who have received less attention than they may have deserved. Akron (National rank: 78) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Another big lot of signings by the Zips this week, with a focus on the offensive line. Looking forward: They got signatures from two of the players we highlighted last week: OG Maurice Longoria and OT Nick Irvin. Now, they look to get their only 4.0+ potential player so far, FS Calvin Bernard, who they lead the race for over Miami (OH). Two other players on their radar are OLB Paul Boykin, who they lead Ohio for, and WR Ryan Buckner, who is being lightly contested by Kentucky. Ball State (National rank: 89) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Ball State keeps with the plan of taking 3.5 potential players with higher floors from Florida, with another two this week. Looking forward: The Cards want Erik Parker to be their signal caller of the future, and it looks like it will be that way, as they retain a large lead on him. Another player with 4.0 potential they are eyeing is OLB Gavin Pugh, who the instate Kentucky lead Ball State on with some comfort. After signing one target for their QB of the future, they are also looking at Jermon Bailey, who has Kent State in first place, and Bruce Edmondson, who Ball State lead on, to be targets for him in the future. Eastern Michigan (National rank: 90) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Eastern Michigan continues to build a big class, bringing in 7 more recruits, but only one with a potential of 3.5. Looking forward: All the prospects highlighted last week for the Eagles are all committed, so on to some new ones. CB David Jefferson (1.5/3.5) is favouring Cincy, but EMU isn't too far behind, and they are in a similar spot with DE Christopher Dorner (1.0/3.5), this time behind Michigan State. Also, they are behind both SJSU and OSU for C Sean Price (1.0/3.5). Miami (OH) (Class rank: 104) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Solid depth being picked up on the defensive line with two boys from instate, both of which will see some time as backups and later in their time at Miami as starters. Looking forward: The Redhawks still lead on Alvin Hines, breaking away from Ohio and leaving Toledo in the dust for now. Shamar Wiley has only received any attention from Miami, so expect him to commit soon. The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky have vaulted into the lead for QB DeShaun Jackson, and Miami now has to decide who to target between him and Atamu Tatupu, who they are behind Toledo and Pitt in terms of interest. Akron now leads on Calvin Bernard, but Miami is a close second with no one else close, and they are all but out of the picture for DeVante Nesbitt. Miami is also trailing Cincinnati in the race for SS Gavin Goode (2.0/4.0), the top safety in Ohio. Finally, Drew Edge is one prospect that caesari can feel good about, having breathing room in front of Ohio State, and no one else particularly close behind them. Ohio (National rank: 106) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No croots this week, and Ohio lost Shiloh Maxwell, who they were leading on for the majority of the season to date, but were jumped by Kent State in the last few weeks. Looking forward: Ohio is in a few major battles, and a few of these aren't looking good for the Bobcats. Despite Penn State being interested, DE Clinton Noel has Ohio down as his #1, and with a bit of space now they might pull away from the repeat national champions. they are still trailing for Alvin Hines, but are not impossibly far away from Miami (OH), and they retain their lead on TE Miles Hooker, holding back Kent State and Temple. Linebackers didn't seem to like Ohio, or vice versa, as ILB Ryan Anthony Jr commited to Penn State last week, and OLB Drew Edge is now leaving them out of the picture. Northern Illinois (National rank: 109) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: No commits this week for Coach subsequent Looking forward: Northern Illinois stick with their strategy of going after the big fish, Freddie Cooper, and they are leading Illinois to be the team to get his commitment. Also, they are leading on CB Tyus Rawls (1.0/3.5), ahead of Illinois and Northwestern, and QB Nathan John, who they are in a comfortable lead for. Buffalo (National rank: 115) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Two more solid players, but none of the stars they were hoping for. Looking forward: Not looking good for Seth here, both of the big recruits that they were gunning for are starting to favour other schools. Eric Lanier, one of the two best road paving tackles in the country has been courted by Penn State, and Buffalo isn't close on this one. This was always going to be a tough one, considering they are fighting perhaps the most prestigious university, and as he was from Pennsylvania that was an added hurdle for the Buffs. Laquon Boston, the best man-to-man defender in this class, is now being favoured by Army, putting this class in real danger of producing nothing more than a group of 3.5 potential players. Central Michigan (National rank: 119) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: Nothing big this week for the Chipps. Looking forward: Central Michigan retains a big lead on CB Matthew Edmonds, who might commit next week, and they retain their leads on Bill Mccauley and Viliamu Mea'ole, and Mccauley may commit soon, however, they have been overtaken by Akron on Javon McCoy, and we will see how that pans out. They are also leading Indiana on C Noah Patrick (1.0/3.0). Bowling Green (Class rank: 129) Commits: This week: Complete: Analysis: This week: The Falcons are now the only MAC team without a commitment yet. Looking forward: The Falcons stay in second for one of their big targets DeVante Gilliam, but they are going to have to change something to stop Toledo from building a lead. They do have a chance because Toledo is involved in so many battles, they may begin to get spread too thin to cope. Also, Bowling Green still leads on Micah Bean, and these two look to be the stars of the class. Thank you for tuning into another installment of the MAC Recruiting Recap Show. Looking forward to seeing you all next week, and until then remember, "If it's not MAC, it's wack!" See you next time!
  15. Last Week's Picks: 7-0 Season to Date: 17-4 Welcome back for yet another exciting week in Everyone's Favorite Conference! Conference play becomes more prevalent this week, although the OOC slate presents some statement games if they can be won. Along with this week's silent special guest Will Tukuafu, I'm Bruce Baguen. Let's get to it! Thursday Night Ohio (2-0 overall, 1-0 conf.) at Central Michigan (2-0, 1-0) Last Week: The Bobcats fended off the visiting Eagles (W vs. 23-20), while Central took a week to figure out how to get the Byron Suggs Hype Train back on track (BYE). Injuries: WR Charlie Link - Probable (Mild Concussion) RB Makai Carr - Probable (Moderate Ankle Sprain) The biggest storyline of this game is definitely Central Michigan's offense versus Ohio's defense. After an outstanding debut CMU QB Byron Suggs struggled against Northern Illinois, only throwing for 166 yards and running for 27 more. With his top receiver Joseph Aikman being shadowed and shut down by NIU standout CB Samuel Echols (3 rec for 22 yards), Suggs was able to find WR2 Richard Mace (6 for 56) and TE Jasper Rowley (2 for 51, 1 TD) enough to get the win. But did this game provide a blueprint of how to contain the Central offense, or will the Chips be able to adjust? It didn't help that leading rusher Makai Carr was ineffective (16 rushes for 25 yards) and hobbled by an ankle sprain; coach @johnkirk is not taking any chances with Carr's health and starting backup Patrick Thurman against a formidable Bobcat front seven. We're sure the Bobcats noticed what NIU could do against CMU's passing attack. Their cornerback group is in a similar situation to NIU's; a top-flight #1 CB with a not-bad #2 and an untested #3. Shawn Tillman will draw the job of shadowing Aikman, while Savion Willingham gets Mace. Highly-touted but raw nickelback Cooper Rainey is the one to watch here, as either William Coates or Mendy Schofield could take advantage of him if Suggs has enough time. Will Suggs have time? Although his offensive line is playing better than it was last year, it still isn't great - their rating of 5.15 ranks 7th in the conference. Against a formidable 3-4 front with probably the best linebacking group in the MAC, the Chips OL has to step up their game. We're especially looking at the right side of the line, where RG Roman Yarbrough and RT Rocco McDonough will have their hands full with DE Chase Woodson who already owns a pair of sacks on the season. We're not exactly liking Thurman's chances to bust loose against DT Brady Whittaker and ILBs Calvin Blue and Finn Ricketts either. With the offense scuffling, the Chippewas needed their defense to step up against the Huskies - and they did. Central's bookends Rory Bolin and Nazir Tatum-Kimbrough each had a sack and their starting corners Sebastian Simpson and DeSean Mathis each had a pick - talk about symmetry. The Chips will need repeat performances this week; the Bobcats have a significantly better offense than what the Huskies presented. Ohio's own freshman QB phenom Austin Lowe is off to a sterling start through two games; a completion rate over 68% with an average of 304.5 passing yards per game and 4 TDs with no interceptions to his credit. He hasn't been shy about spread it out either; none of his receivers have yet hit 200 yards on the season although senior Dwayne Simpson (16 rec for 189, 2 TDs) comes closest. With Lowe playing well Ohio's opponents can no longer simply focus on the ground game, although RB Jeffrey Flowers (36 carries for 249 yards, 2 TDs, 6.92 YPC) makes them wish they could. The base Chippewa defensive scheme isn't overly aggressive, but they may need to incorporate some exotic packages to force early stops. One of the reasons Eastern Michigan was able to keep it so close against Ohio last week was the pressure the Eagles put on Lowe, especially coming from the defensive left side courtesy of DE Kyle Whitten. The Chips secondary isn't likely to hold up for 6-7 seconds of coverage if Lowe has time, so Tatum-Kimbrough and Bolin will be key to denying Lowe that time. Prediction: 30-17 This is a matchup of unbeatens, but Ohio is clearly the better team. Not a knock on Central who are much improved over last year, but the talent is greater for the Bobcats on both sides of the ball. We especially think Ohio's offense will be able to push the Chips defense around and keep them off-balance. Central will try to keep pace, but we're skeptical of their ability to present a significant running game here and that will allow the Ohio front seven to come after Byron Suggs relentlessly. (Friday and Saturday to follow.)
  16. It's that moment you've all been waiting for, ladies and gentlemen, the season's third MAC Chart Of Dubious Value! Remember, you should probably vote if you don't like your ranking. And play well. That too. MAC Power Rankings After Week 3 Rank (Poll Pts.) Team (First Place Votes) Record (Conf. Record) Streak Change from Last Week 1 (70) #9 Toledo Rockets (4) 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 2 (68) #25 Western Michigan Broncos (2) 2-0 (0-0) W2 - 3 (60) Miami (OH) Redhawks 3-0 (2-0) W3 - 4 (52) Ohio Bobcats 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 5 (46) Akron Zips 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 6 (44) Buffalo Bulls 1-1 (0-0) W1 - 7 (37) Central Michigan Chippewas 2-0 (1-0) W2 - 8 (31) Eastern Michigan Eagles 0-2 (0-1) L2 - 9 (20) Ball State Cardinals 0-2 (0-1) L2 +1 10 (18) Bowling Green Falcons 0-2 (0-1) L2 -1 11 (14) Northern Illinois Huskies 0-2 (0-1) L2 - 12 (8) Kent State Golden Flashes 0-3 (0-1) L3 - Numbers of voters: 6 12 points awarded for first, 11 for second, etc. With last week's results being pretty much what most thought they would be, there isn't much to talk about overall. Bowling Green and Ball State swapping spots is the only movement, but considering the margins of not-victory in their respective games that isn't a surprise. Eastern retains its spot at the top of the winless tier due to a second #QUALITYLOSS, this time a narrow defeat to Ohio in Athens. The week's most intriguing matchup might just be the aforementioned Bobcats visiting Mt. Pleasant to take on Central Michigan and the Byron Suggs Hype Train. Both teams are 2-0, and this game will tell us a lot about where these programs are. This Week's Slate: Thursday Night Ohio (2-0) at Central Michigan (2-0)* Friday Night Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Virginia (1-1) Bowling Green (0-2) at Stanford (0-2) Saturday Morning Toledo (2-0) at Akron (1-1)* Ball State (0-2) at Buffalo (1-1)* Northern Illinois (0-2) at Western Michigan (2-0)* Byes: Kent State (0-3), Miami (OH) (3-0) "If it's not MAC, it's wack!"
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