Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 5 MAC Bloggers Roundable

By Mike Gibson
Every week I participate in the MAC bloggers' roundtable.
I always get the questions on Monday and submit my responses five minutes after opening my email, not because I'm all that anxious to answer the questions but because I know I'll forget otherwise.
This week, it was my honor (err, honor and duty) to ask the questions and I wanted to get the pulse of my fellow MAC members about the Temple Question which will come up before the MAC presidents, maybe by the end of the season.
I didn't answer any questions because it should be a violation for anyone to answer his own questions, but I did participate in the poll (I had Temple fourth, behind CMU, NIU and UT) and I won't divulge anyone else's votes but one member had Temple ranked two spots ahead of me.

My reasoning for not putting Temple higher is simple and reasonable: Give me a Temple win as impressive as NIU's over Purdue, CMu's over Michigan State and Toledo's over Colorado. Until the Owls can close the deal on Penn State or even Villanova, they don't deserve to be ranked among the elite.
At least not now.

So wthout further adieu, or even Freddy Adu, here are the questions and responses (more copying and pasting than should be asked of any human being, by the way):

1) What was the biggest surprise in your mind from Week 4? Was it Hofstra hanging at WMU or Boise State's domination of BGSU or Temple's win over Buffalo?

Let's Go Rockets: Hofstra keeping it competitive at WMU was a bigger surprise in week 4. It was a foregone conclusion that Boise would bring it to BGSU, and while at the beginning of the season we thought Buffalo would be strong, it's obvious in the first few weeks that they're just missing something (Sparks) so Temple's win isn't that surprising. The biggest surprise will be if Temple can keep the momentum throughout the remainder of the season.

Fire Up Chips: I was surprised how poised Ohio was in it's game against Tennessee. I don't know what was giving Frank such a steady hand in his playcalling as 90, 000 fans were bearing down on the Bobcats, but I think it's called experience....THAT, or the 40 of Mickey's he slammed in the bathroom at halftime. Hofstra was coming at WMU like they owed them money or something. It was like that scene in Pulp Fiction were Butch (Bruce Willis) stop at a red light and sees Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) walking across the street carrying a box of donuts.We'll Marcellus Wallace (Hofstra) went right after Butch (WMU). I don't know what WMU did to make Hofstra so mad...but Hofstra should have won that game. I am not sure how my Fightin' Dan LeFevour's were able to put the hurt so bad on Akron. Does't Akron have 4 ex-head coaches, including the ghost of Bear Bryant on their staff? I guess he wanted to coach in the greatest stadium ever constructed by human hands too.

Red and Black Attack (NIU): Ball State was a nice surprise scoring points against a tough Auburn team. My Huskies went ahead and laid an egg against the Idaho Vandals at home. I'm happy that it wasn't conference yet and Idaho looks to be one of those underrated teams this year. Or so I'm hoping.
Over The Pylon: The last game in that list, the Buffalo-Temple game wasn't surprising at all. Temple has a good football team which simply had a bad game against Villanova. Everyone acts like Buffalo is some world beater up there... newsflash... since Willy left they were a one trick pony in Starks who went down with an injury. Too bad for the Bulls fans... guess you'll have to cling dearly to the MAC Championship you were handed on a silver platter with a side of Cardinal fumblitis.

Falcon Blog: I guess Hofstra and WMU, but if hanging around is a surprise, I guess I was just as surprised that OU hung around Tennessee. Both games, obviously, concluded the way they were supposed to.
Rasor on the Zips: Two games stood out. I was surprised to see Ball State put up 30 at Auburn. I was also stunned to see Temple shellack Buffalo.
Red and Black Attack: Ball State was a nice surprise scoring points against a tough Auburn team. My Huskies went ahead and laid an egg against the Idaho Vandals at home. I'm happy that it wasn't conference yet and Idaho looks to be one of those underrated teams this year. Or so I'm hoping.

2) Temple's contract with the MAC runs out in 2011? How do you see it shaking out? Will Temple be dropped to get to 12 or will another team come in to get to 14?

Let's Go Rockets: Can't imagine Temple would get dropped since Philadelphia is a huge market for the MAC. We think it would be more likely that another team would be added to the MAC, rather than give up the potential revenue/talent in the Philadelphia market.
Fire Up Chips: They are a legacy and their name brings a whole another level of distinction to our conference. The other team we should invite...Hofstra. They are just so pumped up. Let em' play.
Over the Pylon: I doubt it will be dropped. I sort of hope that the MAC does get to 12, but I don't want to see Temple bounced. I would like to see Buffalo shown the door... not because I despise them, simply because they're too far away from any one else in the conference to make it an economical trip for us, and certainly not for all their road games. There's not a geographical rivalry like the rest of the MAC, and in listening to most of their fans they act like the MAC is far too small time for them. So I say let 'em go. You want to join the Big East? Great. Have fun in that wasteland.If they, much like the freshmen who never know when exactly to leave a keg party, refuse to leave, then let's scoop Army up. At least that's someone that can make Buffalo not seem so out of left field. But... I would much rather be at 12.
Falcon Blog: That's a really good question, one I had not thought of at all. My opinion is that Temple will stay in the MAC as long as they want to...which, I assume, they won't if they end up winning consistently. As for having an odd number of teams, it does qualify as one of the most asinine things I have ever heard of, and having an odd number of teams makes scheduling difficult to ridiculous. (Note that teams in the East do not play a complete round-robin schedule. And cross-over games count this year or not? I keep forgetting). But, having said that, we are existing and functioning with 13 teams (even if it is stupid) and I don't see us dropping Temple to get to an even number.
Rasor on the Zips: Temple has proven it's worthy of playing in the conference. I think the MAC loves the Philly market too much just to drop the Owls.

Red and Black Attack: I'm no MAC commish, but I'm more about addition than subtraction. How's Villanova looking this year?

3) For entertainment purposes only, some interesting early lines: Central Michigan favored by 9 at Buffalo, Temple favored by 4 1/2 at EMU, Toledo favored by 7 at Ball State, Cincy by 26 1/2 at Miami, Bowling Green by 2 1/2 over visiting Ohio, NIU by 6 1/2 over visiting WMU ... WHICH LINE JUMPED OUT AT YOU AS OUT OF WHACK AND WHY?

Let's Go Rockets: CMU favored by 9 at Buffalo jumped out to us first because CMU will win more convincingly than 9 points. If Toledo plays the kind of football we're capable of, it shouldn't be a problem to cover the 7 point spread. Ball State has had success against the Rockets in Muncie in the last few years, but that will change starting this Saturday. With Miami being so bad this year, Cincinnati by 26 1/2 is both expected and a pathetic MAC showing.

Fire Up Chips: Temple should destroy EMU. I talked to an EMU player who told me their O-line is decimated by injury. Rght now EMU has a manquin playing O-line. They just wheel him out, hit the parking break, and let the other team run around him in order to have 11 men on the field. The funny thing is, they are giving up less sacks per game with "Egbert E. Eagle" their newest paper machet recruit on the field, than last year, when they were asking a 210 pound true freshman to protect the QB.

Over The Pylon: Out of whack? CMU only getting 9. I would lay 19 were I betting. Everything else seems a bit ok, though the BG line and the Cincy line could be a whole hell of a lot higher and I'd still feel comfortable with them. Disclaimer: For anyone actually thinking of betting on MAC football... don't. Mail me 50% of what you were going to be and I will come punch you in the nose. It will hurt less, be less frustrating, and only cost you 50% of what your sure to lose bet would have. You're welcome.
Falcon Blog: Well, three jump out at me. I think 7 points is a lot to give Ball State at home. I know they are having a rough year, but they will win eventually, and Muncie has traditionally been a chamber of horrors for the Rockets, so that one might be a little out of whack. And, while I think NIU will beat WMU, it seems like 6.5 points is a little high. I know kicking the shit out of WMU has been the favorite pastime, but I would suggest their season has been a little better than people think, they are still dangerous--or at least as dangerous as Idaho, right? Finally, I like CMU by 19 or Buffalo. Or 29.

Rasor on the Zips: Toledo is laying 7 points on the road to the defending division champs. That is an awful lot.

Red and Black Attack: Toledo and Bowling Green both being favored on the road is very, very strange. I'll take the home dog in either of these situations. Especially the OU game.

4) Who is doing the best head coaching job in the league so far and why?

Let's Go Rockets: There's plenty of evidence to support the notion that Tim Beckman, at Toledo, is doing the best coaching job in the MAC so far this season. He has turned the program in a new direction and resurrected the entire offense - taking one that relied on bubble screens (constantly) with little success, and turning it into one that is #9 in the nation, mixes it up, and really guns it down field when neccesary. More than just that, he's instilled confidence back into the Rockets, on both sides of the ball and that leads to more dynamic plays and more efficiency on the field, in all facets of play. It's impossible to say where the rest of the season will go, but Beckman has helped changed the way the University and the way the fans view the football team and that is directly beneficial to the success of the team for the long term.
Fire Up Chips: Butch Jones is pretty serious about our football program and he has our kids firing on all cylinders right now. Our program is probably one of the hardest to survive mentally and physically in the country. Players leave all the time because they don't like how Coach Jones challenges them to be the best. But those who stay win a lot of games.
I of course will change my opinion when we lose a conference game and call on Jones to resign (kidding).
Over The Pylon: I think Tim Beckman, if only for the way they've played and how drastic that's been compared to years past. Toledo Tom was no genious, but with this sort of talent on the roster that he misused and didn't capitalize on, maybe he should have been fired way before when he was. A close second is Jerry Kill... if only because I am looking forward to the fun and festivities we're going to have at his expense when BSU and NIU get it on like donkey kong till the break of dawn.

Falcon Blog: I'm going to go with Jerry Kill, for two reasons. First, that team is bouncing right back and is playing very solid football. Second, I can't bring myself to say Tim Beckman.

Rasor on the Zips: While you can always point to Butch Jones, Tim Beckman has turned Toledo around for the time being.
Red and Black Attack: Butch Jones, and it's not even close. Every other coach in this league has already had their ups and downs or looked extremely shaky. BJ has been consistent and upset Michigan State. Would have thought about Coach Kill here had it not been for this past weekend's blunder.

5) Rate the MAC (1-13, poll results)
1) CMU ... all seven first-place votes;
2) NIU
3) UT
5) TU
6) WMU
7) OU
8) UB
9) KSU
10) UA
11) Ball State
12) EMU
13) Miami