Thursday, September 29, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 5

Steve Addazio gives Temple fans a healthy dose of Vitamin A.

Add Toledo to the list of MAC teams screwed by Big East refs.
As a MAC fan, I'm still steaming from the Big East ripping off Toledo at Syracuse.
As a Temple fan, it was UConn redux.
Official makes an incorrect call, then the BIG EAST replay official blows an obvious call.
Both times, the Big East apologized to the MAC teams for making the mistake.
If that doesn't prove Big East replay officials are corrupt or incompetent, I don't know what does.
Now onto the MAC blogger roundtable, hosted by Eagle Totem (Eastern Michigan).
My answers are highlighted in yellow below:
1. What team and what player has been the biggest upside (better than expected) surprise so far? What team and what player has been the biggest disappointment so far?

Bernard Pierce has been the best Temple player, but that's expected. The Temple player with the biggest upside (unexpected by most) to me, has been cornerback Anthony Robey, a redshirt freshman. He has been a lock-down cover and brings attitude to the job. It also helps to run a 4.3 40. I can't think of a disappointing player on Temple. I haven't seen much of the league outside Temple, so I can't comment on that.

2. Evaluate your team's performance, relative to your pre-season expectations?
I thought Temple would be 3-1, but with a win over Penn State, followed by a letdown loss to Maryland. As it turned out, the PSU loss pissed off the Owls so much they played with an incredible fire against Maryland that resulted in a 38-7 win.

3. What is one key thing you'll be watching for over the next four games?

To see if Ohio, Temple, Northern Illinois or Toledo is capable of separating from the rest of the pack.

4. Although the PAC-12 seems to have put the breaks to the whole affair for now, how do you see conference realignment affecting the MAC?
I don't see the MAC losing more than one team.

5. If you could pick two (at least somewhat realistic) teams to join the MAC for football as a result of conference realignment or advancement from a lower division, what teams would you pick?

I'd like to see one of the Florida teams (FIU, realistically) join the MAC along with Marshall, which makes a lot more sense for the MAC than it does in the CUSA. Marshall adds a value to the MAC than UMass doesn't.

6. Rank 'em.

Northern Illinois
Bowling Green
Western Michigan
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
This week's picks:
Last week, was a bad week.
Picking football is a little like the stock market. You are going to have bad weeks, but just don't have a bad year.
We were 3-5 straight up and 2-6 against the spread. One of those losses was when the Big East refs screwed Toledo. We had picked Toledo both against the spread and straight up. Another came when Penn State up, 31-0, allowed Eastern Michigan to cover the 29-point spread by a point, 34-6.
Last week:
SU: 3-5
ATS: 2-6
Record for the season:
SU: 22-13
ATS: 18-13
This week's picks, lines courtesy of Tuesday's USA Today (HOME team in CAPS):
TEMPLE 35 (7), Toledo 21 _ I'm a believer now. Steve Addazio has the Owls focused. Last week was an incredible focus job after a bitter disappointment.
WEST VIRGINIA 34 (20 1/2), Bowling Green 24 _ No way WVU covers the 20 1/2 against a team that can score like the Faclons.
TENNESSEE 35 (29), Buffalo 7 _ The number seems a little high to me. Buffalo has a decent defense and should barely cover the high number.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 17 (9), Akron 14 _ If Akron has a chance to win a game, this is it. I believe the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, will keep them in this one.
Cincinnati 29 (13 1/2), MIAMI (Ohio) 13 _ Big rivalry game, bigger difference in the talent.
OHIO 40 (15 1/2) Kent State 15 _ Bobcats both cover the number and the over/under of 47 1/2.
Northern Illinois 30 (9 1/2), CENTRAL MICHIGAN 17 _ Huskies have the ability to put up points in bunches. Chips don't.
OKLAHOMA 45 (37 1/2), Ball State 10 _ I know Oklahoma is No. 1 but 37 1/2 is too much to give up.
We will go out of the MAC for this week's upset special. Syracuse is a 3-point favorite at home against Rutgers. Scarlet Knights will win this one by 10, unless the Big East refs miss three good field goals. Rutgers, 24-14.