Thursday, October 6, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 6

Our MAC blogger host this week is Alan Rucker of the excellent Ball State blog, Over The Pylon (OTP).
Alan did not want Steve Addazio as the Ball State coach  when that rumor popped up in December. Instead, he got former Lehigh coach Pete Lembo.
Addazio, I think, takes a little more talent into Muncie, Ind. to face Lembo so Saturday's game (2 p.m.) provides a labratory to test Alan's theory that Addazio would have been a bad choice for Ball State. If Lembo can be able to take his 'ums and beat Addazio's ums, that's a pretty strong argument in his favor.
What follows below is his questions and my responses:

1.) Now that the nonconference has wrapped up for most everyone and we turn our eyes toward conference play, what did the nonconference season teach you? More importantly, what teams do you see as frontrunners thanks to their nonconference play? Any surprises?
TFF: The surprise to me is Western Michigan. Bill Cubit does a great job there. Losing at Illinois by a field goal and winning at UConn were eye-openers in addition to a 44-14 clocking of Central Michigan. WMU is going to be in the race to the end, as is Toledo. Ohio beat Marshall, 44-7, but was able to only beat Kent State by 17-10 so I think the East is wide open.
2.) It's obviously early to be thinking about bowls, but what teams do you see going bowling? More importantly, will there be a MAC team that will surprise folks come bowl season? Where do you hope your team ends up bowling?
TFF: Western Michigan, Toledo and Temple. I hope my team goes bowling in a place not named Detroit or Boise.
3.) Again, it's early, but are there any coaches on the hotseat that should be working their resume? Any MAC coaches you see moving on to greener pastures come season's end?
I would think an Akron coach is wishing he was back as a BCS assistant. I don't see why Cubit never got a chance at a BCS program.

4.) With all the talk of conference expansion and the assumption that WVU or Missou is the next to switch conferences, what do you see happening to the MAC? Any teams living? Where to? If teams vacate, how should the MAC respond?
TFF: I think the MAC should lock up the teams within its footprint, like Memphis and Marshall. UMass is just not going to work out, playing games in a pro stadium 100 miles away from the main campus. Temple plays in a pro stadium, but only four miles away from the main campus.
5.) While football is a team game, sometimes it's about individual efforts. Who has had the most impact individually for your squad? Sort of the same line of thinking, but contingent on your own needs and roster, what other MAC player would you like to switch out for one of your own?
TFF: I'll take the Miami quarterback, Zac Dysert, for a player to be named later.
6.) Power poll time, baby. First to worst... rank 'em

Western Michigan
Northern Illinois
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
First the good news. We got seven out of nine games right, straight up homey. ATS, not so good. Three out of six. Buffalo screwed us losing by 31 (the spread was 29). Our only two losses straight up were Temple and Northern Illinois. We did get our one upset special correct. Rutgers was a three-point underdog and we picked RU to both win and cover.
Straight up
Last week: 7-2
Season 29-15
Against the spread:
Last week: 3-6
Season: 21-19
THIS WEEK (point spreads are from Monday's Daily News):
(team in caps is picked to cover the spread)
ARMY (pick) at Miami (Ohio) _ Bookies made this an even game. This is a very tough one. I will pick the Cadets because they've had some success, beating Northwestern of the Big 10 and hammering Tulane. But I would not bet this game to save my life.
Temple at BALL STATE (10 1/2) _ I don't see Chester Stewart turning the scoreboard into an adding machine, so I'm picking Ball State to cover the double-digits and Temple to win something like a 14-10, 13-10 game. Of course, if Mike Gerardi comes in there and throws a couple of deep balls to open things up for Bernard Pierce underneath, this could be a 29-13 game. I'm thinking Daz is not inclinced to pull the trigger, as Al Golden was, so this game will be closer than it should.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (11) vs. Bowling Green _ Cubit has this team playing too well right now. WMU, 31-10.
FIU (20) at Akron _ Florida International beat Louisville and Central Florida and should have no trouble covering the 20 spot vs. the Zips. FIU, 30-7.
Eastern Michigan at TOLEDO (20) _Rockets could put up 34 or more. I don't see EMU putting up more than 10. Toledo, 35-10.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN at North Carolina State (12 1/2) _ My upset special No. 1 this week. NC State is the most unimpressive 2-3 team in the land, with wins over Liberty and South Alabama. Chips win this game outright, 20-13 and cover the 12 1/2.
KENT STATE at Northern Illinois (17) _ After coming off a strong performance in a 17-10 loss to Ohio, I see Kent State getting a little better with the number being slightly high. Northern Illinois, 31-20.
OHIO (7 1/2) at Buffalo _ Bobcats have no trouble covering the 7 1/2, winning, 27-14.
I like to go for value when I look outside the MAC and I think Maryland getting 14 1/2 at Georgia Tech is a tremendous value. First of all, Maryland's value was skewed by a loss to Temple but it still hung tough with West Virginia and beat Miami (Fla.). Also, Ga. Tech only beat a bad North Carolina State team by 10. Georgia Tech wins this game but by only 31-24.