Thursday, October 20, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 8

With this many fans wearing Cherry, it's easy to see why Temple is so tough at home.
When Bowling Green opened the season with an impressive 32-15 win at Idaho (one of the few indoor campus stadiums in the nation), I thought this would be a tough week for the Temple football team.
It still might, but these are two teams going in different directions.
Temple is leaving the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field (above), where the Owls are 14-4 against MAC teams since joining the league.
Temple posted a couple of shutouts, both over teams that beat Ohio, presumably Temple's toughest opposition for the MAC East title.

Bowling Green has lost three straight.
In the MAC, though, that means little.
Someone who can tell you about that is Mike Breese, who runs the Red and Black Attack blog covering Northern Illinois football. The Huskies opened with a 49-26 win over Army (which beat Northwestern), but also gave up 48 points in a loss to Central Michigan. Now they are coming off 40-10 and 51-22 wins over Kent State and Western Michigan, respectively.
So anyone who takes anything for granted in this league gets beaten.
Hopefully, Temple learned that lesson from Toledo.
Breese throws out the questions this week:

1. Just when one team thinks they have a hold of the division, it seems like the next week they get upset by a seemingly lesser-talented surprise team. How do you explain the volatility in the MAC this year, with CMU beating NIU, then NIU beating WMU and EMU defeating CMU just this past week?

TFF: There's a lot of emotion involved in football. I've noticed a lot of the upsets come a week after a satisfying win. Maybe the work habits at practice are affected by that.

2. Going off of the last question, how emotionally involved are you with your respective team? Do you have your highs and lows or do you try and keep an even keel the entire season following your respective squad?

TFF: I get emotional only in rivalry games, like Villanova and Penn State. Villanova, because I know that school is trying its best to badmouth Temple at every opportunity. Penn State, because I know what a win over that program would have done for credibility in a pro market like Philadelphia. The rest of the season I'm on an even keel.

3. It seems like the MAC is past being a league where just offense prowess can win the league. Is that statement correct? Do you think your team has the right balance this season, or will one side of the ball have to carry the other the rest of the way?

TFF: I'm concerned about the offensive balance. Temple has a great running game, but the Owls have not demonstrated (yet) that you can trust the forward pass in a big spot, especially the deep routes.

4. If you could get a top recruit for one position on your team, which one would it be?
TFF: Quarterback.
TFF Rankings

Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
Central Michigan
Bowling Green
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
Kent State
This Week's Picks
(point spreads from Tuesday's USA Today)
CENTRAL FLORIDA (13 1/2) 31, Ala. Birmingham 17 _ Central Florida beat Boston College, 30-3, and came within a touchdown of beating BYU. UAB is 0-6.
Rutgers 14, LOUISVILLE (2) 10 _ Upset special. Gotta believe RU is better than its showing against Navy. Louisville has beaten only Murray State and Kentucky, neither impressively.
Temple (13 1/2) 24, BOWLING GREEN 13 _ Falcons score a touchdown against Steve Addazio's third-team defense late in the fourth quarter to cover the number. Hard to expect a third straight shutout against a team with a good QB.
Northern Illinois (14 1/2) 30, BUFFALO 14 _ Northern Illinois has looked very good the last two weeks and should cover the number.
Central Michigan 17, BALL STATE 14 (1 1/2) _ Upset special No. 2. Chips are an underdog. They win the game outright.
Western Michigan 33 (13), EASTERN MICHIGAN 17 _ Eastern Michigan stunned Central Michigan, 35-28, last week. I don't think that's sustainable over two weeks.
TOLEDO 44 (17 1/2), Miami (Ohio) 10 _ Despite Zac Dysert, Miami has had trouble scoring. Toledo hasn't.
Georgia Tech, a 2 1/2-point underdog, wins at Miami, 24-14; Wake Forest, a three-point favorite, covers the number in a 20-13 win at Duke; Houston, a home 20 1/2-point favorite, covers the high number vs. Marshall.
Last week SU: 5-3; ATS 2-7 (including the under in Miami's 9-3 win over Kent State)
Season SU: 40-18; ATS 26-31;