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2007 MAC Championship Preview

When: 11:00 AM, ESPN2

Central Michigan: The Chips are finally getting an opportunity to do what they've been aiming for all season long. The MAC title game is finally here and we might get to see a focused Central Michigan team for the first time since their exciting victory against Western Michigan.

The Chips stumble into the title game with a loss to Eastern Michigan and one of those closer-than-it-should-be games against Akron (and the Zips just about outplayed them).

This game will probably come down to Dan LeFevour. The sophomore QB runs for about 70 yards a game individually in rushing which shows his ability to get out the pocket. The Chippewa offense focuses on a lot of short to mid-range passes which allows LeFevour to often hit those with high accuracy. This could be a problem for Miami.

As for the rest of the offense, Justin Hoskins has really developed into the premier back of the CMU offense. Ontario Sneed is also very effective when called upon as shown in the game against Akron last week when he ran for 100 yards. The offensive line is 14th in the nation in sacks allowed which tops the MAC.

However, with all of the praise the offense has been receiving, there's some negative news to pass along regarding the defense. A Pop Warner team might find a way to score 10 points so let's just say that Miami might be able to score. Comparing the scoring defenses, CMU gives up TWO more touchdowns than Miami does! That's an alarming stat and Jones really needs to find some solutions to this defense if the Chips plan on taking the next step into Boise State/Hawaii/BYU territory. Red Keith is the only guy on the defense that is really stepping it up.

Miami RedHawks: Obviously, the biggest story about Miami this season has been the injuries on offense. Miami isn't really as bad as their 20 points per game mark might make it look like because these guys have been absolutely devastated by ailments.

The QB situation is now, if you haven't heard, in the hands of Daniel Raudabaugh. The running game has struggled for most of the year, but Cory Jones and Austin Sykes have done the best they can. Currently, Miami is only rushing for 137 yards per game. Even though the Miami offense hasn't been great, Eugene Harris and Dustin Woods are pretty explosive targets.

The defense has done its job with the offense struggling due to injuries. This team is 47th in scoring defense and they should hold up better than most expect to against the explosive Central Michigan offense. It's very possible that the game could be won or lost in the middle of the field. Miami has a few field generals at LB in Joey Hudson and Clayton Mullins. If they can disrupt the intermediate passing game of CMU, the RedHawks should be in good shape to become 2007 MAC champions.

Prediction: Central will be able to move the football, but they don't do so at will. Miami's defense will come up with a surprising performance. Also, something to chew on until Saturday, you have to gauge Miami's motivation factor. If they drop to 6-7, it will be Ball State going to the GMAC Bowl. Miami's bowl destiny is in their own hands and they will take advantage. I'm sure you've heard the cliche of "defense wins championships." CMU has no defense. Miami wins in a close one, 34-30.



Buffalo's Turner Gill is the MAC Coach of the year as named by the MAC News Media Association. Other honors go to Central Michigan Quarterback Dan LeFevour, who was named Offensive Player of the year. Clayton Mullins of Miami was named Defensive Player of the year.

Mid-American Conference News Release

In other football news, the MAC also issued a news release announcing that the conference bowl invitations will be made public after the championship game this weekend.

Other quick updates...

Akron and Miami are the only two MAC teams to make the Mid-Major top 25 teams. The Zips climbed four spots this week to #13 while the RedHawks advanced three spots to #15. Ohio and Kent State also received votes.

Mid-Major Top 25

Miami is the top-ranked MAC team on this week's Sagarin ratings. The RedHawks come in at #52. Overall, the MAC is ranked #14 out of 31 basketball conferences.

Sagarin Ratings


Basketball Fever Spreading Through Oxford

I'm throwing it out there already. After 4 games, here it comes. Miami is going to roll through the MAC this season and make the Dance. You can have your Jeremiah Wood's, your Kasheif Payne's, your Leon Williams, even your Mike Scott's. It doesn't matter. No one boasts a duo as potent as Michael Bramos and Tim Pollitz.

This Miami team is really good. No one else in the conference will be able to boast the quality wins of a Xavier and a Mississippi State (hell, Akron and OU probably aren't even playing anyone in the RPI top 200!) with the potential for a couple more large wins before conference play. The Redhawks are back. It took 8 years PW (Post Wally), but they are back and better than ever.

How do you defend this team? Want to sag on the best player in the MAC, Tim Pollitz (he was hands down the MVP in the conference last year but was shafted by the overrated Romeo Travis)? OK, Mike Bramos, Kenny Hayes, and Alex Moosmann will bury you from beyond the arc. Want to play zone? No problem there, Pollitz and the vastly improved Tyler Dierkers will pick you apart with their great court vision and ability to find wide open cutters.

And don't forget the Charlie Coles style of play either. He will always force our tempo on you. Miami has not allowed a team to hang 70 points on them in 38 games and counting. This is not a trend, it's a way of life. The team defense concept is something that after a decade of playing it, MAC opponents are still trying to figure out how to beat it. There just aren't enough opportunities to score.

Like always, it's damn near impossible to win in the comfy confines of Millett Hall. Even when the Redhawks have been weak over the past few years, you could always count on a win when we took the court at home. Now that the talent is there, I don't see that changing. Not this year. I'll be pissed if we lose ANY home game this year (that includes you on Wednesday, Dayton Flyers).

The only, and I mean ONLY, thing that could derail this team from a 20 win season is an injury. Tim Pollitz has a gimpy knee but the coaching staff won't force him to play/practice on it to keep him fresh for the stretch run. This could also be a benefit as limiting Timmy's minutes could improve the growth of young big man, Dwight McCombs.

I know I shouldn't be doing this because bad things happen to people who are too cocky, but the MAC title goes through Oxford this season. Good luck trying to win down there.

Playing Catch-Up

Hey, sorry fellow MAC fans! I've been getting sort of lazy with the blog plus I've got this basement that will occupy me all winter. Big thanks to GMoney and Don though for helping me out!

Anyway, I have to admit I watched only part of the CMU/Akron game and only part of the Bowling Green/Toledo game and I'm probably not the most fit to comment. I was watching the Colorado/Nebraska, Mississippi State/Ole Miss, and LSU/Arkansas games more attentively.

So, I'm just going to throw some random MAC items floating around in this blogger's head:

It really is a shame that Joe Novak's tenure had to end the way it did.

This was from the article on NIU's official Web site:

"I feel good about this decision," Novak said. "It's time. It's the right time for me personally, for my wife [Carole] and family, and for this program. Everyone says you know when it's time and this is it for me.

"Overall, it's been a wonderful ride," he continued. "There have been good days and bad days, but a lot more good than bad. I'm leaving the program in better shape than I found it, which you always want to do. We accomplished some things, but there are some things we didn't get done, too."

I am a little confused by the timing of it all. If he waited for another year to announce his retirement, he could've rode off into the sun set as Northern Illinois shouldn't be nearly as bad as they were in 2007 with all of the youth and injuries.

This might come to a surprise to some folks, but Novak had a losing record during his time at NIU. Most of those losses came in his first season when he went 3-30 which shows you what kind of challenge he was up against.

Obviously, his most notable season as a head coach was 2003 and 2004 where he went a combined 19-5 and he won the old Silicon Valley Classic (which, in my opinion, was anything but a classic).

Anyway, coach Novak will be missed and the potential replacements are yet to be rumored-off. It'll be interesting to see where the university turns.


Here's how the bowl picture is shaking down for the MAC:

Motor City Bowl: Michigan State vs. Central Michigan

Obviously, it would be in the Bowl's best interest to have two Michigan schools face off against each other. MSU + CMU = Sellout. I was at the 2006 Motor City Bowl and the Chippewa fans flocked in some pretty good numbers. If those were MSU fans instead of MTSU fans, Ford Field would have easily sold out.

International Bowl: Rutgers vs. Bowling Green

Rutgers would draw the most fans across the border into Toronto, but I think the Bowling Green folks could make it up there was well. The International Bowl could easily go with UConn here, but the Scarlet Knights would be the most attractive team. Bowling Green would have to go bowling at 8-4 and, I'm not 100% positive, but I think the Falcons would travel better than, say........

GMAC Bowl: Ball State/Miami OH vs. UCF

Personally, I'm a little undecided on the MAC title game. Central Michigan either isn't as good as we thinking judging by their last few games against Easten Michigan and Akron or they just weren't focused. The RedHawks loss last week to Ohio was devastating to their bowl hopes meaning that they would most likely have to beat CMU to get a bid. Keep in mind, Akron in 2005 was playing for their bowl survival and the loser of that game, Northern Illinois, didn't get invited to go bowling.

Ball State will be cheering for the Chippewas as they sit back at 7-5. Should Miami OH win, Ball State might end up going to the Bowl but that would also require both the Sun and Gator Bowl selecting a Big East team (and Rutgers beating Louisville next week).

The GMAC Bowl usually takes the C-USA championship loser and that could be UCF or Tulsa. These two teams are pretty evenly matched but I'd put my money on that Golden Hurricane offense.


Also, if you didn't see over at Saturday Sound Offs, Brian Kelly has my full support to become the next head coach at Michigan.

As we saw at Central over the past few seasons (and at Grand Valley State), he's about as innovative as coaches come and he knows how to push the right buttons.

GVSU was always a good program, but he took it to the next level. Central Michigan was wallowing in mediocrity and in three seasons, they became MAC champions.

Even if the Michigan job is not in his best interest, I wish him the best in whatever he does.



Also, I'll throw in some stuff from the CCHA for the heck of it:

Captain's Blog (an interesting red from Miami RedHawk captain, Ryan Jones)

Western Michigan earned a split over the weekend against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Click here for the box score of Game 1 and here for the box score of Game 2.

Ranked Bowling Green dropped a tough one last Tuesday against Notre Dame.


Akron closes out '07 with loss to CMU


Disappointing? You bet. Zips fans, this one anyway, were looking for one thing, just one thing, to take as a positive as the current season comes to a close. Unfortunately, the one positive I found is leaving -- Jabari Arthur. Once again, Arthur came up big, keeping the Zips in the ball game until the defense collapsed in the final minutes allowing Central to drive down the field two times for a score.

Chris Jaquemain, once again, struggled and made rookie mistakes. Crediting him with making a few big passes to Arthur, he still is holding on to the ball too long and throwing into double coverage when other receivers are open.

What made the Central Michigan loss especially hard to take was that the defense, the Zips strong-point, imploded. Chippewa quarterback Dan LeFevour did just about whatever he wanted in the closing minutes of the game. Granted, LeFevour is a talented quarterback. I guess his talent level is higher than that of our defense.

Another season at the Bowl has come to an end. The Zips, once again, hover around the .500 mark with a 4-8 record. And, once again, the season that just ended leaves Zips fans with a dissatisfying taste in their mouths.

Video Replays...ESPN

Akron -Central Michigan Box Score

Akron-Central Michigan Game Stats



MAC West champ Central Michigan rallies...The Beacon Journal

Area college football results...Canton Repository

LeFevour leads Chippewas past Zips...The Plain Dealer has to use a wire story to report on the Zips game played a half hour away from Cleveland. The New York Times -- NOT.

(photo: Ken Love, Akron Beacon Journal)


Previews: Akron/CMU, Toledo/BGSU

I've got more basement work to do, so I'll just link the previews:

Saturday Sound Offs



Bear With Me Here....

Hey, this time I've got a legitimate excuse for not posting since Saturday morning!

I'm trying to finish my basement so sorry for the lack of keeping up with the blog. I think I'll just leave it up to Don and GMoney, they've got it covered :) .


Who Deserves The Third Bowl?

With the MAC East and West already crowning their respected champions, there still is a question about which team will receive the thrid bowl bid. In my mind, this is a two team race for the likely Toronto road trip in January. By losing to Ball State last week, I am eliminating Toledo from the discussion. Let's analyze this and figure out who deserves it more.

The contenders are Bowling Green and Ball State.

Bowling Green's case:
The Falcons have the best overall record in the MAC this year at 7-4. Considering this was widely viewed as a rebuilding year, 7 wins (with the potential for an 8th) is a major plus for the program. BG features the prolific passing of QB Tyler Sheehan and the steady hands of Freddie Barnes. They have been competitive out of conference with a win at Minnesota and respectable showings versus both Michigan State and Boston College. There is no doubt that they can put points on the board as they average over 31 per game. An entertaining offense is always attractive for bowl representatives. If the teams aren't that great, will they at least make a fun, interesting game.

The case against Bowling Green:
Like it or not, BG fans aren't the most supportive. They don't travel either. And that's a big negative to bowl reps. I saw the Falcons in person this year down in Oxford and they looked terrible. They played uninspired and were shredded by an offense that makes the 49ers look dynamic. The running game is also anemic. The big rivalry game this Friday with the Rockets will loom large for the Falcons' case.

The case for Ball State:
You could make a strong argument that Nate Davis is the best quarterback in the entire conference. He's a flat out stud. Although they are 6-5, you can't hate on the schedule. All 5 of their losses have come against bowl teams (if Nebraska beats Colorado this week). A one point loss in Lincoln to the then-ranked Huskers as well as losses to Indiana, Illinois, Miami, and Central Michigan is admirable. They've also beaten Navy. The Cardinals average 430 yards a game and 32 points which, like I said earlier, is attractive. WR Dante Love has a shot at a pro career as well.

The case against Ball State:
They NEED a win this weekend at Northern Illinois and a loss by the Falcons to help their cause. Like most MAC schools, the Cardinal faithful don't travel well but who knows, they haven't been excited about football for awhile. Ball State also lacks any semblance of a running game. Just looking at their schedule, they beat the teams that they should and lost to the teams that should have as well. They could have used a signature win (Nebraska).

Quit messing around, who's getting the third spot?
I still think this is up in the air. If Bowling Green beats Toledo on Friday to get to 8-4, the brown and orange can go get some passports. If they lose and Ball State takes care of business like they should up in DeKalb, Nate Davis gets another game on national tv. Personally, I would take Ball State regardless of this weekend's games and it has nothing to do with my hatred toward BG. Nate Davis is a guy that you can promote, Sheehan lacks that quality.

Zips draw first-round bye


The University of Akron Zips drew a first-round bye as the NCAA announced the pairings for the men's national soccer championship tournament. The Zips will play the winner of the Colgate-South Florida game in Tampa, FL on November 28.

NCAA News Release

Soccer Tournament Brackets



On the loss versus Miami (Ohio) last Wednesday...
“When you look back on the game, its crazy. The interception that Chris Jacquemain threw we were down at the 25, second and nine. If he just runs the ball we are third and four and who knows whether we get a first down or not. Worst case scenario would have been Igor Iveljic kicking and then we are probably up 3-0 and win 3-0. But we made a decision to make a change, tried to make something happen to get some points going. We didn’t protect overly well, the ball got loose. It was the only touchdown of the game. Never would I have imagined that low scoring of a game out of that contest.”

On senior wide receiver Jabari Arthur...

“He is really different than anyone else I have been able to coach. I think he has gotten so good, purely on a want to basis. He wants to be good at whatever he does. He has that personality and that attitude towards school. He isn’t the fastest; he doesn’t have the greatest flexibility and he is not a natural hands guy. All those things that you need to be great are not real god given for him as a receiver. I think it’s a real testament to the kind of guy he is. He has worked on his speed, he’s worked on his hands, he’s worked on his route running and he has become extremely effective at it. I think it’s the way he will be the rest of his life. What he chooses to be good at, he will be good at. He’s a smart kid, bright and vibrant. I don’t think I’ve had a bad moment with him. He takes full advantage of the student-athlete experience. He is looking for a good opportunity in the NFL but if it doesn’t work out, he is very well prepared.”

On the senior class...
“It is going to be sad to see some of these guys go. These guys were a big part of that first year when we tried to develop a mentality here. One of the first things we did was try to develop a defensive mentality that I think is showing up. We have made huge strides in that area. I think we got a toughness factor about the defense. These kids overcame a lot and they’ve been through a lot in changing a program. They will be able to look back and say that we were the guys that had to find a ride to practice in the beginning, had to bring our clothes to the P.E. locker room and now we are sitting here having been part of advancing this program to the indoor facility and after winning a championship getting offices approved and continuing to do well and have enough faith in the program to build a stadium. They have a lot to be proud of.”

On the 2007 season as a whole...

“We were very close this season to having a number of wins that we didn’t have. I believe we made some adjustments in the program that were necessary. We knew that there was some transition to this year and these were kids that have been enjoyable to coach. We haven’t had cancer on the team, our locker rooms been good, the attitude has been outstanding, I would coach these kids again. Are we missing some things? Yes, two NFL receivers who didn’t find it important to go to school. That obviously hurts. I made a decision to dismiss six others. They were talented kids and it hurt in depth. Was it the right thing to do? Yes, it was right for the future of the program. I talked with Mack Rhoades and we agreed upon it. Because of those things there were some limitations and we had some things to overcome. We were close to doing that in a number of games. The disappointing thing to me is that we suspended three players throughout the year and two of them were quarterbacks. That limits your chance for success. A different commitment level has to be there at that position. Do we have a bunch of good kids? Absolutely, I would coach them again and look forward to continuing to coach these guys.”

On facing Central Michigan on Friday...

“They are extremely talented. They are throwing up 44 points in a league game. I think it’s going to be a shootout and your going to have to score a lot of points to win. The quarterback (Dan LeFevour) is clearly the best in the league. He makes it happen, both running and throwing the ball. He has very good skills. There are two running backs and a number of receivers that can make some things happen. They will move the ball effectively.”

(source: Akron Media Relations, photo: Jeff Harwell, Zips Sports Photography)



CM-LIFE, which has proven itself to be one of the better student newspapers in the MAC, reports that after the let down against EMU, the Akron game is very dangerous. After last week's let down against Eastern, the Chips shouldn't be taking anything for granted. The Akron-CMU game is scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff this Friday.


Central Michigan, the Zips next opponent, made costly mistakes in their loss to Eastern Michigan last week.


In what reeks as a rationalization, says the Eagles beat the Chipps because they had more on the line. Uh-huh...yeah.

(photo: Dave Williams, CMU Athletics)



For the 10th straight week, Zippy has won in the Mascot competition. This week, Zippy has a stiff challenge from Hairy Dog of Georgia, who is in second place in the overall standings. Vote for Zippy!



Game Previews: Week 12

When: 12:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: You can make a case for Kent State that they have had one of the most disappointing seasons in the MAC for 2007. This team was really expecting to compete for a MAC East championship, but they only have two conference wins to show for it. Temple on the other hand has surprised a lot of folks by winning three games.

Kent State Will Win Because…: Temple’s offense is atrocious. The Owls rank 115th in scoring offense! The Golden Flashes have a mediocre defense, but they shouldn’t break too much of a sweat playing against this Temple offense.

Temple Will Win Because…: Kent State is down to their fourth-string QB right now! Jon Brown has to fill in for Julian Edelman, Anthony Magazu, and Giorgio Morgan. All of these guys have succumbed to injuries. Temple also has a solid run defense and if Kent State becomes too one-dimensional, the Temple defense should have its way with KSU.

Keep an Eye on…: Dominique Harris. This DB is one of the best defensive players on the Temple football team and since there’s not going to be a whole lot of offense in this game, the defenses will be the story of the day.

Prediction: Temple will come oh-so painstakingly close to pulling this off at home, but I think Eugene Jarvis will provide just enough of a spark for the Kent State offense. As long as Brown doesn’t make too many mistakes, Kent State should be fine. I like them even with their fourth-stringer, 23-17.

When: 1:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: Buffalo’s hopes of going bowling for the first time slipped big-time with their loss to Miami OH two weeks ago. With a bye week sandwiched in between, Buffalo should be ready for a hot Bowling Green team that loves chucking the ball all over the place.

Bowling Green Will Win Because…: If Willie Geter is ready to go, put this one in the bank. The guy is great at darting up and down the field and he’s one of the best horizontal runners in the MAC. Even so, Tyler Sheehan and the passing game will be the modus operandi against Buffalo’s 67th ranked pass defense. The Falcons lay claim to the 15th ranked passing offense.

Buffalo Will Win Because…: These guys are the team of destiny, aren’t they? Even if they don’t win the MAC East, you’d have to hope these guys will earn their first .500 season at the FBS level ever. Bowling Green’s rushing defense is horrid so if James Starks can have a big day, they might just win this game.

Keep an Eye on…: Naaman Roosevelt. This guy has big-play potential written all over him. He’s got a knack for making the game-changing play for Buffalo and his ability to return kicks makes him very dangerous. Look for him to bust some big gains.

Prediction: Buffalo will hang around, but Bowling Green’s offensive ability will prove too tough to halt. The Bulls don’t have enough defensively to get the job done. Look for BGSU’s running game to do a little bit. In the end though, the Falcons will take it, 40-22.

When: 2:30 PM ET, CSTV

Why You Should Care: Can Northern Illinois get any momentum rolling after a win against Kent State? This offense is struggling mightily to get anything going and a game against Navy just might turn that around. Navy is Navy and it will be a huge test for the down Huskies.

Northern Illinois Will Win Because...: Even though they haven't been able to put up any points on the board this season, Navy's defense is one of the worst in the FBS. Delaware and North Texas just absolutely had their way with this unit. Northern Illinois should be able to cross the 30-point line for just the third time this season.

Navy Will Win Because...: It doesn't help that Northern Illinois ranks 108th in rushing defense........yikes. I'm sure you guys know what Navy has the most potent rushing attack in all of college football. Plus the game is in Annapolis.

Keep an Eye on...: Reggie Campbell. Whenever this guy touches the ball, he makes the most of it. The guy can fly and I wish good luck to the Northern Illinois defense trying to contain him.

Prediction: Northern Illinois will move the football, but unfortunately for them, they won't stop Navy. The Middies will win, 52-28.

When: 3:30 PM ET, Big 10 Network

Why You Should Care: Iowa could be on the verge of locking up a bowl bid if they go 7-5 with Western Michigan totally tanking in a year of high expectations.

Western Michigan Will Win Because…: Iowa isn’t that great at defending the pass and that’s what Western Michigan does the best. The Broncos also shouldn’t break a sweat defending the Iowa offense because of its lack of playmakers. The Hawkeyes are 110th in total offense and they were only able to get 16 against Northern Illinois….

Iowa Will Win Because…: They’re the Big 10 team, they’re at home, and they have a much better defense than Western Michigan’s offense. The Broncos will be going up against a stiff defense that just doesn’t allow too many things to happen. Iowa is 16th in scoring defense.

Keep an Eye on…: Mitch King. This Iowa D-lineman should find some gaps in the pass protection because Western currently ranks 96th in sacks allowed.

Prediction: Western might be able to hang around for a little while, but the bottom line is they don’t have the horses to beat a team like Iowa. The Hawkeyes are playing for their bowl lives on senior day, so fat chance, WMU. Iowa wins, 30-10.


Preview: Eastern Michigan vs. Central Michigan

When: 7:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: Does Eastern Michigan have any fight left in them? The season has pretty much gone according to plan, but the Eagles must not be happy. They might be able to catch a team that has already clinched the MAC West title (and probably a Motor City Bowl bid). The Chips don't have anything left to play for besides pride against their in-state rival.

Eastern Michigan Will Win Because...: They have been able to move the ball somewhat against bad defenses. They have shown this over the last two weeks against Toledo and Bowling Green. Luckily for them, the Chippewa defense has been atrocious all season long and if they're looking for a game that could inject some life into the EMU offense, this is the game that they want to play.

Central Michigan Will Win Because...: They're a lot better. This team looks like last year's CMU team (in MAC play). The offense is clicking on all cylinders right now and they're not having any issues scoring with Dan LeFevour back there. The Eagles have played a little bit of defense at different points in the season, but overall, this isn't a very good unit we're talking about here.

Keep an Eye on...: Dan LeFevour. He should be able to torch the EMU defense with his legs and his arm.

Prediction: Central Michigan will have way too much firepower at home to be stopped. In a pretty boring game due to the lack of competitiveness, CMU will win 38-18.


A Great Week For The Redhawks

I attended last night's "worst game ever". Man, that sucked. I'm still trying to unthaw as the wind was frigid and ruthless. 7-0? Are you serious? 7-0!!! But you know what, nothing can bring me down right now. I'm on cloud nine (whatever that means).

Miami athletics are experiencing one helluva perfect week.

Let's start with Tuesday night. It was the first game of the basketball season for Charlie Coles and the boys and into Millett Hall came local rival, Xavier. X used a big run to close the first half fueled by Miami turnovers and ineptitude. Down 11 at half, I was ready to turn the game off. Not so fast. The Redhawks flat out dominated the final 20 minutes behind the new 3-headed scoring monster of Tim Pollitz, Mike Bramos, and Kenny Hayes. When Drew Lavendar missed his running lay up as time expired, I could almost picture every Miami alumnus jumping around their living room/bar, high-fiving anyone in sight, and feeling a sense of jubilation that hasn't been felt in awhile. It was different from the MAC Championship game last year. In a way, it was better. Because this game showed our fans and students, this team is really freaking good and we will be killing teams all season. I couldn't be more excited. And did you see the student section??? When the hell did Miami get students that cared about OUR teams??? I love it! This is going to be a special season for the Red and White.

And now onto last night. Words can't describe how much that game sucked to watch. Last year, I attended the N'Western/Miami game which was 0-0 at half. But it wasn't 0-0 in the 3rd. Or 0-0 INTO THE 4TH!!! The temperature dropped about 20 degrees during the game while the wind picked up about 15 mph. The concession stand ran out of coffee and only had the highly menstrual hot chocolate beverage. Disgusting. Even with a Redhawks win, very few things went right. At about 6 pm, my dad and I are tailGREATing and Rece Davis and Mark May walked right by. No more than 5 feet away. Dad said something to May Day about the Redskins but he totally ignored him. No sign of Lou Holtz though which I found strange since he was doing coverage (likely terribly). There was no hangover effect with the students either. A decent amount of kids made it out and were still pretty raucous. I give them a lot of credit, I love this new student enthusiasm. The Miami defense was fantastic. Akron's offense may be terrible, but still, a shutout is a shutout. Great effort.

And you know what the best part of all is? Our Magic Number is 1. Go Falcons!!! Beat those Bulls!!! Let us get killed by Central Michigan in the MAC Championship game!!!

What a great week. There have been almost too many bad weeks so I'm going to enjoy this.


Miami 7, Akron 0


The Zips defense was great. The offense, on the other hand, seemed to have never make it to Oxford, stuck somewhere in suburban Dayton on the trip down to southwest Ohio. Perhaps the offense watched the game on ESPN2 from a bar in Huber Heights, the world's largest community of brick homes. The only consolation was that Miami's offense was just as bad.

It figures that the first touchdown by either side was scored by the defense. Unfortunately, it was the Miami defense who scored with 9:38 left in the third quarter after the ball was knocked out of the hands of Zips quarterback Carlton Jackson on the first series of downs after replacing starter Chris Jacquemain. Jackson was under intense pressure from the Miami D-line, when he made a bad situation worse by trying to pass the ball, not getting enough forward motion on his arm, thus causing the fumble. That was it for Jackson. He found himself back on the bench after the mistake, which seems to permeate the Zips offense this year.

A quick three and out by the Zips with Jacquemain back at the helm followed by a poor rugby punt by John Stec, gave the RedHawks great field position and control of the game.

The defense kept the Zips in the game led by captain John Mackey, who displayed a never-ending supply of guts and leadership while recovering from a torn ACL. Mackey was outstanding with two end-zone interceptions. But despite the red-zone turnovers by the RedHawks, the Zips couldn't cash in with an offense that would take one step forward and two steps back.

When it was all over, both teams committed seven turnovers, three for Akron, four for Miami. Five of the turnovers were interceptions thrown by the inexperienced quarterbacks of both teams. Jacquemain threw the ball 33 times, completing only 12. The RedHawks' Dan Raudabaugh wasn't much better with a 16 for 31 night.

With the win, Miami clinches the MAC East title. You have to wonder how the game could have turned out if the Zips had the least bit of offense.

Not much else to say about an ugly, ugly game.

RedHawks' defense delivers only points...The Akron Beacon Journal

Miami wins East in thriller...The Plain Dealer

RedHawks' D allows Zips (creative...not)...Cincinnati Enquirer write up

Yahoo Sports

Post-game quotes

Game stats

Box Score

(action photos: Associated Press; John Mackey: Jeff Harwell, Akron Sports Photography)



There is a lot on the line for Miami of Ohio as they meet the Zips in another mid-week, made for TV appearance on ESPN2. If the RedHawkSkins win this game, in which they are favored by nine points, their MAC East Division record would improve to 4-1 -- so -- Akron, which has been out of the divisional race since the Temple game, has a chance to play spoiler again, as it did with last week's victory over the Ohio U Snobkittens. Akron's victory over OU spoiled a chance for the MAC East Championship to be on the line when Miami meets their arch-rival in Athens next week.

With a victory, Miami of Ohio would come within one game of clinching, at least a share, of the MAC East title for the fourth time in the last five years. The Zips fortunes in "The Cradle of Coaches" has not been very impressive, losing the last six out of seven games in Oxford.

The RedHawks have won their last three contests at Yager Stadium, defeating Syracuse (17-14) and Buffalo (31-28). Miami has not won four consecutive games on its home field since it won five in a row at Yager during the 2004 season.

Miami tops the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 26 points per game through 10 contests. Through five conference games, the RedHawks have yielded a league-leading average of just 16.4 points.


Like Akron, Miami has had two quarterbacks leading their offense -- sophomore Dan Raudabaugh and Senior Mike Kokal. The season started with Raudabaugh as Kokal's back-up, however, head coach Shane Montgomery used both on a regular basis. Raudabaugh and Kokal have combined for 2,830 yards passing and 11 touchdowns. Both chalked up an impressive performance in a three-overtime, 41-35 loss at Minnesota, with a combined 30 completions in 52 attempts for 418 yards. The two-quarterback sho ended, however, when Kokal injured a knee in game six against Kent State. Since then, Raudabaugh has started every game, leading the RedHawks to two wins and two losses.

Defensively, Miami runs a 4-3. The D-line has a nice mix of two sophomores, a junior and a senior, who can put pressure on the quarterback. Against Buffalo, the Miami D-line had six sacks, adding to their MAC-leading tally of 25.

Miami is also strong in the specialty phase of the game. Junior punter Jake Richardson ranks seventh in the nation with an average of 45.6 yards per kick. Eugene Harris, a freshman, ranks second in the MAC in punt returns, averaging 11 yards per return.


You will notice two famous names on the Miami roster. Junior linebacker Chris Shula, who is normally a back-up, starting only one game against Vanderbilt, is the grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach and John Carroll grad Don Shula. Another name you may recognize is Nate Parseghian, Miami's starting place kicker. Yes, Nate is the grandson of former Notre Dame coach and Miami alum (and Akron native) Ara Parseghian.


Miami is going to be a tough game for the Zips. Akron's young offensive line, although improving, is going up against a formidable foe in Miami's front four. The Zips' defense is taking on a potent passing attack guarded by the only offensive line to ever earn the MAC East Division Players of the Week Award. A talented RedHawk team, combined with the fact that the Zips look forward to playing in Oxford about as much as General Custer vacationed at Little Big Horn, means a long night for the blue and gold.

Akron at Miami game notes

Preview: Toledo vs. Ball State

Just a quick announcement here, but sorry for not getting the previews for the Kent State/NIU and Penn State/Temple games. GMoney, by the way, correctly predicted a Northern Illinois upset, but it never made its way onto here. The reason? Well, I drifted away into to sleep while watching the remaining minutes of the Rutgers/Army game last Friday night.

Then, I didn't have access to a computer on Monday so I wasn't able to recap the weekly action! So, once again, I'm a slacker :(

When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: This game certainly does provide a lot of intrigue with the MAC bowl picture up in the air at this point. Ball State sits at 5-5, Miami OH sits at 5-5, and Toledo sits at 5-5. It's beginning to look like Bowling Green will get one of those 3 MAC bids up for grabs (or 4 if Louisville can't become eligible) assuming they can force a split against Buffalo and Toledo which isn't a given. CMU is a lock for the Motor City Bowl. So the MAC is in a state of flux when it comes to its bowl representations. Plus, if you like offense this is your game! Ball State and Toledo are loaded offensively, but neither defense has had a lot of luck this year.

Toledo Will Win Because...: This team is about as hot as they come offensively as they've been racking up the yards. The Cardinal defense gives up about 435 yards a game! The Rockets have been averaging about 46 points a game over their last five.

Ball State Will Win Because...: As much as you can say about Ball State's defense, they are 5th in turnover margin. Plus, Toledo's defense has been downright terrible, 115th in the nation in points allowed per game. Nate Davis should have a career day.

Keep an Eye on...: Jalen Parmale. Most MAC people are aware of what Parmele can do, but those who will be tuning in for the first time to Toledo football will be impressed. He should be primed for a big day because, let's face it, Ball State's run defense isn't all that spectacular....

Prediction: Toledo's defense and lack of home field will prevent them from pulling out the victory. I'm sure most of us remember that great finish these two teams had last year, but just expect more scoring this go-around. Ball State will come up with one more crucial defensive stop, offensive play, and turnover to win a close game. Ball State wins, 41-35.




It had been 13 years since Penn State played Temple in Philadelphia, and it will take all of, oh, 13 hours to forget yesterday's ho-hum addition to the one-sided series. The Nittany Lions scored a 31-0 victory over the improved Owls at Lincoln Financial Field, but if there's anything to remember about the game, it's not how Penn State went about boosting its record against Temple to 33-2-1. The Philadelphia Inquirer


If you wanted to tailgate at yesterday's sold-out Penn State-Temple football game, you had to get in line. The Philadelphia Inquirer


Twenty-fifth-ranked Penn State's Rodney Kinlaw ran for a career-high 168 yards and a touchdown as the Nittany Lions beat a Temple, 31-0, on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. The attendance of 69,029 was the largest home crowd in the history of Temple football and the largest home crowd in Mid-American Conference history.




Northern Illinois University's 27-20 victory over Kent State won't make big headlines, not like Illinois' 28-21 toppling of top-ranked Ohio State. Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, IL)


Northern Illinois University tailback Justin Anderson disappointed his offensive line by not scoring a touchdown on his historic carry. Starting right guard Onyebuagu said the line discussed Anderson passing the 1,000-yard mark with a long touchdown run. Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, IL)


Northern Illinois rolled up over 500 yards of total offense to hold on for a 27-20 Mid-American Conference win on Saturday over the visiting Kent State Golden Flashes. Record-Courier (Kent-Ravenna, OH)
(photo: Kate Weber/Daily Chronicle)


In MAC Basketball Action...


UT shoots 61.5 percent in first half, holds off Missouri St. The Blade



Chris Knight scored 22 points in his personal homecoming as Bowling Green opened up a big first-half lead before settling for a 78-67 win over Belmont yesterday. The Blade


The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team led from start to finish, posting a 78-67 win over Belmont University Saturday evening (Nov. 10). The non-conference contest was held at Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. BGSU Athletics



The Broncos committed 28 fouls Saturday night in a 90-76 season-opening loss to Pacific here in the first of three games at the World Vision Invitational. The Kalamazoo Gazette



The Minutemen held control of the game for the previous 35 minutes, knocking down 14 three-pointers and scoring 31 points off NIU turnovers on their way to the 102-87 non-conference triumph at the McLeod Center. The Chronicle (DeKalf, IL)



Detroit Mercy senior point guard Jon Goode nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Titans a surprising 61-60 victory over Kent State on Saturday. Detroit Free Press


Today's MAC Basketball Action


Preview: BGSU vs. EMU

When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU

Why You Should Care: Is Bowling Green going to separate themselves from the pack with a win tonight? They've been a very on-and-off style football team while Eastern Michigan hasn't been able to score against anybody (besides Ohio). The Eagles will try to make their season seem at least somewhat decent with another surprising MAC victory.

Bowling Green Will Win Because...: Eastern Michigan has an average pass defense, but the Falcons should be able to exploit it anyway. As of the moment, we're talking about the #11 passing offense in the country led by the explosive sophomore, Tyler Sheehan.

Eastern Michigan Will Win Because...: If there's anything you can say Eastern Michigan does well besides punting, it would be their ability to run (even though they're 75th in the nation there). Bowling Green has been having all kinds of trouble stopping the run so Pierre Walker might have a good day.

Keep an Eye on...: Anthony Turner. We all remember Turner as the QB of the 2005 team when Omar Jacobs succumbed to an injury and as the starter during the 2006 season. Coach Brandon figured he could be best utilized as their Antwaan Randle El. He gets a bunch of touches and he has the athleticism that might burn Eastern's defense a few times.

Prediction: Eastern has the potential to make things interesting if they can get something out of the passing game, whether it be with Kyle McMahon or Andy Schmitt. Even so, Bowling Green will have way too much offensive pop to be stopped tonight. Falcons win, 37-20.


Lou Holtz = Nostradamus?

How did he do that?

MAC Basketball Already Underway!

In case you missed it, Wednesday night Buffalo barely squeezed out a victory over Ohio Valley winning 89-82 in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic. Junior swingman Greg Gamble scored a career high 25 points in the victory.

The Bulls face UConn today @ 9 PM EST on ESPN U. It should be interesting to watch, because UConn barely won their game over Morgan State 69-65. A perfect opportunity for the Bulls to upset the unsuspecting Huskies. Buffalo also put together a deal that would send UConn to play @ Buffalo next year because of this game.

Akron & Miami OH are still in their pre-season slates playing Walsh University and California (PA) respectively on Thursday. Xavier plays @ Oxford on Tuesday and Akron plays in Alaska in a week.


Brown visits EMU for their season opener at noon. Then a couple night games happen at 7 PM with Ball State hosting last year's surprise team Butler and NMSU visiting Athens for Ohio's opener. I expect a ton of points being scored in that game!

NIU must play 3 games in 3 days in the BTI Kickoff Tournament starting with an 8:15 game against UNI @ Cedar Rapids, IA. Get your scoreboards ready for that one! UMass & Cal Poly are the other opponents on the weekend for the Huskies.

Bowling Green also has a 3-game slate @ the Peggy Cronin Classic in Cincinnati. They play Western Carolina at 9 and then Belmont on Saturday & Cincinnati on Sunday.


Toledo kicks off their season at 7 PM hosting the Missouri State Bears who are ranked #7 in the Mid-Major poll. Kent State is still in exhibition mode until next Sunday's Chicago Invitational, as they are playing @ Detroit-Mercy at 7 pm as well.

NIU and Bowling Green continue their tourney games, while Western Michigan heads west for the World Vision Invitational @ Eugene, OR. They start off with Pacific, Pepperdine on Sunday and then they play #12 Oregon on Monday.


NIU & Bowling Green wrap up their tourneys, while WMU is in their 2nd game against Pepperdine. EMU hosts Radford at 4 PM.

I'll recap some of the games and look at the upcoming matchups at the beginning of next week sometime.



Wednesday Preview: Ohio vs. Akron

When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: Ohio was sort of left for dead a little bit ago. However, they've managed to string 3 victories in their last 4 games, that one loss coming on a heatbreaker of a meltdown to Toledo. Akron is struggling right now and they're looking to get some consistency on offense.

Ohio Will Win Because...: Akron's rushing defense is ranked 88th in the nation and the Bobcats have Kalvin McRae. Can somebody say, mismatch? The Zips haven't been spectacular against the run so Coach Solich should exploit that. In this little run, Ohio hasn't played a lot of defense, but maybe a 7-point-allowed game against Temple last Friday will turn that around.

Akron Will Win Because...: J.D. Brookhart is too good of a coach to have this poor of a season. Akron should be a whole lot better than this and there's no excuse to losing to Buffalo and Temple in the same season (even though both are mightily improvded). The Zips have had issues at QB especially, but they did get some offense generated against Bowling Green.

Keep an Eye on...: Let's keep our eyes peeled for Brion Stokes. He hasn't been a huge force on defense, but the guy has a lot of ability and he's one of the best LBs in all of the Mid-American Conference.

Prediction: Don't expect a scoringfest. Neither team has a great offense and I do think that the Zip defense will show up and play tonight in the Rubber Bowl. My only fear is that they won't have an easy day stopping McRae. Expect Kalvin to rush for about 150+ tonight on their way to a solid victory. Ohio wins, 27-17.


Wow! CMU/WMU Analysis

Holy cow! Where do we begin?

First off, if you didn't see it, you really missed out on a special game. Just about everything in the game was really fun to see (well, besides maybe the second quarter).

It starts off very heated because it is indeed a rivalry game. Things are a little chippy, Hiller spoke of a "clean" hatred for one another, and of course the biggie tonight and the probable game-changer for the Broncos: Jamarko Simmons' ejection.

Simmons was ejected for "kicking" (more like a "get-away-from-me" kind of shove and he happened to have his foot entangled) Red Keith, the Central Michigan linebacker. He sort of did an acting job because there's no way he was shoved that hard by somebody's foot and it didn't look like he exerted enough force on Keith to really move him that far. Anyway, the ref saw this and ejected Simmons. Simmons couldn't control his frustration and was sent to the lockeroom.

Western Michigan did start out strong scoring early and taking a 7-0 lead. The Broncos had a shot at taking a 10-0 lead off of a Dan LeFevour INT, but the snap was bobbled and they lost possession. Central responded with a FG near the middle of the second quarter. The receivers were not helping Hiller or LeFevour out at all. Both teams suffered a ton of dropped passes all of the way until the third quarter. Also, I haven't seen either team play as well defensively as these teams did for the first three quarters of the game. It was refreshing to see because CMU has been getting torched and Western has totally stunk defensively so far this season. I did notice one thing and Ray Bentley pointed out was the fact that CMU didn't burn a timeout which caused all sorts of confusion. They were in the red zone and had to settle for a FG instead of a TD.

The fourth quarter was when things really began to heat up. Western knocked a FG through the uprights to tie things up at 10 a piece. At this point in the game, Dan LeFevour starting ripping through the Western defense. It really wasn't pretty, but the Broncos did respond time and time again on offense. The spearing penalty really hurt Western on one of CMU's scoring drives and Bryan Anderson really stepped up to the plate being the only Chippewa who could catch a pass longer than 5 yards tonight....

Anyway, a great rush prevented Tim Hiller from making a wise choice, so he flung a football right at Calvin Hissong. He couldn't take it into the endzone though and CMU had to settle for a FG. I turned the channel over to Dennis Miller's new show on Versus for a second because even I had lost hope for the Broncos. The instant I flip it back to ESPN2, I see a fantastic catch by Herb Martin which put the Broncos within three points.

And, with a bit of foreshadowing in the mix, LeFevour failed to call a timeout (audibling instead) while the play clock was running low which caused all kinds of confusion. The blockers on the left side didn't pick up their blocks and LeFevour fumbled the ball right into Western's hands. Western scored on a dash from Brandon West which included two hideous arm tackles.

So, the score is now 31-27 and it looks like all hope is lost. After all, it's about time that something goes Cubit's way.

Turns out that wasn't the case. Wilson bit on a combo of the LeFevour pump fake and the great route running by Bryan Anderson. One accurate bomb later from the sophomore QB, CMU was setting up shop inside the one yard line with a little under a minute to go. CMU tried a QB sneak that probably was a TD and, after much reviewing, was ruled incorrectly due to lack of substantial evidence to overturn the call. The Chippewas tried it one more time (reminding me of the "Bush Push" which Bentley pointed out) and that should've been stopped due to FORWARD PROGRESS. It's clear that he was stuffed and the refs should have blown the whistle. Instead, LeFevour gets pushed into the endzone and after yet another review, the play stood.

But wait! It's not over. After a failed lateral on the kickoff return, the Broncos had two seconds. They were actually pretty successful on some of the laterals after a Tim Hiller completion and I started thinking, "Hmmmmmmm........Trinity/Millsaps, perhaps?" But, it didn't work out that way. Western suffered yet another devastating blow.

There are a few things we can take away from this game. Central Michigan finally played some defense which I suppose is newsworthy. Western Michigan played a little bit of that too by not getting steamrolled in the early going. I think both teams have some good resolve and they know how to bounce back from adversity. The Broncos had nothing to play for in this game besides embarrassing a despised rival and they played with an amount of intensity I haven't seen before. Central Michigan never lost faith that they could win and I think the coach, Butch Jones, deserves some credit for that.

One thing is for sure: This game cracks my all-time favorite-game list. No, it's not just because they're MAC teams, this was just a great rivalry game that won't be forgotten up here at least.

Where Does Akron Go From Here?

Now that any hope of winning something for the trophy case is over, it's time for coach J.D. Brookhart to start thinking of what needs to be done this year to lay a solid foundation for next year. And there is much to do.


A starting quarterback that displays leadership skills. Can that role be filled by either Jacquemain or Jackson? Perhaps Jacquemain can mature to the point of being effective. Many of his mistakes were the mental errors of a rookie. In my opinion, Jackson shoud be at another position.

An offensive line.

With the loss of Jabari Arthur, receivers.

With the loss of John Mackey, someone to blitz and perhaps even more important - lead!

Rethinking the 3-3-5 defense.

Yes, coach Brookhart has to use these remaining games to right the ship. It starts this Wednesday night against Ohio U.

I sensed at the Bowling Green game that the Zips had given up, especially on defense. We know the D has talent. So, their play at BG can be nothing more than a lack of having the right attitude, as witnessed by defensive captain John Mackey chewing their butts out on the sideline. I'm not sure the offense ever had the talent this year, so whether or not they have raised the white flag on the season is difficult to determine.

Is thinking about next year giving up on the current season? No, not from a development stand point. But whatever arrangements Brookhart is going to make, he had better start now. It's too difficult to do this while the season is underway. He could actually look at this as an opportunity to improve.

We all knew going in to this season that the Zips were young, especially on offense...had to find a new starting quarterback...had to start developing a predominately new offensive line.

From what I've read on the Internet, many Zips fans have given up on Brookhart. The swager and confidence that they had in him after the 2005 MAC Championship, Motor City Bowl and victory over NC State in 2006 has been reduced to many of them asking, "Is J.D. the man?"

I was not looking for a MAC championship this year...just progress. The Zips, so far, have displayed neither. Clearly, the highlight of the 2007 season was winning the Wagon Wheel back from Kent State. In these final three games -- against Ohio, Miami and Central Michigan -- I'm holding out hope that now that the chance for a championship is history, the chance for progress is not.


Tuesday Preview: CMU vs. WMU

When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPN2

Why You Should Care: Is Western Michigan going to roll over in this game? Trying to cap off a disappointing season (and a tough early OOC schedule), they could at least stop a little bit of the bleeding with a win over hated rival, Central Michigan. CMU has been great in MAC play, but awful out of it and, obviously, this is a conference game (meaning good CMU might show up).

Central Michigan Will Win Because...: The Chips aren't keen on running the football, but when they do, expect some fireworks. Western Michigan had a good rushing defense last year, but for some reason in 2007, they're just awful. Standing at 96th against the run, Justin Hoskins should have a good day. Plus, any time you've got Dan LeFevour, you have a chance to win football games. Western's offense has really been sputtering over the last few games here and Tim Hiller isn't getting a lot of help around him.

Western Michigan Will Win Because...: It's tough to say with the way they played against Eastern, but these guys have a real good chance to stick it to the defending MAC champions and play spoiler for a little bit. Ball State is still alive if they can defeat the Chips tonight. Hiller has some skill, it's just a matter of getting him in the right situations. They need to establish the running game as well. Also, Central Michigan's defense has done absolutely next to nothing all season long getting trounced when offenses execute halfway decently.

Keep an Eye on...: Red Keith. The guy just makes plays all over the place. By far and away the best CMU defender, Keith has a chance to keep the Bronco offense from doing too much tonight.

Prediction: This might be a little lower scoring than predicted. I think the weather situation might have an effect on that. The forecast calls for below-freezing temps (low 30's, high 20's), 10+ mph wind, and sleety/rainy/snowy forms of precipitation. However, this won't stop Dan LeFevour cold in his tracks (no pun intended). He'll be able to run and run and run and run against the Broncos and Hoskins has the potential for a big game. Still, with this being an in-state rivalry and all, Western won't roll over as badly as they did against Eastern. It'll be a battle, but Central will wind up on top at Waldo Stadium by a score of 34-28.

Youtubage: Part 1

Well, being a boring Tuesday, I figured this post might exert some kind of excitement for you. It's a video of the Ohio/Toledo epic that was an absolute joy to see.



Just cluin' you guys in, I'm going to recap the MAC action after Wednesday's Ohio/Akron game. I'll kind of be recapping a week and a half of football, but.............That's the plan, so there. :D

I'll get back to you guys then.

Deep Inside Central Michigan

Ah, yes, it's Tuesday once again and it's time for your old pal, GMoney, to drop some MAC knowledge on all you fools. Needless to say, I'm giddy as hell after the Redhawks win over Buffalo this past Saturday. I got back to the bar from Hineygate just in time to see Drew Willy fumble away his hopes and dreams and celebrated with 2 quick shots of Goldschlager and an Irish Car Bomb...not good.

Anyway, I survived and today I've got something special for you. That's right, insider information!!! For that, I've enlisted the help of Scott Rex, assistant Sports Information Director at Central Michigan. Scott and I played high school football together and since I succeeded in not letting him get sacked too much, I figured he owed me an interview. Here we go, sit back and learn about the Chips.

1. Brian Kelly left last season to be the head cheese at Cincinnati. In response, CMU hired West Virginia WR's coach, Butch Jones, to run the show. What kind of different things are the Chips doing on offense and defense under the new regime?

The biggest difference, I think, is on offense. It is a very up-tempo style that really limits a defense's ability to substitute. The scheme is not in the same mold of the run-and-shoot Buffalo Bills of our youth, but it is a no-huddle, spread attack that often uses four or five receivers. We lost a pair of deep threats in Damien Linson and Obed Cetoute from last year's team, so there is more of a focus on the intermediate passing game and creating mismatches with our receivers. I think there is also more of a commitment to the running game this season, which may sound strange with having a player like Dan LeFevour at quarterback.

The average fan probably does not see a huge difference in our defensive scheme from the past, but our linebackers are asked to do a lot both in coverage and in putting pressure on the quarterback. Our entire defense has really struggled with injuries all season. We have had nine different players start at least one game in the secondary alone this year, and that is almost exclusively due to injuries.

The great thing about Butch is that he was here before as an assistant, so a lot of our older players were already familiar with him. He also helped recruit Dan LeFevour before going to West Virginia.

2. I would say that last year was QB Dan LeFevour's coming out party. The guy was unstoppable. But it appears, at least through the box scores, that he's had an up and down sophomore season. What has changed? Has he been dinged up at all? Also, I love the way he plays. He kind of reminds me of a Tebow-type, doesn't mind the contact QB. You are a former high school quarterbacking great, who does LeFevour remind you of?

Dan's been healthy all year. His greatest attribute is his intelligence, but even he admits that worked against him a little early in the year and he was over-thinking in some situations. He has gotten more comfortable with the offense as the year has gone on and our retooled offensive line has not allowed a sack in four games entering Tuesday night's game at Western Michigan. Of the five starters up front, by the way, two are redshirt freshmen, one is a junior in his first season as a starter, and another is a junior who started at right tackle the last two years but moved to left tackle this season.

Back to LeFevour though. He is such a methodical player that a lot of times you don't realize the type of numbers he's putting up until you look at the box score at the end of the game. He just works his way through his progressions and is willing to take a 5-yard throw underneath if that is what is there. I wouldn't say that we design a lot of runs for him, but he can pick his spots and is faster than you would expect when he's in the open field.

It's tough to compare him with any one quarterback. He is the equivalent of a basketball gym rat in that he is always studying tape and seems to be ready for anything a defense will show him on any given week. Like I said before, he is an extremely smart kid and has this calmness about him on the field that is uncanny for a sophomore. He was a running back growing up, but moved to quarterback as a high school sophomore and was a varsity backup. This really is just his fourth season as a starting quarterback, so he is still continuing to grow into the position.

3. CMU is having somewhat of a strange season. The Chips are playing great in the MAC, but when they go out of conference, it's been pretty ugly. Now, I'm not going to say that they are terrible because losing at Purdue, Clemson, and Kansas is nothing to be ashamed of. But losing 44-14 to North Dakota State at home??? Come on, explain that one. Also, being an Ohioan, Kansas is never on tv yet I keep telling everyone I know that they are for real (Why, I have no idea). Are the Fightin' Mangino's the real deal?

North Dakota State came into our place with something to prove. They are a great football team, and I would expect them to win a I-AA national title sooner rather than later. They were big up front, physical, and had excellent athletes at the skill positions.

I think Clemson is a very underrated football team. Everybody knows about the running backs, but their defense is as fast as I've seen. The gameday atmosphere there is incredible too. As for Kansas, yeah I think they are for real. Reesing does a good job of managing their offense and they can run the ball pretty well. Obviously they have the ability to throw it too, which Nebraska found out last weekend. The defense is fast and physical. Aqib Talib could play for anyone in the country. Unfortunately for him, I think he gets lost in the mix a little bit because there are still a lot of people that just don't want to believe in the Jayhawks.

4. Finally (I said this would be quick), I've been to a few football games, in my younger days, up in Mt. Pleasant but it's been awhile. One thing that always stood out was the exubernace and intensity of the students at the game. It's refreshing that at least one school in the MAC has students that care! My question is, is it still like that? And if it is, do you think any of them would transfer to Miami to wake up our students? FIRE UP CHIPS!

Our student support is the best in the MAC. Their tailgating lot opens three hours before kickoff, and they start lining up to get into the lot at least an hour before that. The student seating section is now in the south end zone (closed end of the stadium), and they always fill those sections and spill around the corners of the end zone as well. When our players take the field before the game, they run out of the locker room in the north end zone all the way to the student section in the south end to help get the students fired up. It's a pretty cool thing to see. We led the MAC in attendance last season, and our students were a big reason for that. I hope that no one here ever takes the support we get for granted, because we do have a loyal fan base both on campus and in the community and surrounding areas.

Thanks a lot for your time, Scotty, time for you to focus on beating up on those Broncos. I hope to be going to head-to-head with you over the MAC title come December.


Friday Previews: Week 10

I'm going to be using the same format that I've been using over at SSO for these MAC Games, FYI.....

When: 7:00 PM ET (Fri.)

Why You Should Care: Will Temple continue their stunning streak of success? It's pretty unbelievable what they've been doing over the past few weeks against Northern Illinois, Akron, and Miami OH (ooh, sorry GMoney, but that's what I always call these guys :) ). Ohio on the other hand played a pretty decent game against Bowling Green on the road. The Bobcats are trying to surge back for a unlikely, yet still possible, attempt at a bowl bid.

Temple Will Win Because...: Why not? Temple has been playing really well lately, so there's no reason they shouldn't continue that heading into Peden Stadium. The Bobcats' Kalvin McRae will have a tough time running against Temple's run defense which has been one of the better ones in the MAC so far.

Ohio Will Win Because...: Ever since getting trounced by Buffalo, Ohio has really turned it up a notch offensively. Even if Temple has been decent against the run lately, they're going up against the best running back in the Mid-America Conference in Kalvin McRae. Theo Scott brings an added dimension to the attack for the Bobcats. Temple probably won't be able to do two very crucial things in this ballgame: protect the QB and win the special teams battle.

Keep an Eye on...: Kalvin McRae. This is the third time we've mentioned this guy in this tiny preview, but he's the definite X-factor of this game. If Temple can limit the damage that McRae will inevitably do, they might be okay.

Prediction: In the end, the Owls won't have enough offense to win the game. They're only averaging about 20 points per game right now going up against Ohio's suddenly efficient offense. Plus, this game is in Athens, Ohio. The edge certainly goes to the Bobcats, expect them to win. Ohio takes it, 27-13.

When: 7:30 PM ET, ESPNU (Fri.)

Why You Should Care: Bowling Green's bowl hopes rest on this one game. As of the moment, they're standing at 4-4 with their latest loss coming against Ohio last week in somewhat unimpressive fashion. Akron on the other hand will need to win out in order to be bowling in December (or January).

Akron Will Win Because...: The special teams game certainly plays to their strengths. Akron is one of the top kick and punt returning teams in the nation and that will be to their advantage. Bowling Green does have a potent attack, but the Zip secondary has been pretty solid all season long.

Bowling Green Will Win Because...: Akron's offense is about as exciting as watching paint dry. No offense intended to J.D. Brookhart's bunch, but their offense has really struggled to get moving. Tyler Sheehan has been having a rough go-at-it over the last couple of weeks, but he should be good to go at home. The bottom line is that Akron shouldn't be able to score enough points to hang on in this game.

Keep an Eye on...: John Haneline. While this unit won't get tested all that much, it'll be up to Haneline to make sure that the Falcon defense doesn't get complacent and take the Akron O too lightly. If he can make his tackles and disrupt Akron's gameplan, Bowling Green should be in control tonight.

Prediction: This is simply a gut feeling, but I'm going to go ahead and take Akron tonight. Look, the MAC is nuts right now. All signs point to Bowling Green in this game, so that, in effect, is making me take Akron. Satisfied with the reasoning? I am. Zips win, 28-24, it'll be a good football game.

When: 12:00 PM ET, Big 10 Network

Why You Should Care: Can Ball State compete with a Big 10 team? They've pretty much shown that they're capable against Illinois last week, but they can obviously do better. Last year, the Cardinals gave Indiana a real run for their money, so this could turn out to be a great matchup.

Ball State Will Win Because...: Ball State does have one of the more potent offenses in the nation. They didn't do as well as they could have against Illinois last week. Nate Davis ran all over the place with his legs and he might have similar success against the Hoosiers. Indiana ranks second in sacks, but the BSU protection has really been good so far this season.

Indiana Will Win Because...: I'm sorry to say this to our MAC readers, but, they're a Big 10 team; Ball State is from the MAC. Not really trying to sound pejorative, but it's the way it is. They have more talent across the board. Right now, Ball State ranks 116th against the run and that spells doom when going up against Kellen Lewis.

Keep an Eye on...: Darius Hill. He's one of the most athletic tight ends in the nation who looks more like a WR. Indiana has a decent defense, but they might struggle containing Hill who has a knack for a big catch every now and then.

Prediction: In the end, Ball State won't have enough in the tank. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see them compete a little bit better than they did against Illinois. The only thing keeping the Fighting Illini from winning that game by 20 points was the Fighting Illini. I see Ball State playing much better, but the Lewis-Hardy connection will be too tough to withstand. Indiana wins, 37-28.

When: 3:00 PM ET, ESPN Gameplan

Why You Should Care: The MAC is one the line in this one, literally. Buffalo can, stunningly might I add, take absolute control of the MAC East. A win here would allow for them to split the final two games of the season against Bowling Green and Kent State and they're in the MAC Championship game. But Miami OH is eager to pull a Lee Corso and tell them, "not so fast, my friends." The RedHawks are still alive and well in the chase.

Buffalo Will Win Because...: It's Cinderella. Come on. They're the classic team that is just absolutely inexplicably good that shouldn't be. The stats aren't there, but they're winning week in and week out. Turner Gill has done the best coaching job in the MAC, hands down. Drew Willy has been efficient and not many teams have been able to shut him and his efficient arm down.

Miami OH Will Win Because...: They're the better team. I hate to rain on Buffalo's parade, but the RedHawks do have the most talent on the field tomorrow. Eugene Harris has been playing very well and he won't be stopped easily. Even though the Bull defense has been decent over the course of October, Daniel Radabaugh has been baptized by fire and should be ready to face the challenge.

Keep an Eye on...: James Starks. Currently, Miami OH is 84th against the run and Starks has been as hot as they come. Against Syracuse and Akron, he was decent and it's possible that he may have cooled off a little bit, but the guy still has the potential to hit the 150+ yard mark tomorrow.

Prediction: Buffalo will hang in there, but they won't get enough from the offense in the end. Miami OH should take care of business in Oxford, but you never ever count Cinderella out of any game. They always find ways to win, but the string of good fortune will end at the hands of Shane Montgomery. The RedHawks were okay against Vanderbilt and the momentum will carry. Miami OH takes it at home, 30-17.

When: 7:00 PM ET

Why You Should Care: In what is a common theme this week, the MAC bowl situation is in flux. Central Michigan, Miami OH, Akron, Bowling Green, Ohio, Ball State, Buffalo, and Toledo are all vying for position. With a victory against the Eagles this week, Toledo just might be on the track to get back to bowl eligibility. Eastern though has been playing well lately highlighted by a decent effort against Northwestern and victory last week against Western Michigan.

Eastern Michigan Will Win Because...: They're beginning to see what defense is like under Jeff Genyk. They didn't let a Northwestern team that was just rolling offensively do that much on Ford Field and they held Western Michigan to a safety for two points. They've got the horses, at LB with Holtzclaw and at DT with Jason Jones, to at least keep them from scoring 70 points and gaining 812 yards in this game.

Toledo Will Win Because...: Aaron Opelt is beginning to catch fire. The Rockets have been tremendous offensively and Tom Amstutz should be pleased. They're also at home. Jalen Parmale is the 9th ranked rusher individually going up against a bad run defense in Eastern Michigan's. Right now, the Eagles are 81st against the run.

Keep an Eye on...: Barry Church. The QB situation at Eastern Michigan isn't really in good shape with Schmitt still a bit banged up and Kyle McMahon being a true freshman. Even though the Eagles will rely mostly on Pierre Walker, Church could be a pain in the side to the EMU QBs with his ability to fly around the field.

Prediction: Eastern will move the football and they won't let the Toledo offense do as much as they did against Northern Illinois, but it won't matter. The bottom line is that the Eagles won't be able to stop Parmale with a lot of success. Eastern's offense just isn't very potent and they won't be able to stay with Opelt and the rest of the offense. Rockets wins, 33-21.

GMoney's MAC Picks & Scores:

Akron 27, BG 24.
OU 16, Temple 10.
Miami 23, Buffalo 14.
Toledo 30, EMU 17.
IU 42, Ball St. 34.