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Last Post at Mid-America Nattering

Well, guys, this is it. I've decided that this will be the final post at Mid-America Nattering. First off, I've lost the drive to blog (which could probably just be chalked up to a boring offseason). But more importantly, I've just been so darn busy for the longest time and I can't post anything remotely insightful. I mean, check out the post underneath this one; it's not even really a post, it's just something to throw up there because I haven't typed up anything in two weeks. Actually, this is like the third time I've been on the Internet within the last two and a half weeks. Normally, I'll log on two or three times a day.

So, so long, my 5 loyal readers :( . However, you probably haven't seen the last of me. Probably like Brett Favre, I'll get that itch and start up something in the summertime. But, it won't be here, unfortunately enough. I'll always be open to the possibility of guest blogging for somebody else though and if you think I could do that, just drop me a line at


Off-Topic: Favorite Sports?

Just so you guys know, posting is going to be very infrequent until summer rolls around. Last year, I struggled keeping up with two blogs and it wasn't even an easy thing to do during the offseason.

Anyway, I made this post over at SSO and though I'd just re-post it here:

This would be my list here:

1. College Football-Duh. Nothing beats the passion, excitement, upsets, pageantry, etc. that college football presents. Nothing even comes close. Ah, just thinking of college football brings me to crisp, autumn, 65 degree October Saturday afternoons watching college kids leave every thing out on the field for their school.

2. MLB-Really looking forward to the Tigers this year. Although they have to figure out that bullpen issue. And, no, I'm not a bandwagon fan of Detroit. I suffered through the indignity of 2003. It wasn't pretty. Okay, so I know the players are the most overpaid prima donnas on the entire planet, but I like watching the sport in general.

3. NHL-It's basically a tie between the MLB and NHL. Wow, the NHL races have been something to watch this year, haven't they? I love the fights, checking, physical play, and fancy goals that you see in hockey. It is a great sport and it's really a shame that it's in the state it is right now. Here's an idea for Gary Bettman: GET OFF OF VERSUS.

4. College Basketball-I watch the regular season with a lot of apathy. It's almost too much to take in at times. I suppose it is comparable to watching too much Scrubs; it's okay in moderation :) . Nah, I only bring that up because I recorded all 8 broadcasted Scrubs episodes on my DVR and it's on TV four hours a day (2 on Comedy Central, 1 on WGN, and 1 on The WB). I got through three episodes. Scrubs is pretty funny if you like that dry, ironic humor that you might find in Office Space (my favorite movie). Okay, now I know I'm rambling, back to college basketball. The tournament is a lot of fun to watch anyway.

5. College Lacrosse-Lacrosse is a fun sport to watch. It's more fun to play and it would be even more fun to watch if you didn't get Johns Hopkins, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, or Syracuse playing each other every week. At least they'll be showing Delaware and Towson on ESPNU this Saturday. Part of the problem is a lack of parity (it's like women's college basketball). The talent is so concentrated because there isn't a large pool of players to choose from. Lacrosse is growing rapidly throughout the U.S. and you can see that on the west coast and especially in Ohio and some other surrounding Rust Belt areas.

6. NFL-Yeah, I would rather watch a college lacrosse game than the Superbowl. The NFL is kind of boring but then again, there's not a whole lot on TV on Sundays. I like wallowing in self-pity about my pathetic Detroit Lions, but the sport lacks the enthusiasm of college ball and I'm going to go postal if ESPN keeps talking about absolutely irrelevant NFL material. Oh, well Chad Johnson likes boxers instead of briefs, just so you know. And later on NFL Total Access on ESPN (the new name for Sportscenter), we'll take you through a daily routine of Peyton Manning because that's what the folks care about. ESPN is just extremely paranoid of losing viewers to the NFL Network that they obsess about the sport like TMZ obsesses over celebrities. It just gets tiring. But besides all of that, yeah, the NFL is alright.

7. College Baseball-I'll watch a game if it's on. Rice was playing Texas last night and some of those errors were downright painful to watch. Yikes. But the Big 10 Network will be airing some games so that's kind of cool. I usually try to watch the College World Series whenever I can. And no, I don't watch because of Erin Andrews. I think I've been over that previously on this site.

8. NBA-Honestly, I don't see how anybody can be a diehard NBA fan. They play no defense and when the day is done, the losing team is defeated by about 25 points making you wonder what the point of sitting through the entire game was. From time to time, I'll check out what the Pistons are doing and I have to say the race in the West is pretty intriguing, but I haven't sat through an entire NBA game since the 2005 NBA Finals (Pistons/Spurs).

9. Arena Football-I list the AFL here because it's almost an entirely different brand of football. Like the NBA or college baseball, if there's nothing else on, I'll watch a few minutes and switch over to the news. I guess it's kind of like American Dad. You decide to watch because you think Seth McFarlane is the epitome of comedic genius. Then, at the end of the show, you forget that he doesn't even try with that series. You hope you'll one day become a fan, but you never do :D .

10. Uhhhhh.......College hockey? I'm out of sports. Not much of a bowling, NASCAR, boxing, tennis, or golf fan over here.


Indiana Replaces Kentucky for New Akron Stadium Opener


Dropping the home and home agreement with Kentucky, thus changing the opponent for the first game at Infocision Stadium to Indiana highlights the announcement of the 2008 University of Akron football schedule.

Akron Athletic Director Mac Rhoades says the reason for the schedule shake-up is the fact that many non-conference games were scheduled before he arrived at the Hilltop, plus, the addition of Temple as a football-only member to the Mid-American Conference.

"Due to these circumstances, the University of Akron will not play the University of Kentucky in the 2008 season, nor will the Wildcats come to Akron in 2009 to open the University's new Infocision Stadium," said UA Athletic Director Mac Rhoades.

Since the deal with Kentucky is off, the Zips will open the 2008 season in Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers of Wisconsin.

In addition to adding Indiana as the team to open up Infocision, the date for the 2009 home opener has been pushed back a week to September 19, 2009.

2008 Schedule

After opening up with Wisconsin, the Zips will play another BCS game against Syracuse before the first, and last, home opener at the Rubber Bowl against Ball State. Then, it's back on the road again to play Army in West Point before coming back to the Rubber Bowl to take on Cincinnati of the Big East.

In a strange move that I have never seen before, the Zips will have back-to-back bye weeks on October 25 and November 1 -- that is a LONG time to not play during the regular season.

Once again, the Zips will only have five home games in 2008 and seven on the road. Lets hope that changes when we are in the new stadium.


All and all, the Zips have a decent schedule with non-conference games against Wisconsin, Syracuse, Army and Cincinnati, with the Bearcats coming to the Bowl.

As for television, the Zips are scheduled to play on either ESPN2 or ESPN U three times, against Army, Toledo and Buffalo.

The last game at the Rubber Bowl will be Thursday, November 13, against Buffalo.

The only thing I do not like about the schedule, beside the usual five home games, is the back-to-back bye weeks in late October and Early November.

2008 University of Akron Football Schedule

University of Akron statement concerning changes in the 2008 and 2009 football schedules

Football Schedule News Release

'...WE COULDN'T MAKE ANY SHOTS...' Dambrot on KSU loss

Keith Dambrot says his Akron Zips obviously struggled in the 61-58 season-finale loss against Kent State before a packed house at the JAR.

"We struggled," said Dambrot. "We hung around defensively, and with our team having 37 bad minutes against their three bad minutes, that's when it became a game.

Now, the Zips are focused on the Mid-American Conference Tournament. With a first-round bye, the Zips will take on the winner of the Northern Illinois-Central Michigan game on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

"I think Central Michigan has the ability and the talent to make it far in this tournament," said Dambrot. "Whether they can win four in a row is a different story, though. Miami has enough to win four in a fow as well I think, but the different is who gets hot at the right time. Anyone can win four games if they are hot."

Coach Dambrot's News Conference

MAC Tournament Brackets


It's Been A While!

I know I said earlier on Saturday Sound Offs that politics is the last thing I want to talk about on a sports blog, but as long as you poke fun at both sides, I'm cool. SMQ has a post on it that you should check out.

Even so, I know I should keep up more often with this blog and that I've gotten a little lazy when it comes to blogging in general. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more content up here pretty soon. I don't talk much about basketball, but I might get to it here pretty soon. Once summer comes around, maybe Mid-America Nattering will get moving.


Sorry, MAC Fans

I made this post over at SSO, and figured I'd just post it over here at Mid-America Nattering:

Every single inch of It's-Not-That-Difficult-Just-Sit-At-Your-Computer-And-Type-For-30-Minutes has left me. Check back in a little while and hopefully I'll get some meaningful stuff written. Until then......I dunno, I've been watching hockey and Family Guy to get by the offseason. God, last night's episode with James Woods sucked. I've learned not to get disappointed with Family Guy anymore......I mean, Seth McFarlane is just losing it.

Well, I guess this could generate some discussion. What do you guys do during the offseason to keep yourselves busy? I try not to think about college football a whole lot during this time of year; I just supress it. Is that healthy, you think? Yikes


Thoughts and Prayers

In wake of the recent tragedy at Northern Illinois, I just wanted to ask you guys to keep the students and university in your thoughts and prayers. Such a shame.


MAC Linkin': 2/08

Gregg Brandon gets a contract extension. Falcon nation is estatic. I can't believe he's still coaching there. Not a big fan of Brandon over here....

Western Michigan finalizes a deal to play Illinois at Ford Field next year. Hopefully, the run defense will perform better than it did last year or that game might get kinda ugly.

Ohio's athletic director, Kirby Hocutt, announced that he'll be taking the same position at Miami (the one in Florida). We wish him well.

Temple was named #1 in recruiting for (in the MAC, folks). Golden is quietly upgrading the talent base there. Their official Web site lists the signees.

Turner Gill's class is in and he's trying to get the play of his defense improved. Most of his recruits were on that side of the ball.


Jones, Genyk, Cubit Talk Recruiting

I'll get a recruiting recap by tomorrow, but the three Michigan head coaches sounded off on their recruiting classes. The following sound bites come from the Huge Show which broadcasts daily from 3 to 6 in Michigan.

Jones Interview

Cubit Interview

Genyk Interview


MAC Bracket Busters

Just a quick update on the Bracket Buster games to be played on ESPN this February. Ohio will face George Mason, Kent State will take on St. Mary's, Miami will face Valpo, and Akron will play Virginia Commonwealth.

Even though we don't talk much MAC basketball over here, one thing is for certain: These are some great games. All of these teams are cruising and the MAC can only hope for two bids this year (which I personally feel they should).

Joe Lunardi the other day had Ohio listed as his "last team in" for the NCAA tournament. Hopefully, the conference will be able to rebound from the last few years of disappointing postseason performances.

If I'm projecting this stuff right now, I predict Ohio gets a 12 seed while Kent State winds up with a 10. How does that sound, guys? One thing is for certain though, whichever MAC teams can win in these Bracket Busters, it will certainly go a long way in determining their NCAA tournament fate. Kent State has to beat St. Mary's to get in as an at-large, in my opinion. They all do, but the Golden Flashes need a big road win (against a ranked team no less).


Zips in Super Bowl


Akron football fans may not have had a personal interest in the MAC Championship game this year, but the same cannot be said about this Sunday's Super Bowl between the Patriots and the New York football Giants.

Two players who once roamed the sidelines at the Rubber Bowl will be roaming the pastures of the retractable roof (and retractable field) University of Phoenix Stadium .

Domenik Hixon, who caught the last-second desperation pass of Luke Getsy to win the 2005 MAC Championship, and Chase Blackburn, the former Zips defensive captain, traded in their blue and gold for the red, white and gray of the New York Giants, and will be taking on what some consider to be the best NFL team ever, the New England Patriots, in Super Bowl XLII.

Blackburn and Hixon are not the first Zips to appear in a Super Bowl. Dwight Smith picked off two passes, one for a touchdown, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


HAVING TWO ZIPS IN SUPER BOWL HUGE FOR UA...editorial in The Buchtelite



Hixon was on the other end of the collision that put Buffalo's Kevin Everett in the back of an ambulance. reports that Everett wasn't the only one who needed to recover from that fateful play.


Does the MAC and Lacrosse Mix?

So I'm following a discussion about the MAC on MACbbs. It's a great message board by the way and I've tried to sign up, but my IP address has apparently been banned. So I guess I have to contact an administrator....

But anyway, the poster brings up lacrosse and hockey, two sports that the MAC doesn't support. You would think Buffalo would have a big interest in both of the sports considering how popular lacrosse is in the northeast and it's a hockey-mad city that has produced a number of the top hockey athletes.

The hockey idea doesn't convince me. I realize that with the Big 10 Network needing some sort of live programming that creating Big 10 hockey seems like a smart idea. Right? This has a possibility of happening. If you think about it, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, plus Notre Dame would make a good hockey conference. Of course, this is only six teams so they might want to convince an Iowa or a Purdue to maybe start up hockey. But, this would leave some of the GLIAC schools and Bowling Green, Western Michigan, and Miami without a conference. So, that's where the MAC could come in. They would have a problem with the expenses of hockey though. I mean, could you see a school like Central Michigan, Kent State, or Ohio funding hockey programs? Buffalo seems like an obvious candidate, but you would have too much difficulty trying to get enough institutions on board in this scenario to make this a possibility.

But, lacrosse makes much, much, much more sense. A lot more sense. I don't believe funding the sport would be as expensive and lacrosse is a booming sport, especially in Ohio. Basically, the sport is growing across the country, but it would be nice to see the MAC lead the charge and be ahead of the curve.......FOR ONCE. It's going to be too late in 10 years or so when most major schools would have lacrosse teams. There's the possibility of creating some nice programs because Buffalo could feed off of what Syracuse can't get in lacrosse.

Of course, all of this is hypothetical and just random musings in my mind. I'm not sure whether or not this would happen at all, but it sounds great in theory.


MAC Senior Bowlers

Well, the Senior Bowl begins here pretty soon (January 26th on the NFL Network). There also happens to be only two MAC players on the squads, one on each team. What are their prospects (pardon the pun) for the upcoming NFL draft?

Jason Jones: DT, Eastern Michigan (North)

Strength: Definitely, the strength for Jason Jones would be athleticism for his size. Of course, he still needs to do well at the combines and we don't have those exact stats, but Jones is a rock-solid 272 pounds at 6'5! He played DT at Eastern, but he sounds like he might switch over to DE in the NFL. Against Kirk Barton today (he's an OT from Ohio State), Jones was impressive. He's been progressively improving, or so it seems from what I've seen out of the NFL Network's production of the Senior Bowl practices.

Weakness: Transitioning to the exterior of the D-line. I'm not sure if this is going to be a problem or not. He doesn't seem to have too much trouble, at least in practice, but will he be able to pressure the QB and break through the initial line of defense as well as he has against actual NFL offensive lineman? We're not going to know that until later.

I was checking out Walter Football, and it said this about Jones going to the 49ers in the 4th round:

The 49ers were ranked 22nd against the pass because they couldn't get to the quarterback; no one on their defense had more than six sacks.

Kory Lichtensteiger: Bowling Green, C (South)

Strength: Fundamentals. This is what Kory Lichtensteiger made a living on for most of his career. He comes off of his stance very well, blocks well, doesn't make a lot of penalties, and is just a solid, all-around center.

Weakness: Feet movement and quickness. He hasn't had much of an issue with that this year because he was going up against teams like Buffalo and Toledo who, let's face it, have lesser defenses. He got tested early on in the Senior Bowl practice and didn't look like he was up to speed.

Can't really find much stuff out on the Web regarding Lichtensteiger since he's projected around the late fourth or early fifth round. I'm thinking a team like the Chiefs or Broncos could use a center like him.


MAC and the BCS

Okay, it's almost February. You know what that means? The doldrums of the college football blogosphere. There has been about zero stuff worth posting with regards to football.

But, how about we gaze into our crystal ball and analyze any chance that a MAC team has at crashing the BCS party? Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments.

Candidate #1: Miami.

The MAC Fan in Me Says: Why does Miami make for a solid candidate? Let's take a look at this season. Even though they were 1-4 versus BCS competition, there was a reason for that: injuries. The RedHawks really couldn't find a point in the season where all of their offensive stars were healthy. Daniel Raudabaugh will take over and he was solid filling in for Kokal last year. The defense should be ready to roll with nine of their key parts back including the entire LB corps (Joey Hudson and Clayton Mullins the most notable).

The Objective Pessimist in Me Says: Okay, those are great points, but this team was only 1-4 against BCS conference teams. And we're not talking Ohio State, Penn State, or Texas here. This team was the only team that could claim they lost to Minnesota (in overtime), they got shelled by Colorado 42-0, they lost a tight game to Vanderbilt, and they were owned by Cincinnati. Also, Syracuse was shaky at best in 2007.

Some Arbitrary Percentage of BCS-likeliness: 1%. This team could evolve into the best team in the MAC East, but they certainly won't compete for the BCS. There are too many holes across the board to be one of the best non-BCSers out there.

Candidate #2: Western Michigan.

The MAC Fan in Me Says: This year was a fluke and the Broncos should find themselves as one of the better teams in the conference for the 2008 season. Cubit really has this team going and he gained a lot of momentum for beating Iowa. The team at the end of the year looked like we expected coming into 2007 and that trend should carry over into next season. Just about everybody on defense is coming back and most are upperclassmen.

The Objective Pessimist in Me Says: It's Western Michigan. No offense to Bronco fans, but it'll be really tough to make a case for being BCS-worthy. The offense isn't even close right now as it was nearly anemic at times. The Broncos had one of the best run defenses in the nation and it was totally gashed in '07. Even though they get a ton of guys back defensively, it still won't be an adequate run defense.

Some Arbitrary Percentage of BCS-likeliness: 1%. Like Miami OH, they don't have nearly enough offensive explosiveness and the defense, while more consistent, still won't be good enough to get it done. We're talking about a team that doesn't quite have what it takes, but should be competitive in MAC play. They still have two holes on their schedule, but I'm getting a funny feeling about that Nebraska game to start the year. Even so, the Broncos will most likely win 7 or 8 games this year.

Candidate #3: Central Michigan.

The MAC Fan in Me Says: Well, you have to give them credit: They have been the best team in the MAC over the last two years despite some poor non-conference showings under Butch Jones. The defense returns enough guys to see significant improvement and more fundamentally sound plays on that side of the ball. The offense should continue to be one of the most explosive in the MAC with LeFevour and company coming back. One thing that went under the radar for the most part was the fact that the offense was more potent under Butch Jones in 2007 than it was under Kelly in 2006.

The Objective Pessimist in Me Says: Yeah, the razzle-dazzle offense is always a joy to see, but there are still some major defensive issues. I get the sense that Butch Jones has no idea how to coach that side of the ball. Add onto this the fact that they have to go on the road to face Georgia, Purdue, and Indiana, and a BCS bid looks very unlikely.

Some Arbitrary Percentage of BCS-likeliness: 5%. If they didn't play Georgia between the hedges, I might give CMU a better shot. That 5% is if they compete with Georgia (not losing by more than 20) and winning the rest of their games. Other than that, this team won't sniff the light of day regarding the BCS. The Chips just don't have a good enough defense to compete with the upper-echelon in college football. Expect them to beat Indiana, but lose to Purdue and Georgia pretty easily. Also, I'm not sure whether or not this will be the best team in the MAC next year.

Candidate #4: Bowling Green.

The MAC Fan in Me Says: Nine starters back on a young defense, a young stud in Tyler Sheehan, and the return of most of the team's dynamic offensive weapons. What's not to like? Of course the MAC schedules always come out late, but the MAC East doesn't really look like it will be as good as the West coming into 2008. This gives the Falcons a great shot at pulling out a MAC East championship. Look for that offense to shine this year.

The Objective Pessimist in me Says: 63-7. 63-7. 63-7. Bowling Green is already getting used to hearing this day in and day out. It was one of the most embarrassing performances in MAC history. Usually the GMAC Bowl showcases two of the best teams from the MAC and C-USA, but Tulsa just took them to the woodshed. The defense needs some major fine-tuning and, like CMU, I'm not sure Brandon has the defensive prowess to see that it happens.

Some Arbitrary Percentage of BCS-likeliness: 5%. I set the bar this low because of BG's schedule. They get to face a somewhat challenging non-conference slate with zero patsies. They get Minnesota at home and Pitt, Boise State, and Wyoming on the road. It's going to be tough, but I give the Falcons a slim, slim chance.

Candidate #5: Ball State.

The MAC Fan in Me Says: Okay, here we go; a BCS-worthy MAC team! Maybe. Ball State is returning boatloads of talent. Actually, make that everybody offensively. Dante Love, Darius Hill, Frank Edmonds, Nate Davis, you name it. They were young and explosive in 2007 and should be even better in 2008. The defense gets 8 guys back but that side will need to see major improvement before Ball State starts thinking about the BCS. Also, Indiana is the only team from a BCS conference on the slate, a game the Cards should win.

The Objective Pessimist in Me Says: This team was still horrible defensively and even though they competed against Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, and to some extent Rutgers, that's not good enough to get into the BCS. The only shot BSU would have is winning all of their games because there is no room for error on a schedule that isn't incredibly difficult. While the offense will explode, it probably won't be enough to make the BCS.

Some Arbitrary Percentage of BCS-likeliness: 10%. It sounds a little high, but the Cardinals should definitely be the class of the MAC plus an easy schedule. Even so, the offensive and defensive improvement should probably amount to 10 (or 11 including the title game) wins. I think this is a team that will be able to beat a BCS conference team (something the MAC has forgotten to do on a consistent basis since 2003).


CFN Rankings: MAC

The always reliable CFN rankings came out the other day (yes, that's sarcasm, folks). Anyway, they consider themselves to be experts and here's how the MAC was ranked (BTW, this is my commentary, not what CFN said). (In the Notable Teams part, the "ahead" means teams that the MAC Team X was ranked ahead of; "behind" means they finished behind these teams):

#113: Northern Illinois

Notable Teams: Ahead-Minnesota, Duke; Behind-UAB, Rice, UL Lafayette

NIU was the lowest ranked MAC team this year and with good reason. The Huskies weren't a good team at all to begin with considering Garrett Wolfe was the entire offense last season. If you add onto the fact that they didn't have enough talent to compete for the MAC championship, their defense, specifically the line, was decimated by injuries.

#102: Kent State

Notable Teams: Ahead-Baylor, Tulane, Syracuse; Behind-Army, Colorado State, Middle Tennessee

Kent State was rolling early on looking a bit like they did in 2006, but the loss of Julian Edleman really hurt the running game. KSU had a ton of injuries at the QB position this year putting them in a tough spot. They did drop the final seven games, but the defense played pretty decent overall. The main reason the Golden Flashes ended the year as cold as they did was the lack of efficiency from the QBs. You have to give Doug Martin a pass here for having to throw almost all of the QBs on the roster out on the field at some point in time.

#99: Temple

Notable Teams: Ahead-Marshall, Iowa State; Behind-Notre Dame (by a spot), San Diego State, Louisiana Tech

Hey, they delivered by beating expectations, didn't they? I know Al Golden must be happy with the progress that Temple has been making. Not only did they save face in a lot of games that would have been total blowouts for the previous two seasons, but they even won four games. Golden showed just how committed he was to the program by staying at Temple and declaring himself not-interested in the UCLA job. Temple was able to do it by playing about as good defensively as anybody in the MAC down the stretch.

#93: Buffalo

Notable Teams: Ahead-Notre Dame, Colorado State; Behind-North Carolina, San Jose State

WOW. That's pretty much what I have to say. It's an absolute amazing turnaround. The Bulls were one of the worst teams in the nation during the 2006 season, just God-awful. But Turner Gill must have seen something in this crew. Now, you can argue all you want about the strength of the conference, but the very fact that this Bulls team competed with Baylor and Syracuse might have just been the most positive things to ever happen to this team at the FBS level.

#90: Akron

Notable Teams: Ahead-SJSU, North Carolina; Behind-Stanford, UTEP

J.D. Brookhart is supposed to be one of the best coaches in the conference. So, it leaves one to ponder, what happened? Akron took a step back from their MAC championship from 05 in the 2006 season, but this year was an unmitigated disaster for the Zips. Things looked like they were coming together for a while with a win against Army and arch rival Kent State along with solid showings against Ohio State and Indiana. Even with the miracle against Western Michigan, things really did take a turn for the worse going 1-5 down the stretch. I thought CFN brought up a good point about how Akron was competitive in most of their losses, but they included defeats against Buffalo and Temple (which are never good things, no matter how improved they might be).

#89: Eastern Michigan

Notable Teams: Ahead-Same as Akron; Behind-Same as Akron

I thought this ranking was a little high. Although, when you think about it, Eastern Michigan was a competitive football team. I know I'm a pathetic MAC homer trying to find the good in all of these teams when the conference was terrible this year, but they were able to find ways to compete with Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio, and Bowling Green. Also, don't forget, these guys won the three-way race to be declared MAC champion of the state of Michigan. They stunningly beat both Western and Central this year.

#88: Miami OH

Notable Teams: Ahead-Same as Akron; Behind-Same as Akron

Miami wasn't very good this year. I know they slammed Bowling Green, but the Falcons didn't have their heads screwed on for that game. The RedHawks basically were dealt a killer non-conference scheduling having to play Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Colorado, Minnesota, and Cincinnati. They were champions of the East, but they failed to qualify for a bowl game. The issue with Miami was offensive injuries. They took hit after hit on that side of the ball and you have to wonder what might have been if those guys remained healthy. They would probably be looking at bowl season...

#87: Toledo

Notable Teams: Ahead-Same as Akron; Behind-Same as Akron

Toledo was supposed to really break through and become legitimate competitors for the MAC West. Well, that didn't happen. The main reason was the defense; it was atrocious. But that side of the ball aside and even though next year should be the season things start to click again for this usual MAC powerhouse, they had a wonderful stretch during the middle of the year. They skated past Liberty and lost by 10 to Buffalo before they went on an offensive rampage. Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois got torched giving up an average of 55 points a game! Even with that great offensive stretch, they lost hopes of going bowling by poor showings during the final two games against Ball State and Bowling Green.

#80: Western Michigan

Notable Teams: Ahead-Vanderbilt, Washington State, Ole Miss; Behind-Memphis, Wyoming, Nevada

If you're looking for the most disappointing team for the 2007 season, look no further from the guys from Kalamazoo. This team was projected by many to win the Mid-America Conference. The setback of the season occurred when Akron won the game on that miracle lateral on the kickoff. However, they really did make a strong finish to the year by hanging on against Central Michigan, spoiling Iowa's season, and defeating Temple. Look for these guys to get back on track in 08.

#77 (tied): Ohio

Notable Teams: Ahead-Arkansas State, Memphis, Wyoming; Behind-Miami FL, Northwestern, NC State

If you're looking for that one team that was probably a little better than two of the ones who went bowling (ahem, Ball State & Bowling Green, ahem), this could have been it. Even though the Bobcats finished an average 6-6, they were at least decent down the stretch with only one bad game against Akron from tasting the postseason for the second consecutive year.

#64: Central Michigan

Notable Teams: Ahead-Navy, Nebraska, Southern Miss; Behind-Bowling Green, Houston, Colorado

Hmmm, this one confused me a little. CMU dominated this entire conference with the wee exception of that inexcusable Eastern Michigan loss. Not really sure what CFN was thinking here, but I can understand them up to a point. I mean, this team did get slaughtered by North Dakota State, Clemson, Kansas, and Purdue in September. Their non-conference performance was ridiculous and CMU fans have to demand more out of this program. Those ones fall on Butch Jones' shoulders.

#63: Bowling Green

Notable Teams: Ahead-Kansas State, Arizona, Iowa; Behind-Georgia Tech, Pitt, FAU

How is this possible after that horrid showing from the GMAC Bowl? I digress, but even though they did get knocked out hard and cold in that game, it looked like they were so unprepared for that game. Maybe Brandon should have kept them fresh on fundamentals instead of "gadget" plays for Anthony Turner.

#58: Ball State

Notable Teams: Ahead-Pitt, Georgia Tech, Colorado; Behind-Indiana, Maryland, Louisville

I can see Ball State being the best team in the conference. They aren't as horrible as they looked against Rutgers because of the mismatch that future NFLer Ray Rice presented. But even so, that's not an excuse for getting your butt kicked. The Cardinals only bad loss in 2007 was against Central Michigan where the defense evaporated like water in the middle of the Sahara Desert. I'm still trying to figure out how CMU won that game 58-38...

Well, there you have it. CFN generally does some solid hindsight articles and I was kind of kidding earlier about the "reliable" ranking thing. You gotta hand it to Pete Fiutak & Co., they generally do a much better job than anything you'll find on At least they back up what they say have some valid points.


MAC Fans, Hang Your Head In Shame

Dear God, what a painful time to be a fan of MAC football. I've never been more embarrassed about this conference in all of my 27 years of existence. The MAC had a chance to justify being a three bid league this past weekend and completely fell flat on their faces. After Central Michigan's inspiring comeback effort against an abysmal Purdue last month, Ball State and BG had the chance to represent the conference against superior competition. I'm not trying to say that Rutgers and Tulsa are good, but a win from either MAC school would be considered a big upset and a good win for the league.

The result: Bigger schools 115, MAC 37. Ouch. Bowling Green is just a terrible team that should not have gone bowling anyway, but thanks to the crappiness of my alma mater, they were granted the right to get blown out. Ball State also sucks and they made Ray Rice look like Barry freaking Sanders. Clearly, these two programs weren't ready for the big time. They should be given a 5 year bowl ban for rolling voer and dying on the football field. Losing is one thing, but showing no effort and desire at all is unacceptable. Seriously, maybe the MAC should go back to being just a one or two bid's hard to justify why 3 teams get a bowl paycheck if they can't even compete.

And if you look up the definition or "terrible" in the dictionary, it's just the logo of the MAC. Maybe one day we will compete again...stranger things have happened.


Preview: GMAC Bowl

Bowling Green Pulse

I was able to ask Bowling Green fan, Flipper, from Ay-Ziggy-Zoomba some questions and he responded with some of his thoughts on the game:

Passing is nice...we win more frequently when we manage to run the ball a bit. RB/WR/QB Anthoney Turner and TB Willie Geter will get some yards and keep that Tulsa offense on the bench. We''ll get opur share in the air, but we'll win if we can rush for 150 or so..

Special teams are vastly improved. Kick coverage is better...Iovinelli is a solid punter and Vrvilo has strong leg...I'd trust him out to 50 yards

We're missing our top DE, a starting OLB and a back up yeah, we're worried about stopping Tulsa.

I suspect we'll try to get pressure rushing 4 down linemen while dropping 7 into coverage....we tend to play a soft zone that gives up yards between the 20's. We did a great job in the red zone against Akron, Buffalo and I suspet we'll be very happy if we can contain them between the 20's and then bottle them up when the field gets shorter.

Anthony Turner will be the guy for us on offense....On defense, watch for safety PJ Pope...he's an interception machine

Background Info & History

If you guessed that the GMAC Bowl is sponsored by GMAC, congratulations! Your ability to deduce is worth beholding. GMAC was known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation and it dealt with all of the financial services GM provided. It's headquarters is in Detroit, Michigan. Today, it offers a wide range of financial services and I will, sooner or later, write them a thank-you letter for putting a stop to all of the God-awful commercials (they work together).

The history of this game dates back to 1999, but the most memorable, by far, GMAC Bowl was the game between future teammates, Byron Leftwich and David Garrard. Garrard would eventually become the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he couldn't out-duel Leftwich and the Marshall Thundering Herd as they completed the second largest comeback in bowl history due to the 2006 Insight Bowl. Over the next four games, the bowl was generally lopsided towards the MAC with Marshall beating Louisville easily, Ben Roethlisberger and Miami OH beating Louisville, Bowling Green defeating Memphis easily, and Toledo whipping up on Mike Price's UTEP team. However, the trend would end last year with Southern Miss defeating Ohio 28-7. Let's just say that the GMAC Bowl hasn't provided us with the greatest match ups of all-time.

Bowling Green Storyline

Gregg Brandon was on the hot seat (sort of). And boy, did his team deliver.

One of the biggest issues with Bowling Green since the departure of Omar Jacobs was QB play. In 2005, Jacobs was hampered by an injury and during the stretch he was out, this team didn't produce. In 2006 when Anthony Turner became the full-time starter, Bowling Green was just mediocre. But, Tyler Sheehan was discovered in the game against Minnesota and that would turn the Falcons' misfortunes around taking them bowling for the first time since 2004.

The year began with a thrilling victory against Minnesota. Coach Brandon decided to go all Boise State on everybody and try for the two points in overtime. The conversion was successful and Bowling Green started off the year 1-0. After a defeat against Michigan State, Bowling Green was able to avenge their stunning loss to Temple a year ago with a 48-35 win.

But, soon after, their MAC East hopes would bedashed. After a drilling from Boston College, Bowling Green didn't even show up against Miami OH losing 47-14. That game put Miami in the driver's seat for the division crown and they never looked back. But, besides a loss to Ohio, Bowling Green found a way to win out for the rest of the year, ending the season as one of the hottest teams in the MAC.

Tulsa Storyline

Texas Tech? Hawaii? If you haven't seen Tulsa's offense yet this year, they would be able to give those teams a run for their money, statistically speaking.

The hire that made the most waves throughout C-USA in 2007 was that of former Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn brought with him a fast-paced, no-huddle spread system that is somewhat similar to Texas Tech's. It turns out the fit was almost perfect unlike his stint at Arkansas where he didn't have the pieces to run the offense to its maximum potential.

So the season started with my ill-fated upset pick of UL Monroe. The Warhawks gave the Golden Hurricane a 1st half battle, but Tulsa eventually pulled away. In an amazingly high-scoring battle, Tulsa out-lasted BYU 55-47. The reason that score was so shocking was because of BYU's defense. They had a great defense this year, but it goes to show you how potent this Tulsa offense can be.

Even with their ability to put up a ton of points though, Tulsa has had their run-ins with some awful football teams. Marshall, UAB, and SMU really struggled to compete this year, but all of them managed to lose to Tulsa by one score. This alarming trend was really put to rest with an easy shelling of Houston 56-7. That's probably the most stunning score of 2007, Stanford-USC excluded.

But the year ended with a disappointing loss to Central Florida in the C-USA title game. It should be interesting to see how they rebound from that loss in the GMAC Bowl.

Match ups of the Game

Tulsa Passing Game vs. Bowling Green Pass Defense-Tulsa usually wins by throwing and putting in a solid mix of running plays to keep the defense off-balance, but Bowling Green really needs to take their coverage skills to a new level facing off against this high-octane Tulsa attack. Paul Smith was thought to be a square peg to this offense's round hole, but it turns out he was an almost perfect fit becoming one of the most prolific passers in the game. His targets are Brennan Marion, Trae Johnson, Charles Clay, Dion Tolliver, and Jesse Meyer. Bowling Green's secondary might have their hands full trying to cover all of these athletes at WR.

Bowling Green Passing Game vs. Tulsa Pass Defense-As mentioned, there shouldn't be a whole lot of defense in this game. So, with that said, Tulsa's pass defense ranks 108th in the nation with Bowling Green's passing offense checking in at 19th. While the Falcons don't equip an offense quite as capable as Tulsa's, the Golden Hurricane can't play as well against the pass as Bowling Green does. Look for this to be a key match up.

Keep an Eye on...

Charles Clay. With all of the attention being paid to their top receiver, Brennan Marion, Charles Clay is an excellent freshman player.

Todd Graham and Gus Malzahn are always looking for ways to get the ball into his hands whether it be on sweep plays, screens, short dump offs, or options. With the new spread offense at Tulsa, he fits the system like a charm.

Anthony Turner. Since both teams will most likely be lighting up the scoreboard at this point, we might as well focus in on Anthony Turner.

He's the Bowling Green form of Charles Clay, basically. The Bowling Green offense looks for ways to get Turner the ball on sweeps, screens, etc.

The difference between Turner and Clay is that Turner can play a little QB. There are packages for Turner where he kind of does that read option kind of stuff. But unlike many teams with an athletic guy behind center, he's pretty good at chucking the ball, too. This extra dimension has been a pain for defensive coordinators all season long.


Even though I bet the ratings won't show it, this game should get a 8 out of 10 on the Must-See-Ometer for the casual fan. Defense? Screwwwwwwwww that!

Tulsa doesn't play any defense at all. They're giving up over five touchdowns a game. Five touchdowns a game! The Golden Hurricane are also having a tough time keeping teams from passing the ball at will. They're currently surrendering over 270 yards a game through the air. Bowling Green is statistically much better against the pass ranking 30th in the nation, but the MAC is not chalked full of passing juggernauts. They haven't faced a passing offense with the potency of Tulsa's. Don't forget, even though Bowling Green has a solid statistical defense, Tulsa ranks first in total offense. So this is a shootout of Wyatt Earp proportions.


Even though there won't be much defense, the team with the better defensive performance will prevail. That will be Bowling Green. Even though Buffalo and Akron don't necessarily have explosive offenses, they have been much better all season against the pass, specifically. Tulsa will bomb away and come up with 450+ yards of total offense, but Tyler Sheehan and Freddie Barnes will hook up on a number of 15+ yarders.

There is one thing though that turns me off a little bit with this upset pick and that's 3rd down conversions. Tulsa is about 6% better compared to Bowling Green, so that's a thing to keep an eye on. I'll probably regret it, but I'm going with the Falcons by a score of 52-48 (1 confidence point).



"You heard the song, The Big Payback? Let's hope that's what it was. If not, Akron is pretty darn good." That's how Miami coach Charlie Coles summed up the game where his Red(skins)hawks had it handed to them last night by a score of 69-54.

For those who don't follow Akron basketball very close, Coles was referring to last season's Mid-American Conference Championship game, where Miami squeaked one out with a lucky shot at the buzzer to win 53-52 and go on to the NCAA tournament. As Miami made it to the dance, the Zips stayed home despite winning 26 games.

Gee, it seems that Akron's weak out of conference schedule seems to have had absolutely no impact on their ability to compete, and embarrass even the elite of the MAC, which Miami is considered.

For those who are disillusioned into thinking the MAC is going to get more than one bid to the tournament -- it really doesn't matter now, does it? Akron Coach Dambrot is holding firm on his scheduling strategy of negotiating a home and home contract, even with the bigger boys. Some people seem to have a problem with that. I agree, it is difficult to see some of the patsies on the Zips' schedule. What Dambrot is trying to do is not easy. It is going to be difficult in the early going as he builds his program. One thing must happen for his program to work -- the Zips must win. And that's HIS responsibility.

In the meantime, for those who don't happen to agree with Dambrot, I'd like to borrow a phrase from Mike and Mike on ESPN radio, "Just shut up!"

(photo: Lew Stamp/Akron Beacon Journal)


AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Steve McNees scored 20 points and was 6-for-6 from 3-point range as Akron coasted to a 69-54 win Saturday night over Miami of Ohio.McNees made three consecutive 3-pointers toward the end of the first half to kick off an 18-0 run for the Zips (11-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference).He followed that with two free throws and another 3-pointer. Jeremiah Wood closed the run by adding a dunk and a layup just before halftime to put Akron ahead 41-19 at the break.Miami (6-7, 0-1) couldn't mount a threat in the second half.Eric Pollitz led the RedHawks with 12 points, while Tyler Dierkers and Michael Bramos each added nine.Wood scored 19 and Nick Dials added 10 points for Akron.




ZIPS DEFEAT REDHAWKS...Cincinnati Enquirer




New Polls!

Hey guys, I've got some new polls up. Be sure to vote!

If you'll look to the third column, you'll see there's a fan poll (that Blogger had to be really difficult about*). But, there's also a poll that runs until August asking you to pick the winner of the MAC in 2008.

*Me + Blogger=As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure why I'm using Blogger. I should be on Wordpress, but, oh well...


Preview: International Bowl

Background Info & History

The International Bowl doesn't have a sponsor. But there are some interesting facts nevertheless. It is the first bowl game to be played outside of the U.S. since the Bacardi Bowl which was played in Cuba. The city of Toronto lobbied for a bowl game in 2004, but was turned down in favor of the Poinsettia Bowl. It tried once again in 2005 and was accepted along with the Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. This created the first ever International Bowl which consisted of a dominating first half performance from Cincinnati and a failed comeback bid from Western Michigan. Cincy won the game 27-24.

Rutgers Storyline

The International Bowl? How could a team possibly be motivated after having much bigger things on their mind?

The Scarlet Knights were one of the preseason favorites to take the conference. Last year, these guys took the college football world by storm, finishing one overtime away from representing the Big East in the BCS. Now, sitting at 7-5, they'll be looking at the International Bowl. Rutgers was one of the more disappointing teams in the nation.

Even though they devoured patsies early on like Norfolk State, once they ran into their first two tests in Maryland and Cincinnati, Rutgers quickly dropped to 3-2. It wasn't the start they were looking for at all.

But, if you're cold, is there a better opponent to play than Syracuse? The Orange got steamrolled against Rutgers and the very next week, then #2 USF went down in Piscataway. Was Rutgers back on track? Not really, they got hammered against West Virginia the very next week.

Closing out the year, Rutgers fell by a field goal to Louisville. And we all know about Louisville's struggles this year. It will be interesting to see if Rutgers will get ready to play in this ballgame.

Ball State Storyline

This is the breakthrough season Brady Hoke was looking for!

The Cardinals of Ball State hadn't been to a bowl game since 1996 when they lost to Nevada in the Las Vegas Bowl. So, let's just say that Hoke has done a nice job in getting the program to another level.

Ball State struggled to get any kind of offense in their Thursday night opener against Miami OH. The RedHawks won the game by a score of 14-13. These guys were able to bounce back by beating Eastern Michigan and winning a thrilling game against Navy.

What was a shocker at the time, Ball State was a point away from being tied with Nebraska in Lincoln. This could mark one of the more important games in Ball State history even though we know how bad Nebraska was defensively; it's still Nebraska at home.

Soon afterwards, the Cardinals won three of four in conference play despite getting whacked by eventual MAC champions Central Michigan, 58-38. Ball State ran into two Big 10 bowlers, Illinois and Indiana, and they did play pretty admirably. The Cards closed out the year with wins against Toledo and Northern Illinois.

Match ups of the Game

Rutgers Running Game vs. Ball State Rush Defense-If there's one match up that we'll probably see domination in, it'll probably be with Ray Rice and the running game. Even though Rutgers has thrown the ball a lot more than they did in 2006, Ray Rice is still the focal point of the offense. Ball State has had their troubles against the run this year ranking 99th.

Ball State Passing Game vs. Rutgers Pass Defense-Not only will Rutgers likely run the ball down Ball State's throat, the Cardinals will have a tough time completing a lot big plays downfield. The Scarlet Knights are ranked second in the nation in pass defense, 11th in pass efficiency defense. Ball State is 22nd in passing offense, so something will have to give.

Keep an Eye on...

Darius Hill. As mentioned before, Ball State's passing game will have to churn some big yards if they want a legit shot at knocking off 2006's Cinderella darlings.

Rutgers has one of the best secondaries in the country, but they cannot, repeat, CANNOT, forget about Ball State's tight end, Darius Hill. Dante Love at WR might get more attention, but Hill basically acts as a WR.

Hill is big, strong, fast, and athletic. He even looks like a receiver instead of your stereotypical TE. Nate Davis loves utilizing mismatches that Hill creates with LBs in coverage. Rutgers can't afford to do that. Hill averages about 70 yards receiving per game.

Jamaal Westerman. Westerman just happens to be an Ontario native, so expect him to be playing with a purpose.

Ball State's offensive line has been pretty decent this year giving Davis a comfortable amount of time in the pocket. But, even though they are 42nd in sacks allowed, Westerman is the Rutgers sack master. He, along with Eric Foster, will be the guys Ball State must neutralize.


For those reading at Mid-America Nattering, I try basing this scale on how the common fan would view the game. To me, most MAC games are ones I try to see because I am a fan of the conference as a whole. But, I just wanted to clear that up.

Anyway, this game gets a 5 out of 10 on the Must-See-Ometer. Even though Rutgers adds some interest to the game, they didn't make any noise this year save for their win against USF on Thursday night. Ball State had better bring their A-game or it might get a little ugly with the Rutgers rushing attack and how well they play pass defense. There really isn't much about this game that would get a common fan jacked up.


Rutgers is going to win. Ball State will put up a fight early and might even lead at halftime, but the rushing game of Ray Rice is probably going to wear the Ball State defense out. Mike Teel has really emerged as a passer, I'm not sure the Ball State offensive line will hold up as well as they have this season, and the secondary for Rutgers is too good to let Ball State rack up the passing yards. Rutgers will pound their way to victory, 34-24 (30 confidence points).