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Tuesday Tidbits

August 17, 2010

E. Michigan 2010 schedule & forecast

9/4 Sat vs. Army 28% L
9/11 Sat @ *Miami (Ohio) 29% L
9/18 Sat vs. *Central Michigan 26% L
9/25 Sat @ Ohio State 0.1% L
10/2 Sat vs. *Ohio 32% L
10/9 Sat @ Vanderbilt 25% L
10/16 Sat @ *Ball State 30% L
10/23 Sat @ Virginia 18% L
10/30 Sat vs. *Toledo 46% L
11/13 Sat @ *Western Michigan 32% L
11/20 Sat @ *Buffalo 31% L
11/26 Fri vs. *Northern Illinois 24% L
Projection Straight up: 0-12 Cumulative: 3-9

The award for Best EMU Season Preview of the Week (and yes, there were several this week!) goes to SportsRatings. In addition to a reasonably thorough team writeup, they project the odds of winning each game and use them to make both a straight-up projection (favored team always wins) and a cumulative projection (because if a team plays 3 games, with only a 33% chance of winning each, they have a 71% chance of winning at least one of those games).

Matt George at SportsBook Lists proves that gambling websites are capable of producing a decent season preview — Bodog, take note!

MAC-Sports.com “gets to know” junior offensive tackle Bridger Buche. Unfortunately, with regard to the interview, there’s no there there.

Phil Steele ranks Eastern Michigan football last in yet another category: home field advantage. Although I don’t agree with his methodology here, I can’t argue with the statement that EMU has no home field advantage.

According to this press release, Eastern Michigan is making “stadium enhancements” at Rynearson.

“We want to improve the front porch of the stadium,” Gragg said of the main entrance to Rynearson Stadium.

To that end, $15,000 in stadium fixes were recently approved and will be completed in time for the first game.

Changes will include enhancements to the main concession area, repairs to the sidewalk around the stadium; power washing the ticket booths; changing the front entrance from chain link fencing to more appealing black aluminum fencing; removal of barb wire on the fence and updating the graphics around the stadium.

I hate to say it, but these are small changes that 1) should have been done long ago and 2) are probably more “maintenance” than “enhancement”. Next week, I expect to run a long post about some needed changes at Rynearson.

EMU Volleyball announces that, like the football team, they’ve been picked to finish sixth in the MAC West.

Eastern Michigan’s 1970 men’s cross country team recently held a reunion, celebrating the 40th anniversary of their dual national championship year. The team won both the NCAA College Division title (now NCAA Division II) and the NAIA title that year.

In response to the (somewhat manufactured) furor over comments he made at the MAC media preview a few weeks ago, Ron English sent a letter to several media outlets, including the Detroit News and AnnArbor.com (the letter is exactly the same, so read it at whichever site you prefer).

I don’t cover baseball much, mainly because I don’t like it, but EMU’s baseball team, which very nearly won the MAC Championship this spring, will hold open tryouts Wednesday, September 8, at 6 am.

Jeff Arnold at AnnArbor.com profiles senior EMU defensive back Latarrius Thomas. A top high school recruit from Florida, Thomas sat out a year in order to follow English from Louisville to Eastern Michigan.

“I would have followed him anywhere. If he would have gone D-2, I would have gone…It’s about me being with someone with a guy that I trust, my father trusts,” Thomas said. “He’s a good guy, and that’s what it is really about.”

If English can inspire this kind of devotion in players and their parents, he will win at EMU.

Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com asks, “Who would you rather be in 2010?

19. Eastern Michigan or Western Kentucky? This has been a week to forget for Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, who has taken criticism for his comments about single moms. Both teams went winless last season, and both should get at least one win this season. Eastern Michigan might be further along because this is Year 2 of the English era. Willie Taggart just started at Western Kentucky.

In 2010, I’d rather be the Eagles. Personally, I think WKU administration made a mistake in firing head coach David Elson, who served as defensive coordinator for the 2002 FCS National Champion team, and as the head coach for the seven years since then. He lead the Hilltoppers to a 37-22 record his first five years, but the team struggled to make the transition to FBS, going 2-22 in 2008-09. Given his record of success, and the difficulty in making that jump, I’d have been inclined to give him another year, and a trigger-happy AD is always cause for concern.

Alex Varone of Rush The Court picks the Eagles men’s basketball team to finish 7th in the MAC overall, and 3rd in the West, about where they ended last season.

Eastern Michigan was the most improved team in the MAC last year, going from eight wins in 2009 to 17 in 2010. The Eagles could have been even better if not for a lack of experience in close games. In the team’s nine league losses (including the MAC tourney), seven were by eight points or fewer. This season, Eastern Michigan will push forward without the services of two of its top three scorers, Carlos Medlock and Justin Dobbins, a pair that combined to produce 29 points per game. The bright spot for Eastern Michigan is the return of senior forward Brandon Bowdry, a double-double machine who averaged 16.3 points and 10.0 boards per game last year. The Second Team All-MAC selection needs help on the outside, and could get it from senior wing Jay Higgins (8.0 PPG) and junior Antonio Green (6.7 PPG). If one of those two can emerge as a legit scoring option to complement the league’s best post player, the Eagles could be a team to watch for in the West division.

Former EMU football coach Jan Quarless will be inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, though probably not on the strength of his 1-6 record as EMU’s head coach. In all fairness, he was thrust into a bad situation as a first-year offensive line coach taking over a program that had gone 5-20-1 in Jim Harkema’s final 2 1/3 years, and it sounds like he’s had a fairly distinguished career in school administration.

For 27 years, Jan Quarless was a college football coach at seven NCAA Division 1 schools, serving as head coach at Eastern Michigan University and Southern Illinois University and offensive coodinator at New Mexico and Wake Forest. He was offensive line coach for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2005. Quarless was an All-U.P. football player at Iron River High School in 1969 and a four-year football letterman at Northern Michigan University, and is a 2000 inductee in NMU’s Sports Hall of Fame. He earned his PhD and became a school administrator after he left coaching and is now superintendent at Dollar Bay Schools.

According to ESPN.com, Ron English has scored his first commitment for the class of 2011. Brandon Watson, a tight end from Peoria High School in Peoria, IL, has picked EMU over Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Eastern Illinois.

“It was like they already knew me. They showed me a lot of love,” said the 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect.

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