2012 MAC Blogger Roundtable, week 9
It’s time for this week’s MAC Blogger Roundtable. Each week one of the bloggers covering the MAC (links are on the right sidebar) poses several questions, to be answered by the others. This week’s host is Saddle Up, Fight On, the new-ish Western Michigan blog.
1. There have been heated discussions about WMU fan’s attendance at football games lately. What is the perception of attendance at your school? Do you feel that winning solves all problems, or is there another major piece to the puzzle?
Winning doesn’t solve all problems — a winning EMU football team would still be very much in the shadow of the behemoth seven miles to the west — but it certainly helps. It’s certainly a topic we’ve spent plenty of time discussing here! My current working theory is that there’s a low positive correlation (possibly exponential) between wins and attendance within a single year, but that there’s a very high correlation between wins and attendance across several years.
2. The top 4 teams in the MAC are now a combined 27-3 with both Ball State and Bowling Green just 1 win away from bowl eligibility as well. Is this the year that the MAC gets 6 teams in bowls? Who gets in and goes where?
It’s sad to say, but the number of MAC teams that get bowl bids has very little — I hesitate to say “nothing” — to do with the year-to-year quality of the MAC. Don’t believe me? Ask the 2010 Temple football team, who, with an 8-4 record, were passed over while 14 6-6 teams got bids. Or ask the 2010 Western Kentucky team, who went 7-5 but stayed home while 6-7 UCLA went to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. (UCLA’s argument, which I can only describe as “weak-ass”, was that if USC hadn’t been on probation, UCLA wouldn’t have played in the PAC-12 championship, which they lost 49-31 to Oregon, so they’d have been 6-6 and bowl-eligible. Of course, if USC hadn’t been on probation, there wouldn’t have been an open bowl spot for the Bruins to try to weasel into, but obviously logic is irrelevant here.) In the last two years, four bowl eligible teams have failed to receive bids, three MAC teams and Western Kentucky.
3. We have reached the half-way point in the conference schedule. There seems to be quite a chasm between the haves and have-nots. How do you see the rest of the season going for the teams, particularly your team?
At this point, it’s really hard to say. Over the last two games, EMU has seemed to be the team we thought they’d be from the beginning of the season. I do want to see the EMU offense verify that it’s for real by putting up good numbers against a good defense, something we won’t have to wait long to see since Bowling Green has the best defense in the MAC.
4. If you want to see the MAC sponsor one sport (NCAA, Olympic, or fun), what would it be and why?
There a few different ways to take this question, and I’m going to take it all of those ways.
The completely serious answer is driven by my desire for EMU to not add another sport right now, because some athletics critics point to the multitude of varsity teams as a reason for concern. EMU currently has varsity teams in 20 of the 23 MAC-sponsored sports (all except men’s soccer, men’s tennis, and women’s field hockey) plus one non-MAC sport (women’s rowing). So, in the interest of EMU not adding a new sport, and of increasing the level and amount of competition in the region, I’d ask the MAC to add rowing.
If I move past EMU and consider the MAC as a whole, men’s ice hockey might make sense, particularly in light of the B1G-triggered hockey realignment. Miami, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green already play Division I hockey, so with one or two schools adding it and one or two affiliate members, they’d have the six teams needed to qualify for an NCAA auto-bid. The MAC is pretty solidly in America’s hockey belt, and I think varsity hockey would be a good addition to the league.
If we’re going to consider the addition of existing non-NCAA sports, as a transplanted Southerner I’d like to see competitive cheerleading. It’s just a thing that’s fairly widespread in the south but doesn’t really seem to have caught on around here. And if you don’t think it’s a sport, you’re not seeing it done right. Trust me on this one, folks.