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MAC blogger roundtable, week 9

October 24, 2013

It’s time for the week 9 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 Hustle Belt, whence “Brown and Gold” offers the following posers.

1. It’s rivalry week with Bowling Green taking on Toledo and Miami taking on Ohio. What is the best rivalry in your opinion in the MAC and why?

I feel like I’ve answered this question over and over and over.

Maybe that’s because I have.

For some reason we seem to be somewhat obsessed with rivalries here in the MAC. Perhaps it’s because, while some schools measure their seasons by national championships, final rankings, and the like, short of a conference or division title, the rivalries are how we gauge success.

It’s been a quarter-century since EMU went to a bowl game, but they’ve held the Michigan MAC Trophy the last two years, and despite a terrible showing so far in 2013 it’s not unthinkable that they could manage the three-peat. And the Eagles had a lock on the Ontario Sandwich Trophy until this just this year, having defeated then-Buffalo-now-New York the last five times.

As for the best rivalry in the MAC, my view on the matter hasn’t changed a bit.

2. NIU has opened up in the 18 spot in the last-first BCS standings, albeit behind Fresno State. If both teams manage to win out, should both teams bust the BCS or just one of them and which one? (put aside the MAC bias for a moment)

“Should”?

Well, if we’re going to talk about what “should” be, why are we even talking about the BCS?

What we “should” have is the Dan Wetzel playoff plan: all conference champions plus at-large bids for a 16-team playoff with the first two or three rounds hosted by higher seeds before finishing the tournament at a neutral site (or sites). In that world we wouldn’t even be talking about Northern Illinois versus Fresno State; they could both be in the playoffs and have a fair chance to settle the matter on the field.

Based on current standings, that might give us something like this:

1. Alabama (SEC)
16. Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt)
8. Stanford
9. Clemson

4. Ohio State (Big Ten)
13. Central Florida (AAC)
5. Missouri
12. Fresno State (MWC)

3. Florida State (ACC)
14. Northern Illinois (MAC)
6. Baylor
11. Auburn

2. Oregon (PAC-12)
15. Tulane (CUSA)
7. Miami
10. Texas Tech (Big XII)

3. What has been your biggest surprise/storyline thus far this season and why?

The biggest surprise to me in the MAC has been the utter collapse of Western Michigan. I was dubious from the start of the whole “row the boat” thing — because, you know, they’re the Broncos, and what does that have to do with rowing a boat except that a horse could never grip an oar with it’s hooves — but I hardly expected them to be as bad as they’ve been. Then again EMU has been pretty terrible this year too, so November 9 could be interesting.

Closer to home, I’ve been surprised by just how bad EMU has been,1 and disappointed by the continuing silence from new AD Heather Lyke regarding the future of Ron English.

  1. Let’s just say this: 45-7, 28-10, 51-20, 42-14, 50-25, and 56-28. That’s right, the best they’ve managed was half of what the other team scored. []
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenneth Barna permalink
    October 25, 2013 9:34 am

    Dear cmadler,
    The rivalry thing can be funny because what one team, or person, feels is their rival, that rival may not feel the same. Example: When I attended Eastern, most of those years we were in the IIAC (Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), with five schools from Illinois, and two from Michigan. The other Michigan school was Central. Most of the people at Eastern thought that Central was a natural rival. Most of the people from Central did not consider Eastern as their rival. They were in a rivalry of sorts with Northern Michigan because of an annual charity game they played at the time. If I remember correctly I think it was called the Red Feather game.
    Once Northern down graded their football program, Central began to play Western Michigan with some regularity, and also seemed to beat them with some regularity. So, those two schools now consider themselves as rivals, with Eastern playing second fiddle to both.
    Personally, I have always considered Central as our primary rival from what I have mentioned, but especially since they voted to kick Eastern out of the MAC in 1984, when a vote was taken by the MAC schools to consider kicking Eastern from the league. The majority of the MAC schools voted to keep Eastern in the league, so today, here we are. If, Eastern were only to win one game a year against anyone, for me, it would be Central.

  2. Ken permalink
    October 25, 2013 11:29 am

    My pick for our rival would be Central as well. I come from that neck of the woods and I know more people that went there. But I think you are right about using rivals as our yardstick as no team from the MAC will ever make it to the BCS Championship game (or even the Championship Game plus One). The BCS has been rigged so that barring some sort of wierd thing happening, no non-AQ team will make it to the big dance.

    As for a playoff, I still think that a playoff will happen but it will be the detriment of the teams that constantly argue for one. The playoff will be between the 4 Superconferences that are in the making (Big 10, SEC, ACC and PAC Whatever They are Now). I still have this feeling that Division 1 will be further split leaving the non-AQ conferences in the cold.

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