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2011 MAC Blogger Roundtable, week 8

October 19, 2011

This week’s MAC Blogger Roundtable is hosted by the Northern Illinois blog, Red and Black Attack.

1. Just when one team thinks they have a hold of the division, it seems like the next week they get upset by a seemingly lesser-talented surprise team. How do you explain the volatility in the MAC this year, with CMU beating NIU, then NIU beating WMU and EMU defeating CMU just this past week?

I have no freaking idea. I’m just along for the ride.

2. Going off of the last question, how emotionally involved are you with your respective team? Do you have your highs and lows or do you try and keep an even keel the entire season following your respective squad?

I have my highs and lows, but they tend to have more to do with how EMU plays than the outcome of the game. I was probably feeling better after their 31-3 loss to Michigan than I was after their 14-7 over what’s turned out to be a pretty good Alabama State team. EMU is much better than they’ve been, but they’re still a team that’s building (it’s been so long I don’t think you can call it “rebuilding”).

3. It seems like the MAC is past being a league where just offense prowess can win the league. Is that statement correct? Do you think your team has the right balance this season, or will one side of the ball have to carry the other the rest of the way?

I hope it doesn’t take offensive prowess to win the league, because EMU doesn’t have it. The Eagles can definitely gut it out with their running game and win a low- to mid-scoring game, but they really don’t have a chance in a true shootout. I’ve estimated that 41 points is probably the ceiling for this team — that’s what they scored at home against Howard — and the defense must keep opponents below that to even have a chance, and probably below 30 points to have a realistic possibility.

4. If you could get a top recruit for one position on your team, which one would it be?

Funny, a message board thread on this very topic was started this morning. Consensus there is that the biggest needs for 2012 and beyond are defensive line (2012) and quarterback (2013). Of 11 players listed on the roster as “defensive line”, “defensive end”, or “defensive tackle”, five will be gone after this season, and that’s a big hole to fill for 2012. As for quarterback, it’s become clear that, win or lose, Ron English is going to stick with Alex Gillett, and barring injury, he will be EMU’s starting quarterback in 2012. You can put that in ink and tattoo it. There is just n way Ron English will bench a senior quarterback (which he will be) who’s started every game since midway through English would do it. The gaping question, then, is who will be the starting quarterback in 2013. Of the known contenders, Tyler Benz will be a junior, and Mark Iannotti will be a sophomore if his redshirt sticks this year. More than any other position, a top quarterback recruit has the potential to completely change a college football team’s fortunes.

5. Rank los equipos

There’s a legitimate argument to be made for putting the teams from #3 through #8 in just about any order. This what makes the most sense to me. I’ll also go on record now as saying that the MAC Championship Game should feature the top two teams from the West Division in a rematch. All I’m saying is the East Division is awful this year.

1. Toledo. They won 36-13 at Temple, and it’s as simple as that.
2. Temple. No reason they can’t win out.
3. Northern Illinois. I’m not really convinced they’re the third-best team, but after Saturday, I couldn’t put them below Western Michigan.
4. Western Michigan.
5. Bowling Green.
6. Ball State.
7. EMU.
8. Central Michigan.
9. Miami.
10. Buffalo.
11. Ohio.
12. Akron.
13. Kent State. The Wagon Wheel will be the official last-place game this year.

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