MAC Blogger Roundtable, week 6
This weeks participants were:
1. What are your realistic best- and worst-case scenarios for the rest of your team’s season?
Runner-up in the best-case scenario is Let’s Go Rockets:
Best case scenario for the Rockets… after Boise drops the 3rd loss of the season on the Rockets, the team wins out and finishes the regular season 9-3. For the first time in a long time, this one isn’t too far fetched.
The best realistic best-case comes from Temple Football Forever:
Best case? Chester Stewart becomes Randall Cunningham and [Bernard Pierce] comes back and Temple runs the table.
As for worst-case scenario, the runner-up is Bull Run:
Worst Case Buffalo loses to nearly everyone, throw in a Loss to Akron or EMU. This, unfortunately is way more likely than my seven wins dream.
As all EMU fans know, the true worst-case scenario is that you will lose every game for two consecutive years, and go fifteen years without a winning season. You may think it’s just EMU, but that’s just because you’re not paying attention. Northwestern had 23 consecutive losing seasons, including 34 consecutive losses and a six-year period in which they went 3-62. Western Kentucky is well on their way to two consecutive winless seasons. Vanderbilt had 25 consecutive losing seasons, and though they never went winless, they did manage back-to-back one-win seasons. Ball State went 10 years between winning seasons.
When Michigan fans were agitating for Lloyd Carr to be replaced in 2007, do you think they even considered going 3-13 in the next two seasons of Big (11) Ten play, with losses in Michigan Stadium to Utah and Toledo? They would have told you that there was no way things could get that bad. Going 9-4 with losses to Appalachian State (en route to their third consecutive FCS championship), Oregon, Wisconsin, and Ohio State — all very good football teams — doesn’t look so bad to Michigan fans these days.
So just remember, no matter how bad you think things might get, it could always get worse.
2. If you could pick a single down that’s been played this year to give a different result, which play would you choose? Why that play? How would you like it to go?
Falcon Blog offers up several good options:
I was going to say the play when Schilz got injured, but that sounds kind of whiny. The missed FG at the end of the Buffalo game is an obvious choice. I guess the single most tragic play is the INT we threw in the 4th quarter against Troy with about a minute left. The game was tied and we were moving the ball and had to think we were in a position to win the game. We throw the INT, then Troy gets the winning FG.
Temple Football Forever has the counterfactual that might have done the most for the entire conference, because it would have vaulted a MAC team into the top 25:
Pick is a good word. I can’t pick a single down. I can pick three downs and I have to use the word pick three times, which is precisely what Stewart did on the three absolutely worst reads of a defense by a Temple quarterback I have ever seen in the Penn State game. That game was Temple’s for the taking, even without Bernard Pierce. Chester came up as small in that one as Vaughn Charlton did against UCLA. Think I’m bitter about losing to PSU? Damn right.
As for EMU, any play that would have given the Eagles a win is a candidate, and that was most possible at the end of the Army game (one more completion at the end of the game could have gotten a game-winning touchdown).
3. Which MAC team is better than their record? Which is worse?
Well it never hurts to suck up to the guy hosting the round table so I’ll go with EMU. I think they could have, and perhaps should have, beaten Army or Miami. That being said I still think they will finish the season 0-12 (Please G*d if the eagles only win one game this year let it not be against Buffalo).
Still Every time I think the Eagles are about to turn the Corner they fall back into being EMU. Right now their biggest fear should be WKU winning a game and catapulting Eastern Michigan to the position of longest active losing streak.
Damn right, it never hurts to suck up!
The point about Western Kentucky is pretty good, though I don’t think it’s as big a deal as you might think. Just like EMU’s last big losing streak, this one is overshadowed (less so in this case) by another school with a slightly longer one. In 1982, Mike Stock’s firing immediately followed Northwestern’s win over Northern Illinois to end their 34-game losing streak, leaving the Hurons with the longest active losing streak. In this case, though, barring some off-field shenanigans, Ron English is not going to be fired until his third year is at least well underway, and they’ve got a stopper in the form of the 2011 opening game at home against Howard, a FCS team that has managed three wins in the last two years, and is off to a 1-4 start this year. Wins against FCS teams don’t really count in my book, but as far as major media are concerned it will get EMU off the national radar for consecutive losses, and it will ensure that Ron English isn’t saddled with the longest losing streak in school history (27 consecutive losses in 1980-82).
Also, as much as it pains me to admit it, I love that demotivational image for EMU.
4. What remaining game are you most looking forward to?
Fire Up Chips says:
Central Michigan versus Western Michigan in the first annual Pride Bowl of the decade since chances are, neither team will be playing for anything else BUT PRIDE.
As for EMU, I think maybe Toledo. It’s easier to get excited about losing games at home than losing games on the road, and Toledo is less than an hour from Ypsilanti, so they might send a good crowd.
5. Rank ’em, in whatever order and by whatever criterion you prefer.
The combined ranking probably looks something like this:
1. Temple (consensus)
2. Northern Illinois (everyone had them at either 2 or 3)
5. Miami University
6. Central Michigan
7. Bowling Green
9. Ball State
10. Western Michigan
11. Kent State
12. EMU (Falcon Blog had them at 13; everyone else had them at 12)
13. Akron (Fire Up Chips had them at 11, Falcon Blog had them at 12, everyone else had them at 13)
I have to say, I was disappointed here. I really hoped someone would rank the teams by some criterion other than perceived quality. But no one took me up on “by whatever criterion you prefer”, so <shrug>.