MAC Blogger Roundtable, week 8
This week the MAC Blogger Roundtable is hosted by Temple Football Forever.
1) Eastern Michigan surprised Ball State last week, but was it the most baffling result of the weekend? Explain your choice.
Honestly, I didn’t find any of this weekend’s results baffling, at least not in the manner of the Ball State-Central Michigan game. The most surprising result to me was probably the Northern Illinois-Buffalo game — not that I was surprise to see the Huskies win, but the mannger in which they dominated the Bulls. I just didn’t think they had that kind of a dominating performance in them this year.
2) Pick the four bowl tie-in contestants and, just for fun, polish the crystal ball and figure out who is going to Mobile, Detroit, Boise, etc.
Northern Illinois, Temple, Toledo, Miami, and Ohio will all get bowl bids. It will be deja vu for the Huskies who will make their third trip of the season to southeastern Michigan for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit and get a rematch with Illinois. Temple will head to Mobile for the GoDaddy.com Bowl, facing Florida International. Toledo will visit the blue turf of Bronco Stadium for the Humanitarian Bowl and face off against Nevada. Miami and Ohio will go to the Poinsettia Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, or the New Mexico Bowl.
3) Last year there were five MAC bowl teams. How many this year?
Part of the trick with that is that any MAC bowl bids beyond the first three are conditional upon other conferences being unable to fill their spots. So this prediction depends on figuring out how many bowl-eligible teams each conference has. Going down the list, I’ll guess that the ACC gets 8, the Big East gets 6, the Big (11) Ten gets 8 or 9, the Big XII gets 7 or 8, the Pac-10 gets 6, the SEC gets 9, the Mountain West gets 4, Conference USA gets 6 or 7, the WAC gets 4, the MAC gets 5, the Sun Belt gets 3, and 2 or 3 of the independent schools will get bids. So I anticipate ending the season with 68 to 72 bowl-eligible teams, with 70 spots to fill. In all likelihood, every bowl-eligible team will get a bid, which means five MAC teams go bowling.
4) Who is the offensive player of the year (and the runnerup) so far in the MAC?
The offensive player of the year — or at least the first half — has to be Chandler Harnish. Several MAC quarterbacks have passed for more yards than Harnish, but none approach his efficiency. He’s thrown ten touchdowns against only three interceptions, he’s never completed fewer than 50% of his passes in a game, and he ended three games with completion rates above 75%. Add to that his 71 rushes for 457 yards and three touchdowns, which make him the MAC’s #3 rusher in yards per game, and he’s the obvious choice.
The runner up is Harnish’s top running back, Chad Spann, the MAC’s #1 yards per game rusher. Spann has piled up 753 yards and eight touchdowns through seven games, and he ran for 223 yards on 15 carries (an astonishing 15 yards per carry!) against Minnesota.
5) Rank ’em in any order you please?
4. Northern Illinois
7. Western Michigan
9. Central Michigan
11. Kent State
12. Bowling Green
13. Ball State
Oh, you want to know the basis for that ranking? It’s an entirely subjective and capricious listing, ordering the schools based on nothing more than my personal feelings about them, ranging from “like” to “indifferent” to “dislike”.