2011 MAC Blogger Roundtable, week 7
This week’s MAC Blogger Roundtable is hosted by our friends at Let’s Go Rockets. By “friends”, I mean they don’t gloat too much when Toledo beats EMU 54-16.
1.) This far into the season, what has been the single biggest disappointment from your respective team?
Offense. Specifically, the passing game. Specifically, the passer. Also, the catching, or lack thereof. Also, the lame play calling. The pass defense has been disappointing too. Wait, you said just one? Offense. It may seem odd to complain about the offense on the heels of a 54-16 loss, but that’s the team’s biggest problem. The calls to fire offensive coordinator Ken Karcher officially began Saturday night.
2.) If the first season to this point was replayed without any injuries or personnel loses to your squad, how different would your team’s position be at this point in the season? Would having everyone healthy and available drastically change where you sit now and the potential for the rest of the season?
Noteworthy personnel losses have been Dominique Sherrer since game 2, Javonti Greene since game 5, Bridger Buche and Corey Watman since game 4, and Kinsman Thomas in games 1 and 2. None of them, individually or collectively, would have been enough for EMU to beat Michigan, Penn State, or Toledo, or even to make any of those games significantly closer. The second-half games will be much more in doubt, and so getting Sherrer, Greene, Watman, and especially Buche back will make a big difference.
3.) We predicted winners in each division and a MAC champion at the start of the season – based on what we’ve seen of the teams now, revise your picks for MAC East, MAC West, and MACC winners.
As you can no doubt figure out by skimming to the rankings at the bottom of this post, my expectations at the very top of the West Division are the same: Toledo. Northern Illinois seems to have taken a bigger-than-expected step back under Dave Doeren, which is particularly surprising, since it’s the defense that’s let the former defensive coordinator down. As a result, Western Michigan looks like the primary competition for Toledo.
In the east, Miami is working on the third season of a worst-to-first-to-worst. The East Division looks like it will come down to Ohio and Temple, but I’m not sold on the Owls, and the Bobcats have started their Solich slide early this year. Bowling Green could well work their way into the East Division discussion also.
As for the championship, I still think it’s going to be whoever wins the West, regardless of whether that’s Toledo, Western Michigan, or even Northern Illinois or Ball State. (Did I really just type that? Let me check…yes, yes I did.)
4.) Announcements are surfacing this week that the Peace Pipe will be discontinued as the trophy for the victor of the Toledo / BGSU rivalry, but the rivalry will be rebranded the “Battle for I-75” and include a new trophy. Speak about what the loss of tradition and traditional rivalries would mean to your team and whether a trophy/name change, for example, would diminish from the rivalry.
The loss of tradition…like ditching a mascot that had been used for 62 years in the name of political correctness?
The Peace Pipe was a great tradition, rated as one of the top 20 college sports rivalries. The “Battle for I-75” is a generic name that could also apply to Kentucky-Tennessee in the SEC and Cincinnati-South Florida in the Big East.
5.) Rank ’em.
2. Western Michigan
5. Northern Illinois
6. Bowling Green
7. Ball State
10. Central Michigan
12. Kent State