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Wherein we discuss the complete absence of anything resembling a competent defense in the conference, along with a few adjustments of the conference's beltline.
Not a lot changes yet again this week. The Bobcats, Huskies, Rockets and Flashes are still the definitive top of the conference, while Buffalo, Akron, UMass and Eastern are the definitive bottom of the pile.
The Bobcats lead is slowly slipping to the point that they might drop multiple spots with a loss, and it turns out even a quarterback change didn't make a shred of difference for the Eagles.
The bigger question: where has all the defense gone? Sure, the MAC has always been a conference built around offensive firepower, but this season is different. I'll use a set benchmark of 390 yards as an example. If you look at the conference back to the start of the 2004 season (which is, itself, an outlier, since there was a huge gap in the middle of the conference), this is roughly what 390 yards per game of offense got you:
|Season||Yards per Game||Rank|
In eight seasons prior to this one, 390(ish) yards of offense placed you in the middle of the conference (ranked between fifth and seventh) six times. Thusfar in 2012, that 388 yard per game average (belonging to Bowling Green) is the third lowest in the conference. Toledo is averaging 445 yards per game, which is good enough for 20th in FBS, but only fifth in the conference.
I pose it to you, the readers. What is going on here? Now, about those rankings...
|Rank||Rank (Pv)||Team||Record||What We Learned|
|1||1||OHIO||6-0 (2-0)||With every unimpressive showing by the defense, their grip here becomes less and less certain. Turnovers are nice, but they need to shut down lesser teams on the scoreboard, too.|
|2||2||NIU||5-1 (2-0)||It was close for a while, but Jordan Lynch was just too much and the defense got the turnovers they needed to put the game away.|
|3||3||TOLEDO||5-1 (3-0)||These track meets are just fine as long as they keep winning, but I can't help but feel their luck will run out at some point. not enough to miss bowl eligibility or anything, but certainly enough to lose to NIU.|
|4||4||KENT STATE||4-1 (3-0)||Here's the Kent defense we know and love. Everybody's tuning in to watch Archer (not the FX show), including his defensive teammates, the rest of the time. Their season finale with Ohio gets bigger every week.|
|5||6||MIAMI||3-3 (2-0)||The RedHawks got predictably buried by a more consistent Cincinnati squad. On a lighter note, Dysert is very nearly Miami's all-time leader in passing yardage (yes, ahead of Roethlisberger)|
|6||8||BGSU||3-3 (1-1)||It took the offense a little too long to get going, but they got themselves back to even keel with this win. Just give Anthon Samuel the ball from the get-go next time.|
|7||5||BALL STATE||3-3 (1-2)||This defense is atrocious. I know Keith Wenning is a great passer, but they are never going to win a game where he throws the ball 72 times.|
|8||9||WMU||3-3 (1-1)||Holy cow. When he finds a rhythm, this is the TVT everyone expected at QB. Can he sustain it beyond an admittedly weak UMass defense? Will this rhythm get thrown off if/when Carder returns?|
|9||7||CMU||2-3 (0-2)||Radcliff had two INTs returned for touchdowns, and CMU went down by two scores. Does this mean they are that close to Toledo in skill level? If the offense can't cut down those kinds of mistakes, it doesn't matter.|
|10||10||BUFFALO||1-4 (0-2)||Devin Campbell gave us a strong sign that 2013 AB (After Branden), and maybe even the rest of this season, might not be so bad after all. But if they end result doesn't improve soon, Jeff Quinn won't be around to see it.|
|11||11||AKRON||1-5 (0-2)||With about five minutes left in the first half, Akron had a 7-0 lead and fumbled at the BG five yard line. They managed 54 yards of offense and five first downs the rest of the game. What happened?|
|12||12||UMASS||0-6 (0-3)||That game went from slightly lopsided to over in a flash - they gave up 214 yards and 21 points in the first 1:49 of the second quarter. Perhaps there's a lot more room for growth than I thought?|
|13||13||EMU||0-5 (0-2)||The offense got 2/3 of their yardage from Hill's TD and their meaningless late scoring drive; Tyler Benz is not the solution. Also, the defense allowed 300 more rushing yards. Same s---t, different day.|