Wherein we sum things up with one eye towards the past, one towards the future, and stumbling over ourselves from looking at the world cross-eyed.
Well, here we have it folks. With the regular season all wrapped up and nothing left but the MAC Championship game left to play, we look forward for each squad to see what might be on the horizon, and also back at how their season unfolded.
That said, what a forward there is to look at for this weekend. The title tilt will feature not one but two MAC squads ranked in the BCS (something neither the Big East nor the ACC can say) and should be one helluva game. There are certainly BCS implications, but we will discuss that much more a little later. For now, lets get on with those rankings!
As always, debate away, just know that I am right and you are wrong.
|Rank||Rank (Pv)||Team||Record||What We Learned|
|1||1||KENT STATE||11-1 (8-0)||
Kent State's offense was nothing spectacular this week, but it didn't need to be. The defense recorded eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception, two defensive TD's, plus seven other plays that went for zero or negative yardage.
Next season might not be as impressive, especially given the seniors that will be departing on defense, but the Flashes now look to end the year on a high note now that they have their best record since 1922.
Jordan Lynch "only" had 275 yards from scrimmage (blasted flurries), and may now need a huge MACC game to get Heisman votes, let alone serious run, but Akeem Daniels doubled his season touchdown tally to eight and the Huskies throttled a clearly inferior EMU team.
Lynch should be alright since there won't be any snow against Kent, and NIU also will beed to replace some important seniors once this year's work is done.
|3||5||BALL STATE||9-3 (6-2)||
Ball State needed to run the ball with #Wenning out again, but Kelly Page held his own and helped the Cardinals rack up 226 rushing yards and a ninth win - one more gives ten to a squad that had 12 wins total since '08 heading into this year.
If Wenning returns healthy next season (which he should), this team should return enough offensive firepower to hang with NIU and Toledo, and perhaps enough defensive talent to beat them both.
Austin Dantin (remember him?) was in fine form against Akron in leading Toledo to their ninth win, though this makes 26 wins in three seasons with zero trips to the MACC game.
Maybe the senior season of Owens, Fluellen and Reedy will finally be the year, but much like Miami they aren't going to see that big jump in results until the defense gets better (five wins by 6 points or less despite scoring 33 points per game).
If I told you in August that the Falcons would win eight games this year, you'd probably be pretty content, though I certainly didn't expect four other teams to top that.
The defense was amazing again - which is great, because Schilz threw another three interceptions. The offense needs to sort things out before he flips his TD:INT ration upside down heading into his senior year.
Well, the Chippewas made it to bowl eligibility after all, and they needed a come-from-behind blowout to do it; though a bowl is still far from definite (60 teams have 7 wins).
Don't look now, but Zurlon Tipton went nutty again and wound up with 889 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns over the Chip's last six games (almost 1,400 yards and 20 TDs for the season). If CMU can stop getting stuck playing from behind, he could have a huge senior year.
I understand that injuries more or less derailed the season for the Bobcats, but it does point to a decisive lack of depth that the team fell this hard this fast.
Beau Blankenship will have a bowl game and his senior season to build on a quietly impressive 1,500 yard season, and if the defense can stay healthy this squad will have a lot of angry, motivated seniors in 2013.
The scoreboard didn't show it, but the Bulls got dominated. When the Bulls took over possession with 5:14 to play, they were only trailing 21-7, but they also had crossed Bowling Green's 30 yard line exactly once in 12 drives, and that was the drive that started on the BGSU 19.
That said, the team finally appears to have found its post "Bo" identity on offense with Licata, Campbell and Murie, which is a great place to build from.
Once again, their defense got them in a bind and the offense couldn't quite dig its way out. Next year the defense will have to be better, because their four-year starter at QB will be replaced by, at best, a senior who played the last four games two years ago.
That doesn't bode well for a team that just watched Dysert finish second on the team in rush yards without cracking 300 (for the second time). Who knows, maybe Jamire Westrook is for real?
|10||11||WMU||4-8 (2-6)||Covered this ground last week.|
And the season ends with a bang. Ron English should be back next season, and Bronson Hill has the potential to join the ranks of stud MAC RB's, but there are plenty of questions.
The Minutemen had a whole lot of CMU fans scared for most of the game - up until the time A.J. Doyle threw two INT's in the span of three plays.
This team has definite promise and it was fun to watch another opponent squirm, but they need to find themselves a consistent rush defense (and offense) as well as decide who will be under center next season (Pagel, Wegzyn, perhaps even Doyle).
Much like with UMass, there are signs of life here. Jawon Chisholm would have cracked 1,000 yards if he hadn't missed the CMU game, and the Toledo game gave us a preview of Kyle Pohl - which was solid if unspectacular.
This defense got better over the year (First four: 50 ppg - Last seven: 32 ppg...against FBS opponents) and there is certainly hope for mediocrity next season, odd as that sounds.