So every now and then, the group of us - we bloggers, who cover the MAC like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cool fall night on the sidelines of..ahem, sorry - gather round and have a conversation about that which intrigues us within this little conference that we call home. It looks something like this:
Yes, I see the logo, you all can stop pointing at it.
Anyway, since you all can't be present for the conversation, here's Hustle Belt's contribution to the discussion, in response to our good friends at Over the Pylon:
1) Week one is in the books for the MAC. There was a fairly major upset, several close calls, and several bloodbaths. What was your biggest surprise and biggest disappointment across the conference landscape?
I could go with several options here for both surprise or disappointment - Ohio's Jekyll and Hyde showing, Toledo and Northern Illinois' ultimate inability to close out...whom to choose?
In true MAC fashion, I shall go with a tie for both. I'd say for surprise I'd go with the Alexes - Zordich and Gillett. In both cases, I did not see opening week what I saw last year. Did Alex Zordich look talented last year? Yes, did he look like a guy who could account for 230+ yards of offense, two scores, and keep his team in the game against a much better Georgia squad for more than a drive or two? No. This bodes well for the Bulls I think. As for Gillett, the kid had 20 or fewer pass attempts in 8 of 11 starts last season and threw the ball thirty four times in the Eagles' opener. Let's hope that isn't a trend, because that just isn't who EMU is.
For disappointment, another tie between Alex Carder and the UMass Minutemen. Alex Carder is supposed to be a longshot Heisman hopeful this season, but against a "not that much better than you" opponent in Illinois, he tossed two interceptions in the first quarter. Let's hope Illinois' defense is actualy much improved this season, because if not it might be another long, mediocre year for the Broncos. The Minutemen...I know, I know, you don't pick on the new guy when he skips a grade and starts anew, but come on. They gave up 37 points and only created 59 yards. 13 offensive drives, 9 three-and-outs, two drives that gained more than 9 total yards. I fear their matchup with Michigan in two weeks.
2) For your own team, how has your week one performance changed your opinion and.or perspective about what to expect from your squad as the year rolls on?
My squad (by re-default after the pathetic defection of Temple last season) is located in Athens, OH - and I'm not sure their performance this week really changed anything in terms of my expectations. Who is the real OHIO? The squad that got shut down for a half, or the squad that did the shutting down? I know the truth is somewhere in between, but I can't really make a definitive adjustment in expectations until I see them play a team they should manhandle - like, say, New Mexico State?
3) Outside of the MAC, what was your favorite moment of the weekend and why?
Last but not least, a three-way tie. 12th-ranked Wisconsin came *thisclose* to blowing a 19 point lead against Northern Iowa (UNI made it to within 40 yards of the lead-changing TD before turning the ball over on downs). Savannah State went to Oklahoma State and got absolutely destroyed, giving up 395 yards rushing in an 84-0 loss - so now they'll go play Florida State. Lastly, Houston scheduled a cupcake game at home against Texas State, then managed to piece together only 60 yards of offense on their last five drives en route to a 30-13 loss. Their offensive coordinator resigned after the game, folks. Careful what you wish for.