1. With three weekends remaining in the regular season, two MAC coaches are already gone. Does anyone else get fired, and if so who? Do any coaches get hired away, and if so who?
With English and Treadwell gone, I honestly don't see anyone else getting fired. Jeff Quinn is contending for a MAC East spot and Dan Enos is still in the hunt for a bowl bid (or at the very least, eligibility). All of the first year coaches get passes, and Bowden has Akron respectable this season (or the top of the cellar. Progress!). Unless CMU completely collapses this season and loses 2 of their last 3 games, no one else gets canned. My hot-seat watch next season though would feature Enos, PJ Fleck, Molnar, Bowden, and Frank Solich. Yes, I went there.
As for hired away, the obvious choice is Lembo. His name was thrown around last year, but nothing came through. Now after Ball State nearly knocked off NIU last night (don't deny it Huskie fans) on national TV, Lembo is almost surely gone. Rod Carey should stay because of (1) just one season and (2) Jordan Lynch. Sorry, but when you have him, you need to show staying power period. Matt Campbell sounds like he's staying in Toledo for a very long time.
Another name some people might forget is Dave Clawson. Yes, I said it. The job he's done with BGSU the past two seasons is pretty solid. I mean, they nearly beat Mississippi State this season! I'm calling it now, Clawson has his name thrown around a bit this off-season.
2. This year it seems that the conference has a top and a bottom but no middle; six teams have six or more wins already, while the other seven teams have three or fewer wins. Those bottom seven teams collectively have just a single win over the top six teams (Central Michigan over Ohio). Why is the divide so sharp this year?
Not sure. I mean, we all knew EMU, UMass, Akron, and Miami would be bad this year. WMU under Fleck looks like a train-wreck, and losing Archer killed all the momentum Kent State had coming into this season. We also knew NIU, Ball State, and Toledo would dominate the MAC West while BGSU and Ohio would lead the East. Buffalo has came from the middle to contend and CMU is doing CMU things by just barely getting eligible with a late-season push.
Could it be the coaching/stability in those programs? Clawson and Solich have been at BGSU and Ohio for what seems like forever now. NIU keeps losing coaches, but has the same system and just promotes internally. Campbell replaced Beckman nicely. Quinn is finally producing results in his 4th season (I know, Enos sucks in the same situation). Obviously, Lembo is the outlier, but that's why he's probably the "can't miss" hire of the MAC this off-season.
3. Six MAC teams are already bowl-eligible, and a seventh has a fair shot (Central Michigan, with games remaining against Western Michigan, Massachusetts, and EMU). Make some bold bowl predictions!
Screw it. NIU to the Fiesta Bowl. Late season push, plus playing an extra game (Fresno State never made up a cancelled game at Colorado due to floods in September) should get them in over the Bulldogs.
Ball State to the Pizza Bowl.
BGSU to the Potato Bowl.
Toledo to the GoDaddy Bowl.
Buffalo to the Poinsettia Bowl.
Who knows, it's a complete crapshoot anyways. See? Even our other predictions can be screwy.