1. With Bowling Green's strong showing last week against defending MAC East Champs Kent State, they recently were bumped up to the top of our power rankings over NIU. Would you put BGSU (or any other team) ahead of the Huskies right now? Why or why not?
Let's Go Rockets (Toledo) - Until someone in the MAC defeats the Huskies, they will have to remain at the top of the power rankings for us. Regardless of conference, you are still the champs until teams prove otherwise. BGSU is definitely better than they have been in recent years, but we aren't ready to put them at the top of the MAC because they beat a Kent State team that lost it's coach after one good season.
Eagle Totem (EMU) - There are three undefeated teams in the Mid-American Conference, and all three of them have looked pretty good so far. One or two games isn't much to base a ranking on, but if I had to choose now, I'd say that Bowling Green has won much more convincingly than Northern Illinois or Ball State, and looks like the more complete team. Luckily for them, the Falcons don't have either the Huskies or the Cardinals on their regular season schedule, so at most they'll face just one of them in the MAC Championship Game in Detroit.
Falcon Blog (BGSU) - Well, obviously this is a Bowling Green blog, but I wouldn't put BG or any other MAC team ahead of NIU right now. Don't get me wrong, we are thrilled at where the team is right now, but based on one game with Kent (without their best player) I wouldn't put us ahead of what is a very good NIU team. We will know more after the UT and OU games later in the year.
Bull Run (Buffalo) - Ill be honest I was very close to putting the Falcons in front of NIU this week when I ranked the teams. 2-0 against pretty decent competition is worth a lot but then there was that first half versus Kent. In that first half Kent showed that Bowling Green's defense may not be all that we believed it to be. So right now NIU sits ahead of them.
The other team I am looking at for number one is Ball State. They have looked really sharp but have not played anyone of note.
2. There appears to be a huge chasm between the top of the MAC (NIU, BG, BSU, Ohio, UT) and the bottom (CMU, WMU, EMU, MU, UMass, Akron) with Kent State and Buffalo leaning more towards the top. Do you think this is good or bad for the MAC? Do you see things possibly evening out at all?
LGR - From a fan perspective, you want to see the best football matchups that you can see, week-in and week-out. In order for that to happen, you need evenly matched teams. The disparity between the two pools of teams you mentioned above undermines those matchups and leads to routs and blowout wins. It's always fun to see your team drop the hammer but for the good of the conference, we need solid teams in even matchups as many weeks as possible. Looking ahead to future seasons, we don't see things evening out - someone will always have the upperhand with better talent, coaching, recruiting and some luck. Of course, teams could move back and forth between the pools as time passes but we don't see the disparity between the best and worst teams in the MAC lessening in the near future.
Falcon Blog - On one hand, it does help our good teams build up gaudy records, which gets attention, unwarranted as it might be. Look, some teams are always going to be better than others--this isn't Lake Woebegon--so in a sense the teams might change but this isn't that unusual. I worry more about the teams that seem to have structural issues--EMU, UMass and Akron--as opposed to CMU, WMU and Miami, where winning has at least happened historically.
Eagle Totem - Although, of course, as an EMU fan, I can't say I enjoy it, I do think having a big gap between the top and the bottom is good for the conference. As I argued a couple weeks ago, the quality of an athletic conference is usually judged by the top several teams only, not the top-to-bottom performance. So not only does the gap not hurt the conference - it doesn't matter, or at least doesn't matter much, how bad the teams at the bottom of the conference are - it's possible that it helps the conference. In college football, it's less important to win tough games than it is just to win games. Having that gap makes it more likely that several of the top teams will post double-digit wins for the season, creating more excitement when those teams meet in the MAC Championship game.
Bull Run - It's not the chasms between the top and bottom of the MAC that defines us as a conference, its the chasms between the bottom of the MAC and the bottom of the Sun Belt, or CUSA. When Eastern Michigan, UMass, and Akron can dominate FCS teams pretty regularly and when they schedule and beat teams near the bottom of the other G5 conference then the MACs perception will improve.
It's not too long ago CMU fans could point at Ball State, or Ohio and ask whey they could not help the conferences perception.
3. Even with all of the talk of the "New Association" for the AQ teams, this is still the last year of the BCS. Which team is most poised to crash the BCS, and is this the year the MAC wins a BCS bowl game?
Bull Run -Actually NIU may be in the drivers seat at this point. They beat Iowa and have a great shot at Purdue. Once again they have a very favorable MAC East draw (UMass, Akron, and Kent) so the Huskies could roll into mid November against BSU undefeated with two Big 10 wins under their belt.
Then The Huskies have a crack at Toledo and Ball State who should themselves have pretty good records by then. Toledo played themselves out of any conversation when they failed to capitalize against Missouri but if they play strong the rest of the way they could be a strong win for Ball State or NIU.
Outside of the MAC Marshall is looking good but they have not played anyone yet. Fresno has a nice win over Rutgers a successful match up with Boise may win them some points.
Falcon Blog - So, last year NIU busted the BCS with 1 loss. That was controversial enough, so let's assume you need to finish with 1 or fewer losses to bust in. Right now, 5 MAC teams (UT, WMU, Buffalo, UMass and Miami) already have two losses. Of the 1 loss teams, I think it is safe to say that EMU, Akron, and CMU will not be running the table. I don't see Kent doing it either, which leaves us with OU, BG, Ball State and NIU.
Honestly, I think the only team in that group that has a shot at making it again is NIU. We're happy with how BG is playing, but there's a lot of games ahead (@Indiana, @Mississippi St, UT, Ohio U. and @Buffalo) before you can starting thinking like that.
LGR - NIU was fortunate to play in a BCS game, but we will not get ahead of ourselves and claim a MAC team will win a BCS bowl game. More importantly, we predict no MAC team will make it to a BCS game in the near future.
Eagle Totem - There's a very real possibility that we could wind up with another one-loss MAC champion, or even an undefeated team, and such a team would have a strong case for a BCS invitation. Both Bowling Green and Northern Illinois have the potential for two wins over AQ-conference teams, and Virginia may be a beatable team for Ball State. Any of those teams, with those wins, as division champions, could be BCS busters, and pairing such teams up in Detroit this year could again give the MAC champion the springboard into the big time.
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