While most American sports fans are eagerly awaiting Thursday and the beginning of college football, the women’s volleyball season kicks off -- serves off? -- today.
Eastern Michigan opens the Mid-American Conference slate with a 10 a.m. match versus Arkansas-Little Rock in the Memphis Invitational. Every MAC team will play several games this weekend, with all 12 teams in some sort of invitational or tournament. For the full weekend schedule, click here.
Probably the toughest tournament lineup on the weekend is for MAC East favorite Ohio. The Bobcats travel to Dayton, Ohio, for the Flyer Classic to face No. 11 Pepperdine, No. 7 Illinois and preseason coaches’ poll vote recipient and tournament host Dayton on consecutive days.
The MAC has encouraged its top teams to create a schedule that would boost their RPI and make them appealing to the NCAA tournament committee, but the Bobcats may have bitten off a little more than they can chew. Still, picking up what would be an upset victory over any of its opponents would probably be considered a successful weekend for Ohio.
I’ll also be keeping an eye on Western Michigan’s trip to Norman, Okla., for the Oklahoma Invitational. Two preseason vote recipients (Tulsa and Oklahoma) are on the Broncos’ slate. These matches seem to have the potential for quality wins that are within reasonable reach.
After this weekend, it will be possible to have a much better understanding of each team, with a glimpse at the strengths and weakness of all 12.
- The preseason coaches’ poll tabbed Ohio as the East Division champions and Western Michigan to win the West, with the Broncos taking the tournament title. I basically agreed with the coaches, although Miami seems a little overrated.
- The All-MAC Team was also announced.
- Ball State will start its season at home, but the Cardinals are banged up.
- Western Michigan had a nice feature on its 99-match conference winning streak during the 1980s as part of a Title IX anniversary package.
- Not MAC-related, but Mechelle Voepel gives her five questions for the 2012 season.