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MAC FBS Non-Conference Games By Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Dungeons

With the college football season just 2 months away, and NCAA Football 14 set to release in 1 week, we look at how our MAC teams' non-conference games pair up with another classic franchise.

Can Jordan Lynch continue to be the hero of the MAC?
Can Jordan Lynch continue to be the hero of the MAC?

Two years ago, we set out to determine the difficulty of MAC upsets using NES games. The process was intriguing, so I decided to do something similar using the legendary game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. This game, which is widely regarded as one of the best of all-time, won multiple Game of the Year awards after it was released almost 15 years ago.

The dungeons, which were just a minor part of the massive world Shigeru Miyamoto and his team created, varied from simple to insanely difficult and fun to downright infuriating. The 3D graphics were incredible for their time (incredible to believe now) and each different town/dungeon/room had a realistic feel that still draws me back even after beating the game multiple times.

Speaking of, if you find my game, please return it to me. I'm having withdraws.

Anyway, I looked at the MAC non-conference schedule, and each OoT dungeon, and saw similarities. So without further ado, here are my MAC games as Ocarina of Time Dungeons (all links head to respective Dungeon pages at . .

Deku Tree

Ball St vs Army
Ohio vs North Texas
Ball St @ North Texas
NIU @ Idaho

This one is simple. The Deku Tree dungeon was far and away the easiest dungeon in the game. It was also in Link's/[insert whatever name you used here]'s homeland. Plus, it was at the start of the game. All these games happen relatively early in the season and very winnable. Plus, two are at home (there aren't many total home games folks). Anyway, let's just move on. If you are playing while reading, you've probably already moved on to the next dungeon.

Dodongo's Cavern

Ohio vs Marshall
Miami @ Marshall
Akron @ UL-Lafayette

This was one of my favorite dungeons in the game. It's large, yet simple. You get to throw bombs, and you fight a fat dinosaur. In the end, it was beatable to make it enjoyable but hard enough to not be boring. Same goes for 3 of these 4 games. They are all winnable, but should provide some provide some challenge first. Except Akron vs ULL. That one is Terry Bowden eating "bombs" in the form of Cajun Cookin'!


Jabu-Jabu's Belly

Buffalo @ Baylor
UMass vs Vanderbilt
WMU @ Northwestern
BGSU @ Mississippi St

Screw this dungeon! Seriously. One of the main reasons I didn't beat this game (and thus put it away for a year) was this level alone. It sucks so much. I still hate it. You're inside a sick fish. A FAT sick fish. An UGLY, FAT sick fish. Screw this level. Anyway, you'd think it would be easy. You're still kid Link, you've breezed through the first two levels, but nope! Road block to adulthood (slight spoiler alert).

Anyway, these games can relate. They should be easier than you'd think. Baylor had a down year. UMass plays at home. Northwestern usually isn't that strong. BGSU plays Mississippi State in October. But, in order: it's still Buffalo vs Baylor, it's still UMass, WMU isn't expected to be strong while Northwestern has been pretty decent, and ESS-EE-SEEE.

Forest Temple

NIU @ Iowa
Buffalo vs UConn
BGSU @ Indiana
Miami @ Illinois

I originally hated this dungeon too. But as I got older (and smarter), I grew to love it. This is a complex temple but probably my most fun one. You shoot ghosts, you run down twisted corridors, the music is lively. Hell, you even battle Phantom Ganon! In many ways, this is our MAC vs the BCS. Each winnable games, but challenging. But all 4 of these opponents have lost to MAC schools recently, with 3 receiving losses last season alone.

But like defeating Phantom Ganon, beating these teams does very little in the whole BCS picture. You're still beating a lower level BCS team that is seen by many as "not the real thing" anyway. Huge letdown, but you still march on for your end goal.

Fire Temple

EMU @ Rutgers
Miami @ Kentucky
BGSU vs Tulsa
Akron @ UCF

So I'm going to be honest here and say that this was the last dungeon/bin I filled. It was "too hot to touch". Anyway, these all appear to be losses with the possible exception of BG vs Tulsa. However, the Hurricanes were red-hot last season so it's hard to gauge where the two teams are entering this season.

In the game, you get to discover the Megaton Hammer, and you fight a man eating dragon. Along with invisible fire wall mazes and other crazy puzzles, this dungeon is challenging. But yet, it is forgotten because of its two successors.

Water Temple

Ohio @ Louisville
Toledo @ Florida
UMass @ Kansas St

I hate the water dungeons. Jabu-Jabu's belly sucks. The Water Temple can burn in hell (or the Fire Temple, whatever). This MF-ing dungeon is so complex and annoying, you'll want to shoot yourself. "Oh you screwed up and missed a jump? Tough break skippy, reset the water level and repeat EVERY STEP YOU'VE ALREADY DONE." Screw the Water Temple. And when you beat the temple, (WARNING: spoiler alert) you don't even get to see the Water areas unfrozen. Which reminds me, screw the ice levels behind Jabu-Jabu. That whole area can die.

While I hate this temple, it isn't impossible. Same goes for these games. All are winnable, but huge underdogs on the road. Yes, even UMass vs Kansas State. You never know if Bill Snyder is going to go crazy and run Kansas State to the ground. UMass has to eventually progress upward too, right? I doubt any of our MAC teams win these games, but if they have a perfect game, they could win.

Shadow Temple

Kent St @ LSU
Buffalo @ OSU
CMU @ Michigan
Akron @ Michigan

You show me one Zelda player who loves the Shadow Temple more than any other temple and I'll show you a liar. This temple is creepy, dark, annoying, boring, and at times, confusing. No one wants to play it, let alone watch someone play it. All you get out of it is the stupid Hover Boots too, and they are useful for about absolutely nothing.

While any of these MAC teams would benefit from beating their BCS opponents, we all know it won't happen. The best shot is for Kent State to beat LSU, in Death Valley. Get real. Besides, Kirk Herbstreit would just renounce the game(s) the next week and in the end, these games just suck. Moving on.

Spirit Temple (Kid)

Kent St @ South Alabama
Toledo vs Navy
EMU @ Army
Ball St @ Virginia

The theme of these games is later season (late September on out) non-conference games. Also, they are all winnable. By this point in the game, you have a lot of experience in combat and puzzles. As you go back to kid Link to do this, it takes some skill to win these games. However, you are now a skilled assassin now and can easily beat this temple (and the Gerudo jail, which sucks). Apply same principals to above 4 games, with some "difficulty" taken from the Kent St-USA game and applied to the Ball State-UVA game.

Spirit Temple (Adult)

WMU @ Iowa
UMass @ Wisconsin
Miami vs Cincinati
EMU @ Penn St

The adult version of this temple is slightly larger and more complex. And it can be a pain in the butt at times. But still is a lot of fun to play. Plus the boss goes from two old witches to one super woman who isn't that bad looking. These games are difficult, but in the realm of winnable (who knows if UMass breaks out and how far Wisconsin regresses without Ball, Bielema, and O'Brien, just sayin'). And the dialog by ESPN if one of these teams beats their opponent would be funny. Like the death of Koume and Kotake.

Ganon's Castle

Kent St @ Penn St
Toledo @ Mizzou
CMU @ NC State
NIU @ Purdue

The end-all. The castle itself isn't that hard. You face Ganon, and he does his thing by trying to kill you. (WARNING: MORE SPOILERS) Then, you kill him, and his spirit tries to kill you, and you somehow escape, and he comes back as ManBearPig and it's just fight after fight. And it's fun. Difficult though. Same for these games. They should be fun. CMU vs NC State? The only team Dave Doeren lost to in the MAC? Dri Archer in front of 100,000+ fans (if they show up in Penn State's "grounded period")? Mizzou or Purdue trying to hang with the two most consistently good teams in the MAC West the past few years?


So there it is. Obviously there are 12 games missing from the non-conference schedules. Those are the 12 FCS opponents the teams (sans Miami) face. They are side quests. I'm not even going to bother dealing with "should be wins". Now excuse me while I continue to search for my game. There is an extended weekend coming up and I have the perfect way spend it celebrate it.