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NIU virtually makes it to the National Championship

Thank you, EA Sports, for making our wildest dreams become a virtual reality. Well, sometimes those realities can be very harsh and mean and make you want to go outside and jump rope and sell your video game console on and never watch football again, but not us!

With NCAA Football 14 out on shelves at your local Meijer Gamestop, every college football junkie with a PS3 or X Box 360 or Super Nintendo or whatever these kids are into nowadays went out and actually purchased one of these games. I, too, plead guilty to these charges.

Since Ultimate Team isn't as great as everybody's making it out to be, I've decided to do a whole bunch of 2013 Season simulations & see what to virtually expect from the real #MACtion. Here are the power rankings that I found in decesnding order:

(NOTE: Since I listened to "Blurred Lines" while I conducted these sims, you have to listen to it while you read this. I know FM radio is over-playing it right now, but football season is a month away! Shake that groove thang!)

Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell (via RobinThickeVEVO)

13. UMass Minutemen

I get that you guys are new here, but man, you could at least put up some video game numbers on a video game.

Of all of the simulations I've conducted, the Minutemen struggled to get to a two-win season, let alone one win. A struggling offense and a defense that just can't keep up with the rest of the MAC East. Also, averaging over 500 points scored against you in a single season won't get the job done.

12. Akron Zips

Right now, I advise everybody reading this to stop what you are doing, stop texting your girlfriend (or mom) and go to whatever calendar service your phone uses. Google calendar, iCal, whatever. On November 16th, Akron is at UMass. I want you all to call off work, stay at home, watch this game (or go to Foxborough, whichever you prefer), hangout with us on HustleBelt, and watch this.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, my studies have shown that this might be a game where one of these teams will walk away with their first win of the season. This would mean that Akron would have already lost to James Madison Dukes at home in week 2 of the season.

I'm not saying that Akron will lose to their FCS opponent this year, but it's happened before.

11. Eastern Michigan Eagles

EA is out to troll EMU, I'm certain of it. First off, I know that not all of the skin colors for these guys aren't correct. "HB #32" and "TE #88" are meant to represent "Javonti Greene" and "Tyreese Russel", and I'm pretty sure they aren't totally Irish, or Scottish, or (you get the point). It's like said EA employees didn't even try to see what they looked like via Google search. Secondly, there was a simulated season where the Eagles went 6-6 and didn't go to a bowl game. Are we really doing this crap again? Those jokes are really old and are not funny.

10. Western Michigan Broncos

This really came down to who won the EMU/WMU game. Van Tubbergen could turn out to be a better quarterback than many (me) will give him credit for. Jaime Wilson is coming off of a tremendous freshman season, and wide receivers Justin Collins and Josh Schaffer will be back for their senior seasons. Maybe it's just me, but it feels like senior receivers over there on the west side of the mitten tend to have really good seasons.

9. Miami Redhawks

Austin Boucher threw for 2,000+ yards in a couple of these simulations. I never really saw him throw under 1,500 in any simulation, for that matter. Maybe he would have done more damage with Nick Harwell on the field, but that's college football for you.

Nothing really special to note about the Redhawks in these trials. They aren't really projected to do any better than 6-6 from what I've seen. However, it's the MAC and they've done the whole "worst to first" thing not too long ago; I'm pretty sure Austin Boucher remembers that.

*sniff sniff* MACtion... *sniff sniff*

8. Toledo Rockets

QB #2 probably should have stuck with baseball, but at least he'll get his opportunity after this season. I'm surprised they would constantly be in the mix with the Michigan MAC schools, but I'm just a writer on HustleBelt, so what do I know anyways?

Toledo fans: beware of your defense. Either it really does need work or the video game gods are just totatlly against your state.

7. Bowling Green Falcons

What do BGST-uh, students here say to point and laugh at Toledo? I really don't know the derogatory nicknamed used here. Either way, EA sports wants Bowling Green to win the "Battle of I-75"s.

The Falcon offense is very promising, especially with "TE #82" (aka Alex Bayer): a big target who could very well be named on the First Team All-MAC list this season. The trouble is that the defense could let up too many points, which lead to less wins, which would make Sussman an unhappy Sussman.

6. Central Michigan Chippewas

Even with the departure of Ryan Radcliff (CMU fans grin) and with Dan Enos still in the picture (and there it goes), the Chips have a real shot at making things fun this year. Tipton could very well be the best running back in the MAC this season. Yeah, I get all of the other arguments of other running backs in the conference, but don't argue with me. If you've got a problem, take it up with EA Sports. They're the one letting Tipton run for 2,000 yards in almost every season, being the source of more than half of the team's touchdowns in all of these tests. The least amount of rushing touchdowns Tipton got in a single season was 13, which "ain't bad".

5. Kent State Golden Flashes

With everything else going for the Flashes (Archer, Durham, Wollet), run defense is their chink in the armor. In almost every in-conference game, Kent State let up 100-200+ rushing yards in almost the same six games every season (LSU, Penn State, NIU, Ball State, Buffalo, Ohio).

But no worries, Dri Archer is still super awesome and talented and all that stuff in the video game. If you make a Dynasty, Kent State would be fun to play with. But I digress:

4. Buffalo Bulls

Despite a tough schedule with games at Ohio State, at Baylor, at Kent State and at Toledo, the Bulls will be very fortunate that they have Ohio and BGSU at home. It really seems like this year is really going to be a showdown when the Bobcats come to town on November 5, but it's still not as MACtion as the Akron/UMass game, but good enough to get your popcorn ready.

In almost every sim, Buffalo and Ohio would be the two teams that would be representing the East in the MAC Championship game at Ford Field.

While many schools get noticed for their offense, Buffalo has Khalil Mack and ten other guys that won't let more than 265 points scored against them all season.

3. Ohio Bobcats

I know I keep talking offense here, but Tettleton can really move a football, can't he? I've found in most seasons, he's found ways to have three players (mainly Foster, Smith and Blankenship) with over 400-500 receiving yards each season, while making some big plays with his feet. The secondary behind him was great. We all know the two big standouts over at Kent State (Wollet and Polk) for their defensive backs, but it just seems like the pass defense over in virtual Athens is something to virtually make note of.

2. Ball State Cardinals

Here's something I completely agree with: Ball State's offense is really good. In my honest opinion, they are the most talented offense in the MAC, with a lot of balance. When these projections have the Cardinals putting up 450-500 points in a single season, I can't even be shocked.

1. Northern Illinois Huskies

Let me explain the title really quick. In one simulation, the Huskies went 13-0, putting up 481 points, Jordan Lyn- I mean "QB #6" was the runner-up to win the Heisman trophy in this particular season. NIU was ranked #1 to went on to play #2 Texas in the National Championship game. Just don't tell Kirk Herbstreit about this, I don't want to know what he'd do about this. (There was also a season simulated where NIU went 6-6 and Ball State went 12-1, but we'll just pretend that never happend.)

NIU would win well over 80% of the MAC Championship Games simulated, so it'd be wrong if I put anybody else in first place. With that in mind, I think Robin Thicke is done now; time to cue the cheesy NIU football anthem!

Nathan "NaPalm" Palmer - "The Hard Way" 2011 NIU Huskie Anthem (via NIU2015)

/ejects disk

/goes back to playing MLB 13 The Show