Seven weeks down, nine more to go. This week marks the official halfway point of the 2014 college football regular season. As midweek #MACtion draws nearer, things are getting mighty freaky in MAC football. But our pals over in B!G nation have their own oddities happening as well.
Once again, Jesse Collins from Off Tackle Empire drops by the Belt to give us a taste of what's going on in the high kingdom of Mid-America and let us know which jester is coming to town this week. Without further adieu, it's time for the B1G-MAC Swap. (HI HATERS!)
Bryan: Here we are, the official mid-way point of the 2014 college football season. In the MAC, we just watched one head coach get fired, a MAC powerhouse crumble, and UMass finally win a footbawl game. How's the weather in B1G country this time of year, Jesse?
Jesse: Well, we have a lot of chaos happening in the West, and we haven't even started in on our QUADRANGLE OF HATE quest yet. Conversely, Michigan State is just plugging away (for three quarters at a time) and Ohio State looks about as good as they did with Braxton. Oh, and we have at least two coaches who are probably fired when the season ends, and depending on how things shake out, a third one in Bloomington that will feel the burn. Not to mention, we witnessed no less than two terrible fake punts last weekend. I would say the B1G is about as B1G as ever.
Bryan: You haven't figured out how to dump coaches mid-season yet? You don't know chaos, buddy.
Anyway, I see the B1G is starting to play out the way many expected it to way back in the dog days of summer. Michigan State and Ohio State are rolling. Then you've got the dumpster fires that are Illinois, Indiana, etc. Since this is a post about relegation, I'm interested in hearing more about the dumpster fires. Of all those smelly piles of trash, which one is burning the hottest right now? In other words, who the hell do we get this week?
Jesse: I'll be honest, I have actually agonized over this decision (sort of agonized... more likely I ‘thought hard for a few minutes' before ultimately coming to a decision). But, before I reveal the final product, let's look at the contenders this week!
—Contestant 1: Illinois - For all the reasons we've shown to be true this season, Illinois is a mess. Their coach is most likely done when the final whistle blows, they've been about as good on defense as I would be if I played college football (I am a 155 lb Asian man. I would not be useful as a college football player), and to watch them play is painful. When Wes Lunt went out, they also had no offense left to die behind a leaky offensive line. They looked better with Bailey than I imagined, but this was still a really bad team on Saturday.
—Contestant 2: Indiana - Oh hi there Hoosiers. Remember that time you went on the road and beat the 2013 SEC runner up Missouri? That was really cool. With Sudfeld out, I'm not 100% sure that your offense is going to be dynamic enough to pretend to make up for the fact that you just literally don't play defense. Like, Missouri should feel shame for making your defense look competent. Iowa looked like an offensive juggernaut on Saturday, which is troublesome, and, well, I just saw that Bill Connelly just predicted that it's likely you win 1 or 0 B1G games.
—Contestant 3: Purdue - Exempted for taking advantage of Michigan State's insistence on not playing 4th quarters.
—BONUS: Let me just say that Penn State-Michigan was an awful game and Penn State losing to Michigan should get them play here, but we're forgiving them and moving on because they still have a winning record and they aren't as bad as Illinois, Indiana, or Purdue. Still... yuck.
Of all those teams, I had to go with... INDIANA! Look, I get that the Hoosiers have some talent, but this team's refusal to play defense means we need to find them a new home, and the MAC seems like a good place to be for them.
Bryan: Indiana, eh? I can dig it. Here's my initial analysis of the Hoosiers: Indiana narrowly lost to Bowling Green (by three). Bowling Green narrowly beat UMass (by five). Therefore, it's my educated estimation that Indiana is somewhere between UMass (which is actually a kind of good team, but it just can't figure out how to play four quarters of football) and Western Michigan (which has some real firepower, but is still a bit sloppy at times).
But seeing as you're the B1G expert here, why don't you enlighten me on this Indiana squad a bit.
Jesse: Indiana is eminently frustrating to me. On one hand, you have one of the premier offensive minds in football in Kevin Wilson at the helm. What he has done to make Indiana entertaining - including making Tevin Coleman one of the premier RBs in the nation - is nothing short of amazing. However, this team might literally be one of the worst defensive teams in the nation. Like, I literally get angry watching Indiana games because that defense leaves its offense on an island constantly.
Bryan: A team that makes even the casual observer irate? Yeah, this is definitely a UMass-type squad.
OK, so here's the thing. I know Indiana has an amazing offense. But what's that old saying? Defense wins the MAC. I think that's it. You see, powerful offenses are a dime a dozen in the land of #MACtion. And you mentioned there's some issues with Sudfield? So that makes the Hoosiers' one strength less valuable.
Last week on the B1G-MAC Swap:
Indiana can put up points quick, but against these offenses in the MAC, which all seem able to do the same, it's really come down to which team has the edge on defense. Honestly, from what I've seen of Indiana in my limited observations, I'd say Indiana's defense is anywhere from lower third in the MAC, to just outside the top four. At least game in game out.
So, it's with that in mind that in the West (because this is Mid America and Indiana is West, dammit) that these Hoosiers, in their current form, would be able beat the Ball States and EMUs of this world, would probably be able to beat WMU about 50 percent of the time, but would likely struggle with the Toledos, NIUs and would certainly get slammed by CMU because CMU seems to be all about that B1G. I'm going to predict a third place finish in the West for the Hoosiers.
Seem fair, or am I crazy?
Jesse: Crazy? Nah. I think Indiana had potential to go bowling before we all remembered their defense sucks. With Sudfeld out with injury, their in a really bad situation. Funny enough, when I looked up their stats on CFBStats, I realized they probably aren't even the worst on a per play basis, but they do like to give up a lot of points.
Anyhow, if we're giving you the Hoosiers, who do we get to replace them? (To find out, head on over to OTE).