Welcome to another week of Rounding the Belt, your MAC round table of all the news, happenings and MACtion this past week. Joining us, as always, are three highly esteemed MAC writers from the Hustle Belt. This week's panelists are Matthew Daley (@statmanmatt), Keith Scheessele (@BSUKeith) and Ian Davis (@iandavis95). Without further ado, let's get right into it:
Question 1: Northern Illinois Huskies legend Robert Brigham passed away this week, as did Bowling Green State University Falcon's donor and fan Bill Frack. Who is your MAC idol?
Matt: Since I come from an SID background, I'm tempted to say Jeremy Guy. He's as passionate about the MAC as anyone I've ever seen, and he lives that passion on a daily basis. Plus, he's a Bowling Green grad, and you can never go wrong with that.
With that said, I have to go with Mr. Bill Frack. As a fan of the Bowling Green Falcons, Frack wanted to see his favorite team succeed on the court, and in the last years of his life, he worked to make that goal possible. His enormous, generous gift will benefit the BGSU men's basketball team for many years to come, and all of us other BGSU fans are indebted to him and his memory. I can only hope that BGSU will be dancing next March to honor that memory.
Keith: Dr. Jo Ann Gora wraps up 10 years of service as Ball State Cardinals' president on June 30th. In those 10 years she's been involved in $418 million worth of construction at the university, of which $25 was mine. This includes a 2007 renovation of Scheumann Stadium.
I've said it before; I won't want my alma mater making the sacrifices other schools do to be a football powerhouse. I don't want my school to be known as "Linebacker U." My degree does not read "football." Today Ball State is a markedly different university than the one I attended. Dr. Gora gave our athletic programs the attention they deserve, while also remembering that we are an institution of higher learning first.
Ian: This one was hard for me, between the two men who were listed above (Robert Brigham and Bill Frack) I had to go with Mr. Brigham. For a couple reasons I pick Brigham, researching what he did for NIU I was blown away...During the 50s and 60s Brigham was the coach for BOTH the wrestling and football team. As the wrestling coach he went 82-45-6 with five national champions and 11 All -Americans. As the football coach he yelled and screamed at his players as they went 10-0. After he hung up his whistle he became the Athletic Director for 15 years.
My MAC idol is not sports related but more Late Night. David Letterman graduated in 1969 from BSU, member Sigma Chi (Bro Code Point), and starting a scholarship for "C" students who attend BSU (another Bro Code Point). Born and raised in Indiana, AKA the greatest state in America (I am writing this in a Fort Wayne, Indiana home, where I have also been born and raised!) Letterman has been doing the Late Night With David Letterman since 1974 and is calling it quits next year in 2015. Oh, and he also dropped 21 million for the broadcasting/radio program at Ball State in 2007.
Question 2: The SEC is looking to no longer schedule FCS teams. Is the MAC next on the chopping block from the Big 5 schedules, and can they survive without the paycheck games?
Matt: This could happen in the long term, but I don't see it as a possibility right now. Schools are still in the habit of scheduling games years in advance, so for the foreseeable future, the power conferences are still going to need conferences like the MAC and Sun Belt in order to fill out the gaps in their schedules.
Of course, the incredible (and hilarious) irony of this story is that, just days after Alabama coach Nick Saban said that power conference schools should only play power conference schools, there are reports circulating that Alabama has a hole in their 2015 schedule and can't fill it.
However, if it does happen somewhere down the road, the mid-major conferences are going to have to scale back their athletic departments in general and football programs in particular. At that point, the MAC schools would be operating more like Division II or even Division III schools. It would not be good for the MAC, to say the least.
Keith: I've read that Will Muschamp is among the most vocal in the movement to eliminate FCS schools from SEC schedules. How delicious. Last year Muschamp's Florida Gators fell to the Georgia Southern Eagles of the Southern Conference, 26-20 in Gainsville. The Eagles won without completing a pass. Maybe it's not that Florida doesn't want Georgia Southern, maybe the EAGLES ARE BORED WITH THE GATORS.
I kid of course.
Smaller schools need that big payday from larger programs, and coming away with a win is just icing on the cake. Eliminating MAC schools is not something that's in the SEC's immediate future, but whether or not our schools could survive without that payday is better left to someone with a keener eye for finances than me. I will tell you this though: I don't give a damn if it does happen. I grow less and less interested in big time college football every year.
Michigan State/Iowa? Mississippi State/Kentucky? These are mind numbingly dull, soul crushing matchups. I like our brand of football. I also get into some MWC and used to follow the WAC, same conference I know. I'll be the first person to get behind a move to FCS. Wait, you're telling me they took our country's favorite sport (college football) and combined it with our country's favorite tournament (March Madness)? Oh, but I'm deprived the opportunity to feel like a second class citizen by Ole Miss? I'll get over it.
Ian: Finally a question I know something about! SEC is thinking about cutting for most schools (Not Florida last year which made me so happy!) an easy win? Unless I have missed something...WINNING IS STILL GOOD. Why the SEC does not want to get easy wins, most of the time by 30+ points is beyond me. If this does happen it won't happen till 2017 since most schools have their schedules done and released to the public already.
Remember when Dayton took down Ohio State during March Madness and the morning papers headline was THE University OF Dayton? Dayton wanted to play OSU for the longest of times, OSU kept saying no. Dayton finally got their game they were waiting for, for years, the rest is history.
The only reason why I see the MAC being cut next is for instate schools like a Toledo and Ohio State or a Ball State and Indiana games. They don't want to get embarrassed by schools in their state. I guarantee that the Dayton coaches have brought up that win to recruits. It trickles all the way down, now they are flipping prospects, getting better talent, making better teams, winning more games just because they won one game vs. in a state powerhouse.
The big payday is important. Why would a school decide to play an away game at the Big House and get smacked by Michigan? Because they are getting paid big bucks too, that's why! The big payday is, in my thought process, the most important thing. Why do you drive two hours to a job that you hate? Because you're bringing home the bacon! If the payday goes away, why keep getting destroyed and starting your season with an "L". Going back to your job you hate allusion, if you stop getting paid, why keep doing it?
Question 3: Kent State was eliminated from the College Baseball Regional Tournament this week with losses to Louisville and Kentucky, officially ending the 2014 MAC Baseball season. Reactions?
Matt: The loss by Kent State is disappointing but not altogether unexpected. We have to remember that they finished 4th in the MAC this year and were thrown into one of the toughest regionals, complete with 3 power conference opponents. Bowling Green faced the same thing last year and were also 0-2.
Realistically, this version of the Golden Flashes were a year away. This is a perennial winner in the MAC, and there's no reason to think that they won't compete for the league title and another NCAA bid in 2015.
Keith: OK, so Kent State is officially eliminated from the great American past time. With no remaining MAC teams, I want to continue another American past time, being unaware of what is going on in college baseball.
Shout out to the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles from my hometown of Evansville. Crowned D2 National Champs yesterday.
Ian: As expected but sad, Kent State did not qualify to advance in the College World Series. The Flashes had a 2-0 lead going into the 9th inning but a two out rally highlighted by Kentucky's Thomas Bernal double lead the charge as the Wildcats came back in a heartbreaker for the only MAC team in the World Series this year.
Looking ahead to next year Kent State is only losing five seniors to graduation from this year's team. I would expect the Golden Flashers to make a run next year at the College World Series and hopefully get the MAC to the top.
Question 4: What's your summer drink of choice?
Matt: When you get to be an old man like me, you can't partake in the same activities as you did in your younger days. For me, this means that my summer beverage can't be something fun, like beer. To cool down, I drink lemonade. Yep -- boring old lemonade.
Ketih: I told myself when I was at Ball State that I would never fall into the beer snob trap that many of my friends succumbed to. Then I started making enough money to afford said beers. Ballast Point Sculpin if I'm taking my time, PBR if I want a cold beer, Arnold Palmer if I have to drive.
Ian: Summer drink of choice? Easy! The list that all 19 year olds in America live by during the summer!
1) Juice Boxes/ Capri Suns
2) Sunny D
3) A nice cold glass of milk 2% (99% of the time with cookies)
4) Baja Blast when you swing by Taco Bell with the crew at night
5) Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks
That rounds up another week of Rounding the Belt. Join us next week when we discuss the controversial decision of field hockey and football trading places for one week, where the loser does the winner's laundry, and all the rest of the week in MAC.