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Yet Another MAC Milestone: Four AP-All Americans

Yesterday the Associated Press unveiled their All-American teams, going three deep. Four MAC players were honored, which may be a conference record.

Chris Jones became Bowling Green's first AP All-American in 18 years.
Chris Jones became Bowling Green's first AP All-American in 18 years.

I say "may be" because some of the lists in 1970 and 1960 are difficult to confirm, especially those who were not first team. But in my records I've found two times where three MAC players were listed (discounting honorable mentions): 1994 and 1971. But back to this year's honorees:

NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, second team "all-purpose" — An odd designation for a great quarterback. Usually the all-purpose person is reserved for some versatile speed athlete, H-back or defensive player/kick returner. But there is precedent: Denard Robinson was listed as third team all-purpose in 2010. No way would people put him over Collin Kelin or Johnny Manziel, so I suppose this was a nice creative way to shoehorn him into second team.

Kent State running back Dri Archer, third team "all-purpose" — Absolutely deserved, and in some All-American teams Archer was put as first team. His impact on starting field position on kickoffs cannot be overlooked, coupled with his ability to play running back and slot receiver. Archer breaks another Golden Flashes drought: their previous AP All-American was defensive tackle Mike Zele in 1977.

CMU offensive tackle Eric Fisher, third team — One of the underspoken themes of the season, and a primary reason so many teams have been good: the undying focus on offensive lines. CMU is no exception and Fisher anchored a terrific line that matched up well against bigger teams. Mel Kiper is even saying Fisher should be a first-round NFL pick. This is the first AP All-American in Mount Pleasant since 1994. If you remember running back Brian Pruitt, you remember a lot. It's also the first MAC AP All-American to come from the offensive line since 1988 (Kevin Haverdink of WMU).

BGSU defensive tackle Chris Jones, third team — This one was also surprising, but absolutely deserved. Jones had 12.5 sacks on the year, one-half a sack off the national leader. All other D-linemans who had as many or more sacks than him were ends. Jones did this as a DT, in the MAC, where opponents routinely had the wherewithal to double-team him. It's also the first All-American for BGSU since 1994 (kicker Brian Leaver) and the first D-lineman out of the MAC since 1978 (Ball State's Ken Kremer).

I delight in all of this, and not just because they had three more members than the Big East. Usually these types of awards lists leave out the MAC, because the numbers are inflated against weaker competition (their logic), but even the AP understands these teams have players who can match up with most anybody.