James: Let's do an exercise in symbolic analysis. So you know that song "He's Got The Whole World in His Hand?" That's kinda how illustrative of how this match is going down; since Michigan is shaped like a hand, we can safely assume that Michigan is the hand. Under this assumption, Central is the palm of the hand and Eastern is the thumb. (Approximately... just pretend it is.) The world is the Michigan MAC trophy. So, since Eastern is only a thumb and a thumb on its own can't do much of anything, and since the majority of the hand is the palm, that means most of the hand's surface area is holding the trophy, which therefore means CENTRAL IS GOING TO WIN THIS THING DAMN IT ALL.
Alex: How about I just take my open and pat your head when you need a shoulder to cry on after the gameSaturday? And how can EMU be a thumb if CMU seems to get a five-fingered discount on everything?
James: I really should have expected that pot shot. But seriously, that joke is so stale (even if it's relevant) that it does little to add to your advantage here. While we're on the subject of victories and EMU, let's look over your victory list: the kinda-sort okay FCS-level Morgan State Bears and the woefully hapless Buffalo Bulls. The creme de la creme of blasse football. At least Central has wins we can take pride in, such as the dismantling Purdue and breaking THE STREAK against Northern Illinois. Also, you have an off-brand Robert Griffin III running your offense in Reginald Bell III... at least when your coach is able to stop college journeyman Rob Bolden from throwing a million interceptions and getting suplexed. And that's before we even get to Brogan Roback. Finally, you play on a grey field. Talk about boring as hell. You're just asking to lose this game.
Alex: You're going to say that my joke is stale when you can't even be unique about saying we have a grey field. Like holy shit, since when did they get one of those? Let me guess, your field might be green turf? WOW HOW UNIQUE!
Better late than never for the Eagles though. The season hasn't been well, but this is a much more improved team than it was a month ago. And that was a very edgy win over Buffalo, and this is a team that's in the same category as Kent State right now. Don't hold onto that NIU win for too long, because don't forget you also lost to Ball State immediately after that.
James: Well I'm glad to see that your Eagles decided to start playing after being mathematically eliminated form bowl eligibility. Something to be happy about at least. Even in a loss against Ball State, CMU still managed to hang 426 yards on the Cards defense (in comparison to 287 for BSU), and completely shut down their offense in the second half of the game. The defense was also lights out against Buffalo last week, holding the Bulls to 38 rushing yards (thirty-eight!) despite the Bulls having one of the nation's best rushers in Anthone Taylor. The defense also held UB to 5-13 on third down and made one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC, Joe Licata, quake in his cleats, as he was being chased around relentlessly all game thanks to Leterrius Walton and friends. Last year against Eastern, if you remember, the score was 42-10, and the defense tortured your Eagles, holding you to 5-12 on third down and forcing three turnovers while hanging over 300 yards on offense, with four of the touchdown scores all coming on the rushing end. IfThomas Rawls is healthy, I'm fairly confident a similar result could be in the works.
Alex: Been there, done that; we held Anthone Taylor to under 20 rushing yards in the second half a few weeks ago.
I have this feeling that we're not going to see Thomas Rawls out there on Saturday. I also have a feeling that we'll be having that Brad McCaslin is going to be calling a lot of plays to get our guys behind the line of scrimmage a lot. And with three of the best "front seven" players in the MAC with Great Ibe, Anthony Zappone and Pat O'Connor, why wouldn't we want to get in Rush's grill all the time?
Saylor Lavallii may be good, but I'd be more focused on forcing your quarterback to make costly mistakes.
James: You should be scared of the Great Mulletted Hope that is Saylor Lavallii. He's an underrated pass blocker and runs tough between the tackles. He also scored two of those patented "rumblin', stumblin, tumblin'" TD's in relief work for Rawls. If the Chips can prepare for a week with him as a starter, unlike the games vs. Syracuse and Buffalo, that offensive line should be able to adjust and Lavallii has the potential to eat that EMU defense alive.
And I think that Cooper Rush got out his interception jitters against Ball State and Buffalo. Rush has developed a great chemistry with Titus Davis and Jesse Kroll and Morris Watts has wrapped the gameplan around the strengths of Rush's game. Taking away the Hail Mary interception vs. Ball State, he has thrown for 978 yards, 8 TD's and 3 INT's with a passer rating of 147.3 in the last four games. That's pretty efficient. And the last I checked, EMU's defense is 118th in points allowed, which doesn't really help the whole "stop the other team from winning" thing.
Alex: Again, much improved team than it was when they played against Michigan State and Florida, but that's just an outlier. And didn't I hear that CMU committed 18 penalties in the past two games? You expect these guys to keep their composure in this sort of game? These Eagles don't come out of the tunnel without sledgehammers. I'd be jumpy if I were them, too.
Yeah, and taking away all of the bad stuff for my Eagles and we've won fifty thousand Rose Bowls and the north most team in the SEC. Why do people always have to say "take away the bad stuff" in sports discussions? I don't get it.
James: I took away one interception. Hail Mary interceptions barely count. Get over it.
And I acknowledge we have discipline problems (on and off the field.) However, this does not mean that we're doomed to committing nine penalties every game. That, and false start penalties (or procedural penalties, period) are an endangered species in Rynearson; ya'll can barely get 50 people in the grandstands.
Alex: Eh, attendance this, grey field that, I've heard it all before. Just make sure you stop at Walgreen's and get yourself some tissue so you're better-prepared for the game on Saturday. 32-26, Eagles got it.
James: I think you mistyped that score and meant 3226-0 CMU because we all know that Eastern ain't getting even remotely close. I have the chardonnay to celebrate this bowl-eligibility clinching win already chilling in my freezer... the only use for any tissues that may be bought will be used to clean up the ensuing mess in my apartment. Final score: CMU 28-14.