What the hell just happened, Mid-America? How does this make sense (it doesn’t)? How do you make sense of it (you don’t)? Justin and Kaleb decided to have a conversation about last week and the week to come. Topics broached include:
- MAC East Champions - Miami
- CMU is struggling
- Akron, you okay?
- Is Ohio going to mess around and win this whole thing?
Fear the Underdog
Justin: If you were favored, you lost this week, which could mean we totally misread every team in this conference, or it could be just one of those weeks. Which result shocked you the most this weekend?
Kaleb: For starters, EMU falling to Miami threw me for a loop. I had it in my mind the Eagles were really good. I thought the RedHawks’ last two wins were flukes. Now? I don’t even know what to think, except that I’m coming to understand I really respect the Miami defense, the skill it possesses and what it’s capable of.
J: Right. The Eagles were the big disappointment. I absolutely thought EMU was the third best team in the conference, but not following up their showing at WMU with a win is really unfortunate.
I’m going to make this about WMU somehow, and I’m sorry, but maybe putting all of your energy into trying to beat that team just takes too much out of you? I mean, look at Akron and CMU after the Western games. They entered the contest as good as any in the conference - or were at least perceived that way - then scored a combined 10 points and haven’t been the same since. But this is probably not about them. I don’t want to take anything away from the fighting Gus Raglands
K: Gus Ragland is making those in the MAC believers, though maybe I’m just impressed because I’ve been watching MAC East football for eight weeks. That must be it. Jared Murphy is making a believer of me too with nine receptions for 122 yards against EMU. That Miami defense flustered and annoyed the Eagles all afternoon, and the Eagle offense only seemed to find its footing late in the game. It’s even a shock to me that though my favorite, Mr. BROback, was able to pile up yards, it didn’t mean points.
And who sealed the deal? My dude Heath Harding, one of the best defenders in the MAC. I still hate Miami, but I’ll be damned if I don’t respect what its doing as of late.
J: Miami looks in good shape for the future, but you know what the best thing to come out of this game is? You know what I’m about to say, don’t you?
A MIAMI MAC EAST CHAMPIONSHIP IS TOTALLY IN PLAY
J: I know you hate every second of it, but c’mon, wouldn’t that be just the craziest story? And here we were, discussing Chuck Martin’s future in another job soon because of him getting fired.
K: Are you suggesting an alternate timeline has come into play? Someone triggered a switch where instead of Miami losing out and Martin getting the boot, it actually wins out and take on an undefeated WMU in Detroit where they knock of the Broncos, propelling them to a bowl game victory and a multi-million dollar contract for its soon to be departed head coach?
J: I hope by departed you mean hired elsewhere and not, you know, dead from the happiness of somehow going to a bowl game this year. But seriously, 8-6 Miami is totally something we might have to deal with, but less impossibly a 6-6 Miami is nearly expected at this point, right? They’re home vs CMU, and have games against Buffalo and Ball State. How sure are we they don’t go 3-0? (he said purposely ignoring your attempt to draw him into a tragic hypothetical WMU loss scenario)
And while we’re (sort of) on the subject, let’s talk about Central Michigan. What did you think of that game, more Kent State winning, or Central Michigan losing?
* This is the Central Michigan section. You may read it, or just head straight to the comments to voice bias concerns. Both are acceptable
K: More Central losing. Kent at least seems to have a semi-formula for what you might call success. Central on the other hand takes another step backward towards demonstrating it’s doomed to disappoint. That must tickle you pink, Bucky Bronco.
J: Well I do thoroughly enjoy CMU losses. You can accuse me of bias all you want (and you totally will), but this result didn’t surprise me whatsoever.
The Chips have issues on the offensive line, and are suffering through a litany of injuries at skill positions all year. Kent State has issues, sure, but you need weapons to beat its defense. The Chips don’t have them, and they struggle to keep defenders out of the face of Cooper Rush. I am a bit shocked Kent was able to manage 27 points, but when Holley Time is in full force, and referees award him imaginary yards leaping out of bounds, there’s just no stopping it. Rankin played an outstanding second half as well.
Bottom line is, if you turn it over against the Flashes, you might lose! What a crazy concept. Cooper Rush threw three picks on Saturday, and when you add in the Corey Willis fumble you’ve just gifted a bad offense bad field position. Not good.
Oh, and the refs were horrendous in that game. That’s all I’ve got.
K: I mean, if from here on out CMU takes a deuce on itself, that’s one thing, but I keep holding onto some type of misinformed thinking that logic would prevail in this dangfabbed conference. The new conventional Logic seems to be Kent + a Holley gunslinger is decent, and CMU is head-scratchingly inadequate.
We already knew the Kent defense was good enough to keep the Flashes in games, but hell, I suppose we have to be surprised still that Holley continues to gash defenses? No? Just me? Okay.
Sorry Akron, It’s Your Turn Now
J: No, it definitely still shocks me each week. It shouldn’t be working, but it is, and I don’t get it. But speaking of head scratching, um, can we talk about Akron?
In hindsight, it was a dream match up for Buffalo. Bad run defense comes to town and what’s literally the only thing you do well? Run. And run the Bulls did.
K: I don’t even like Akron and I miss Jatavis Brown for the sake of the Zips.
J: They were definitely more fun to watch with him. I don’t know how you come back from a loss to Buffalo. They had a chance to win the division by beating Ohio, and now they need to top Toledo in order to keep pace.
K: Hint: You don’t come back from a loss to Buffalo. Army? Lost to Duke. SHAME. Just kidding. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore, so take this fun tweet from Branden Oliver in place of my analysis.
Yoooo he blew the record out of the water give him the ball some more to break 300 https://t.co/f3Cp6X1yWR— Branden Oliver (@BoBelieves) October 28, 2016
J: More shocking than the Zips losing is that Toledo is now just 8-point favorites against them this week. Which reminds me, you probably felt pretty good about Dorian Brown’s domination of the Rockets. You also should be happy with how the Bobcats stopped the run.
But I have a question for you as the resident Bobcat. Ohio’s formula against Toledo - get pressure, stop the run - is the same formula that could be used to beat a certain team from Kalamazoo. You’re thinking MAC Championship win, not appearance, aren’t you?
K: To be completely honest with you, I would be happy with a MAC East title, but would be thrilled with a win in Detroit given the circumstances. Ohio’s bread and butter is its defense anyway, and this would need to become a sloppy game where the Bobcats don’t turn the ball over in order to pull it off. WMU would have to play worse than we’ve seen the Broncs perform in any game for Ohio to beat them. If it happens it happens. But don’t want to get ahead of myself too much. ‘Cats have to win the bizarre MAC East.
J: You mean hold off the surging Gus Ragland machine. That brings us to this week’s games, which start tomorrow. Western Michigan at Ball State on ESPN2, and a rematch of last year’s MAC Championship Game in Dekalb get us started, followed by Toledo and Akron on Wednesday, Buffalo and Ohio on Thursday, and Central Michigan vs Miami on Friday. Things could get...well they could get weird don’t you think?
K: Things can always get weird, and don’t you ever forget that. Across the board you would think this week was going to be pretty predictable, but who knows. No reason Western shouldn’t romp against an offense overly-reliant in its run game, Akron’s defense has been EXPOSED but that could turn into a fun, high-scoring affair, Buffalo is a team that has made Ohio look dumb in years past and BG is awful at defense entirely, enough so that we should all be on #MaddieWatch/#GolladayWatch.
Any game you’re looking forward to watching? Or is the World Series just TOO GOSH DARNED IMPORTANT?
J: “I heard the pitchers have to hit now, is that right?” Is something I actually overheard from someone wearing Indians gear this week, so the World Series is extremely important to a fan base re-learning baseball, but for me? I’ve got my eyes on Western Michigan. The College Football Playoff committee releases its rankings at 7 p.m., an hour before they kickoff in Muncie. I know P.J. Fleck isn’t likely to allow his players to know the rankings, but if, for whatever reason, Boise is still ranked ahead of them, the hell that could be unleashed on the Cardinals’ secondary could be absurd. Fleck and Corey Davis probably have a code word for this exact situation; something like Fleck whispering to Davis in the second quarter “Initiate the Condoleezza Rice protocol,” where he casually catches 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
K: *Rowing intensifies*
I too would be excited to see the new world order brought upon us by a pissed off WMU offense.
J: I hear Dallas is nice in January (I’ve never heard that). I think this week we get back to some semblance of sanity around here. I think you’ll see Western distance itself from the pack some more, but I don’t think Toledo is going to struggle at all in Akron. I do think CMU could lose this week, but it’s going to be close. Buffalo would have to have a day passing the ball to beat Ohio, and, well, that’s just not going to happen. Maybe next year, Bulls! Any final thoughts?
K: I think I’m ready for a few more meaningful games at the end of this season. But count me in on turning in whenever I can find some MACtion on my television. Gonna throw this out there: i think more than 90 points will be scored in the Toledo Akron game (now watch it be like 21-17).
Also, think I could pull off being Cody Thompson for Halloween tonight? I’ll just keep having people throw me a ball and never stop running after the catch.
J: This is why they pay you the big bucks, Kaleb.