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Mid-American Mondays: Close games and a looking ahead to College GameDay

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NCAA Football: College Game Day-Richmond at James Madison Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

What another interesting week we just had. For some reason, all of our teams decided to play close games. There was parity! And then we found out College Gameday is going to be rowing into Kalamazoo for Western Michigan’s game With Buffalo. So plenty to talk about this week in our chat.

Kaleb: JUSTIN. There were five MAC games this week. They were closely contested and there was a consistent amount of offense. What a fun week eh?

Justin: It wouldn't be MACtion in November without offense, now would it? This week was a bit of a relief from the usual feeling that the conference is having a down year. I'd say the conference looks just as healthy as ever, albeit amidst some lighter competition. What say you?

Kaleb: Lighter competition, for sure. Decreased expectations for teams we thought we'd be better? Sure. (Looking at you Akron and NIU.) Kent State was unsurprisingly the lowest scorer, but with 21 points. Not awful when trying to buck the Broncos. Were you shaking in your boots faced with that 14-0 deficit?

Justin: Yes and no. Of course it's always nerve racking when you're trailing in the midst of a rainstorm, having fumbled on your first play from scrimmage. But in football games, much like with the playoff committee, it pays to suck early, and not later

Kaleb: Well even after falling behind, WMY still scored the largest margin of victory in the 37-21 win. What all stuck out to you in a week where the competition was fierce across the conference?

Justin: Brogan Roback.

The lad threw the ball 71 times, Kaleb. 71 times.

WMU only ran 77 offensive plays that weren't punts.

For some perspective.

Kaleb: As weird as it sounds, EMU didn't even have the best statistical receiver in that game because KeVonn Mabon had 12 receptions for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. EMU for its part, had 10 receivers make a catch

There were 1,164 offensive yards in all!!!

Justin: We got a pretty good dose of MACtion the next night as well - in a baseball stadium no less!

Kaleb: In front of no one! (There’s today’s dose of needless cynicism)

Justin: Toledo trailed 14-3 at halftime, but eventually exorcised their NIU demons in Chicago. All this talk about Cooper Rush in the preseason made us completely forget about Logan Woodside. What do you think, is he the first team All-MAC quarterback at this point?

Kaleb: At this point, Zach Terrell is the only one who should compete with Woodside for that title. But yeah, props to Toledo for finally getting that elusive win against the Huskies, Wonderful response from the Rockets in the second half.

Maddie out for the year too. What a nightmare campaign this has been for the Huskies.

Justin: I love Zach Terrell, but it's got to be Woodside with two weeks to play as the clear favorite for the best quarterback. Do I think Terrell is fully capable of putting up Woodside type numbers when called upon to throw that much? Absolutely, but when you're not in shootouts, the running backs put the games on ice for you

I feel like NIU has been blessed for a decade with durability at the quarterback position. Jordan Lynch was a punishing runner and Chandler Harnish was outstanding, but Hare and Maddie have not been able to stay healthy, and that's doomed the season for a team that would have definitely competed for a MAC title once again.

Kaleb: DEBATABLE. But a topic for the end of the season though.

Justin: Agreed.

Kaleb: Meanwhile, BG is a fun story right? And we probably agree that Akron's defense is sad at this point.

Justin: That sound you hear is Mike Jinks breathing a sigh of relief. He's officially one game better than P.J. Fleck was in his first year, which means #BG4CFP is on the horizon, of course.

Because that's how things work.

Fun in the sense that THE FALCONS WON A GAME.

Kaleb: Inevitable

James Morgan still is experiencing growing pains but Fred Coppet and Donovan Wilson picked up the slack plenty. Both rumbled their way to over 100 yards on the ground.

Also BIG shoutout to the Falcon D that forced six turnovers.

For the sake of Akron, I hope you're quick to give Ulysees Gilbert III some helmet sticker love.

Justin: I always do. He's made quite a few appearances on the list. The All MAC defensive team is especially tough this year. Gilbert is standing strong on an otherwise terrible rush defense.

Kaleb: But there are so many talented D-linemen to choose from this year! That's a plus.

And Miami has one of those guys: JT Jones. Oh yeah, Miami won again. I mean if the 'Hawks hadn't won I wouldn't know what to think about anything anymore.

JT Jones
The defense celebrates after a big play by JT Jones and crew. Miami vs. Iowa, Kinnick Stadium Sep 3, 2016
Kaleb Carter

Justin: Oh, absolutely, but thankfully we're not having that conversation, and instead talking about the very real possibility Miami becomes the first team in college football history to start 0-6 and win its final six games

Barring a Ball State miracle, that's going to happen, by the way.

Kaleb: We're running that as the breaking news banner on the website if that happens. Book it.

Justin: As we should.

NCAA Football: Battle at Bristol-Tennessee vs Virginia Tech Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So we should talk about GameDay. GAMEDAY IS GOING TO KALAMAZOO.

Where does this rank in terms of importance for the MAC in its history?

Kaleb: THE MOST IMPORTANTE

Actually, it's just really really cool.

Something I'd consider driving a few hours to see if perhaps I lived in a place like Northeastern Ohio...

Justin: It's the second time GameDay's been to a MAC campus, but it's been so long that P.J. Fleck was actually playing in the last game.

NIU and BG in 2003. Fleck played for the Huskies then.

Kaleb: So this is rad. WMU has the opportunity to impress everyone with a tenacity for sign-making. You must not let us down Zoo folks. We need creative and semi-tasteful but brutal signs.

Justin: Yes. Don't mess this up, Kalamazoo. It's literally your only shot at this.

Kaleb: Probably ever. If things go well even.

What do you imagine it will be like, Justin?

Justin: The stadium's on East campus, and the gameday set will be on West campus, so I imagine it'll be a little awkward with students deciding whether to tailgate near the stadium instead of joining Corso and the gang, but who knows, this is pretty unique.

Kaleb: I would think they would want to join in the fun? I mean, surely kids will need to hold up signs asking their parents for money right?

Joint Resolution: We resolve that Western fans and anyone who can make it to the game does so, and we highly encourage you put on your thinking caps to come up with some of the best Gameday signs ever. We’re counting on you to make us proud Kalamazoo.

On that note, check out this post where you can suggest sign ideas: http://www.hustlebelt.com/2016/11/14/13626474/espn-college-gameday-coming-western-michigan-hustle-belt-needs-sign-ideas-ncaa-football-wmu-broncos

You can tweet them @hustlebelt as well.