We’re Gonna Take This Sitting Down
My offering to the Toledo Free Press last weekend:
Two years ago, Northwest Ohio had college coaches named Tom Amstutz, Stan Joplin, Dan Dakich and Gregg Brandon. Also, Miley Cyrus was not a teen sensation and a gallon of gas cost … well, about the same as today. Ah, those were simpler times. Since then, Dakich, Joplin and Amstutz were kicked out of their respective offices, and with each dismissal, I was skeptical of the need to fire them.
It was unfair that he lost his job like this. Having said that, it’s time to argue something it looks like I should have argued long ago: Brandon deserved to be fired.
Other nuggets between the cushions:
• With a lack of teams with 6-6 records, Northern Illinois was the “last team in” a bowl game, going to the Independence Bowl and facing Louisiana Tech in Shreveport. I’m sure the crowd will be 50-50, don’t you?
It was probably the right 6-6 team to take, since four of the Huskies losses were by four points or less, three of them to bowl teams and the other to Tennessee.
• This just confirms that, yes, Bowling Green’s season is mercifully over. Considering NIU took down BG earlier this year — and that, oh yeah, there’s no coach — it’s probably for the best. BG will join Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, and San Jose State as teams with 6-6 records that didn’t get to play a 13th meaningless game. Four-team arbitrary playoff, anyone?
• The head coach opening is supplanted by openings at both coordinator positions too. They were hired away by — ready for this? — Toledo’s new coach Tim Beckman. M’kay, then. It’s a war, officially.
• But don’t worry. Bowling Green will be mentioned quite often this bowl season. Because, see, Urban Meyer. And stuff.
So, to recap:
It might just be easier to list the coaches that won’t be fired. They are the ones you’ll see in bowl games.
Also, mathematically 3-6 Temple can win the division as well, but that’s more funny than it is probable.
See, scenarios like this are why hope springs eternal in dirty puddles. BGSU has shown — of all things — the inability to score even when their defense plays halfway well. Look at four of their losses:
Boise State 20, BGSU 7
EMU 24, BGSU 21
Miami 27, BGSU 20
NIU 16, BGSU 13
This year they are 3-4 when the other team scores under 28 points. Last year that mark was 5-0. I didn’t expect the defense to improve this much, but they’re about 4th or 5th in the conference (out of 13) in many defensive categories. With Sheehan/Turner/Barnes/Partridge, this should’ve resulted to a three-, two- or maybe one-loss season thus far. They’re 5-5.
And even though they’re remarkably disappointing, they’re still in it. This reminds me of 2006, when they broke Temple’s magnificent losing streak, and yet still they were alive in November for a shot at winning the division. Oh, they certainly didn’t. But the same scenario is playing out now.
There are two more games for these guys. Just win ‘em both, put the record at 7-5 and finish strong with a quiet three-game win streak to end the season. That’s all I ask.
While I don’t really have a great excuse for the lack of MACSploitation updates, I will say the conference is not out of my minds (although, seriously, does EVERY team in the East have two conference losses already?). The proof is in this week’s TFP version of the Futon Report, denouncing Tuesday night football.
Four games. That’s all the conference gets this week. Eight of the 13 teams will squat on their barcalounger this Saturday. Five teams aren’t playing this week, because two are on bye weeks, but three either played in last Tuesday’s game or next Tuesday’s game.
The BG-Northern Illinois game is kinda-sorta on TV. Lord, I’m afraid of that one.
I wonder what it’s like to play your main rival when it’s not the final game of the year. Sure, Toledo and Bowling Green weren’t always the last game, so it shouldn’t be too hard to fathom, but it’s still an odd feeling. When a team doesn’t mind going 1-11 as long as that one win is against the most loathed team, the wind really has to be taken out of a team’s sails if a 5-0 start is tarnished by a rival loss. Sadly, this must be how Kent State feels every year.
12 noon — Akron (2-3, 0-1) at Kent State (1-4,10-1) ◼ ESPN Game Plan
Seriously, why don’t they just buy a second wagon wheel so they can both have one?
2 p.m. — Ohio (1-4, 0-1) at WMU (4-1, 2-0) ◼ Seriously?
I keep forgetting Western Michigan is good. Maybe it’s better that way.
3:30 p.m. — Temple (1-4, 0-2) at Miami (1-3) ◼ ONN
Temple has upgraded from losing big to losing barely.
4 p.m. — EMU (1-4, 0-2) at BG (2-2) ◼ Wood County Camcorders
You know that intramural football team that felt really good about their chances at the beginning of the season, but then started playing games and got crushed, and in the middle of the season just wanted to quit? Well, I don’t know why I just thought of that as I looked at Eastern Michigan’s changes, but I did.
7 p.m. — Ball State (5-0, 2-0) at Toledo (1-3, 1-0) ◼ …or NOT
So Toledo kicks the bucket against FIU, and Ball State’s riding high. Of course UT pulls this off somehow. It’s goddamn conference play. That’s just how it goes.
7 p.m. — Northern Illinois (2-2) at Tennessee (1-3) ◼ Even Tennessee doesn’t care
What looked like a complete laugher three weeks ago has turned into a simple harmless blowout.
Fifteen minutes of your life will be
wasted well spent on this. From the Buffalo-Temple game to Ball State’s potential undefeated run to people picking Western Michigan basketball over LSU football.
And I think I got the sound levels a little better controlled. But not much.
When the selling point on the press release is “two of our games are televised!” it better mean that (a) there are only three games this weekend, or (b) the majority of cable channels are having a blackout this weekend because they forgot to pay their bills. Alas, six games go untelevised, which means it’s up to me to decide which off-brand local station will pick up the games. Because everyone needs their MAC football. Ev. Ry. 1.
12 noon — Temple (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1) ◼ ESPN+
They were once jokes. Now they’re less funny jokes. Winner is my sleeper pick to win the MAC East until further notified by way of bad loss.
12 noon — Toledo (0-1) at Eastern Michigan (1-1) ◼ the eyes of about 5,000 Ypsilantians
Get this. EMU’s favored in this game. By two points. Absolutely will this game not be won by the second best team in Washtenaw County. (Read: Pioneer High School)
1:00 p.m — Ball State (2-0) at Akron (1-1) ◼ Who’s want to watch it anyway?
KEEP THEM ALIVE! ONLY MAC TEAM THAT CAN GO UNDEFEATED! GO CARDINALS! Until of course their inevitable bed-shitting against NIU.
2:00 p.m. — Central Michigan (1-1) at Ohio (0-2) ◼ Someone might take pictures
Well, Ohio lost to OSU by 12, while CMU lost to Georgia by 39. Most people believe Georgia would beat Ohio State by 58. Translation: CMU-Ohio will end in a tie.
2:00 p.m. — Delaware State (1-0) at Kent State (0-2) ◼ If CMU and Ball State aren’t on, what are these guys’ chances?
You’d like to think this will be a I-AA upset, but note this: D-State coach Al Lavan coached at EMU. On an interim basis. So just chew on that for awhile.
3:00 p.m. — Charleston Southern (0-2) at Miami (0-2) ◼ Oxford, Ohio public access (tape delay)
Expect big things from the RedHawks offense, who will easily run past defenders doing a dance from the 1920s.
4:00 p.m. — Western Michigan (1-1) at Idaho (1-1) ◼ Your Napoleon Dynamite reference here
When the Vandals meet the Broncos … hug your Visigoth children in case you never see them again.
8:00 p.m. — Bowling Green (1-1) at Boise State (1-0) ◼ ESPN+
So, a couple things. For one, I don’t want to talk about last week. They cheated. (Hopefully.) Secondly, the BG defense, beyond the collective ability to usher the offense through the secondary, has some mighty fine playmakers. For example, Diyral Briggs leads the nation in sacks with five. Tied for second: every other man in the world, with one.
Idle hands: Northern Illinois
And just in time, too! So far, one game and no disappointments. Let’s just call it a week, shall we?
Ball State 35, Navy 23
In their defense, our naval victories have been few and far between in the entire state of Indiana.
12 noon — Miami at Michigan ◼ ESPN2
By this game Rich Rodriguez should be able to spell all his quarterback’s names.
12 noon — Ohio at #2 Ohio State ◼ ESPN
Just another game for another OSU running back to get injured in. Just kick field goals every down.
12 noon — Connecticut at Temple ◼ ESPNU
It’s not a basketball matchup, so you’re not interested.
3:30 p.m. — Eastern Michigan at Michigan State ◼ Big Ten Network
Winner gets to say this shirt is about them:
3:30 p.m. — Central Michigan at #1 Georgia ◼ FSN South
Wait’ll the SEC gets a load of a white quarterback who runs and throws for a lot of touchdowns!
3:30 p.m. — Akron at Syracuse ◼ FSN Ohio
Orange Zip sounds like a fake soda from the ’80s. Which it is. It’s fake. Because I made it up.
6 p.m. — Buffalo at Pittsburgh ◼ ESPN+
The Pittsburgh Panthers do NOT want to get in an 0-2 hole in the MAC East. ◼
7 p.m. — Northern Illinois at Western Michigan ◼ Any camcorders the players’ parents bring
Whoa whoa whoa, why the rush for conference games so early?
7 p.m. — Kent State at Iowa State ◼ Iowa actually doesn’t have TV
The Golden Cyclone was a conceptual amusement park ride back in the ’90s that was to replace the old Orange Zip Slushee stand that nobody frequented.
7:30 p.m. — Minnesota at Bowling Green ◼ ESPNU
In no way will I get my hopes up for this KICK THE GOPHER AZZ 2-0 BCS CRASH PARTY!!!!1!1@1
10 p.m. — Toledo at Arizona ◼ Tucson Public Access Regional Southeast, weather permitting
They had a bye last week, and this one’s their first. I’m not going to make the “it must takes two weeks to transport Tom Amstutz across the continent” joke, for I am above it.
After having difficulty scheduling the first radio show, naturally it’s only in the best interest to start a second show on top of that. And whip up a crudely ‘Shopped logo
Presenting, the 15-minute podcast version of everyone’s favorite Mid-American Conference wrap-up feature, MACSploitation Radio, now in its third year. The inaugural show is tonight (Monday) at 11 p.m., although if you don’t have a hankerin’ to listen that late, just catch it the next day. Also, for the latest show, check the bottom of this blog for the latest version.
If you want to call in and blab about one of the MAC teams, the number’s different than Treehouse Fort: (347) 677-1457. Obviously, it’s gonna be just about football and basketball. We’ll have some guests lined up. And it’ll probably be the answer to the wrap-up post I normally have on the Futon Report. The preview post, however, will never go away.
No, I mean it. Even after the blogosphere is obliterated by the zombie army led by Bill Moyers, I will write up MACSploitation on a piece of notebook paper, magnet it to the fridge, and charge two bits for anyone who wants to view it.
Whee! It’s college football time, which means the Mid-American Conference is ready to lose all their nonconference matchups in the first week!
Take last night, for example:
Central Michigan 31, Eastern Illinois 12
Well, okay, that’s the conference champion and it’s against a FCS team, so you’re bound to have a win. Certainly some of the worse teams will…
Ball State 48, Northeastern 14
…well, sure, but Ball State was in a bowl. Certainly one of the pissbuckets of the MAC didn’t fare as…
Eastern Michigan 52, Indiana State 0
…The hell? Okay, still. These are just FCS teams. Against other FBS schools, certainly they were blown out at…
Buffalo 42, UTEP 17
Vanderbilt 34, Miami U. 13
Ah, there it is. God, I was scared for a second.
Football is football, and the conference is 4-1 to start the year. Call it the pinnacle of the year, because tomorrow’s games might not yield the delighted results. Fortunately you don’t get any of these channels:
Actually Started A Couple of Minutes Ago, I Just Learned
Temple at Army ◼ ESPN Classic
All I can say is: that is without question the right channel to feature this game.
Saturday, August 30
12 noon — Bowling Green at #25 Pittsburgh ◼ ESPNU
Kirk Herbstreit said a couple hours ago that this is a trap game for Pitt. Assuming that BGSU never plays defense and always has the ball, he will be correct.
12 noon — Akron at #13 Wisconsin ◼ BTN
I have no doubt the Zips can score a touchdown.
2:00 p.m. — Ohio at Wyoming ◼ The Mtn.
The last Ohioan to visit Wyoming, I think, was me back in March. And I’ll say this about Wyoming: Mountains.
7:00 p.m. — Western Michigan at Nebraska ◼ FSN
Mind you, WMU beat Iowa last year to end the season. And to the Eastern time zone, it’s essentially the same state.
7:00 p.m. — Northern Illinois at Minnesota ◼ BTN
Minnesota lost to a certain MAC school last year on a Saturday night game. This was their way of saying they don’t want that to happen again.
7:30 p.m. — Boston College at Kent State ◼ ESPNU
They’re playing the game in Browns Stadium. Which means BC might be the finest team to play on that field this year.
(Photo credit: Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)