Monday, July 31, 2006

Pre-season MAC Media Poll out

No surprises here. They picked Northern, the natural pick. I think they have a better idea of what Western is capable of then some other previews I have seen, and I think they may be underestimating Central, but, all told, the West was pretty much conventional widsom.

As was, in fact, the East. I don't think Akron's dominance is reflective of anyone's idea that Akron will be that dominant, but more a reflection of "who the hell do you pick." I think the BG pick is fair, (I don't know where we got 2 first place votes), and I commend the media for not falling prey to unwarranted Franklove.

The East will be wide open. (One unspoken advantage--Akron has Miami and BG at home).

West Division

Place/Team 1st place votes Total points

1. Northern Illinois 39 286

2 Toledo 10 244

3. Western Michigan 1 172

4. Central Michigan -- 155

5. Ball State -- 120

6. Eastern Michigan -- 73

East Division

Place/Team 1st place votes Total points

1. Akron 35 282

2 Miami 11 235

3. Bowling Green 2 196

4. Ohio 2 176

5. Kent State -- 97

6. Buffalo -- 64

Sunday, July 30, 2006

MAC Report Online Live at MAC football meeting

For those who cannot wait for their MAC news.

Browns Cut Sanders

The Browns cut Steve Sanders to make room for their #3 draft pick. Obviously, it would have been great for Steve to get a little longer look, but it was always going to be a tough road. Just walking into a NFL training camp is huge accomplishment. I hope he gets another shot.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Media Day is Monday

It will be interesting to see Monday who the media establishes as the early favorites in the MAC football race. Not that they are always--or even sometimes right--but it does give you an idea who the early targets are.

For example, in the West, I expect them to pick NIU in the West, though I am not convinced that Toledo is out of the game. I don't think you can rule Central out, either, though some people are overestimating Ball State, IMO. At the same time, I wonder about Western, which might be better than people think. EMU will blow.

In the East, the pool is thin. I suspect Akron and Miami will be the favorites, with BG next. I think OU will continue to get Franklove, but it won't mean anything until it happens on the field. Kent and Buffalo will blow.

The MAC, as a whole, is in a low period. Nothing to compete with the teams from the UM era. Even UT and NIU--the favorites for victory in the MAC Championship--are flawed teams who lost a lot in the off-season. Its probably more wide open than it looks. Click here for MAC report online preview, best on the web.

My actual predictions will come later. But I believe the media will have NIU (with Garrett Wolfe and UT playing in DeKalb this year) beating Akron in the MACC.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

9/9 BG-Buffalo moved to 3 PM

OK, by me. I think we'll get a good crowd, and it makes my life easier, drive wise. The tailgaters are down as they were looking forward to a full (and I mean full) day of tailgating. Can't quite follow why from, say, 9 Am to 3 PM isn't sufficient, but to each his own. Perhaps when I was younger.

Now, the reason has been cited a couple different ways. The official line is "events in the community" such as the Black Swamp Arts Festival, and I think that is a good thing. People can go to the game, and then go downtown and here the music and hear the musical acts. Of course, some are suggesting that the REAL reason is the huge, megadeath game between OSU and Texas that night.

Either way...objectively, the night games haven't had a big difference in attendance. We kind of limp along as always.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blade covers Media Tour in Cleveland to promote Wisconsin game

Maureen Fulton (MoFul) had a nice article from the Falcon media tour of Cleveland.

First, to get business out of the way, Bobby Thomas is ineligible, confirmed. All comments from the previous post apply.

Rest of the article is excellent. Turns out that Dan Macon, our #1 RB, did a videotape for his home Church and sold 700 tickets. That's a new definition of putting butts in the seats.

Said it before: love to see a huge crowd with strong Falcon representation on September 2.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thomas Rumored Ineligible

An internet story is reporting that Bobby Thomas, SO-RB, will be ineligible due to academic issues next season. If true, this is a loss, though not a huge loss, I guess. Thomas got some carries last year when PJ Pope was down, and seemed to do a good job. We were looking for him to spell Dan Macon--he also provided a change of pace from the stronger Macon. Chris Bullock would now be slotted into the backup spot, and he's an R-FR with no carries.

The season draws ever, ever closer.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Merillville, IN.....cradle of something

Merrillville is a town of about 35,000 people in the state of Indiana. It began as the home of Tom Dakich, former Falcon player and Father of one Dan Dakich. Dan eventually became a Falcon. Then, Len Matela came to BG from this fine town and led the team to some of its most successful seasons.

Then today, as if Merrillville hadn't yet done enough, along came John Stroia as our new assistant coach, replacing Artie Pepela. Stroia is from, you guessed it, Merrillville.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-Merrrillville. Merrillville is as good a place as Terra Haute, Gary, Ft. Wayne or even Bloomington. And if you don't think so...well, then you don't think so. But you can't ask Merrillville to do anything more for our basketball program. Of that much I am sure.

Stroia is, as an AZZ poster noted, freakish for having three consonants in his last name, followed by three vowels. What do you make of that? He also has been a D1 head coach (Youngstown State), and has good experience coaching, including at Weber State. It looks like a good get to me.

Maybe we should play a game in Merrillville.

GMAC Date Moved

A lot of bowls are apparently taking advantage of the new National Championship game (which is like Jan 7), and moving their game into the "dead period" between New Year's and the big game. One of them is the International Bowl, which is now a MAC tie-in.

The other is the GMAC Bowl, just announced.

The game will be played the evening of January 7, after the NFL wild card games, with a clear and open field.

Its a really good thing for the MAC.

First, because the early game (GMAC was one of the first) left a short travel planning horizon for MAC fans.

Second, the early date forced the GMAC to pick a team early, and, I think, lessened our ability to get our best team into the game.

Third, because the date two days before Christmas was really tough for family travelers to make. You're essentially travelling home on Christmas Eve, a time when you probably would be preferring to do other things. I just can't swing that schedule on the home front.

So, note this. If the Falcons play in the GMAC Bowl, and things are good on a $$ front, a Mobile trip could well be in the cards.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cole Magner Married on July 9th

His wife is from New York, and the wedding was on Long Island, so it was covered in the New York Times!

Now, that's a good looking couple! Congrats to all. It would be great to see Cole hook on with the Falcons this Fall, but with or without it, he made a remarkable contribution to Falcon football, both in terms of ability and in terms of charisma. Best wishes to the couple.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Giants Cut Josh Harris

Too bad, I thought he had a shot at hanging on here. But, if you don't make it to training camp, I guess you don't. I wonder if he will sign another deal in Canada like he did last season.

You do have to wonder how many more chances he might get. He remains, however, the most dominant Falcon QB (and the biggest winner) I ever watched, and no one can take that away.

BG-Wisconsin Game Moved to Saturday Night

Game will be 7pm instead of 1 pm. Great for me, for several different reasons, but mostly because it just makes travel in a lot easier, and gives us some quality afternoon time in Cleveland rather than post game evening time. I'm all for it. Also nets TV coverage. Getting better every day!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

John Hunter added to BG Staff

John Hunter a two-time All-MAC performer for the Falcons, was named assistant coach for running backs this week.

A couple notes on this.

First, John Hunter was on the Falcon team while I was in college, and he was a dominating Defensive end, especially on pass rush. This was the mid 80s and the Chris Berman nickname craze was just taking off, and we had nicknames for the Falcons. His was so obvious and lame that I remember it to this day...John "Big Game" Hunter.

Second, he's been coaching HS ball at Detroit Pershing since 2000 (as head coach) and was 40-28 with Michigan tournament experience. I don't know why, but I think successful high school coaches are good finds for our program. They're used to developing talent--and working with what they have--which is different than the experience we get when someone comes from a big football school.

This is actually the replacement for John Bowers, who left recently. Dennis Springer (former RB coach) will coach DBs, DJ Durkin, who coached D-ends last year will now coach linebackers and special teams, and Mike Ward (former D-tackles) will coach the entire defensive line.

I guess having a dedicated special teams coach is a luxury at our level. Anyway, with that it sounds as if the staff is set for this year--which is good because the season starts in two short months.