Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Poll Draft, comments welcome

1 Alabama --
2 Texas --
3 Oklahoma --
4 Florida --
5 Penn State --
6 Southern Cal --
7 Texas Tech --
8 Utah --
9 Boise State --
10 Ohio State 2
11 TCU 2
12 Cincinnati 4
13 Ball State 2
14 Oklahoma State 4
15 Oregon 3
16 Missouri 2
17 Georgia Tech 3
18 Brigham Young 1
19 Georgia 8
20 Boston College 1
21 Michigan State 2
22 Oregon State 5
23 Mississippi 1
24 Florida State 2
25 Virginia Tech 1

Dropped Out: Iowa (#25).

We've hit a dangerous time in the Blogpoll... actual thought is required. We've been asked to post our rationale behind our decision as to whether Oklahoma or Texas should be ranked higher in the Blogpoll...thereby contributing our opinion to the great national debate on the topic.

I have ranked Texas ahead of Oklahoma, as I did last week.

A few points.

It is incredibly close. I really think you are practically flipping a coin.

Let's summarize the situation:

Both teams beat Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Missouri.
Oklahoma gets a slight edge in schedule, with defeats over TCU, UC, and (lesser) Washington and Chattanooga, as compared to Texas beating Rice, Florida Atlantic, UTEP and Arkansas.

Now we get to the good stuff.

Oklahoma beat Texas Tech (by tons), and Texas didn't beat them at all.

And, on the other side of the argument, of course, Texas beat Oklahoma, neutral field.

Here's my rationale:

  • The charge of the Blog poll is to evaluate the quality of the season.
  • One of the things I hate most about the mainstream poll is their focus on margin of victory and on recent results as opposed to past results.
  • If you're going to rate the quality of the season, and compare two teams who are very, very close, I think you have to give head to head precedence.

Now, I know what comes next.

What about Texas Tech? By that logic, they should be ahead of Texas. I believe Texas is stronger because they have quality wins over OK, OK-State and Missouri, while Tech has only beaten Texas and Oklahoma State. And, as pitiful as Texas's non-conference schedule was, Tech's was even more pitiful.

Its splitting hairs. But, I think Texas has shown itself to be the better team in the only unambiguous format available.

Well, a night has passed...

and I'm still in shock. When I first saw something about this on, I figured it was a hoax of some kind. A coaching change is about the last thing I thought would happen. It is 100% out of character for BGSU. We let Gary Blackney linger until the end of his contract, and did the same with Dan Dakich. And just last year, Coach Brandon was given a three-year extension.

I am never somebody who roots for coaches to get fired. In fact, dig through my posts here, I thought Dakich could have done something with one more year. I know, that decision had to be made, but it just underscores how I am the last one to give up on coaches.

And, while I hope this is good for our program, its kind of sad. I feel badly for Coach Brandon--the man has lost his job. And I feel really badly for his assistants, who do not have buy-outs and will likely be moving again. (Just think about being forced to sell a house fast in this environment.) What a life.

I think that it took some guts for Greg Christopher to do this, and he deserves credit for that, if it works. A year after an extension, with an .500 season, the safest route would be to keep Brandon one more year. I applaud his focus on the off-field things---Bowling Green must have a program we can be proud of.

I do think, however, that he was a little disingenuous about the role losing played. If Brandon had made the MAC Championship, there is no way he doesn't coach us in 2009. But, I do get what he's saying...if he's .500 and no academic and legal troubles, maybe he stays.

What happened? A lot of people are pointing back to that December day in 2003 when, in the tumult following Meyer's sudden and wrenching departure to Utah, a group of players went to see Paul Krebs and requested/demanded that Brandon be made the coach. There was the veiled threat of transfers, etc. And Krebs went along.

To be fair, many in the Nation were dubious at that moment, as the school (which had still not even won a division title) seemed a little self-congratulatory at the state of the program.

At the time, I recall favoring an outside candidate. (And, its worth noting that the same year, when the two best coaches in the MAC, Meyer and Hoeppner both left, their assistants were both promoted and lost their jobs on the same day).

But, riding on the wave of the huge talent influx, Brandon seemed at first to be a good coach. And, as long as he had all those great players and the residual discipline and leadership, he was very good for his first two years.

However, as the Meyer players filtered out of the system, the record returned to about .500 for the past four years. And that's a truer test. However, in two of those four years, we had chances to win our division with teams that had way underachieved, including this year. So, I don't believe recruiting football players was the problem. I just think our staff didn't get the most out of the talent they had.

He got an extension after making a bowl game last year, and I thought he deserved it.

I also think its clear that we made a lot of compromises on football players, in terms of the character and their ability to graduate at BGSU. This is a tricky area. I'm all for second chances. But, I don't think Bowling Green is going to tolerate large amounts of arrests (and we're not talking disorderly conduct or public urination), and the academic stuff is troubling, too. I think we probably brought in some guys for whom we were their only option, and that's because other schools figured they weren't worth the risk.

So, for all those reasons, I think it is fair to say the program had stalled, and needed to be started up again. I wish Coach Brandon and his staff well.

Now, what's next?

The Blade had a list of guys Ryan thought of off the top of his can check it out.

There are a bunch of considerations here.

  • Do you go for an assistant at a bigger school? (Our normal route).
  • Do you try to find the next Brian Kelly in I-AA?
  • Do you go the Louis Orr model and find a good coach who is looking to restart his career?
  • Also, what do you do about the style of play? Do you look for someone who wants to run this offense, or at least elements of it? (Local fans will be very concerned about wholesale style changing after the year Rich Rodriguez had).
  • If the money was found privately to buy Brandon out, then I can only assume that money can be found to up the pay a little.
  • Is this an attractive job? Would someone choose us over Miami if they were offered both?
I have long harbored a fantasy of getting Dan Mullen back here to coach. I think his style and the Meyer attitude is just what we need. I don't know if he knows the Midwest well enough, and I definitely don't know if we can afford him, he probably makes more than most MAC Head Coaches.

If I had to guess, it will be someone who is not on anyone's initial radar. While some people may agitate for it, I don't see Studrawa or Beckman as head coaches. Obviously, I could be wrong. I do (always) think a guy from OSU is a good choice. That's a strong program with good fundamentals and someone would learn how to coach working for Tressel.

Most of all, we want somebody with something to prove...somebody with some ambition who wants to make a name for himself. I don't think in the MAC that we ever going to get a guy for 20 years. We should look to get someone who wants to win and build his career.

If someone does come in who was not connected to the program in the last eight years, that will cut all ties to the Meyer years here at Bowling Green. But today's move signals one thing...we're going to act more like bigger schools with our coaches, and we're not going to let a program go fallow while we wait out a contract. And, .500 with off-field issues is no longer good enough.

quick MAC Bowl thought

There was talk yesterday during the Boise game about a Ball State matchup with the Broncos.

Two thoughts.

  • Ball State should absolutely not agree to play Boise in Boise. A bowl game should be a neutral field.
  • And, I also think Ball State should not play Boise on a neutral field. It just has a feel of, you know, "isn't it cute watching the little kids fight." Ball State deserves to play a BCS team, if they are going to step out of the MAC bowl arrangements.

Schadenfreude Overdone

Someone besides me thinks Genyk acts like the south end of a north bound mule....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Look

With football season over, I shifted the look and some of the news feeds over to basketball. This isn't an editorial comment on today's news, just a changing of the season.

Hope you like it.

Audio From Press Conference is up....

You can go to the BG News site and hear the Press Conference from tonight. I've listened, and here are some comments. Regardless of whether you thought this was the right thing to do or not, I think the media did a nice job of asking some questions that simply had to be asked, because there are some elements of this that require explaining. My editorial comments are in orange.

Essentially, Christopher said that he began thinking about making a move around the time of the Miami and EMU games. But while he said he had been thinking about the move for a while, there was no single moment or loss or NCAA violation that made him make the move, and that it was more an accumulation of things.

He went on to cite them.

  • 2008 was an up and down year.
  • There were off-field incidents that impacted on the field performance.
  • APR issues.
  • Team attrition.
  • These things impacted the team on the field in terms of consistency and discipline.

He said it was a hard decision because it effects people....the players, and the coaches, who had worked hard and contributed positive memories.

He went on to pre-answer questions.

Brandon will be paid $250,000 per his contract. General fee money will not be used, but fund raising and outside marketing resources will be used. (I am not sure if this will be like the "Save our turf" campaign.)

The assistants do not have buy outs, but will work through the transition, and, of course, the new coach may decide to keep them.

The search will begin immediately. There is no timeline (though, somewhere on the Internet, someone is no doubt enraged that it isn't done already).

He met with Gregg this morning and the assistants as a group this afternoon. He regrets that he couldn't tell the players in person, but they were called.

He said the timing was chosen because he wanted it to be after the Toledo game.

Doug Phillips will administer the program, and work with the verbal committments to keep them on board. He is the recruiting coordinator.

The banquet will go on, but the assistants will run it. He said the seniors deserve it.

Now the questions begin?

Why not Monday or Tuesday? Why today? (This is a really good question. Seems like he could have waited to me.)

Christopher said it was important to get the process moving.

What was Brandon's reaction?

While it will stay private, Christopher said that Brandon was professional and civil (as would befit a man being handed $250,000).

Ryan from the Blade asked if it looked strange to fire a coach that you had given a 3-year extension to only last year. (and it surely does. That decision cost somebody $250,000, because without it you could have fired him for nothing).

Christopher said that last year we were in a different place, and that it was deserved, but that things are different now. And, the buyout did not change. (To be fair, I thought it was deserved last year as well).

One of the reporters than proceeded to read from the official game notes, which cites the following successes of the Brandon era:

• 43-30 overall record, best in the MAC
• 13-12 versus non MAC opponents, best in the MAC
• 30 conference wins, best in the MAC
• Three bowl appearances, best in the MAC
• Two bowl wins, best in the MAC
• One MAC West crown (2003)
• Two MAC East crowns (2005, 2007) (Note that this rather dubiously includes co-crowns in which we did not win the tiebreaker.)
• National rankings in 2003 and 2004

(This serves the University right. They let this stuff go into the media packet for whatever reason, and now it bites them. Let me do my own version.

Since 2004, when Urban Meyer's talent left the program:

  • 24-25 overall record.
  • 1 bowl appearence, the worst defeat in bowl history.
  • No MAC division crowns.
  • No MAC Championships.
Christopher responded that it was a combination of on-field and off-field issues that caused him to make the decision, and that some things were public and some where not.

He was asked if calling out the fans was a factor.

He said it was not, calling it "noise in the system."

Christopher also said that there is nothing prohibiting Brandon from coaching in the MAC.

Christopher said he was looking at 15 things in a coach, including midwest ties, a passion to recruit, and a strong mentor, teacher, and leader.

Next, he was asked about Coach Brandon's statement Friday that the team would practice next week, since they are bowl eligible.

Christopher responded that there won't be any practices.

One of the reporters picked up on the statement that some things were not public in terms of problems with the program....

and Christopher immediately regretted saying that. Anyway, he then revealed for the first time that the Falcons had lost 9 (!!!) scholarships due to APR violations. Those are not announced until the spring. But, we apparently took 7 last year and 2 next season. (This is very serious, and certainly makes it harder to defend Coach Brandon. We thought it was a big deal when UT lost a couple. It should not be happening at this program).

He asked how the program looks, given that an extension was just given.

He said such a thing is unusual but not unheard of (though I wish someone had asked him to name another time it happened). He conceded that the timing may seem awkward.

Then, someone asked if we had beaten Buffalo, would we be having this conversation? This, of course, gets to the heart of the matter).

He said he didn't know and that "we may very well be sitting here." (This is, of course, completely unbelievable).

And one of the reporters followed up increduously.

Christopher said it was tough to say, but possible we would have had that press conference anyway, five days before a MAC Championship game.


Anyway, more to come, I'm sure. One last note. Christopher mentioned the problems that started with the EMU and Miami games, and I started to remember the constant drumbeat that Coach Brandon beat about the tough pre-MAC schedule banging guys up and hurting the team. Since the AD makes the schedule, was that a pre-defense? I will also note that the only facet of the Buffalo crowd issue that Coach Brandon did not rip was the poor game time, to which he said "I don't set the game times. Of course, the AD does.

I will also say this...if the basketball search is any indication, there won't be a lot of news leaking out. Christopher did a really good job of keeping that quiet, and I suspect he will do the same thing again.

Here's what Ryan had to say.....

Note especially this....

Dan Mullen (offensive coordinator at Florida, former BG quarterbacks coach), Tim Beckman (defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, former defensive coordinator at BG) and Luke Fickell (defensive coordinator at Ohio State). Those are the three guys I want interviewed. Others who should be considered are Ron English (defensive coordinator at Louisville, former defensive coordinator at Michigan) and Zach Azzanni (assistant head coach at Central Michigan, former receivers coach at BG).

I think many Falcon fans would put Greg Studrawa into the mix. Mullen would top my list, but I have my doubts that we can afford him. The guy from OSU would also be a great hire.

Breaking News--Brandon has coached last game at BG

I can't believe what I am seeing, but the Blade is saying that Gregg Brandon has coached his last game at BG. Never, ever, ever, did I expect to see us get rid of a coach with three years left on his year after a three year extension.

I'm stunned.

More to come.

Update 1: BG has official release on website...

"This was a difficult decision, but ultimately I believe it's time for BGSU football to make a coaching change," said Christopher. "Gregg's time at Bowling Green has been marked by a number of accomplishments. I want to thank him for his dedication and commitment to Falcon football."

Update #2: Just a thought. We have lots of competition for a new Coach, just within our conference. Openings as of today include:

  • Miami (Montgomery resigned today)
  • Toledo
  • BG
  • EMU

And that's doesn't include the following coaches who could get new jobs:

  • Turner Gill, Buffalo
  • Brady Hoke, BSU
  • Butch Jones, CMU

"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these 'It might have been'"

This, I think, encapsulates the Falcon season. There will be much more in the way of reviewing the season in the coming weeks, but for now, here are some thoughts.

That team we saw out there Friday--that was the team we were supposed to have. Veteran defense preying on the opposition, and an aggressive offense throwing upfield and running with aggression. That's what this team should have been.

But, we are 6-6 might have been.

If we could do that to Toledo, we should have been able to do it to EMU and Miami, too. And, you know, even if we didn't, we are simply one play away from playing Ball State for the conference championship. Field that onside kick, make that field goal, convert that key third down (against Buffalo, of course), or any of a dozen different things and we're feeling pretty good today.

Furthermore, when you have a senior dominated team, its even more frustrating, because its hard for the team the next year to be better. Of our 17 seniors, 16 were significant contributors. On defense, we started 7 seniors. I'm not saying there aren't some new guys coming along (Alvarado and Basler, to name a couple), but those are a lot of holes to fill.

This just felt like our shot when the year started. And it feels like our shot now. But, for whatever reason, we didn't perform to our ability during significant portions of our MAC schedule. And, of course, the Buffalo loss, that's going to go down with the Fat Punter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Coach Brandon's Post-gamer

A couple interesting things. You can listen for yourself here if you like....

First, Dozier had an "issue" a couple nights ago and didn't play today. I'm sure that's a painful way for your college career to end.

Second, Coach acknowledged with the way our team played tonight and for three quarters against Buffalo, that the MAC Championship would be difficult to watch. In fact, he said he doesn't plan to watch.

Finally, he said this....(more or less)

"I also want to thank the BG fans who were here today. Last week my comments might have been harsh or over the top. It was not my intention to alienate or insult our loyal fans. It was my intention to drum up support for our home games."
That should be that. We'd all like more people at the home games. Historically, it has been very difficult.

Finally, on a NON-presser comment, Shaun King rattled on endlessly that Coach told him that we were not conditioned well enough to close out games. Assuming that's a correct quote.

More later.

How Sweet it is!!!!

Oh yes. That was nice. It could have been nicer, but another complete and total blowout of our archrival is never going to feel bad...

Including the interception on the last play. Sweet.

So, it was one point worse than last year.

Tyler Sheehan did something Omar and Josh never did---win a game in the Glass Bowl.

And a great way for our seniors to leave on a positive note.

Go Falcons! Bragging rights for another year.

Gee, have we been here before?

Nice half by the defense. They are really playing well, even against the run.

The offense....uh, hmmm? Well, we've got one TD drive, and did a nice job eating clock on the FG drive, but the other TD truly belongs to the defense and the ridiculous turnovers remind me of the GMAC Bowl.

So, let's see if we can close the deal this time--as a point of pride for our seniors. And, let's see if we can sustain some drives on offense to help out a little.

Interesting that we pushed for the score, after the frustration against Buffalo. Didn't work, but we did show some confidence.

Let's finish the deal, and at least not add a loss to Toledo to our season.

Well, there's only one thing that can be done now....

and that's end the season on a winning note. The season has been very disappointing, but what's done is done. I hope our seniors can get a win in their final Falcon game....

The Falcons have 17 seniors playing in their final game of their careers when the Orange and Brown square off with Toledo.

  • Adrian Baker
  • Diyral Briggs
  • Brandon Curtis
  • Nick Davis
  • Erique Dozier
  • Jeff Fink
  • John Haneline
  • Jermiah Kelley
  • Aaron Kent
  • Kenny Lewis
  • Marques Parks
  • Corey Partridge
  • Joe Schaefer
  • Antonio Smith
  • Anthony Turner
  • Sinisa Vrvilo
  • Nate Waldron

Football Inks New Verbal

Ronnie Goble of Canton, MI has verballed to Bowling Green. He is a TE/LB, who is 6'3" and 220 pounds. In this story about a Michigan high school playoff, an opposing coach said:

"Plus, we wanted to run away from (Plymouth linebacker) Ronnie Goble’s side. He’s a heckuva football player and he was causing us all kinds of problems over there."
You gotta like the sound of that. A rating service gives him a 67, which makes him the 8th player in our class who is "ranked."

That, of course, means next to nothing, but is probably worth mentioning.

Also from the FWIW file, here's some highlights he posted onto the internet.

Welcome to the Falcons, Ronnie.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation

A quick note to everyone. Remember, we live good lives, and, by global standards, incredibly comfortable ones. And, the ability to spend our time following and debating the merits of sporting events is a tremendous privilege. Be thankful today for all those things.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CBS Sports Blog Poll is out

Very interesting stuff, as we debate Oklahoma-Texas-Texas Tech. Good points all around. It was very difficult to separate Oklahoma and Texas...and head to head decided it. That doesn't mean it has to be taken to the ridiculous extreme that many of the posters suggest. But, all things being know.

25 Rocket Questions for Tom Toledo Day

What is their body of work this season?

They have had a really tough season. They are 3-8. Of course, that includes a win at the Big House....and wins over Eastern and Miami, two teams that the Falcons failed to beat. Finally, though they are 3-8, they played CMU, Ball State and WMU, and BG, well, didn't.

What is their best result this season?

Well, for sure, its the win at Michigan. No matter how down things were in Ann Arbor, that was a high quality win. An overtime loss to a pretty good Fresno State team also should not escape mention.

What is their worst result this season?

Losing at home to Florida International.

What is the turnover margin?

They are perfectly in balance, 17 in, 17 out. They don't force that many or make that many.


How is their QB play?

Coach says Opelt has been playing better, and he is capable of doing well. He is only the 9th ranked QB in the MAC. He had a nice game at Michigan. His completion is just over 60%, and he has only 12 TD passes. Also, his yards per attempt is 12th in the MAC. This is nothing new for the Rockets, who have specialized in a very short passing attack that minimizes interceptions and sacks for years.

What is their yard per play?

5.5 yards per play, (just what Buffalo had coming into that game), which is tied for fifth in the MAC and considerably better than the Falcons.

Can they run the ball?

At 4.8 yards per carry, they are third in the MAC. Their rushing attempts are the lowest in the MAC of any team that has played 11 games so far...this is very unusual for the Rockets. They have been behind a lot, so maybe that explains it. No conversation of whether they run the ball can be considered complete, however, without noting that Morgan Williams set a school record with 330 rushing yards against Miami last week. That's a school record. Now, we don't know how hard Miami was trying, but he's dangerous, as is Collins.

Do they pass the ball.

They are near the bottom in passing. Obviously, at Michigan, they found Nick Moore, oh, a whole bunch. Williams is a good receiver, too. Obviously, they pass the ball better when the running game is good.

Are they high efficiency or big play?

This is a big time dink and dunk team. Not that they never go down field, but the UT version of the spread has lots of passes behind the line.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They are dead last in the MAC on third down. Special Tom Toledo note...23 times (tied for second in the MAC) they have gone for it on fourth after not making it third. They convert just under half of those. (Going for it on 4th is one of the hallmarks of the Tom Toledo reign).

Do they score in the red zone?

4.5 yards per red zone trip is a pretty common number. Their conversion % is second in the MAC. Two things. They have been held without points only four times, in fact, and ALL FOUR were on missed FGs. And, not to be lost in the math is that their number of red zone trips is by far the worst in the MAC.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They are second in the MAC in preventing sacks...very typical of their offense.

In summary, while their offense certainly has struggled at times this year, I think its safe to say that if the running game is there, they remain a dangerous team and certainly capable of scoring enough to beat us.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

The defense for the Rockets has been much maligned this year. They are ninth in the MAC in scoring defense, and sixth in yards per play. We'll see if there is something in here that explains the disparity--we know it isn't turnovers.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Well, they are ninth in total yards allowed rushing, but 4.2 yards per carry is really good and only beaten by three MAC teams. There are a lot of running attempts against them, but not a huge amount. I think if you look at it, the run defenses in the MAC have performed very similarly, except for a good team at the top and two lousy teams at the bottom.

Can they be passed on?

They are sixth in passing yards per game, and allow the second highest completion percentage in the MAC. They have allowed 21 passing TDs, 11th in the MAC. For these reasons they are 9th in pass defense efficiency.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are sixth in the MAC here.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not very well. By percentage they are 8th in the MAC, but they allow five points per trip, which is not very good.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are dead freaking last in sacks with 8. We should be able to get time to throw...if we don't, its on us.

Special Teams:


Special teams are serviceable for the Rockets. They are fourth in net punting.

Punt Return?

They are 12th in this category.


They're very strong. Stiegerwald is one of the top kickers in the MAC. He's hit 75% this year, and 15 total, which is second in the MAC. (That's impressive, because when Toledo Tom doesn't have confidence in his kicker, he won't kick, no way, no how). His long is 48 and he is 5-7 from beyond 40.


They are 11th in covering kickoffs, and don't even have one touchback. They average 34 net yards on a kickoff, which means that on a typical kickoff, the team starts at the 36 yard line. Yes, really.

Kickoff Return?

They are ninth here, almost equal with the Falcons.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A lot going on here.

  • It is Tom Toledo day. Do the players care?
  • It is Senior Day. Do the players care?
  • BG has not won here since its players were in elementary school.

I think the game comes down to a simple equation....which team decides to play in a game that doesn't mean a thing. On paper, its actually a more even match up than it first appears when you figure in that the Rockets had to make their bones against tougher MAC teams.

In general...the way the Falcons have played has not given me confidence that we will play well with nothing on the line. We haven't executed when we had the lead, and I worry that we'll turn in a lackluster performance Friday and lose on the road to a team playing with some emotion. I just don't think we will play as hard to be 6-6 as the Rockets will to win their last home game and Tom Toledo's last game.

Having said that, I am (believe it or not) an optimist. I'm hopeful that I'm wrong....that Tyler Sheehan will look to be the first QB to win at the Glass Bowl since long before Meyer/Brandon, that the rivalry means something to our team, and that they want to try and salvage something of their legacy with a win to avoid a losing season. Maybe the disparity between our ability and our results will piss our guys off, and motivate them to play the full 60 minutes, the way we know they are capable of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Congrats to Ball State

Great job, Ball State. What a season. Not to be forgotten, but they lost one of their best players mid-way through the season. No excuses, they just kept winning.

For the benefit of the MAC, I'd like to see them win against Buffalo, stay undefeated and head into a bowl game.

They are, in my opinion, one of the top MAC teams in history.

Weekly Presser, Flinching Statues and Hope

Here's the presser from yesterday....wise ass remarks are in orange, and, as I mentioned, I am skipping the part where he defended his comments about the fans. Enough is enough.

Anyway, Coach started out by trying to put a brave face onto the Rocket game. He is pushing that the team can be bowl eligible, and that a bowl game is possible, though not likely. If we lose, we'll never know, he says.

Note: This is always confusing to people, but here's how the rule actually works: On April 26, 2006, the NCAA announced that they were relaxing the rules for eligibility starting with the 2006 season, particularly in light of the new 12 game college football season. Now, teams with .500 records can qualify for bowl games if their conference has a contract with a bowl game. Also, teams with .500 records (i.e. 6-6) could earn bowl bids if all other FBS teams with winning records have been taken and postseason spots still remain vacant.

In other words, we could only go to a bowl game it there were no 7-5 teams available AND we were chosen over other 6-6 teams for vacant slots. If you look here, you will see that there are currently 63 bowl eligible teams (with at least six wins) and 64 bowl slots. It is what it is. For our seniors, I'd love for them to make a bowl game, but we can hardly be said to have played our way into a bowl game this season.

Coach also emphasized several times the value of this game as a rivalry game....the chance for the seniors to end their career beating Toledo and providing a springboard for the next season for the younger players. We haven't won at UT since 1994, and that has to be motivating them now.

Coach was asked if it was a challenging, frustrating season.

He said that was a good assessment. He said the tough early schedule was "difficult to manage" and that we had injures from playing that schedule. (I've written on this plenty, we were pretty healthy. Coach complained the last time we had a disappointing season that we had been scheduled without an off-week. He even got it written into his contract that he had to be consulted on the schedule. And the schedule was tough, no doubt. I just wonder what exact combination of circumstances it will take--the exactly right combination of seniors, scheduling, fan support, (ooops, I slipped), weather, moon alignment--for us to have our program where Central has theirs.)

Coach then went on to say that the loss Friday night was pretty tough to swallow.

He was asked to discuss the offense's lack of success in the fourth quarter. Most conversation has fallen on the defense.

Coach said there had only been one time we didn't move the ball after the long drive and score, and that was when UB lost the fourth down deep in their own territory and we didn't a)score or b) hold the ball and eat clock. Coach felt that was the turning point of the game, and he's probably right.

He then went on to talk about "5 guys standing around like statues" on the onside kick--also a pretty accurate assessment.

The game was on the line "and we flinched," he said.

A couple things. We actually had two possessions after our long TD drive. The first one was also a missed opportunity. We had a first down and were on the Buffalo side of the field, when we gave up a sack and went to the screen pass one too many times and lost five more yards and had to punt. A couple more first downs on that drive would probably have also iced the game.

As for the talk about the onside kick and "flinching," (statues can't flinch, btw) I'll just say this. On Friday night, or even now, saying something like "you know, we flinched a few times this year in similar situations, and as coaches, we've got to figure out how to fix that for next season" would make a lot of fans feel a lot more comfortable about the leader of the program.

On the Rockets.

  • They have a lot of weapons, and are among the MAC's more athletic teams.
  • They are getting better QB play and the running game is back.
  • Some injured players are back.
  • It will come down to who wants it the most.
  • "Hopefully it will be the Falcons." (Hopefully?)
To be fair, Coach did note in the discussion of the relationship with the fan base that "we (meaning the team) didn't do our part and haven't done our part." He said it was "legit" for fans to be disappointed that a team with high expectations has underachieved, but "that doesn't mean don't show up."

There was some discussion of Tyler Sheehan. Coach says he has improved, his completion % is better, and that he is doing what they need himi to do. He is very solid. Taking care of the football. The UT is a big game for him to set the tone for next season, and if he can be the QB to win at UT (which Harris and Jacobs never did), then its a boost.

Sheehan has done an admirable job. I know there are questions about whether he gets a higher % by throwing to the closest guy all the time, but he was not brought here to be a running QB and he has been our leading rusher. For my money, he's a warrior.

Jason Rice tore his knee up and is looking to next season.

No other "significant" injuries to report.

With that, the curtain came down.

For what it is worth

The BG News has a letter to the editor from Greg Christopher thanking the fans.....

Nice Effort by the Falcons

Even though they lost, and Ryan's story indicates in The Blade that the team no longer views close losses as a moral victory, last night's game was a further indication that our team is on the right track.

In the end, two things killed us...first, even though we only made 15 fouls, Ohio State shot 21 free throws, meaning (I can only conclude) that more of our fouls were shooting fouls than normal. Anyway, they out FT'd us by 8.

And, Dallas Lauderdale was a real force inside. He blocked six, but altered maybe twice as many. BG was not as effective on the inside as we need to be, and since we don't (and didn't) shoot the 3 well, we need a decent percentage on the inside and couldn't get it.

Still, inside of one minute the game was within one score when we had the ball. And, like Minnesota, we had been behind by double digits and got back in the game. Again, I'm seeing a lot of positives...


Joe Jakubowski: is going to be a really good MAC PG. OSU pressured us...can you remember the painful days watching our previous point guards try to work against pressure. It hurt just to watch. But, Joe handled things really well, calmly getting the ball up floor almost everytime. He had six assists and 3 TOs.

Daryl Clements: As a senior, he has developed into a very solid player. 13 points, 9 rebounds and our best on the ball defender.

Brian Moten: Quiet for much of the game, he got hot when we needed it, and developed some long ball action. Shows nice touch inside the arc, too. Another senior who has really developed into a quality MAC player.

Otis Polk: This might have been the best game I have seen Otis play. First, he put in 30 minutes. He only had 7 points and six boards, but he showed some touch around the basket on two tip ins and I thought contributed on the inside. Made a really nice touch pass on an interior play, too. Consistent minutes from Otis would make this team five points better right off the bat.

Nate Miller: Not his best game scoring wise, but Nate showed an ability to get penetration and make things happen. He's a quality player and even better when he doesn't have to shoulder the whole load himself.

Team notes:

We held OSU to only 40% shooting.
We made only 14 turnovers.
We outrebounded them by a lot.

All in all, a nice effort. A week off now, and a trip to Georgia for a very winnable game for the Falcons. Can't wait to start the MAC season.

One last note: Chris Knight played only 5 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coach Brandon digs in....

and I'm done. I'll look at the rest of the presser tomorrow, but for now, I'll just say that Coach Brandon's comments today appear to be more of the same. I think the comments on this BG News Blog pretty well cover how I feel.

Beyond that, its time to move on. He's wrong and he's determined to stay wrong. I've said everything I have to say.

The Rocket game is coming up, and I'm rooting for our team to win, just like I did from the stands against Buffalo. And, the basketball team is on TV tonight.

Falcon sports has given me too much pleasure in my life to let something like this ruin it.

Schadenfreude Realized...

OK, I'm going to reveal a petty and childish side of myself...

This Fall, Eastern Michigan won a game at the Doyt. They proceeded to celebrate as if they had won the Super Bowl, making themselves look like...well...the losers they are. I guess "act like you've been there before" didn't make it into the EMU book.

Their coach, a former Falcon, proceeded to head into the locker room and burned his Falcon jersey in some kind of comical motivational ritual. Here's what I said at the time....

A final note: I always had some residual affection for Jeff Genyk, the EMU Coach because he is a BG Grad, but now that he opted to burn his Falcon jersey in the locker room after the game, I now wish him a plague of a thousand years. He is now on my banned for life list. I'd like to say we will pay him back next year, but by then he'll be an assistant coach at Temple.

Well, Eastern proceeded to head off, and not win another game all season (unless they shock CMU this week--no stop laughing) and today Coach Genyk was relieved of his duties as football coach at one of the five worst programs in D-1, and the only one where he could have ever been a head coach.

To our shame, the win over BG was Eastern's only D-IA win this season. Hope that jersey burning went well, Lombardi.

So, a couple final things for Coach Genyk... didn't resign. You were fired.

#2--There's no such thing as the Michigan MAC Championship.

#3Your best season was 4-8. Prepare to tell your grandkids about it.


#5.....Check this link out for your future....

Sigh....Pure pleasure on my dark side.

CBS Sports Blogpoll Draft, comments welcome

1 Alabama 1
2 Texas 1
3 Oklahoma 3
4 Florida --
5 Penn State 2
6 Southern Cal 1
7 Texas Tech 6
8 Utah --
9 Boise State --
10 Oklahoma State --
11 Georgia --
12 Ohio State --
13 TCU --
14 Missouri --
15 Ball State 1
16 Cincinnati 2
17 Oregon State 2
18 Oregon 3
19 Brigham Young 2
20 Georgia Tech 3
21 Boston College 3
22 Florida State 3
23 Michigan State 8
24 Mississippi 2
25 Iowa 1

Dropped Out: Pittsburgh (#20), North Carolina (#22).

Here you go...comments welcome. Texas and Oklahoma at #2 is OH SO CLOSE. On one hand, Texas Tech beat TX and were killed against OK. But, the standard is the quality of the season, and I feel that TXs head to head win still prevails. Iowa and Mississippi are new poll entrants, the first with four losses.

Texas Tech is tough to figure. I mean, all year we suspected this might happen. Yet, they convinced us. And then they fell apart. The quality of the season is still pretty good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Buckeye Preview

Not to be forgotten, the Falcons will battle Ohio State on the hard wood on Monday night. Obviously, for our guys, this is an opportunity to play on the big stage. If you are interested, the game is going to be on the Big 10 network, live, Monday night, in HD.

We've already played one Big 10 team, and played them pretty tough, so what can we expect from the Buckeyes?

I do think we will keep the score closer than Michigan ba dump.

So far this season, no clues. OSU has beaten Walsh (ex) and Delaware State easily, as you would expect.

Obviously, Ohio State didn't have the year last year that they would like, especially since the year before that they played for the title. They did get 24 wins, but needed the NIT to do it. Their top three scorers are gone from THAT team (that did win the NIT). There are no scholarship seniors on the club.

The Bucks feature 8 new players on their roster...4 freshmen, 2 JUCO, 1 D1 transfer, and 1 walk on. However, one of those new players is 7'0" BJ Mullens, the nation's top recruit. (reports are that he is no Grego Oden). Also, they have William Buford, who was the leader on Toledo Libbey's championship team last season and Ohio's Mr. Basketball.

Mullens only played 7 minutes against Delaware State, while Buford was tied for leading scorer with 13 points.

They are inexperienced at point guard, but were expected to be strong on the wings.

The Bucks always play strong defense. One of their bigger weaknesses is that they have to play 6-5 David Lighty at power forward, a problem in the Big 10, but less against us.

I look forward to seeing how our guys do. They will have to execute really well on the offensive side to get enough points to compete, and hope OSU isn't hot on their end.

If you are interested...

Here is the analysis of the final 12:00 or so for Buffalo......

Its pretty horrible. Don't let children see it.

Beat Toledo!!!!!

Crashed V-2 rocket
Originally uploaded by tobo
The only worse thing would be to go through all this AND lose to Toledo.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More on Coach's statement

If you read this thread on, you will find an email sent to Coach Brandon by webmaster Grant Cummings and an answer from Coach Brandon. He is non-apologetic, to say the least. He also finds the Internet "demeaning" though normally he says he doesn't look at it.

Just a quick can disagree with the opinions on if you want, but those people are true Falcon fans. Maybe in coaching you start to think everyone who doesn't love you is against you, but those are true fans. It is over the top sometimes, yes. Do I think many of the opinions are a little nuts? Yes. Are these people just as good fans as me? Yes.

In a sense, Rich Rodriguez is right. If your support of college football has driven you to screaming (in print or in person) "you suck" at a 19 year old young man, than you do need to get a life. Perspective is always needed. (But, you really don't see much of that on if any. Its the most civilized board I have been on. But I digress.)

But, I stand by what I said earlier....he has the nerve to talk about OTHER people making excuses?

“I don’t know what else to do about it,” Brandon said. “I’ve done everything I can to get support for our program.”

So, Coach Brandon storms into the press conference. His team has just blown a 20 point lead in the 4th quarter, lost a chance to play for the East title, gone 1-4 at home for the year, etc. And he's cranked up (based on the observations of those who were there).

What do you expect him to say? I'll be it wasn't this....(from Ryan's blog, link above):

“That crowd was pitiful,” a furious Brandon told reporters. “The fans that showed up, that’s awesome because they’re the true fans. But our kids deserve much better than that. To be in a game with so much on the line, that disgusts me.”

(Disgust? Really?)

So let's stop and think about this. First, the initial reports on the Internet made it sound like he said "the crowd was pitiful," and those of us who sat in the snow and cold to watch our team, and who never miss a game (and that's everyone in my section), that is something that pisses you off.

But, he didn't say that, so we can probably turn the burner off the "boil" setting. People like Coach Brandon always want to be quoted in context, so let's look at the overall context of what was going on.

As mentioned, the season was on the verge of being saved, and then we threw it away. It is a collapse that you talk about for a decade. Coach Brandon comes into the press room. There are lots of things he could have said.

  • He could have complimented Buffalo.
  • He could have taken responsibility for the season.
  • He could have been philosophical.
  • He could have refused to show up.

Instead, he decided to rip the program's already tenuous fan base. They say that a crisis doesn't build character, it reveals it. And I think it does. Coach Brandon has rarely, if ever, said that he and his coaches need to do a better job. He often has no-harm excuses, like injuries, or weather. He often minimizes things ("we were in the game in the fourth quarter"). And sometimes, he actually blames the players for the defeat, sometimes even by name.

And I'll be honest. I expected him to say one of the following:
  • We had a chance to win in the fourth quarter.
  • That injury to Jason Rice really threw off our game.
  • This a really tough conference, you know. Its hard to win. The other team tries too.
But no, he decided to rip on people we are trying to bring to the games. Ryan reported that AD Greg Christopher was there the whole time, and he can't be happy. In fact, Coach's audio was not posted on the website, which it always is. I have to believe that is to keep the comments from spreading too far.

Its kind of cute, but that's what they must be thinking. Apparently, they are not familiar with the Internet.

Anyhow, he also made the statement that is the title of this post. And I would like to answer it.

Coach Brandon:

Put the tape of the last 11 minutes into your machine and watch it. Then ask yourself why someone would drag themselves out at 6:00 on a work night to sit in the snow and cold for three hours to watch that.

If you don't have the answer, watch it again.

You're not entitled to attendance. You say you don't know what else to do about it? Instead of having the SID write a letter to the editor, how about this:

  • Beat Miami and EMU (and, for that matter, Minnesota). (In other words, stop letting your fans down when they do show up).
  • Create a team that's worth watching.
  • Create a team that is "can't miss."
  • Schedule games when your crowd can make it.
  • Hold yourself publicly accountable for wins and losses. Stop blaming other people. Its embarrassing and revealing.

Since none of these things were in effect on Friday, you should expect what you got.

Buffalo Recap #1 (long)

I'm going to recap last night's debacle in two parts. First (now), I will look at the game as a whole. And then, in the second post, later tonight, I will look specifically at Coach Brandon's bizarre and disgraceful post-game comments.

The game...this team was destined to break our hearts. They did it twice before against EMU and Miami, and then thanks to the poor level of play in our division, they were granted a third chance. Then, for more than three quarters they showed us the kind of football we thought we would get this year: an offense moving the ball at will and a defense that was dominating the Bulls.

I'm most pissed at myself, because I fell for it. I started to think, you know what?, this team could compete in the MAC Title game. It took too long, but we got it together. And, we can still salvage something from the season.

And then it fell apart all at once. Its one of the most incredible collapses I have ever seen, and one of the most disappointing things I have ever witnessed as a Falcon fan. Every element of the team ceased to function.

Pass rush: gone.
Pass coverage: gone.
Offensive domination: gone.
Onside kick: Are you kidding me?
Field Goals: Nope.
Playcalling aggression: LOL

I don't like to think that our team thought they had the game won, and just let up. I really don't. So, rather than play psychologist, let's look at what happened, actual facts. We simply did not execute, especially on defense, in the last 12 minutes of that football game. And, that's the third time this season that has happened.

Not just some slips ups..a total absence of execution, a screeching halt. One minute, everything is good, one minute nothing is good.

Now, that's happened three times this season. (And, I will submit, that if you look at games like Pitt and Boise, and maybe some others if I thought about it, there were similar periods, just not at the end of the game.) And it cost us three games.

Now, an explanation is that we let up. If we didn't, then what is the explanation? Do we have a poor scheme for holding leads? Are our guys tired? Do we have no leaders to rally the players when something turns in the wrong direction? It has to be something, and no matter what it is, its not a good answer.

Let's take a look at all the places this team failed in the last few minutes:

1. A general defensive collapse. (With one exception, see point 2).

Let's look.

Buffalo ran 28 plays in the last 12 minutes of the game. Those 28 plays included:

  • 26 called passes.
  • 21 of those were either completed, or a successful scramble. (81%)
  • 4 were incomplete. There was one sack.

Look at another way. Out of 28 plays....

  • 68% of those plays gained 5 or more yards.
  • There were 8 of plays of more than 10 yards (29%)
  • There were 6 plays of zero or negative yards (21%).
  • Buffalo averaged 7.3 yards per play during this period.

I understand we were in a prevent defense. I'm not anti-prevent. I understand that, executed properly, it gives us the best chance to win the game. However, (and I think I understand the concept), the idea is to limit the offense to short gains, and keep them in bounds...force them to eat up clock and eventually, you get them off the field or they run out of time.

You're also dropping lots of guys in coverage and rushing without concern for the run, so you should be able to force some incompletions and pressure.

That's where this fell apart. I doubt if those numbers above represent a prevent defense executed properly. They represent a shredding.

2. But, hey....what about the offense?

Indeed. Because we did get a stop. With about 6 left, Buffalo went on a fourth down deep in their own territory (the 26) and didn't make it. So, let's freeze that frame for a minute. On the Buffalo 26 with 6:00 left and a two score lead, and an offense that has owned Buffalo. Do you think things have to look pretty good here?

Well, not so much. We went hyper conservative (as opposed to for the kill), with three QB runs, which got six yards and a FG attempt....

3. What about the botched FG?

Yeah, that was a killer. First of all, it was 4-4 and we were moving the ball, and there's a school of thought that we should have ground it out for the first down and moved the chains. There's a good chance that we can put the game away if we do. That's easy to say now. But, I guess I can't fault the decision. A FG puts the game away too, and we have done that earlier this season. And, frankly, we should be able to make a 37 yard FG.

Sadly, we didn't even get the kick off, (don't know what happened), and we lose a gift wrapped opportunity to win the game.

Still, keep this in mind...we're still up 14 with 4 minutes left to play.

4. In the meantime, that's not all for the offense is it?

No. In a drive starting with 11:02 left, we ran a 1-10 play on the Buffalo 49. Sheehan was sacked, and then we ran (surprise!) a screen pass that lost five yards, and then Sheehan ran way short of the first down. This was, in fairness, another opportunity to put the game away with a solid drive that got at least three points.

5. How did Buffalo get two touchdowns in four minutes? (Yes, the onside kick).

Well, the overall defensive malaise is listed above, but it couldn't have happened without an onside kick. I just think that the kicking team should NEVER recover an onside kick. It is always the receiving team's fault. Buffalo kicked a slow onside kick, ran a wave of guys to block, and then the second wave of guys went for the ball.

And, you know, our guys just stood there. It was as if they had never practiced it, or didn't understand what the objective was. On a slow kick, there was plenty of time for someone to run up and grab it before it even went 10 yards. Our guys went into vapor lock, and Buffalo had the ball. If we recover it, I think the game is over.

6. Were there other things that hurt?

Yes, most notably the INT Tyler threw at the end of the first half. That TD would have made it 21-0, big momentum, and probably we don't lose.

7. Should we have tried to score on the last possession?

The Nation is absolutely buzzing on this one. I have to say, I think we handled this right. With :37 left, and a very unreliable FG unit, we would have needed to get the ball all the way to the Buffalo 20 without time outs. I think the probability was just really low and the chances of an INT better. Focusing on this takes attention away from the utter failure for the rest of the fourth quarter.

Freddie Barnes was especially upset (visibly so) at this, and it looked to some like Coach Brandon might have grabbed him. The fans certainly were. I don't know that it was the wrong thing to do.

8. What about the overtime?

Two things. First, I think we should have considered going for two at the end of the first overtime. I just think we had pushed their d-line around all game, and could have had a play that would have gotten us the two points. The Bulls were pretty confident (and who wouldn't be?, they had scored on two plays with their possession) on offense, and you had to figure that if the shoot out continued, we'd lose. (In fact, most of the people in my section left when the overtime started).

Second, in the second overtime, BG had the ball at the 1 and it was 3rd down, following a 7 yard Turner run. Turner lost a yard, and then we had a fourth down play. We decided to go for it, which I thought was the right thing to do. You had to assume that we needed a TD, plus we had already missed a FG and an XP. And, you have to figure we could get 2 yards.

Now, if we had applied to same logic to the fourth down play in regulation OR the two-point conversion in the first overtime, we might be feeling differently today. Of course, you have to execute the play.

We had been running this formation--the diamond formation, where we send four receivers out in a diamond-shaped cluster. Sheidler is in front, to block. Partridge, Turner or Barnes is in back of the diamond, with two other receivers on the wing. The idea is you throw it to the guy in the back, and the other guys block. We had some success with it, both throwing into it and then running off it the other way.

But on 4-1 on the 2, we lined up in it again. Now, I am no xs and os guy, but it seems to me why the play works for a few yards is that the defensive backs have to respect the idea that if they crowd the line, one of those wing receivers will run right by them for an easy score.

Inside the five, that's a different story. Their backs charged the formation kamikaze style, there was a mass of bodies, and the ball (and what was left of the season) sailed to the sideline without being touched or even close.

You just knew it was over, and Starks scored on the very next play.

That's the sad tale of woe. After about 48 minutes of what might have been the best football we have played this year, we completely fell apart, as listed above. There were numerous chances for the Falcons to put the game away, and salvage the season. Any one of them, if executed, and BG wins. Since none of them were, we didn't.

The team stormed off the field without the traditional alma mater with the band (or prayer, even). And Coach Brandon stormed into the press room. Which is where we will begin the next recap.

Basketball Recuiting Scorecard, updated

For a while, I have tracked out hoops recruiting because I contend that the current malaise of our program is the severe shortage of quality players we have brought in and/or kept since Dan's little trip to WVU. With the Sims departure, here is an updated report....(Actually, the 05-06 class looks better every week, and better than 06-07.).

Falcon Hoops Recruiting Scorecard, Updated November 2008

Stephen Wright--Productive player, left prior to his senior season.
Ron Lewis--Two productive seasons, no junior year. Prominent Big 10 player.
Raheem Moss--26 games, two starts, 66 career points, left program. Contributing at Cleveland State.

Chris Hobson, 28 games, 51 points, left program.
Austin Montgomery 56 games, 189 points, transferred.
Reggie Harwell--Nada.
Matt Lefeld--A contributing senior and a true warrior. Academic All-American
Isaac Rosefelt--24 minutes, two points. Left Program for stellar DIII career.
John Floyd--Played 59 games averaging 8.4 ppg. 247 career assists Left program.


Scott Vandermeer, 60 points and 40 fouls. Transfered, contributed at UIC.
Moon Robinson, Left program after sophomore season. Transferred.
Mawel Soler, completed eligibility. Effective player, even good in spots.


Jeremy Holland--left program after one practice
Nick Wilson--left program without playing a game.
Lionel Sullivan--Sayonara. 30 minutes, 6 points.
Dusan--Minor contributions. Left program prior to Junior Season.
Erik Marschall--appears to be legit but injury plagued.
Daryl Clements--Contributing player, sometimes better.
Brian Moten--MAC sixth man of the year in junior season.
Martin Samarco--2nd team All-MAC, legit D1 player. Finished career.


Ryne Hamblett--Contributing player, but kicked off team prior to senior season.
Brandon Bland--Left the program.
Marc Larson--Gets minutes, may be more valuable than his stats indicate.
Otis Polk--Improving force in middle.
Ryan Sims--left team early in Junior year. Made little contribution.
Nate Miller--All-MAC honorable mention. Great get for the program.

Chris Knight--Could have been MAC Freshmen of Year, except for stupid rule. Nice upside here. (Technically, he is a Dakich recruit).
Joe Jakubowski--Quality player, good addition to the program.
Cameron Madlock--Little PT, suspended early in sophomore year.

Dee Brown--Too soon to tell
Scott Thomas--Too soon to tell
Au'ston Calhoun--Trouble getting started, no PT through 4 games.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Let the Excuses Begin

Things are not good in the nation. Beyond blowing a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Internets are literally crackling with unconfirmed reports of a shoving incident with Freddie Barnes and Coach Brandon, as well as Coach calling the crowd tonight "pitiful."

Developing, more later.

Update #1: BGSU has put audio up from the press conference, but not Coach Brandon's, which is the normal practice.

Note Turner Gill thanking god. "A favor was done here."

Update #2: The BG News has the "pitiful" quote, and some commentary, as noted below.

"That crowd was pitiful and I'm so disappointed. The fans that showed up, that's awesome because they're the true fans. Our kids deserve so much better than that. To be in a championship with so much on the line and that kind of crowd disgusts me," Brandon said highly emphasizing the "disgusts me."

The fact of the matter is that the Falcons have played poorly at home all season, blowing three straight opportunities to show a crowd how good they could be in the Minnesota, Eastern Michigan and Miami. Combine that with the lack of winning tradition any MAC schools have, cold snowy weather and a Friday night kickoff and the people aren't going to show up.

Tonight's the night

Well, the Falcons finally get to see if they can take advantage of yet another chance to win the East tonight. We'll be there, bundled up and ready to go. I'm looking forward to it. Essentially, if we win two games, we get to play two (the MAC Championship and a bowl game). There's lots that we should not be proud of from this season, but there's still something to play for, too. And, I'll be yelling my head off tonight.

Buffalo is a solid team, but certainly not an unbeatable team. If we play as we are capable, then we should be able to compete with them.

One other, you anticipate the start of football season for Soooooo long, and then its over in the blink of an eye.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home Opener

Shot this from our "courtside" seats tonight at the Wayne State game. This was from the early minutes of the game. Joe Jakubowski, screen right, is cleaning his shoes, something he is rather compulsive about. I wonder if his apartment is that clean.

As you can kind of see in the background, we haven't brought the fans back. Tonight's game was played before an intimate gathering of 1,066.

But let us not be deterred. I believe that sunny days are ahead and that we will, someday soon, walk up to that arena and literally feel it shaking from the outside.

Tonight, the Falcons overwhelmed an outmatched Wayne State team, 80-48. With 8:00 left in the first half, BG was up by 3, but the Falcons gained ten more by halftime, and then blew it open in the second half with some really nice D . Wayne shot only 28% in the second half. The lead eventually got as high as 37, and we got the easy win we really should have gotten against this club.

Its hard to learn too much from a game like that. You do feel better dominating them, I will say that. I thought we had nice pace, ran the ball well, and got some close in baskets. Miller and Knight didn't start, and Knight, in fact, played only 13 minutes, even with the blow out.

We got some nice minutes out of a bunch of guys, but, again, they were playing against guys they were better than. You can check the box score out here.

A few notes....

  • It was great to be back. I love that place.
  • I think Dee Brown looks like a ballplayer, very solid with the ball.
  • I like the looks of Scott Thomas, too. He certainly isn't afraid to shoot.
  • Erik Marschall is making some real progress. He will be a big contributor.
  • Is it my imagination, or are we just a heck of a lot more energetic and effective man to man than in the vaunted 2-3?
Finally, the news was that Cameron Madlock is still suspended, or suspended again...anyway, he didn't play. With Au'ston Calhoun on some kind of similar thing, we're down a couple of bodies.

And, Ryan Sims is going to transfer. He's not getting minutes, and Brown is ahead of him on the depth chart. We wish him well.

Next is the Buckeyes at the Schott. I am feeling like we might be able to see the corner and where we need to turn.....

I love Schadenfreude

There's nothing against good old fashioned schadenfreude, and the best example I can think of is college sports teams rooting for their rivals to lose. You favorite teams are Bowling Green and whoever plays Toledo.

Check this blog post out, where an actual journalist literally gloats at the CMU loss last night...

In the media, we're supposedly impartial. At this point, though, it was getting hard not to root against Central Michigan's ridiculously good fortune.

Buffalo's last-second field goal hits the upright.
Ohio fumbles going in for the winning score.
WMU has to face CMU's backup -- and better -- quarterback.
Northern Illinois' coach doesn't abandon his run-first game plan until the second half.
The Chips get WMU, Ball State and Buffalo at home (WMU hit the road for its toughest three league games).

A further note....Ray Bentley is not only a homer, but he's a total idiot.

Twenty Five Questions that Roam

What is their body of work this season?

Its pretty good. They are 6-4, but their losses (@Pitt, @Missouri, @CMU, WMU in OT) are all losses to good teams.

What is their best result this season?

Of course, none of their wins are real big either. They've sort of won what they should (unlike the Falcons). The Temple and Akron wins were real nail biters--and Temple would even qualify as a miracle. Obviously, the Akron win was the biggest win of the season, and it came on the road.

What is their worst result this season?

Going to overtime with Army.

What is the turnover margin?

They lead the MAC at +13. That is 22 against 9. This is a clear strength for their team.


How is their QB play?

Very solid. Drew Willy is a senior and 5th in the MAC in pass efficiency, aided by an 18/4 ratio. On the plus side for us, he is primarily a drop back passer and has not been a threat to run. They have been using a true freshmen option QB in some packages, though he fumbled against Akron.

What is their yard per play?

5.5 yards per play, which is 6th in the MAC. They are a solid offensive team, but they are no CMU/BSU/WMU.

Can they run the ball?

4.0/carry is 8th in the conference. I found this surprising because their RB, James Stark, has 1,000 yards this season (in eight games) and averages over 5 yards a carry, and has most of their carries. They give up a lot of sacks, which counts against their rushing stats. Stopping Starks has to be a priority.

Do they pass the ball.

As mentioned, Willy is 6th in the MAC. They have a run-rich play mix, but can throw the ball. Naam Roosevelt is a legit star and has caught 8 TD passes. You certainly cannot sell out to the run on this team.

Are they high efficiency or big play?

They probably skew a little downfield. Their 7.2 yards per attempt is what you would see from NIU and Akron, and BG's is 6.5, for comparison.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

Another very solid aspect...they are third in the MAC at 46.7%.
They also go for it on 4th a lot.

Do they score in the red zone?

4.4 points per red zone trip is pretty typical. They have only thrown 4 interceptions all year, and three were in the red zone.

Do they protect the quarterback?

No, this is perhaps their weakest point. They have given up 22 sacks, which is 10th in the conference, and they are not particulary "pass happy."

This is a good to very good offensive team, without many weaknesses. They are multi-dimensional and move the chains on third down. We will need a strong defensive game to compete.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

You can move the ball on them. They are 10th in the MAC in yards per play allowed, which is over 6.0. They are only 7th in scoring defense, thanks, I would guess, to all the turnovers.

Do they defend the run effectively?

You have to look a little deeper on this one. They are 4th in the MAC in rushing yards per game. However, only Miami and Eastern allow more yards per rush than Buffalo does (4.6). As comparison, the maligned Falcon run defense allows 4.4. That's because teams don't run on them very much (315 times in 10 games) and the lowest number of attempts against of any team with 10 games played in the conference.

Can they be passed on?

I think you can guess where we are going here. They give up the MAC's highest completion rate (65.9%), although 7.2 yards per attempt is about the middle of the pack. They average giving up 253 passing yards per game. Now, that's inflated because they played CMU and WMU, and lots of teams didn't. They also played Army.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Nope. They are 10th in this category, one spot behind Bowling Green.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Yeah, they are pretty good. 4.1 points per red zone attempt is pretty strong, and they have 10 outright stops, four of them on downs.

Do they pressure the QB?

Not a strong point. 8 sacks is tied for last in the MAC.

Special Teams:


This is a clear weakness, they are 12th in net punting.

Punt Return?

They have returned only six punts all season, but when they do, its over 13 per attempt and third in the MAC.


They are in the middle of the pack at 10 of 14 in field goals. They are not a long distance kicking team--they are 1-4 from beyond 40, and 40 is the long for the season.


They are in the middle of the pack here, as well.

Kickoff Return?

Also not good. They are 12th in the MAC in kickoff returns. They do have 1 TD.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

  • We have a long break, which should be an advantage. And we are at home.
  • Buffalo has played us really tough, even back before their renaissance.
  • They are playing for the title, whereas we have one more meaningful game.
  • Are they really hungry? I fear they are.
  • BG has a nice break to rest out and prepare, and has some seniors who don't want to leave on a losing note.
This is as good a team as we have played since NIU. Their special teams won't hurt us, but if we give their offense turnovers to work with, they will beat us. We will need to contain Starks and Roosevelt, and (I believe most of all) execute on offense against a defense that can be moved. The game may end up being a shoot-out, and our offense simply has to show up in order for us to win.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's the MAC"s big night

CMU and Ball State in what should be for the West Crown. Game is in Mt. Pleasant, and has all the elements of a great one...probably the best two MAC QBs to face each other in years. All in all, it hopes to be a great showcase.

Update: the game certainly lived up to its excellent college football game. Ball State still has one more win to capture the MAC.