This week, the questions are coming from the Chip Report, and they are pretty good ones. Here are my responses, and check back when we get to Friday for the collective wisdom of the MAC Blogosphere.
1) Over the last 5 years, the MAC has seen an influx in recruiting talent. Is this consistent with the national landscape or is the MAC slowly gaining ground on other conferences?
I think the MAC is gaining on other conferences. We were the second to last conference, ahead of only the Sun Belt, for a number of years. The WAC has fallen behind us (self-inflicted though) and I recently saw a conference power ranking that said that MAC is the top non-AQ conference. Even if that ends up a little overrated, I think MAC football is having a good season and I hope is positioning itself for a more competitive future. I think it is always driven by coaching, and I think that we have a particularly solid bunch. Solich is obviously proven, Bowden has never lost anywhere, and then you add in Hazell, Clawson, Doeren, Campbell and Treadwell, all of whom have great promise, and I think you can see where things are going.
2) Which currently successful MAC team is built for long term success and which, if any, has all their eggs in the 2012 basket?
Well, the teams I like in this regard are the MAC's stalwarts--NIU, OU and UT--where I think true programs are being built. That is where we want our program to get...the point where the team is good every year, consistently. As for the eggs question, oddly, it might be UMASS. They have some 5th year guys, and while that might have eased the transition, it can also be a sugar high.
3) What statistic has been most crucial to your team's success or failure?
Running yards per game. For 2010 and 2011, BG was one of the worst running teams in FBS. This year, the ability to run the ball is in the process of saving the season and that is something that I did not expect us to be able to say. For example, in 2010 BG averaged 2.1 yards per carry and 62 rushing yards per game. This year to date, the team is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 172 yards per game. Even since last year, yards per carry has gone from 3.7 to 5.1.