Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It was all over the web... CBSSports.com, which does a weekly conference ranking, has moved the MAC ahead of the Big East into the #5 slot. I mean, it is just one rating, but it is pretty cool. In the last two weeks, the MAC has beaten two ranked Big East teams and one of those wins was on the road...so, I think it is actually warranted. This is a year when MAC football is as good as it has been probably since the Marshall days or the Big Ben days...anyway, MAC fans, enjoy November!
I think everyone would pretty much agree about where things start for the men's basketball program.
Now, I said "based on what we have seen." There has been a whole summer and these are young men--it is very possible some or all of them have made significant jumps. That has not been a hallmark of the Orr regime, but it could happen. Point is, we need something to happen that we haven't seen yet--there are no clear understudies obviously reading for a starring role.
Here are the questions BG will need to answer this season:
Who among the cast of supporting players is ready to step up? Names like Clarke, Orr, Sealey, and Henderson--is any of them ready to step up and become a consistent playmaker. They all showed flashes--Clarke and Sealey especially--but it is a long way from there to Scott Thomas like production.
Sealey is a special wild card. He has shown real ability from time to time, and yet he rarely saw the floor, averaging only 12 minutes for a .500 team. There has to be a reason for that. At his best, I think he presents match up problems for defenses.
Will Jordan Crawford's game improve in his senior year? Can he make the players listed above better on a nightly basis?
What kind of production will the team get from Cam Black? Can he take some of the pressure off Calhoun?
For that matter, what kind of player will Calhoun be? He was certainly good last year, but there is still room for him to improve and become a more consistent player, especially when he is in a crowd.
Finally, our new guys, Spencer Parker and Richaun Holmes, are both question marks. Neither is just out of HS. New guys don't tend to get much run in Orr's system, but could one of them at least play the role Oglesby did last year and the year before?
As a team, one question mark I would pose is whether the team will develop another way to score. We were 9th in the nation on points scored on FGs, but among the worst in 3FG and drawing fouls and getting to the line. It just seems logical to me that you would want another way to get that done. I'm fine if it is FTs--we were 327th in D1 in % of points coming from free throws--but it just seems like we need something else.
Last year's team played some of the best defense in the Orr era. It was nearly all zone, but the ability to continue that would certainly make a big difference. And here, you have basically the same question marks--how will the new players fit into the overall system and contribute, and will Cam Black be healthy enough to anchor the defense around the rim and allow the other players in the zone to cover the perimeter.
All that to say that I have a relatively low degree of optimism for this season, until proven otherwise. This team could easily finish with single digit wins. Or, I can see that before I see this team winning 20 games.
The larger question is whether the assemblage of players we have here are prepared to move into the upper tier of the conference. Right now, it would appear to be relatively impenetrable to us, but perhaps we will be surprised by what we see.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The upshot is that BG is picked to finish 5th in the East, with only Miami picked lower.
This is the only logical thing anyone could have picked. BG was an average team at best last year and lost 3 of its more productive players and in each case the next man up is someone who has never shown in public that they are capable of filling those roles. For that reason, you just have to expect this kind of pick.
It doesn't mean those guys can't or won't step up...it just means no one has seen them do it. They may be doing it like crazy in practice, but no one else has seen it.
We'll go through those things in the next couple days. I'd have to say, this is where I would pick our team as well. We are in the toughest division in the MAC, with very strong OU, Kent and Akron programs, and coming off last season with the graduation losses we had, this is just a reasonable expectation.
Obviously, the highest level of love is for OU. You can see where the rest falls out.
Note, also, that A'uston Calhoun is picked to the All-East team with some pretty good players.
Finally, note that Toledo is picked to win the West. Not to confuse the issue with my hate for Toledo (and I hate Toledo), it is important to look at UT and EMU...both teams were awful only a couple of years ago, and yet now they are passing us, and our program has been in place a lot longer. It just seems like other teams are succeeding and we are languishing.
Having said that, expectations are there to be exceeded. Let us hope that this will look different in March than it does today.
2012-13 East Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Ohio – 141 Votes (19 first place votes)
2. Akron – 122 Votes (5)
3. Kent State – 89 Votes
4. Buffalo – 68 Votes
5. Bowling Green – 53 Votes
6. Miami – 31 Votes
2012-13 West Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Toledo – 143 Votes (20 first place votes)
2. Eastern Michigan – 118 Votes (4)
3. Western Michigan – 88 Votes
4. Ball State – 74 Votes
5. Northern Illinois – 46 Votes
6. Central Michigan – 35 Votes
2012-13 East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Zeke Marshall, Akron
A’uston Calhoun, Bowling Green
Javon McCrea, Buffalo
Walter Offutt, Ohio
D.J. Cooper, Ohio
2012-13 West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Jesse Berry, Ball State
Abdel Nader, Northern Illinois
Rian Pearson, Toledo
Julius Brown, Toledo
Nate Hutcheson, Western Michigan
The ICSTR held its weekly meeting today and came up with the results. For the Falcons, it was pretty good. BG was +4, which is their best result of the season--the last time they were +4 was the Buffalo game. EMU was +3. BG has faced very good special teams...only one team has had a negative game all season against BG, and that was Idaho. After being in positive territory only one in the first five games, BG has now been on the plus side for the last four games.
Also, BG made most of its bones on punting...Schmeidebusch had a lot of opportunities to use field position to pin EMU back, and he more or less delivered. For his part, EMU's MAC-leading P had a big day as well.
BG Positive (+6)
EMU Kickoff return to 20
BG Punt to EMU 19
BG Punt to EMU 16
BG punt to EMU 14
BG punt to EMU 7 (+2)
BG Negative (-6)
BG punt 24 yard net
BG missed 38 yd FG
EMU Positive (+4)
EMU 42 yard FG
EMU punt 45 yard net
EMU punt to BG 17
EMU punt 51 yard net
EMU negative (-1)
EMU Kickoff return to 20
Monday, October 29, 2012
Here are the benchmarks for the game Saturday. No great surprises here. A couple observations:
When you take the sacks out, EMU had pretty decent success running the ball. Thankfully, again, BG was able to put them in a hole and force them to pass.
At the same time, their meager passing numbers become dreadful when you charge sacks against their passing yards.
BG's defense was absolutely great on 3rd down.
BG's offense took care of the ball and obviously had an excellent day running the ball and on third down, and that was enough for this game.
We only gave up one sack, but we also only tried 21 passes. From watching, it didn't seem like the protection was awful or great.