Sunday, September 27, 2015

Past and Future Opponent Land

Tennessee  (2-2) Lost 28-27 to Florida, blowing another 4th Q lead.
Maryland (2-2) Lost 45-6 @WVU.
Memphis (4-0) Beat Cincinnati on quick Thursday turnaround
Buffalo (2-2) Lost 24-21 to Nevada.
Umass (0-3) Lost to Notre Dame
Akron (2-2) Beat La-Lafayette 35-24
Kent (1-3) Lost to Marshall in double OT
Ohio (3-1) Lost to Minnesota
WMU (1-3) Lost to Ohio State
UT:  (3-0) Beat Arkansas State 37-7
Ball State (2-2) Lost 24-19 to Northwestern


All FBS: 11-28
P5: 4-19
Non P5-FBS: 7-9
FCS: 9-0


NWLB said...

There are two levels to the Big-10 wins this season. In both cases the loses were seen coming by a lot of their fans and each program is a bottom dweller lead by a coach likely to be fired sooner than later. That does not eliminate grounds for bragging about the wins however. In any year MAC teams deal with the shadow of the Big-10 among which even the bottom dwellers like to brag about being above and beyond the MACs best. They aren’t and one can guess that MSU and OSU are both glad they didn’t have BGSU on their schedules this season. That basic respect is most of why MAC fans crave these wins. Even if it only a few teams pulling it off, it validates and vindicates the fact some of our schools put the teams out there in the first place.

The OOC games now being behind the team, it remains to see if the defense will continue to trend in the right direction. They show signs of it. And as long as the offense doesn’t regress the defense maybe shaping up into enough to get the Falcons past Toledo once or twice. I hope but am not yet convinced they’ll run the table yet however. I do think mistakes in who and how the defense is being handled were engaged coming out of the mess that was last year. The implosion from 2013 to 2014 was beyond excuse or mitigation. This years defense remains tainted by how much better they ought to have been had last year not been botched beyond all recognition. But then the task they have isn’t the same this year, they are starting off better than last year ended. So hope has a pulse.

The true story is the offense and not for the obvious reasons. We knew Johnson was a warrior from 2013. Yet his replacement seemed to do so well it masked how Johnson might have done last year if he remained healthy. The instinct was to feel the Falcons were alright despite not having him, or that he would have to really fight to get the job back. There were legitimate reasons on paper to think we might have seen a net upgrade in Knapke. So we are seeing the Falcons run closer to what Babers wants now. Not to jump ahead, but my own concern with the fast-paced offense has always been sustainability. Could Knapke and the other QBs improve with the year Johnson is providing them? That chance, combined with a hopefully still improving defense and stable of offensive talent helps make the case that the system won’t burn-out after a few years. The danger is if the defense doesn’t get much better and the offense regress’ year over year.

But for now, I look to the Toledo game. That isn’t optional this year. They need to be made to suffer, painfully, and then to suffer again in a title game if the west can’t knock them out of it. No close game. No “exciting” close contest. Wanton humiliation. Shaming them in front of their parents and making their girlfriends dump them at halftime. Too many years of frustration need to be avenged.

Orange said...

Good comments Nathan. No doubt, there is no margin for error for the offense the way things are set up now. They are great or we lose. The goal is to get what Babers had in year 2 at EIU, which was a high functioning offense and a top 20-30 defense.

Anonymous said...

Matt Johnson has a MAC championship and two Big 10 road wins to his credit, but to approach McClure/Harris status Toledo must be vanquished.

Orange said...

Fair enough.