Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween.......

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Coach Orr hits double double: naps and talks

Here's Ryan's update on the MAC media day yesterday. Apparently, BG had to leave VERY early in the morning to be there, so Coach Orr took a little nap while the West division coaches were talking. Or that's the rumor.

Anyway, a few comments on Ryan's post:

  • First, I'd like to meet Coach Orr. I think there are two few characters in the world today. We probably would need to avoid talking politics or religion, but that's just a guess.
  • Second, we have netted out on weight loss....apparently Nate Miller lost weight and Jakubowski put it on. I don't know if the transfer was that seamless, but, hey, they are teammates.
  • And a really important one team in the MAC is all there. Everyone has some issues. This means that if we can put it together and play well, there are opportunities for us. A reach goal is to get a bye.
  • Another post talked about Marc Larson being the most improved player in the off-season (this from Daryl Clements). That would be a huge addition for our inside game. I hope its true. I get the sense he's a better player than he shows on the stats sheet, and I definitely get the sense that he's giving everything he has.

Watch out....

I saw on the Internets that Kent may try Julian Edelman as a punt afraid, very afraid.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Offensive Efficiency Rating, Huskie Edition

Its been a few weeks since I have summoned up the energy to look at the offensive efficiency rating for one of our games. Rest assured that I have been keeping the database up to date, and, as always, you can view it here absolutely free of charge. (Its Falcon Nation socialism).

And, if you want to know what it all means, you can click here.

Basically, you get points for each play, based on the situation. On 2-10, a three yard gain is worth no points. On 3-2, a three yard gain is worth a point. Big plays are worth multiple points, and turnovers and lost yard plays are negative points.

For comparison purposes, there have been more than 1,000 plays scored so far. 48% of them are "winning plays" (worth at least one point) and .77 points per play is the standard over those plays.

The biggest story is the shift in NIU's fortunes once they decided to go straight to the ground. For the first quarter and a half, they were actually in negative territory: -.06 per play. From there on in, NIU averaged .92 points per play, which ranks as one of the best performance we have seen this year. For the second half, it was 1.02 points per play, an absolutely devastating performance.

BG had 44% winning plays for the game, and .56 points per play. The winning percentage is the lowest since the Pitt game, and the points per play is the lowest since Boise. This is made even worse by the fact that we didn't turn the ball over on offense, which means that on the merit of our plays, we were even a little worse.

Now, NIU for the game was 50.3%, which was the most since EMU, and their .61 points per play is actually not that good, and less than Miami or EMU earned. (See above for the Jekyll and Hide performance that explains this).

In entering the data, I noticed something very interesting. Do you know what NIU dominated on? SECOND DOWN. We think about all those third down conversions, but in reality, they set it all up on second down. On their key drives, we often had a good stop on first down, only to have Harnish rip off 7-10 yards on second down and set up a bunny third down conversion. NIU averaged .92 points per second down play.

The other interesting story is that, when you look at it, BG did run the ball effectively. If anything, its possible we should have continued to try and run, as opposed to passing. At .86 points per running play, it was pretty strong. Meanwhile, our points per pass play (.27) was the lowest of the season, just slightly worse than the Pitt game. NIU threw two INTs, and they averaged .3 points per play.

Again, this is all an experiment. I'm still not sure there has been too much identified that I didn't see...but maybe not. As we develop a big database, hopefully it will get even better, and give me something to play with when we have rainy summer days.

MAC Basketball Media Selections

The MAC Basketball Preview is going on today in Cleveland. If you wanted to watch live (and I'm sure it is scintillating viewing), you can click here and view away.

Meanwhile, they've announced the projections for the season, and its good news for Coach Orr's Falcons...the orange and brown are picked to finish third in the East division. Obviously, this would be significant progress for Coach Orr as he rebuilds from a team that was winning almost no conference games when he got here. And, almost all Falcon fans would view a winning season, a finish like this and a tournament win as a viable step forward in the program.

Going to do a lot more hoops talk coming up in the weeks to come, as I start to transition my mind off of football. I'm excited for the start of the Falcon season, and I do love Falcon basketball.

Kent and Western are clearly the premier programs in the conference. They are good and they stay good. From what I have read, they continue to recruit well, too. Kent's run of 20 win seasons is even more remarkable because they have survived so many coach transitions, and wil have another one this year.

It goes without saying....that's the kind of tradition we'd love to have at BG. If they can do it at Kent, I would think we could do it at BG.

2008-09 MAC Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll

MAC East Division

1. Kent State (16 first place votes) – 124 points

2. Miami (6) – 109 points

3. Bowling Green – 70 points

4. Akron – 67 points

5. Ohio – 66 points

6. Buffalo – 35 points

MAC West Divison

1. Western Michigan (15) – 122 points

2. Eastern Michigan (7) – 105 points

3. Central Michigan – 79 points

4. Toledo – 71 points

5. Ball State – 55 points

6. Northern Illinois – 39 points

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

25 Flash Questions

What is their body of work this season?

Kent has certainly struggled this season. They are 2-6, and only have 1 I-A victory. Their most recent effort, however, was to demolish Miami in you get the idea. Jarvis hasn't always been healthy and didn't play against Akron, a game they lost in double OT, so that might have made a difference.

What is their best result this season?

Beating Miami in Oxford. See above

What is their worst result this season?

Losing to OU in Kent on their homecoming.

What is the turnover margin?

They are -2 which is 10th in the conference. Their 15 lost turnovers is third worst in the MAC.

What is the injury situation


How is their QB play?

Julian Edelman is their QB, and he is in the Joshua Cribbs QB-mode, as opposed to the, I don't know, other kind. He has averaged less than 20 passes a game, 9/8 TD/INT ratio, and 55% completion percentage. His real strength is running. He averages nearly 6 yards a carry and has scored 8 touchdowns.

What is their yard per play?

Its 5.7 yards per play, which is tied for 3rd in the conference.

Can they run the ball?

Oh yeah, they can. They lead the conference with 217+ yards per game, and are in second place with 5.0 yards per carry. They are stronger with the run than NIU and Miami, and you saw what happened there.

Do they pass the ball.

Not really. They are one of only two teams with less than 200 pass attempts this year (NIU is the other). They have the second lowest completion percentage in the MAC, too.

Are they high efficiency or big play?

I am assuming by what I have seen it is a typical spread pass attack, with conservative throws.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They are 11th in the MAC with 37.3%, which is surprising for a team that runs well.

Do they score in the red zone?

They average just over 4 points per red zone trip, which is probably a little below average. They are listed as 12th in the MAC in red zone %, but that's a little misleading, because 19 of their 21 red zone scores have been touchdowns. They have been stopped in the red zone 8 times, which, as you will recall, is how we beat them last year.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have been sacked 14 times, which is the same number as BG, and we throw lots more. If we can get them into passing downs, this would be an opportunity.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

This is certainly where we have an opportunity. They are 10th in scoring defense and 11th in total defense. Only three teams have given up more yards per play (5.7).

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow only 4.5 yards per carry and only two teams in the MAC are worse than that. They have given up 21 rushing touchdowns, 12th in the MAC.

Can they be passed on?

They are 10th in pass defense (by yards) and 6th in the efficiency rating. They allow 62% completions against them for 7.4/catch, both among the lowest rankings in the conference. Their efficiency is helped by the low number of touchdowns they have allowed passing.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 4th in MAC at 40.9%, so this is something that helps keep them afloat.

Do they defend in the red zone?

In 33 red zone trips, there have been 19 TDs, 10 FGS, and four outright stops. This is actually pretty good. As a curiosity, they have allowed only one TD passing in the redzone, which means you must be able to run on them down there.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are sixth with 13 sacks.

Special Teams:


Average: They are 8th in the MAC in punting.

Punt Return?

They are last in this category, which probably means next to nothing.


This is not a strength. They are only 5 of 9 on FGs. The raw number is tied for the worst in the league and the percentage is among the lowest. They have missed twice inside 30 yards. 48 is the long.


Kick coverage is 11th in the MAC, and they do not have one touchback.

Kickoff Return?

They are dead-last in kickoff returns with 16.3 yards per return. They've had practice...only one team has returned more kickoffs.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

I don't know. A few thoughts.

  • Things will be dreary at the Doyt Saturday.
  • Kent had that little flash a couple years ago, but has since returned to their traditional state.
  • Their coach, according to this, appears to be one step from slapping himself.
  • On the other hand, we really, really need a win, and hopefully, we'll find something in that.
  • We haven't won at home this year, and I wonder if that starts to get in your head.
I think the take-away is that this is a far less complete football team than we played last week. They do one thing that could really hurt us.

We should still win this game. However, we will have to do two things we have not done very well recently, namely control the ball on offense and get at least some traction on run defense.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekly Presser, Stadler and Waldorf Edition....

In the spirit of today's presser...

Well, as I have said before, the best pressers are when we lose. I'm tempted to just take last week's write up, and well, just copy it over. Because Coach didn't have much new to say....of course, the story hasn't changed. For this week, I will insert wise ass, smart aleck and otherwise annoying comments in orange.

First, we hear about how we are always in the games, with a chance to win.

It is hard to say how frustrating this particular line is. And, he keeps saying it, over and over again. I guess I don't have to make the same mistake...simple as bad as the East is, we should be doing better than staying in games.

I will concede that staying in games is better than NOT staying in them, much as I will concede that a bumpy landing is better than a crash landing or that getting a sunburn is better than heatstroke. I'm not sure I'd come out and talk about that every week.

Our goals are still in sight. We can win the East.

This is true. And, you know, I'd rather win than not win. I already wrote that it won't be much consolation is we limp to the East Title (though I know Coach will brag about it all winter) and get crushed in the MAC Title game. Still, the only worse thing than winning the East this year would be not winning. I do feel a little like this when I think about this even being in the conversation right now...

Injuries are killing us.

Uh, yeah. Not so much. Are you kidding me? I mean, I get that it would have been easier to win against NIU with Barnes and Geter, but you just can't expect a high school team to be healthier than this. I guess the only way we can execute this poorly and still not use this excuse is if NO PLAYER on the entire team is missing due to an injury. Look, Geter would have helped. But the team had two running backs that have both started, they didn't need more. And, while Barnes is a good player, we are well stocked with receivers and should have been able to move the ball anyway. It reminds me of all the excuses when Omar went down...and Western clocked us. Never mind they were using their third string QB, and a true freshmen. This is just excuse making...and its really disappointing. First, it insults our intelligence. And second, it doesn't show anyone taking responsibility for their jobs.

Sheehan is the starting QB.

I'm fine with this. The offense has been disappointing, but I don't think changing to Andrew Beam would have made a difference. We're predictable, pretty easily defended, and inconsistently executing. That's on everyone, from the coaches down to the line. I just don't see that Sheehan is any more at fault than anyone else, and if everyone raised their game, I think he would too.

Apparently, DC Mike Ward disagrees with the assessment of NIU's QB, which was that he was 4-5 yards down field before we started to miss tackles.

Well, OK. I didn't see the game, so I don't know. Fundamentally, its not really much of an argument to make (in fact, its right up there with being in the game at the end). We gave up several drives of more than a dozen plays, and were completely dominated by another team's running game, but DON'T SAY WE GOT BLOWN OFF THE BALL. OK, dude. Whatever. Did they or did they not run at will throughout the second half?

"We were right here last year, and we did a better job at the end of the season. For the most part we were able to shut the run down at some key times and that's where we are right now again. We need to do that."

Well, this is true, sort of. We were 4-4 last year, and our season was on the brink, and we did discover a few things, win coming home and make the bowl game. So, I'll grant him that. In fact, two of those four losses were ass-kickings, so, I will even grant that in that sense we're a little ahead of that in the league.

And this is what gives us what hope we have...that we rallied and brought the ship around in the second half of the year.

"They have the best rushing attack in the conference, but they are a little bit different than some of the teams. They don't pound you like a Pitt, Boise and Northern Illinois. (Julian) Edelman will just take the snap, look like he is dropping back and then just take off. (Eugene) Jarvis is a good back -- very shifty and elusive -- but not one that is going to just keep punishing you . We have to get our fastest guys on the field. We've faced these guys before and did a nice job last year against them. It's not anything that we haven't seen and can prepare for our players just need to execute and believe that we can win and beat Kent."

Well, here we need to go back to the truth squad mode. First, the idea that a QB draw is something we can stop is certainly a head scratcher, since both Miami and NIU had mad success running out of the direct snap. And I kind of get the point---our defense is built to defend with speed, not against big pounding teams like NIU.

Still, I also have to differ with the idea that we did a "nice job" against Edelman and Jarvis last year. They ran the ball 50 times for 272 yards. Kind of hard to put that in the "nice job" category. We beat Kent because we got some key red zone stops (twice inside our five in the second half). There's nothing wrong with that. But, let's not make it sound like they didn't eat us alive.

They only threw about a dozen passes against us this year. We can expect that again. I wasn't able to figure out what the record at the Doyt is for single-game team rushing, but, somebody should probably be looking it up.

Jason Rice is going to be available to give some depth at RB. That's a position change for him. Geter and Barnes will be out again.

That's the presser. You can judge it for yourself. I understand Coach is in good spirits, which is, you know, good.

I think these things have all been heard in my section this year.

Hey Thanks to the BG News Blog for the plug

Thanks for the plug from the BG News, here. Glad people are enjoying the blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blog Poll Draft

1 Texas --
2 Alabama --
3 Penn State --
4 Oklahoma --
5 Georgia 2
6 Southern Cal 1
7 Florida 1
8 Oklahoma State --
9 Texas Tech 2
10 Utah 2
11 Boise State 3
12 TCU 3
13 Ohio State 4
14 LSU 4
15 Missouri 1
16 Ball State 5
17 Tulsa 7
18 Florida State 8
19 California 6
20 Oregon 6
21 Minnesota 5
22 Brigham Young 1
23 Michigan State 3
24 Kansas 7
25 North Carolina 1

Dropped Out: South Florida (#13), Pittsburgh (#18), Georgia Tech (#19), Boston College (#20), Virginia Tech (#22).

After #15, there is a huge drop off and just not a lot of difference between the teams.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"We had four or five yards before I had to make a cut," Harnish said. "We were just blowing them off the ball. [The line] just really dominated

Those are the words of the NIU QB, and they tell pretty much everything you need to know about yesterday's loss. When crunch time came, NIU didn't need to throw the ball....they just ran it right down our throat.

Sound familiar? Well, it has been going on for years. Somehow we got the idea earlier that we had beaten this problem defending the run, but it turns out that we haven't. Coming into the season we were worried about the defensive line....apparently with good reason.

Starting late in the second quarter, here are the drives....

  • NIU, 13 plays, 48 yards, 6:16
  • (halftime)
  • NIU, 17 plays, 80 yards, 10:06
  • BG, 8 plays, 69 yards, 3:06
  • NIU 16 plays, 72 yards, 8:05
  • BG, 6 plays, 11 yards, 3:07
  • NIU, 8 plays, 24 yards, 4:43

And, those second half drives feature something like three passes in all those plays.

This is a team in our conference, just to keep track.

There was so much wrong that its really tough to go too far into it....let me itemize a few

  • We couldn't run the ball (but should have expected it).
  • We had less than 100 yards passing
  • We had two punts blocked, including one that led to the winning FG.
  • Coach Brandon says we were in position to win the game.
  • NIU was 10 of 16 on third down
  • NIU attempted only 12 passes, and completed only 5! And threw two INT's.
  • The offense had the opportunity in the first half to take a big league, but didn't.
  • We won the turnover battle....oh, never mind.
  • We had 10 first downs...can you believe that?
Frankly, this was a game I figured we would lose. But, HOW we lost it still stings. Very little is working right now, for any part of the ball. As I posted last night...I'm not sure how or why this team is this much worse than last year's.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heavy Sigh.....

What a disappointment. You know, flash back to finishing last season, and we're 8-4 and most everyone is back, and you gotta think we have a shot at a MAC Title. Then we go to the bowl game and take the biggest loss in history, and then we lose some guys over the off-season, and the season starts, and you're kind of worried.

But, we navigate the pre-season 2-2, including a win @ Pitt, a decent performance at Boise, etc. And you think, OK, maybe we are ready to go.

Then the MAC season starts, and nothing works. We lose to EMU, barely beat Akron, and lose to Miami and NIU. Today we are in a very precarious position, but its going to be tough to salvage right now. Even if we were to win out (or win the East with four losses), its hard to imagine us beating BSU or CMU for the MAC title. In fact, its hard to imagine it not being a total butt kicking.

So, that wouldn't really salvage much. And that's the best case. Because right now, its hard to see how we beat anyone. Kent State did to Miami what we should have--they decimated them today. We play Kent next week, and with Eugene Jarvis and their running QB, we don't match up very well.

I guess we could beat OU. Or not. If we play as we have the last four weeks, I would expect us to win only one game coming home. A 4-8 record for the second time in three years. One winning season in the last four.

This is not the first time we had a senior-dominated team that we couldn't bring in for a landing. The last time was 2005, when we were 6-6 when we should have been able to win it all.

Of course, that was the year Omar got injured. So, there's an explanation (I guess). This year's team is healthy, with the exception of at RB, but you know what? We have the same RB that brought us to 8-4 last season. Yes, I know Ransom is out, Geter and Bullock and Barnes unehalthy, but the starting players at every other position have been very, very consistent.

No, this team has not been decimated by injuries. Just decimated. The East is so weak this average team would be running away with it.

We now have to be realistic about where we are. Simply put, we have a team with 11 starting seniors (7 on defense), two years after we had to "rebuild" because of the hole in our recruiting class when Urban left, and today we are 3-5, the worst starting record of the Brand0n/Meyer era. And we have a coach who is signed for three more seasons.

Most frustrating of all is the offense. Supposely, our coach was the brains behind the great offenses of the Meyer years. That's getting hard to believe. Right now, it appears that we have no idea at all what we want to do on offense.

I know that part of it is that defenses have adapted to the spread. You hear that all over the country. But we are simply not producing on offense. I don't know where the problem is. But, my observation is that we are as careful and conservative as we were when Anthony Turner was the fill-in QB when Omar got injured. We throw behind the line time after time, and the defenses are just ganging up on it. Did I see that Partridge had four catches for no yards at halftime today?


Its just a shame. It had the potential to be so much better. And something is wrong. Because it isn't that we're injured, and it isn't that other teams are better than we thought. If anything, they are worse.

Check out what Miami and EMU have done after beating us.

We're just not very good. And we're a lot worse than last year, with the same players, more or less.

The Nation is in an uproar. Of course, everyone wants Brandon's head, but that's just not going to happen. Next, of course, they want the QB's head. No player is ever more perfect than the backup QB.

We're just not a winning team. I don't think that its all the coaches, and I don't think its all the players. It certainly isn't all the QB. I don't think a player in America could execute today's game plan.

I don't think, really, that any element of this team is as good as it was last year. I guess that's almost obvious.

The season goes on. We can't do anything until we beat Kent. It would be a start. But, anything short of a December win at Ford Field, and I think this season is destined to be a disappointment.

Another Crushing Defeat

Apparently, NIU's Coach noticed a couple things on film.

We can't tackle a guy who takes the snap in the shotgun.
We like to throw lots and lots of screen passes. We lose more yards on pass plays than any team I have ever seen.

Betcha anything Coach makes NIU sound like USC.

92 passing yards...are you kidding me?

Brief Interlude

Craig James is a horse's ass.

I now return you to your original programming.

Today's Game

I have to confess, I have not had so little optimism for a game since we took the field in Idaho.

Having said that, I'm watching the Rockets lead CMU in the late 3rd, and you just gotta know anything can happen.

I know this....the Falcons really need a win today.

Note: According to the Falcons radio network, neither Willie Geter nor Freddie Barnes made the trip.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reviewing the Game Notes

Took some time tonight with Boise/San Jose State on in the background to review the game, in no particular order, are some things I found interesting.

  • We haven't won at NIU since 1985. When I was in college. A long, long time ago. (Granted, we don't play out there often).
  • A loss would give us a 3-5 start, the worst since Gary Blackney was Coach.
  • Northern was picked to be the worst team in the West by the media. Phil Steele thought they would be one of the most improved teams in the country.
  • Tomorrow is the five year anniversary of the Gameday experience at the Doyt. That was probably the best overall experience I can remember at the Doyt. Good times....(Karma?)
  • The published two-deep is very stable. Although we are struggling at RB with injuries, this team cannot (and has not) said injuries were a serious problem.
  • AT is still listed as the back up at TB.
  • The notes tout our improved run defense...but the last two teams have gone over 200 on us.
  • AT had 126 against Akron. Here's a little quiz. What is the second highest amount of rushing yards in a game for our team? (Answer later)
  • Also answered every time a Falcon receiver has had 100 yards or 10 catches this season?
  • We have given up 12 TD drives of 70 yards or more, and have only 7.
  • The Miami game continued one unenviable trend...we have not stopped a team from scoring in the red zone this year.
OK, the answers. After AT, the next highest rushing yards in a game is 61--by Geter and Bullock in Wyoming.

No Falcon receiver has 10 catches or 100 yards this season.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rolling Along Podcast

It was my honor to be the guest on this week's Rolling Along podcast, thanks much to Grant and Tony for having me on. If you want to download and listen, feel free to click here.

I love to see more and more of this stuff developed online for Falcon fans, and I'm always gratified when people recognize this blog. I do it for my own enjoyment, and I thank everyone who reads.

NIU Blog--Check it out

Hey, quick thing. Most teams in the MAC don't have bloggers, but NIU does, its Red and Black Attack, and its an excellent site. Its well designed and gives tons of good information to fans.

There's an excellent hi def highlight video on the site right now, if you want to check it out.

They also had the opportunity to look ahead to BG, in this post. Its interesting to see how others see us. There's an undertone of a cautious licking of chops....and a Coach who has a thing for thunderstix.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

25 Questions about the Huskies

What is their body of work this season?

This is a much improved team and a good team. In common opponent land, they almost beat Minnesota, beat Miami and smoked EMU (hello? Is this thing on?) They also blew out Toledo, and played Tennessee very tough in Knoxville.

What is their best result this season?

Blowing out Toledo the week after they beat Michigan.

What is their worst result this season?

I'm going to say the loss to WMU, only because its in the league and it was close, but in reality there aren't really any blemishes for them.

What is the turnover margin? Any outliers throwing off the numbers?

They are +7, leading the MAC (befitting a team exceeding expectations.) That's 14 incoming against 7 outgoing. They "take care of the ball."

What is the injury situation

This from the DeKalb Daily Chronicle:

Trouble at linebacker....Linebacker John Tranchitella (elbow injury) will go through practice this week but his practice will be non-contact until at least Wednesday.

Linebacker Cory Hanson (ankle) is out.

Linebacker Zach Larsen has a high ankle sprain and is questionable.

Also, linebacker Tim McCarthy could also be limited on Saturday.

Cornerback Bradley Pruitt has a severe ankle sprain and is out for Saturday’s game.

Quarterbacks Dan Nicholson (shoulder) and DeMarcus Grady (ankle) may be available for back up duty.

Also, fullback Kyle Skarb, who injured a foot against the Rockets, is questionable. This may require a TE to play FB.


How is their QB play?

Their QB is Chandler Harnish, a freshmen, who returned from an injury for the Rocketwhupping. His efficiency of 176.4 is very good. He is a high % passer. However, NIU has the fewest pass attempts in the MAC, by far.

What is their yard per play?

Its 5.7 yards per play, which is pretty darn good. (Tied for 3rd in the conference).

Can they run the ball?

Northern can ALWAYS run the ball, and at 4.6 yards per carry is tied for third in the MAC. If we let them double their season average, as we did with Miami, then it will be one for the record books.

Do they pass the ball.

They don't pass much, but when they do, it works. They are 4th in the MAC in Pass Efficiency, despite their low attempts. They complete 60%, have a strong (10/3) TD/INT ratio, and the second highest yards per attempt in the league, (7.4, more than a yard better than BG's). This is all stuff the efficiency formula rewards.

The Huskies have typically run the ball and then went over the top to score (like an old school Big 10 team), and that appears to be the way it still works.

Are they high efficiency or big play?

Grind it out, with big passing plays over the top.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They are excellent. 44.9% is second in the MAC. When you can reliably run the ball, you end up with lots of third and shorts.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are average in the red zone, with 4.2 points per trip. Ball State is 4.8, for reference.

Do they protect the quarterback?

As you would expect, they have been sacked only 11 times, fourth in the conference.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

No way to sugercoat this. NIU appears to be a dominant defensive team. They held the Volunteers to 13 in Knoxville, have a shut out in the conference, held Toledo to 7 points, etc. They are top in the MAC in scoring defensive and yardage allowed. 4.6 yards per play allowed is the best in the MAC by .4 yards per play!

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 4.5 yards per carry, and only three teams in the conference are below that.

Can they be passed on?

They are 2nd in the MAC in pass defense efficiency. Their ratio is 6/6, and while they give up 60% completions, their yards/attempt (5.5) is by far the lowest in the MAC.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very strong on third down, leading the conference allowing only 31% conversion.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Again, they are deadly defending inside their own 20. First of all, they have allowed only 13 red zone trips all season! Ball State is next at 20. Its less than two a game and an amazing stat. But it gets better. They have 5 stops in those 13 attempts, the best % in the conference. Finally, of the 8 scores, only 5 were TDs.

This is a very solid defensive team.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are tied for third in the MAC with 13 sacks.

Special Teams:


NIU is sixth in the MAC in net punting. 7 of their 23 punts have been inside the 20.

Punt Return?

They are 7th in the MAC in punt returns.


They are 11/16 in FGs, which is 5th in the MAC. The long is 49 yards.


Kick coverage is excellent. They are second in the MAC, and have a stunning 11 touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

They are 12th in kickoff returns, so that's not a strong point. (Black humor: let's hope we kick off more than once).

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A few things:

  • NIU has a new coach, and is clearly resurgent, and there is talent leftover from the previous administration.
  • NIU is a very, very hard place to play.
  • NIU does have their big West division games coming up. They may not be focused on us as closely as they should.
  • Given how our season and how college football has done this year, you almost expect to win when you shouldn't.
  • But, having said that, I consider us to be facing a tall mountain Saturday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End of the Locked Gate

Coach Brandon had his weekly presser, and he put an end to the ridiculous spectacle of our team "locking" the gates behind the opposing team as they enter the Doyt. We are lucky it didn't start a brawl last week, as the entire team ran over there while Miami was coming out of the tunnel.

And it is embarrassing to be "locking the gate" when we keep losing at home.

Wags in the Falcon Nation have been letting rip with all kinds of things....we should lock ourselves out, etc.

I know that these little theatrical things are part of football culture. And, we seemed jacked up after we pulled it against Miami. Then we proceeded to play awful.

I guess I'd rather our players were focusing on not committing personal fouls, jumping offsides, etc, than "locking the gate."

OK, what else did the coach say? In response to "Do you ever get mad about anything," Coach said, "not in front of you guys, that's for sure." laughing. Which is actually a pretty good line.

The questioner went on to make the essential point...that people might get the wrong idea from the way he reacts. Coach admitted he was upset at Boise...and he went on to say that someone has to be a consistent leader. But he was upset after Boise and sound might start to come off like he has resigned himself to the fact this team isn't going anywhere.

Everyone has their style. And, I get it...this isn't a movie about football, its football. I don't know that anger is what anyone is looking for, and no one is looking for a "Mike Gundy moment."

But, you know, a little "we gotta prepare this team better," or "we got out-coached" would probably make some people feel better. How about "we're still in the race, but we've made it a lot harder on ourselves than it needed to be" or "yes, there's parity in the MAC." And a ban on talking about being in a "position to win the game in the fourth quarter" (which he said again. Twice).

So what else?

Freddie Barnes is pretty badly injured, and may miss a month or so. Given our stunted playmaking ability on offense, its not going to help that we are missing a playmaker. He was also strong in the direct snap, and gave us some variety. Geter and Bullock are both injured, which impacted the ability to use Bullock in short yardage situations.

Someone asked coach about Tyler Sheehan's comments about slipping discipline on the team. He said, essentially, that Tyler was grasping at straws as he tried to explain what was happening and that he didn't think showing up on time for meetings was related to discipline on the field.

According to Ryan's blog, Sheehan did not back down.

“For the most part, yeah. We have a lot of guys who have great discipline and they show it week in and week out. It might not even be relevant to anything at all with football. But stuff that happens off the field is showing on the field as well. Coaches have addressed it and until we get that fixed we’re not going to be as successful as we want to be.”

Coach also had great things to say about Corey Partridge, a true Falcon warrior. A lot of fans have wondered about why he doesn't play more downs, but apparently he is not healthy enough to practice regularly, and Coach says we are playing him fewer downs with the idea that he might finish the season. Corey's a great player who cannot be guarded, and who has not set records only because of injuries. I'm a big fan.

There was lots of discussion about penalties. Coach went through, seperating the bad personal fouls from the really bad ones. I get his're playing football, and a horse collar or hands to the face is gonna happen and sometimes gets called. Bad, but not really bad.

Then, he was asked about his threat to bench people and he said that situation had come to a head. Then, there was a long pause and he said:

If one of our players cannot control his emotions, then we are going to have to sit him down.

Now you could take that two ways....he might have meant it like "If any of our players," but he also might have been referring to a specific player. If so, you know exactly who he is talking about. No need to list it here.

Coach asked this question, apparently without irony:

Miami punted nine times. How does a team punt nine times and win the football game?"

When the topic turned to NIU, the discussion centered on:

  • NIU Coach Kill visiting BG while he was coaching at SIU.
  • The need to take care of the ball against Northern's defense.
  • We are also going to do what we do.
  • We are who we are (but maybe not who we THOUGHT we were).

MAC Least Division

Hey, fellow blogger Rasor from Akron has an interesting take on the MAC East. He goes through the remaining games for all the teams in the East, and tries to project how they might do coming home.

Its not pretty. Don't let your kids look.

His projection is that Akron will go 2-2 and BG will go 3-2 (leaving both teams with 4 losses) but that would be good enough to end up in a tie, which would give BG the East Title...albeit without MAC-Title-Loss-Proof bowl eligibility.

For this to work, he has Buffalo losing three more times, presumably once to us.

In my current state, I find it hard to believe we will ever win again, but this is probably not so. If we beat Kent, Buffalo (both home games....if you follow where I'm going here) and the Toledo, under this scenario, we're in.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Comment on the post-game Presser...who would you follow into battle?

Here's what Coach said...

We had a chance to win the game. It's a heck of a league and two losses doesn't eliminate us yet. People are going to put the fork in us and say that we're done but we'll respond. Our seniors have too much pride to let this thing slip away now."

On what they are going to do to prevent some of the penalties, especially personal fouls
"The next step is to bench a kid. If we continue to lose games because of it, then that is what we are going to do. We'll sit them because that is unacceptable."

On whether there is any panicking to still be a contender in the MAC
"Nobody's panicking there are five football games left. We very easily could have won that game because it was a game of momentum. If we were getting blown out of games then yea but we're not. It's the same thing that I told them after Akron, we need to be a more consistent and disciplined football team. That's been hurting us when we lose."

Here's what John Haneline said....

On the possibility of still winning the MAC East
"We squandered another opportunity. The East is up in the air but if we want to be at that level we have to take it game by game. Squandering another opportunity like this today rips you up. We have to be thinking about the next game."

On Miami's running game
"There were no surprises. Everything they did we saw on film. We knew it coming in and that was something after last week we wanted to correct. This week we didn't execute. We didn't stop them. No excuse for that."

Blog Poll Draft

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

Dropped Out: North Carolina (#18), Wake Forest (#20), Vanderbilt (#24).

Relatively easy week, because most of the top teams did not lose. Its the week where an undefeated team is automatically in, so welcome aboard, Tulsa. Bad week to have two losses in my poll.

  • UNC is out because Virginia is a bad loss and they have no quality wins.
  • Wake Forest is out because they have two bad losses and so does Cal, but I think Cal's win over MSU is ever so slightly better than Wake's win over Florida State.
  • Va Tech is in, too, barely, but they have a decent win over UNC and a loss to a (now) ranked team in BC.
  • Vanderbilt is out because of their lack of quality wins and their second loss.
  • Missouri, of course, stays in. Most teams would have lost to the two top 10 teams they lost to.
  • I kept Kansas in, despite the absence of a quality win because both of their losses were to good teams and they are leading a division in the country's toughest conference.

So, that's what I think. Fire away.

Part Two....where we plumb our deepest fears

Tyler Sheehan delivered a powerful message regarding the penalties. “It always comes back to the little things off the field --- showing up late for meetings and stuff like that,” he said. “I think it’s really showing because we’re having some struggles with our discipline on the field.”

This quote, in Ryan's Bladeblog, I think says all that I fear needs to be said.

First, the mere fact that it was said at all is important. Its unusual for a player to say something like this. Goodness knows, the coach never does. Anyway, the fact that a frustrated Tyler Sheehan said this in front of the media--not to a classmate or on his facebook page--demonstrates some significance.

And then we get to our big fear. I have tried to avoid thinking this without evidence, but I fear we are losing control of the program. Between the legal problems, the issues Sheehan mentioned, and then the under-achieving on the field (and discipline problems), it is just too easy to conclude that the coaching staff has lost control of their players...that too many compromises were made on recruits with talent, but who were not program guys.

I hope I am wrong and I might very well be. I have no inside fears are based only on the things I list above. And there is still plenty of time to turn this around...if the problems are just on the field.

But you know, and I know, that argument doesn't add up.

If the problems are just on the field, they would have been fixed by now...the EMU game would have taken care of the whole thing. And they probably never would have come up in the first place.

If the problems are systemic, then they will be lots harder to turn around.

Again, these are just observations from the outside. Losing always creates problems. Everyone is happy when you are winning. The NIU game is a tall mountain Lily Tomlin said recently (in another context), things are going to get worse before they get worse.

I'd love to drive up to Ford Field in December for the MAC Championship and be thinking, wow, I was worried over nothing. As I have always said, you cannot hide from the results.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The End (Almost)

This will be the first of two posts on what happened yesterday. The first will be on the game, and the second on a worrisome thing that one of the players said...and how it kind of puts everything together.

The game yesterday was a disgrace. This was a really poor team we were playing, and we simply threw the game away. Every part of the game was pretty bad. To wit:

We had 101 penalty yards, and a number of stupid personal fouls, often at the worst possible moment. Miami's opening drive was largely built on our penalties.

As I feared, we gave up 200 yards and 5.1 yards per carry to a team that has been averaging 2.8 yards per carry. This has become so common that it is not even funny anymore. We tackled terribly, and when the RBs from Miami cut back or bounced out, they were often all alone, because no one was home for us. Our defense has proved it can defend the run, making today's performance (and regression) all the most disappointing.

On offense....I don't know what to say, except for this. We are not a good offensive football team. Our playcalling was just terrible at key points on Saturday. We opened up and the direct snap worked great, and somehow, our offensive braintrust was unable to move on. On key plays, we would go to the direct snap, everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, and then it came, and Miami would swallow it up.

At one point, I said to myself, this is just "3 yards and a cloud of dust" all over again. Our offensive is so conservative...I swear, yesterday's playcalling looked like the same plays that the coaches gave to AT when he had to fill in for Omar when he was injured. At the time, I thought that was because they didn't trust I start to think that is how Coach wants a team to play.

I guess Urban Meyer might have been the brains behind the offense after all.

I know what Coach would say...that we didn't block those direct snap plays. Well, I'm sure that's true. I think that it wasn't our best line performance, though they still might have been the players of the game. Anyway, here's the point. After you saw they weren't blocking it a couple of times, maybe you might have tried something else. And, its hard to block a play that the entire defense can see coming.

And the QB? I don't know. Its very disappointing. I didn't notice this, but a poster on (who notices this kind of stuff) said that there were receivers open downfield and he just checked down to the short route...for whatever reason. If that's true, we've got to fix that, because we're dying here.

I could go through the game flow and all that, but I think that covers it. We played undisciplined football, unimaginative football, and we lost at home to a team that should be inferior to us.


On the post-game, it was a Coach Brandon special. After the EMU loss, he showed some emotion. I was absolutely shocked at his reaction yesterday. First, he fell back on his favorite two things, which are:

  • We had a chance to win the game.
  • This MAC is tough.

He's right. We were winning in the fourth quarter, amazing as that is. That doesn't make it better.

It makes it worse. We were leading in the fourth quarter at home against a team we should beat, we should be able to pull it together and close the door. And we didn't.


At this point in our program, it should in no way be considered a success that we had a chance to win the game. That's what we say when we play at OSU. In our conference, on our field, against our weak division, we should be in every game pretty much automatically.

Oh, and this stuff about how much parity our league has. I've written about this before, but the football in the MAC has fallen greatly since its halycon day earlier this decade. There is parity in the MAC. There are a bunch of bad teams, and we're one of them.

Coach said we wouldn't push the panic button unless we were getting blown out. Listen, panic is never advisable. Even if you see someone having a heart attack, panic isn't the thing. People who think other people are overreacting always say "we're not pushing the panic button."

Well, I'm not advising a panic button. I'm advising hitting the Fix It Button.

The Coach at that press conference was certainly talking like a man with a big contract extension. Only under duress did he talk about benching people, whether things were unacceptable, etc. And not once did he say "we got out-coached."

Because we did.

Listen, its true. The season is not over. I think three losses will win the East, and we could lose next week to NIU (a virtual certainty as we look at it this morning) and then beat Kent, OU, Buffalo and Toledo coming home and win the East.

Yes, that could happen. But given our team's performance since the Wyoming game, it is virtually impossible to imagine. We are 3-4, and would have to win 4 out of 5 just to have a winning season. That's impossible to imagine, too. A 6-6 season would be an accomplishment at this point. And given our returning players from an 8-5 team, that's just a huge disappointment.

This team has some ability, though I am not sure that we are as loaded as we thought, frankly. My other post will cover what I fear is really going on, but for now, let's just say this. We had an opportunity to rebuild the season after the EMU game. We essentially had the same problems against Akron and against Miami.

Could it get fixed? Sure, it could, like it was last year. I'm rooting for it to be fixed. But, I'm losing confidence.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The kind of MAC Title I like to win

NCAA Student Athlete Graduation rates are out, and the Falcons have the kind of MAC Championship you can be really proud of....

Bowling Green's overall Graduation Success Rate of 88% was the highest among the 12 Mid-American Conference schools, and was 10 points higher than the national average of 78%.
Congratulations to everyone involved. You can get more information here....

I have often said that this kind of thing is what separates us from the beasts. I expect Bowling Green athletics to operate in a manner we can be proud of, graduate players, and win. There's no reason you can't do all three, if you're committed and hiring the right people.

I'd rather lose than have to be embarrassed at how we are doing in graduating players. That's just me, but its how I feel.

So, as a Falcon fan, I am immensely proud to see these numbers. Follow the link and read the full numbers....we had more than a half dozen programs graduate all its players.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Hoops

Ryan of the Blade has an excellent blogpost on the start of basketball season at Anderson Arena. It really includes our most optimistic start of a season since the year Reimold and Almanson were seniors. A few notes:

He confirms the chatter from yesterday that Darren Goodson will not be coming to BG. Also, note that Darren Goins, a transfer from San Jose State is not going to be on scholarship next year.

Here's what Ryan writes about why we should be optimistic:

The No. 1 reason to be optimistic about this team is the number of veteran guys returning. BG was labeled as “young” for the past three years. No more. A team with the likes of preseason All-MAC selection Nate Miller, Brian Moten, Otis Polk, Chris Knight, Joe Jakubowski, Darryl Clements, Erik Marschall, Marc Larson and so forth ought to be solid.

And, those are good points. I am not quite so optimstic, but I will say have Anderson Arena rocking again would be simply awesome, and have strong basketball at Bowling Green is a great addition to my personal quality of life, because I simply love it. I like what Coach Orr is doing, and look forward to the day the Falcons finally appear in the Big Dance again.

I'll have more hoops previews coming up closer to the season. In the meantime, let the anticipation simmer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Thread on Darren Goodson

There appears to be reason to think that Darren Goodson will not be coming to Bowling Green, based on this thread on Mr. Goodson was involved in this situation down in Cincy, though he was not charged.

We are unlikey to get official word on this unless it hits the media (at least until signing day).

Presser, Steve Austin edition

Here's the news from Coach's weekly presser. As always, it less interesting after a win than a loss.

On the injury report:

He said it was the usual suspects. Angelo Magnone tweaked his ankle.

Someone noted that Joe Schaefer stepped up did a nice job with Magnone was injured and coach said he was, "kind of wired together like the Six Million Dollar man."

Just stop for a minute. Would that be cool or WHAT? I mean, if he really WAS wired up like the Six Million Dollar man, he would be unfrickin believable. Remember the wheels that guy had? Oh, yeah, baby, we can rebuild him.

Just joking of course. Coach calls Schaefer a "warrior" and I salute him.

Derek Brighton is back but only to hold for kicks. They thought it might make Vrvilo feel comfortable again. He was 1-2 on Saturday, but he did hit a really big one, too.

It was also noted that James Schneider, a JUCO transfer, has started to get some reps at LB. Coach said they are working him into the rotation, where he backs up Haneline and Sanderson. Obviously, the more depth we get the better.

They were asked what position AT is now. Coach said "probably a RB." The depth chart in the game notes shows him as #2 TB. ??

Coach acknowledged that he did a great job at Akron.

He was asking about the Miami Whammy and he said he doesn't believe it that stuff, attributing Miami's scintillating run over BG to "playing better when we played them." That stuff is all in the head and it only hurts you if you let it.

In response to a follow up question that is admirable in its smart-assy nature, he said that they don't remind the kids when we have a big winning streak over them, either. Which, I kind of doubt.

He went on to note the Kafkaesque qualities of the series recently. The crazy, rain delayed three safety Miami debacle three years ago, then the Mud Bowl, then the 47-14 pasting they put on us in Oxford last year.

The media wanted to talk about our 0-2 home record. Coach says that you have to win at home and on the road, but that Minnesota is looking like a pretty good team and the EMU thing was a huge disappointment, but he isn't drawing any big trends yet.

He says Miami is a solid program that has struggled lately to score. They had also been struggling to score last year and they beat us 47-14.

They have the conference's leading defense....which "gets your attention." Miami also has sood special teams. Any team in the MAC has enough talent to win. As to why, in fact, they are NOT winning, he said they are struggling to rush and that makes it hard on the QB.

Here is our strategy to win: (I can't believe he is giving this away in public before the game.)

  • We gotta score some points.
  • Convert on 3rd down
  • Finish in red zone.
  • (no mention of turnovers. I don't know if he lost religion on "taking care of the ball" when we lost the turnover battle last week and still won the game, but anyway. Probably an oversight.).
He was asked about the pass rush, which appears to be down. He said it had been a problem, but he was happy with the pressure in the second half at the Rubber Bowl, and that there was better coverage too.

Kenny Lewis is doing well on kickoff returns. There is no hesitation. He goes, and he's fast.

Antonio Smith was defensive player of week
Kenny Lewis Special teams player of the week
AT offensive player of the week

Coach feels that Antonio Smith's INT was huge.

There was general talk about our coverage, and while its generally pretty good, the last minute against EMU is not a proud moment.

The two point play was Rub Right Minturn. He's actually not eligible on the play, so its a lateral with a run. Steffy was supposed to block for him, and Coach suspects he didn't out of jealousy for Minturn getting the ball. Now the play is Rub Right Done or Rub Right Over.

And with that, the presser came to an end, and we were all left to picture...

25 Questions about the Miami RedHawks

I'm introducing a new way to preview our opponents, starting this week. I've developed 24 questions that we can answer about each team we play for the remainder of the season. I think it should be fun, and give us a good opportunity to look ahead at the team we are playing.

A couple commentors on the Minnesota boards called me out earlier in the year for just looking at a stats sheet. So, just to be clear. I'm not going to be breaking down any film on these guys. I'm going to look at the results of what they have done, and look for clues. Feel free to start your own blog.

What is their body of work this season?

You can't sugarcoat it. This isn't very good. Their lone win required a big comeback to beat Charleston Southern, a college I will wager most people didn't even know had a football team. Add their losses to average UC and Michigan teams, as well as a drubbing against Temple, and it just isn't good. They did play NIU close before losing. (Loss to Vanderbilt is no shame).

What is their best result this season?

I'm going to say its playing NIU tough in DeKalb.

What is their worst result this season?

Losing 28-10 to Temple in Oxford.

Are they healthy?

I haven't been able to find anything that suggests there are major injuries.

What is the turnover margin? Any outliers throwing off the numbers?

Miami is -3 for the season. They turned it over four times against Temple for -2.


How is their QB play?

Their QB is Daniel Radabaugh. He made a surprise start last year against BG and was 16-24 for 237. This season, he has struggled. According to MAC Report online, he is the 12th ranked QB in the MAC. His completion % (56%) is low and his ratio is 4/5.

There has been some news from Oxford this week that R-FR Clay Belton might get some snaps against us, as the Hawks try to find some ability to move the ball.

What is their yard per play?

4.4 yards per play is pretty average, and a yard less per play than their opponents...and their defense is supposed to be good.

Can they run the ball?

Well, they've had trouble SO FAR. Over the past few years, there's been a tendency for guys to have career days facing the Falcons, so we'll believe it when we see it. They are last in the MAC with 2.8 yards per carry. They did run better against NIU in their last game. You'd think we could do something against that.

Do they pass the ball.

Their total pass offense is eighth in the MAC, but, as Coach pointed out, its difficult to pass when you can't run. They are last in pass efficiency as a team.

Are they high efficiency or big play?

They appear to be trying to be a high percentage pass team, like most college teams today.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They are right about on the MAC average at 40%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are, in fact DREADFUL in the Red Zone. In 20 trips, they have failed to score six times, and have only six TDs.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Radabaugh has been sacked 12 times this season, which is in the middle of the conference pack.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Well, they are second in the MAC in total defense (yards) and tied for sixth in yards per play. They are tied for eighth in scoring defense. They do have a couple star players, but production may be a little low this year.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 4.5 yards per carry, and only three teams in the conference are below that.

Can they be passed on?

This is a little bit of an illusion. They give up the second lowest number of yards per game. However, only 142 passes have even been tried against them. Yards/catch is in the middle of the pack, and they have allowed 12 TDs against 3 Ints. They are 12th in pass defense efficiency.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are ninth in the MAC at about 43%, better than BG.

Do they defend in the red zone?

No, their red zone looks a lot like Bowling Green's. 23 trips, 20 scores and 17 touchdowns.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are last in the MAC with 6 sacks.

Special Teams:

Key point here--their special teams are very, very good. If we are not careful, we will lose the game here alone.


Their punter, Jake Richardson, is the top punter in the NCAA.

Punt Return?

Eugene Harris has ten returns--with 151 yards and 2 Tds.


Their kicker, Nathan Parseghian might be the best FG kicker in the MAC.


They are
fourth in the MAC with a 43.1 yard average. Only 2 TBs, kickoff depth is only average but they cover well.

Kickoff Return?

They are ninth in kickoff returns. So we have that going for us.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Well, I don't know what to think about this. The biggest thing is that Miami has won 8 of the last 9 against us. The Miami Whammy is back, and they seem to have some kind of voodoo hold on us. We're going to have to overcome that.

I'd say they are pretty disappointed in Oxford. The team has a lot of seniors, and they aren't getting the performance they hoped for. There's a little chatter on their message board about Shane Montgomery, but it doesn't seem serious. Either way, Miami is always a threat. On paper, BG should be able to win this game, but, you know, if we don't bring our best game and tighten special teams up, it won't happen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Falcon Notes

A couple of quick Falcon notes....

First, Tyler Sheehan was the MAC EAST Offensive POTW, and we congratulate him. For my money, the real POTW was AT, but what are you gonna do?

Secondly, the latest podcast is out (actually last week). I listened on my drive yesterday and it was an excellent episode. It was with Cal Bowers, a former captain who is now our color announcer and a Falcon success story on top of it. Take a listen if you get the chance.

Monday, October 13, 2008

East Division Probabilities

Look, the East Division ain't any great shakes this year. But, if you win it, you get to play in the MAC Title game all the same. With that in mind, a quick analysis of the race.

It would not surprise me if 3 losses wins the division, with a tie breaker. With that in mind, the race is wide, wide open.

Here's the bottom line scenario I would like to offer.

BG wins the remainder of its East games, and loses to NIU and UT (looking for worst case stuff here). We finish with 3 losses.

Akron loses one other MAC game (seems likely).

Each other MAC team would have at least three loses and would lose a tiebreaker with us, meaning that, virtually for certain, we would win the East if this happened.

All losses are not equal. Losing to NIU and UT are one thing, because we don't have to worry about being in a tie-breaker with them. Now, losing to an East opponent could theoretically be bad, but then again, each of those teams has to pretty much run the table, including their cross over games, to even get into a tie breaker.

Buffalo actually could be dangerous. They have two losses, but they have already lost to WMU and CMU, and now finish solely with the East. If they can beat BG in BG, they could realistically run the table and take the division. Falcon fans should be rooting for them to get picked off somewhere between here and there.

Miami still plays Ball State, too.

And, when two East teams play, one of them has to lose...despite how it might seem. And if teams quit playing consistently (ie, one team one week and the other team the other week), that will weed teams out, too.

Its a big enough challenge for us to win each week, and that's what we should probably be focused on, starting with Miami. But the path is clear...we can lose two more games, as long as they are the RIGHT two games, and get to play for the MAC Championship.

BlogPoll Ballot

Here it is for all the world...please review and comment, as you wish.

Texas is #1 because their OK home is better than Alabama's win over Georgia, in my opinion.

Ok State D-coordinator Tim Beckman used to live about four houses from me....just in case you wondered.

1 Texas 4
2 Alabama 2
3 Penn State 3
4 Florida 7
5 Southern Cal 3
6 Oklahoma 4
7 Georgia --
8 Oklahoma State 9
9 Ohio State --
10 Missouri 7
11 LSU 10
12 Texas Tech 2
13 Utah 1
14 South Florida --
15 Boise State 3
16 Brigham Young 1
17 Kansas 1
18 North Carolina 4
19 California 4
20 Wake Forest --
21 Virginia Tech 5
22 Pittsburgh 4
23 TCU 2
24 Vanderbilt 11
25 Ball State --

Dropped Out: Auburn (#19), Oregon (#24).