Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween to the Falcon Nation!!

Hope your treats are more than your tricks and the Candy is bigger than FUN size!!


November is almost here, and that means it is down to bidness in the MAC.  As always, there are all kinds of things that could happen....there are a bunch of games left to be played and, especially in the East, no team has asserted itself and any of four teams could take the division.

Here are the standings and then the remaining games...

Obviously, we are concerned about the Falcons here...and while it is a stretch to think they are going anywhere, it is not outside the realm of possibility.  I will predict this.  No team in the East will finish with 2 losses.  Therefore, BG's 3 losses could have a shot.  But, to make that happen, BG would have to win out, and this is a team that has not won back to back FBS games in two seasons.  Not that it couldn't happen, but it certainly is a long shot.

IF it did, and BG won out, then OU would have 3 losses, Temple could lose to OU, Miami could lose to Temple and Kent could lose to everybody.  If that happened, there could be a 4-way tie at the top of the East, which BG would win.

So, if you want the odds, if BG wins out, I think they would very likely win the East.

Again, based on Saturday, I don't expect that.  But anything can happen.  If you are looking for something to root for, root for OU to beat Temple....if the Owls get by that one, the sailing is a lot clearer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Poll Draft, hit the comments if you think you know better--CORRECTED FOR WVU, not WMU in #24

Past and Future Opponent Land

Idaho (1-7)--Lost at home to Hawaii.
Morgan State (5-3)  Beat Delaware State 12-0.
Wyoming (5-2)  Big win @San Diego State.
Miami (3-5) Found their offense, clubbed Buffalo.
WVU (6-2) Rallied to beat Rutgers.
WMU (5-4) Beat Ball State by 10 in Kzoo.
Toledo (5-3)  Off
Temple--(5-3)  Off.
Northern (5-3)--off
Ohio (5-3)--Off
Buffalo (2-7) Pillaged by RedHawks.
MAC vs:

All out of conference: 21-30
All FBS:  9-30
All FCS: 12-0
All BCS: 3-27

Wreckage Fins....Special Teams

All right, I'm almost done.

The special teams for the Kent game were awful.  I am sure this will be reflected on the ICSTR report later this week, but for now, let's just catalog what we saw...

Two missed FGs
Two out of bounds kickoffs
A fumbled punt that was the difference in the game
A kickoff where Boo Boo muffed it, didn't know he could down it and was tackled on the 5.

It is one thing for special teams to not win you a game.  It is another for special teams to lose you a game.

Because as bad as things were on both sides of the ball, just an ordinary performance by the special teams and our team wins the game.

Again, we didn't need Superman.  But make one of those FGs, handle the punt and keep the kickoffs in bounds, and BG wins the game.

Special teams have been better under Clawson than under Brandon which is part of why this was so frustrating.  As Coach often says, when Cooper and Gates make mistakes, those are two of our best players making mistakes.  Cooper is a senior.

And as for the kicking game--field goals and kickoffs alike--I hold the program responsible.  These kickers are who they are.  This has been an ongoing issue.  It is this coach's third year here, and he wants to be able to kick FGs, and the fact there were not effective kickers in our uniform yesterday is on the staff's shoulders.  It isn't a magic formula.  Other coaches in the MAC have figured it out.

Wreckage Part III....defense

Kent came into this game averaging 2.7 yards per play and 10 points per game.

Against BG, they scored 20 (not counting the defensive touchdown) and averaged 5.4 yards per play.

Coming in, they averaged 2.1 yards per rush.  They averaged 3.9 against BG.

Spencer Keith came into the game with a QB rating of 73 and for this game had a rating of 149.

Suffice it to say, Kent enjoyed success against our defense that they have not enjoyed against anyone else.

In the end, the defense held them to 20 and one of those was off Cooper's fumbled punt, which is not really on them.  Still, you held Temple to 10.

Most of the responsibility for this loss falls on the offense for the reasons listed above.  But, Kent's offense was allowed to be good enough.  They were usually able to get a couple first downs, helping with field position.  They were 3 and out only twice.

The tackling issues were back again, as Kent was able to run the ball on us, as everyone is.  Coach Clawson said that BG was putting men into the box to stop the run, which meant that our corners had to be in soft coverage on the edges, which Kent was able to exploit.  Fundamentally, every team enters the game knowing they can run on BG.  BG had to overplay the box to stop it, and you either take advantage of the overplay (Kent) or you don't (Temple).

The frustrating thing is this.  I think people felt like our team was in a position Saturday to completely shut somebody down.  And while the defense played well enough to win, it was far from a dominating performance.

Put another way, our defense had the opportunity to win the game on its own, with a single digit scoring performance.  And, that did not happen.

Wreckage Part II...Offense

If you read this blog, you know I like to look at statistics.  I do understand that football is not quite as measurable as some other the same time, I think it is more measurable than people think.

Saturday does not help me make that case.

On paper, BG's offense was pretty successful.  24 first downs and 400 passing yards--those are respectable numbers and usually winning numbers.  However, the offense was often 1 or 2 executed plays away from winning this game, and they never found those plays.

I think it is signficant that BG has 2 touchdowns the last two weeks, and they both are on relatively long passes...BG has not driven the ball into the end zone in either game.

To begin with, BG did not establish any running game at all.  Samuel and Hopgood were both injured so Jamel Martin got the start.  He had some decent stretches and there were some blocking issues, and BG finished with only 74 yards on 25 sack adjusted rushes, which is just less than 3 per carry.  Martin seemed to slip and fall more than you would expect, and the team was unable to generate that one yard they needed to make a key first down inside the Kent 10.

BG had only 3 rushing first downs.

I mentioned it last night, but the wildcat is not getting us anywhere in short yardage.  The opposition is just blowing it up.  I know the coaches think that is our best shot to score, but I just can't see what they think they are looking at.  It just seems like you would want to have your QB with the ball just to create some doubt.

The passing game is all about the timing.  BG complete 59% of its passes for a 13.8 yard average per reception, normally a very solid number.  5 BG receivers had receptions of 20 yards or more.  But, there were 2 red zone INTs, an inability to complete passes in tight quarters and a complete failure of the passing game when one drive could have salvaged the day.

Schilz was 8 of 19 in the 4th Quarter with 2 sacks, for example.

I know a lot of people are going to focus on the QB.  I was listening to John Gibson yesterday (BTW, most improved broadcaster in history, honestly, great to listen to) and he seemed to think that Schilz was misreading a lot of plays and missing 1-1 opportunities.  Also, in the final drives, he seemed to think that Schilz was a little locked onto Jorden and missing other open players.  There were also the 2 bad INTS.

Finally, Schilz helps defenses by what is an apparent unwillingness to run.  They can feel free to leave the area right in front of him open and put that guy on a receiver, because Schilz does not run the ball even when a risk-free 10 yards is right in front of him.

I think Coach Clawson would say, if asked, that we should be getting more out of the position.

Having said that, he was operating with very little run support yesterday and BG's line--after managing Temple's d-line effectively--lost more than its share of battles with the Kent line yesterday.  So, the effort does not fall solely onto Schilz's shoulders.  Those 3rd and 4th and short plays are on the line, mostly.

Bottom line is this.  The offensive unit is not as effective as it would be on a team that was consistently winning, and holds the responsibility for the loss yesterday.

Picking Through the Wreckage, Part I....

So, the morning after, we find ourselves searching for the black box.  Crazy as it seemed, BG had a shot at the East title going into yesterday.  More realistically, a .500 season was in play.  The team was relatively healthy--only down one starter--and was playing a very weak team.  Yes, it was on the road.  Still, you'd think you'd win.

You know by now that is not what happened.  As we recap the game, keep in mind that Kent had the worst offense in the country--averaging about 10 points a game.

Kent took the opening kickoff and completed two passes on their first 3 plays, totaling 48 yards.  They stalled out, but it was enough to get them a FG.

BG took the ball and drove to the Kent 21 before Martin was hit for a 2 yard loss and BG threw two incompletions and then lined up for a FG that missed.

Kent then fumbled on their first play and BG had the ball again inside the Kent 25.  This is a huge opportunity to put Kent on their heels and establish a tone for the game.  BG ran three plays, lost 4 yards, and made the FG to at least tie the game.

BG put the kickoff out of bounds, and the anemic Kent offense then mounted a 60 yard, 11 play TD that featured only 3 passes.

At this point, you had to have this sick feeling in your stomach.  Things were not looking very good.  But, they would actually look worse.

On the next drive, BG drove to the Kent 29 and had a 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1.  They tried the wildcat and that just isn't working at all, and the drive was wasted.  Two plays, and the inability to make 1 yard...

On its next drive, BG drove inside the Kent 30 again, and ran a run play on 3rd and 10 and gained 9 yards.  Now at the 19, BG knows it couldn't make 1 yard on the last drive, so they line up for a FG.  And miss.

From there, the teams traded punts and went into the locker room with the Flashes up 10-3.

BG got the ball to start the second and once again drove deep into Kent territory.  Upon reaching the 27, BG threw 2 incomplete passes and on 3rd and 10 Schilz threw a pick.  However, the returner fumbled on the return and BG had new life as Kent had turned the ball over deep in their own territory for the second time.  With a personal foul against Kent, BG was on the 10.  On the first play, Schilz took a 9 yard sack, and then threw to Jordan to get back to the 5.  An incomplete pass followed on 3rd down and BG successfully executed a FG and it was 10-6.

The BG kickoff went out of bounds AGAIN, ensuring that when the BG offense forced Kent off the field after only 20 yards, the field position was in Kent's favor and BG started on its own 13.

BG once again drove right into Kent territory, with a 3rd and 3 on the Kent 5.  BG tried to throw the ball and Schilz threw a bad INT ensuring this drive would also get no points.

Kent drove 27 yards before stalling out, but Eugene Cooper failed to field the punt and Kent recovered on the BG 15, and Kent punched that one in for a TD and a 17-6 lead early in the 4th.  That exchange right there, featuring two BG turnovers, is what sealed the game.

BG scored the only way they have in the last two weeks, which is by a long pass, forgetting all that red zone nonsense.  A 52 yard TD pass to Jorden made it 17-12.  BG was going for 2 to try and make it a FG game, but got a delay of game penalty on the conversion (when was the last time you saw that?) and tried the 2-pointer anyway from the 8 and didn't get it.

Kent started with 12 minutes on the clock, and the worst offense in FBS mounted a 61 yard drive in crunch time on the BG defense, which was not missing tackles prolifically.  The drive ended in a MADE FG, and it was 20-12.  (Just a point....after the delay of game penalty, if you kick the XP you have the lead at 7 and it would make a big difference).

Hard as it is to believe, BG still had a shot to win this game.  They drove to the 7 yard line of Kent, and threw 3 straight incomplete passes and was faced with a fourth and goal from the 7.  I just think you have to go for it from there.  If you score, you have a shot to tie the game.  Even if you miss the 2-pointer, you are a FG away.  BG chose to kick the FG to reduce the deficit to 5 which means that you still need a TD but you don't have to worry about the 2-pointer, which is hardly any advantage at all.

Sooner or later you need a TD, and you are ON THE 7 YARD LINE.  And, the FG was far from automatic.  Perhaps Clawson thought we were moving the ball well and destined to end up back in the red zone again.

Anyway, BG kicked the FG to make it a 20-15 game with 5:00 left.

Kent then held the ball for 3 minutes on one first down and BG stared on its own 18 with just inside 2 minutes.  The Falcons then proceeded to throw 5 straight incomplete passes with one pass interference thrown in and Kent had the ball on the BG 30.

BG actually got the ball back with under a minute left, but Schilz was sacked, fumbled, and Kent ran it in for a TD and that was it.

We'll look at each of the elements of the game individually, but BG executed fine until they got into Kent territory and from there they were terrible.  I think some coaching decisions made the job even more difficult, and the defense did not shut down a defense everyone else has shut down, and that's a defeat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Very Disappointing

I don't know when I have been so disappointed in how the Falcons played.

You know I think the nation was pretty patient through last season, where a 2-10 record was achieved.  There were some close games, some near misses, and everyone could see that the team was very young and had a lot of injuries.  There was a FR could see how it was tough.

Today, we are 3/4 of the way through the season AFTER that.  Yes, the team remains young.  But, Coach has said himself that this late in the year that ceases to be an excuse.  Some of these guys are now in the second season of regular snaps.  The line is healthy.  The QB is almost a JR.  The WRs are all seniors.

At this point in the rebuilding project, you'd like to think you could beat someone you were supposed to the 1-6 team that has the worst offense in FBS.  The Temple win was nice, but this game is what good teams do....beat the inferior opposition.

You survive that brutal middle of the schedule, now you get to some games where you aren't playing the best teams in the MAC...and you play an absolutely awful game...

Coach noted the mistakes when he got into his presser...

  • Ball in Kent territory 6 times, no TDs
  • Threw INT on the 1
  • Fumbled a punt inside the 10
  • We didn't tackle well on defense
  • Kicked the ball OB twice on kickoffs
  • Missed 2 FGs
  • Didn't convert 3rd and 4th and 1s

That's pretty bad....

He didn't mention...

  • BooBoo Gates didn't know the rule on a fumbled kickoff and got tackled inside the 10
  • Schilz threw another INT and was bailed out.
  • He also fumbled late in the game,
  • and seems to make misreads more often than he should.


He didn't mention some things that I think are on the coaching staff....such as:

  • With less than 5:00 left, electing a FG to cut the deficit to 5 when you have your best chance to tie the game on 4 and goal from the 7, down 8.  With the lead cut to 5, you still have to score a TD...will you get a better chance than being on the 7?  (Schilz threw 6 straight incomplete passes after this FG).   It was the best chance to tie the game that we would have.  A Fg to cut it to 3 would be one thing....but 5?
  • Then, there is the coaching staff's stubborn clinging to the wildcat formation on short yardage.  It doesn't work.  It isn't working.  We should have something else to try.  (It reminds me of Gregg Brandon throwing bubble screens over and over again).

Also, if we miss 2 FGs, why is this happening in the 3rd year of this regime, if FGs are so important?  Kent has a good kicker, WMU does, etc.  Why not us?  It obviously can be done.

BG went out today and simply beat themselves with these mistakes.  Obviously, most of the mistakes are on the players, but I don't think the coaches are immune either.

Maybe we got our hopes up after the Temple win.  I can see that.  But, Temple or no, a game like this would be unacceptable at this point in what is supposedly our return to competitiveness.

Sooner or later, you have to be good enough to win a game.

We may not be great or even good yet, but we are or should be better than this.

Leather Helmet Football Burns Falcons...

In a dreadful performance, BG lost to Kent State today, providing the Flashes their first FBS victory of the season.  BG was outcoached and outplayed in all aspects of the game.  Notwithstanding a ridiculous decision to kick a FG from the 7 yard line late in the 4th Quarter, BG played awful from start to finish against a team who cannot beat anyone.  Very, very disappointing.

One thing is sure.  Coach was right when the said this team wasn't good enough to have a trap game.

Seeing how we feel....imagine how Temple feels today.

This program still has not delivered back to back FBS wins for the last two seasons.

In the words of John Gibson, "I cannot believe this."

Now 4 and 5, BG now looks on track for their second straight losing season, and frankly could easily finish 4-8.

UPDATE:  I will say one thing.  Coach Clawson didn't try to say we were young and he came right out and said "we made too many mistakes to beat anyone at this level."  I doubt his predecessor would have been so direct.

11th Verbal

Pittsburgh O-Lineman Logan Reitz has made a verbal commitment to the Falcons.  He is said to have had offers from WVU and UT.  He's 6'6" 270, and was all-conference as a junior.

I am on record.  Guys from Pittsburgh are good.  Those guys are football players.  In fact, his team, which is #16 in USA Today rankings, now has 5 FBS verbals, including two Rockets.

5 of BG's 11 verbals are on the O-line.

Welcome to the Falcons, Logan.

25 Questions About Flashes, Flashers and Flashing

You should see his 40 time.

What is their body of work?

It is not good.  They are 1-6 and without an FBS win.  Beyond that, they have not had a winning season at least since 2002....I ran out of energy to look into it further.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

24 which is a pretty average number.  They start only 7 seniors.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Roosevelt Nix, the returning MAC Defensive POTY, is tied for 17th in FBS for in TFL, which is tied for the 2nd in the MAC.  Matt Rinehart is 3rd in the MAC in punting.

What is their turnover ratio?

Kent is +2, one of only 4 teams in the MAC in plus territory.


How is their QB Play?

Well, it has not been good.  Spencer Keith has been their starter for most of the year and has the lowest pass efficiency in the MAC.  During their last game, he was benched in favor of R-FR Cedric McCloud. McCloud, for his past, was ineligible for the first four weeks this year and was reinstated during the year by the NCAA.  He is from Florida where he was a two-star recruit.  He is said to have a stronger arm than their other backups.  He did struggle against NIU as well.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

Statistically speaking, they have the worst offense in FBS.  They are last in the FBS in scoring and total offense.  They average 2.7 yards per play.

Not his proudest moment, but you
don't know how it feels to be him.
Can they run the ball?

They have not been effective.  They are 119th (out of 120) in FBS in rushing, ahead of only Miami.  They average 2.1 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

If they can, no one has seen it yet.  They are 119th in FBS is passing efficiency and last in the MAC.  How last?  Akron is 12th at 106...Kent is 68.9.  They complete 43.7% of their passes, with 9 INTs over 3 TDS and only 7.9 yards per reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on about 53% of their plays.  They do have a balanced offense in a kind, in yet they have yet to have shown success in either portion of the game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 12th in the MAC at 26.4%.  Only 5 teams in FBS are worse.

Do they score in the red zone?

They have only gotten to the redzone 12 times in 7 games this year.  When they do get their, they are scoring at 4.6 points per trip, which is about average.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They do not.  They have allowed 25 sacks in 7 games.  That translates to a sack on 10.5% of their passing attempts, which is nearly double the MAC average.

A couple notes.  Kent is coming off a bye week, and they did some shifting on the offensive line to try and get things stirred up.  They appear to be trying to put their best line on the same side of the ball to at least try and get something moving.  Their OC, by the way, is BGHS and BGSU grad Brian Rock.


It says here the Flashes are hot
Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Their defense is interesting.  The are third in yards per play allowed and second in yards per game allowed, yet they are 8th in scoring defense.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good.  They are 4th in the MAC in rushing defense.  They had a very good line last year that 100% dominated BG and look strong here again.

Could they be passed on?

This is also a strong point, they are 3rd in the MAC in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 55% completions with 8 int/7 TD.  They do allow yards when passes are completed, at 11.5/reception.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are ok, 6th in the MAC at 36.9%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good.  They allow 4.7 points per trip, which is about average.  They have only 4 stops, but have allowed a MAC-high 10 red zone FGs.  30 red zone trips in 7 games is a lot--BG has allowed that many in 8.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are 9th in the MAC with 12 sacks, which is 5.6% of passing attempts.  That is below average.

Special Teams:


This is interesting.  They are 3rd in punting yards and 10th in net punting.  Suffice it to say, they are last in punt return defense and have also had 5 touchbacks.  No TDS this year but they have been blocked once.

Punt Return?

They are 7th in the MAC in punt returns.  No TDs and 1 block.

I googled celebrity Flashes.  I got this.

Cortez is good.  He is 6 of 8 and 5-5 inside 40.  His long is 44 and he has been blocked once.


They are pretty good.  Opponents average starting on the 27 yard line.  They have 6 touchbacks but 3 O-B.

Kickoff Return?

They are 9th in kickoff returns.  They average starting on their own 24.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Kent is coming off a bye week and may have had some time to get things corrected, though they said they sent the players away from the field to get them "missing football."  They have really struggled this year.  On the other hand, those teams can get very hungry for a win.

They just KILLED BG last season, running through our offensive line completely at will.

Their DC went to Miami, and they have former Youngstown State Coach Jon Heacock in charge of the D right now.

BG's D played badly against two good teams (WVU and WMU), but then played much better against two good teams.  This is an opportunity to dominate someone.  BG simply cannot allow Kent to "get well" today.  If BG's defense takes the opportunity to play as well against a bad team as they do against a good team, they will be hard to beat.

Also, if that happens, then the offense just needs some consistency.  Kent's defense is good, though not as good as Temple's.  Our line is certainly better than it was last year...which should help.

This is a young team.  They have to learn to bring it every week.  We're going to see tomorrow if that is in play.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Book of Samuel

Just a quick note on Anthon Samuel, who is (relatively) quietly have a pretty special year for the Falcons.

He currently has 704 rushing in 7 games.  With 4 games left, he is on pace to reach 1,000 yards.  It would only be the 11th 1,000 yard season in the program's history, which always surprises me.  He would be only the 8th back to reach it.  (Miles, Saleet, Preston, Durig, Jones, White and Pope, most recently).

Beyond that, the program's freshman record is 769 by Chris Bullock, followed by Godfrey Lewis at 753.  So, with his 66th yard, Anthon will have set the freshman record.

What is most interesting is that he wasn't really even considered in the mix for this Fall, but he has emerged as our #1 runner and it isn't close.

(In The Blade's Falcon Fodder, JW reports that Samuel did not practice Wednesday but is considered probable for the Kent game.  He has post-concussive symptoms.)

MAC Blogger Roundtable, Bull Run Edition

Our host this week in Bull Run...

1) Parity, a good thing or a bad thing. Outside of Toledo at the top and Akron, Kent, Miami, and Buffalo at the bottom every team has looked about equal. Is this a good thing for the conference or would it be better to have just four very prominent teams.

This is one of the great questions facing humanity.  Some people will tell you the sports are more popular when there is a clear villain.  And, some will tell you that having a clear pacesetter makes all the other teams better.  Others will tell that parity helps to keep everyone interested.  I'm in the second group.  I'd prefer it if there was parity at a higher level, but I do think that this kind of parity makes every game interesting and keep people following through those disappointing November weekday games.

2) Coaches Hot Seat. The Following MAC coaches are showing up on the ever popular coaches hot seat list. Pick one and tell us why is it or is not fair to have them there (disclaimer Clawson is on the list but I can't imagine why so I am leaving him off)

Yeah, Clawson's seat is 0% hot.  He's not in trouble.  From your list, I'm going to say that Enos is in the most trouble.  There were people screaming for his removal last year in his first year.  The program seemed pretty solid and fell apart pretty quick, and he might be in over his head.  If you want my guess, none of these guys lose their job.  Should Cubit be on the list?

3) Best new hire. Of the four(?) new coaches in the conference who, at this point, seems to be the best hire.

I'm going to say Lembo.  Doeren took over a team where the Coach moved up, which means he jumped into a situation where things were pretty good.  Lembo, on the other hand, has taken over a program where the Coach was fired and improved things pretty much right away.  Treadwell and Hazell are paying their dues.

4) Ron English is flying high and the EMU *EAGLES* might be going to their first Bowl if they take care of Business. Surely their Coach is going to start getting some looks from other programs (if you can win at EMU right!). Is Turner Gill's experience in Kansas a cautionary tale to schools who look for that one new up and coming coach? How many years of winning should a mid-major coach put forth before a big time program drops millions on them.

It is a very good question.  Lots of coaches have discovered that things are not necessarily better at that bigger school.  On other other hand, you get paid a LOT of money to find out.  I have been pretty shocked how quick some of the coaches get plucked up--Mike Haywood for example.  It seems to me that you'd want to see a coach at least win through one recruiting cycle before you'd go moving them up, but I don't expect it to happen.  With the money in college football, guys can always just be bought out after a couple of years.

5) We all know the MAC does not necessarily award Bowls to the best teams. In MAC contracted bowls the bowl committees, not the conferee, get to pick their representative. Assume the MAC is going to get four Bowls but there are five bowl eligible teams. Make a case for your team, or a team you think is likely to be that 5th wheel.

That's a toughie.  If the Falcons were 7-5 and had a shot at the bowl, I'd argue that they were one of the comeback teams in the country with a 5 game improvement over 2010, making it a good story.

6) It's looking more and more like either (a) Temple won't be going to the Big East or (b) there won't be a big east football space to even invite Temple. Is the MAC, even with UMass and Temple, a stable football conference for the next year or two?

For a year or two?  Yes, I think the MAC is stable for a year or two. Eventually, the big boys are going to force all the mid majors into dropping into FCS or they will form their own non-NCAA football association and then keep all the money for themselves.  That could take longer than two years, but I think that's where everything is going.  There would be worse things for the MAC than this.

7) Rank'em

  1. UT
  2. NIU
  3. OU
  4. BG
  5. Temple
  6. Ball State
  7. WMU
  8. EMU
  9. Buffalo
  10. Miami
  11. CMU
  12. Kent
  13. Akron

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Clawson Presser: Over the Hump? You talking over the hump?

So, I watched Coach Clawson's presser for this week.  When you filter out all the stuff the media asks about the team's emotional state after a big win/loss, there wasn't a lot of news made.

The best part was when someone asked Coach if the Kent game was now a "trap" game because the Falcons had gotten "over the hump" against Temple.  I though Coach was going to lapse into Mora-talk as he informed the questioner that the team is not "over the hump,"  is not "there" yet, and if they think they are, they are in for a big disappointment.

BG has learned how to play off a tough they need to learn how to play off a big win.  BG played awful against Kent last year.

Noted:  Kent kicked the crap out of BG and we don't dwell on it but we know it.  And so do they.

On bye weeks, Coach says they are a double edged sword in the MAC because they are often followed by a short week.  However, he feels the Kent's bye week has been perfect for them.  He notes (as has been in the paper) that Kent has been shifting guys around all week trying to find a combination that works.

He spent considerable time dissembling Kent's record and making the case for how their record is not indicative of how good they are.  (As Don Nehlen used to say, "perhaps the best 1-6 team in the nation."

He likes the tempo in practice, but really judges prep based on how things are on Thursday and Friday.  He said last week, the defense was completely locked in during late week game prep, and he hopes to see that against next week.

He did note that without that 4-9 play, the Temple game would have been the same old story--5 or 6 missed 4th Quarter plays costing us the win.   He was taking great pains to make the point that this team is a long way from where they need to be.

My note:  BG has not won back to back games against FBS opponents since the 4-game winning streak to round out the 2009 season.


The ICSTR has met again following the Temple victory, and has some interesting things to say about the victory over the Owls.

The scholars have scheduled a retreat for later this winter to study punt returns, which is the one area the ICSTR does not cover adequately.  The system was designed to work strictly on net yards.  The typical net punt in the MAC is about 38 yards.  We give +1 for a net punt over 45 yards and -1 for one over 25.  You can also score for punts inside the 20 and 10.  That was actually how the whole thing seemed unfair to punish a punter who either pooched a kick to get it inside the 10, hurting his average, or drilled a 60 yard low punt that was returned 20 yards.

The downside of this approach is that there were 3 big punt returns that had field position impact in the Temple game that still ended up with nets between 25 and 45.  From the kicking team's perspective, they work out the same as if a 35 yard punt had gone out of bounds, but it seems like those plays are worth something.  At the same time, I thought about giving a +1 for the returns, but then I feel like you have to give the punting team a -1 for allowing the return, and now you are punishing them for how they got that 35 yard net...anyway.  The punt return is largely gone from the college game, so the system gets bailed out a lot.

BG won the special teams battle, though there were not really any big special teams plays---touchdowns, blocks, turnovers, etc.  The biggest was a missed FG.

BG's positive plays were a 48 yard net punt (even with the touchback), a punt downed inside the 10 (+2), a kickoff returned to the 42.  The only negative play was an out of bounds kickoff (-1), leaving BG +3 for the day.

Temple had a punt downed at the 2 (+2), a 47 yard net punt, a kickoff touchback, and a 64 yard net punt for (+5).

On the negative side, they had a penalty that created a 20 yard net punt, allowed the Boo Boo kickoff return, missed a 39 yard field goal and had a penalty that created a 52 yard net punt. (-4) for a net of +1.

For the year, BG is having a good but not great year.  We aren't getting the negative numbers we had in the middle of last year, but at the same time, when the games are in + territory, they are the low pluses.  BG's punting and return games are really coming around and look good moving forward, placekicking and kickoff defense remain the issues.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blogpoll Week 9 is on the air

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 9

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 LSU Tigers (74) 25.44 3.86 --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide (12) 24.65 3.73 --
3 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 22.65 3.28 Arrow_up 2
4 Stanford Cardinal 22.20 3.18 Arrow_up 3
5 Clemson Tigers 21.25 2.84 Arrow_up 3
6 Boise St. Broncos 21.12 2.66 --
7 Oregon Ducks 19.13 2.53 Arrow_up 2
8 Kansas St. Wildcats 17.02 0.96 Arrow_up 3
9 Arkansas Razorbacks 16.69 1.35 Arrow_up 1
10 Michigan St. Spartans 16.33 1.89 Arrow_up 4
11 Oklahoma Sooners 15.44 0.85 Arrow_down -8
12 Wisconsin Badgers 14.67 1.50 Arrow_down -8
13 Nebraska Cornhuskers 12.32 2.69 Arrow_down -1
14 Virginia Tech Hokies 11.74 2.33 Arrow_up 1
15 South Carolina Gamecocks 10.85 2.94 Arrow_up 1
16 Texas A&M Aggies 8.89 3.22 Arrow_up 2
17 Michigan Wolverines 8.50 2.00 --
18 Houston Cougars 8.45 3.81 Arrow_up 2
19 Penn St. Nittany Lions 6.70 3.15 Arrow_up 5
20 Texas Tech Red Raiders 5.42 3.40 --
21 USC Trojans 5.07 3.63 Arrow_up 7
22 Arizona St. Sun Devils 4.89 3.12 Arrow_up 3
23 Georgia Bulldogs 3.63 2.73 Arrow_up 3
24 Cincinnati Bearcats 2.86 2.68 Arrow_up 6
25 West Virginia Mountaineers 1.25 2.02 Arrow_down -12
Others Receiving Votes: Southern Miss. Golden Eagles | Texas Longhorns | Auburn Tigers | Baylor Bears | Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets | Syracuse Orange | Florida St. Seminoles | Washington Huskies | Miami Hurricanes | Illinois Fighting Illini | TCU Horned Frogs | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | SMU Mustangs | Florida Gators | Iowa Hawkeyes | Wake Forest Demon Deacons | BYU Cougars | Louisiana Ragin Cajuns | Arkansas St. Red Wolves
Updated: Oct 25, 2011 9:02 AM EDT
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Rankings 2011