Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween to the Falcon Nation

MAC Football passes the Big East

It was all over the web..., which does a weekly conference ranking, has moved the MAC ahead of the Big East into the #5 slot.  I mean, it is just one rating, but it is pretty cool.  In the last two weeks, the MAC has beaten two ranked Big East teams and one of those wins was on the, I think it is actually warranted.  This is a year when MAC football is as good as it has been probably since the Marshall days or the Big Ben days...anyway, MAC fans, enjoy November!

2012-13 Men's Basketball Preview: State of the Program

I think everyone would pretty much agree about where things start for the men's basketball program.

You can look back at the posts at the end of last season, but basically we had thought for a long time that 11-12 was going to be our year.  Coach Orr would have all his own players, three seniors, some spacing in the classes, the wreckage of the Dakich years and transition gone, and playing in our new facility...that was what we pointed toward.

It wasn't what we hoped.  The team was 16-16 overall, 9-7 in the MAC and a sad loss to CMU at home in the MAC tourney to wrap the season up--not including a "post-season" berth in one of college basketball's Class B tourneys.  Just to pile on a little, there is a clear hierarchy in the MAC--there are 3 premier programs: Akron, Kent and OU--and 9 teams trying to break in.  We're not in.

Coach Orr has two more years left on his contract.  A lot of people in the nation are talking coaching change.  I think Coach Orr is a good man, a good leader, and I think he does a good job of ensuring his team is a good representative of BGSU.  The only thing he is lacking is success on the court.  (And that is not to discount the regular season title he did win).

The best path for everyone involved is for Coach Orr to develop a winner.  There is a school of thought that you can't count anything until he has been able to recruit to the Stroh--a school I don't subscribe to--but either way, you have to think that some kind of success has to be shown in the next two seasons.

The difficulty is that based on what we have seen, there is no reason to think this year's team will be better than last year's team.  And if that plays itself out, you're left with a sub .500 team heading into the final year of a contract, not really extension territory but if you don't its lame duck territory.

Which means this year is important.

Now, I said "based on what we have seen."  There has been a whole summer and these are young men--it is very possible some or all of them have made significant jumps.  That has not been a hallmark of the Orr regime, but it could happen.  Point is, we need something to happen that we haven't seen yet--there are no clear understudies obviously reading for a starring role.

Here are the questions BG will need to answer this season:

Who among the cast of supporting players is ready to step up?  Names like Clarke, Orr, Sealey, and Henderson--is any of them ready to step up and become a consistent playmaker.  They all showed flashes--Clarke and Sealey especially--but it is a long way from there to Scott Thomas like production.

Sealey is a special wild card.  He has shown real ability from time to time, and yet he rarely saw the floor, averaging only 12 minutes for a .500 team.  There has to be a reason for that.  At his best, I think he presents match up problems for defenses.

Will Jordan Crawford's game improve in his senior year?  Can he make the players listed above better on a nightly basis?

What kind of production will the team get from Cam Black?  Can he take some of the pressure off Calhoun?

For that matter, what kind of player will Calhoun be?  He was certainly good last year, but there is still room for him to improve and become a more consistent player, especially when he is in a crowd.

Finally, our new guys, Spencer Parker and Richaun Holmes, are both question marks.  Neither is just out of HS.  New guys don't tend to get much run in Orr's system, but could one of them at least play the role Oglesby did last year and the year before?

As a team, one question mark I would pose is whether the team will develop another way to score.  We were 9th in the nation on points scored on FGs, but among the worst in 3FG and drawing fouls and getting to the line.  It just seems logical to me that you would want another way to get that done.  I'm fine if it is FTs--we were 327th in D1 in % of points coming from free throws--but it just seems like we need something else.

Last year's team played some of the best defense in the Orr era.  It was nearly all zone, but the ability to continue that would certainly make a big difference.  And here, you have basically the same question marks--how will the new players fit into the overall system and contribute, and will Cam Black be healthy enough to anchor the defense around the rim and allow the other players in the zone to cover the perimeter.

All that to say that I have a relatively low degree of optimism for this season, until proven otherwise.  This team could easily finish with single digit wins.  Or, I can see that before I see this team winning 20 games.

The larger question is whether the assemblage of players we have here are prepared to move into the upper tier of the conference.  Right now, it would appear to be relatively impenetrable to us, but perhaps we will be surprised by what we see.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This week's Blog Poll is on the AIR!

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 9

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (60) 25.04 2.79 --
2 Kansas St. Wildcats (11) 23.75 2.55 Arrow_up 2
3 Oregon Ducks (2) 23.43 2.44 --
4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3) 22.86 2.45 Arrow_up 1
5 LSU Tigers 19.71 0.59 Arrow_up 1
6 Georgia Bulldogs 18.58 0.85 Arrow_up 9
7 Florida Gators 18.54 0.82 Arrow_down -5
8 Ohio St. Buckeyes (1) 18.09 4.93 Arrow_up 1
9 Florida St. Seminoles 17.79 1.45 Arrow_up 2
10 Clemson Tigers 14.53 3.09 Arrow_up 4
11 South Carolina Gamecocks 14.11 1.71 Arrow_up 6
12 Louisville Cardinals 13.83 3.67 Arrow_up 4
13 Oregon St. Beavers 12.67 3.45 Arrow_down -6
14 Oklahoma Sooners 12.63 3.44 Arrow_down -6
15 Stanford Cardinal 10.26 3.46 Arrow_up 4
16 Texas A&M Aggies 10.12 3.31 Arrow_up 5
17 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 8.24 3.72 Arrow_down -5
18 USC Trojans 7.29 3.32 Arrow_down -8
19 Texas Tech Red Raiders 6.79 3.83 Arrow_down -6
20 Boise St. Broncos 5.75 4.17 Arrow_up 3
21 Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.87 3.17 Arrow_up 8
22 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 3.86 3.40 Arrow_up 2
23 West Virginia Mountaineers 2.37 2.58 Arrow_up 2
24 Arizona Wildcats 2.33 3.03 Arrow_up 15
25 UCLA Bruins 2.05 2.96 Arrow_up 15
Others Receiving Votes: Toledo Rockets | Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Kent St. Golden Flashes | Texas Longhorns | Northern Illinois Huskies | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Northwestern Wildcats | Tulsa Golden Hurricane | Ohio Bobcats | Utah State Aggies | North Carolina Tar Heels | Iowa St. Cyclones | Central Florida Knights | Cincinnati Bearcats | Michigan Wolverines | ULM Warhawks | Arizona St. Sun Devils | Duke Blue Devils | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Ball St. Cardinals
Updated: Oct 30, 2012 8:37 AM EDT

Men's Basketball?? An interlude...

Yes, it is that overlap time of year, when basketball and football co-exist in the mind of the Falcon fan.  We are going to use the break for football to spend some time looking ahead to the men's basketball season....starting with the results of the MAC media poll, which was released today.

The upshot is that BG is picked to finish 5th in the East, with only Miami picked lower.

This is the only logical thing anyone could have picked.  BG was an average team at best last year and lost 3 of its more productive players and in each case the next man up is someone who has never shown in public that they are capable of filling those roles.  For that reason, you just have to expect this kind of pick.

It doesn't mean those guys can't or won't step just means no one has seen them do it.  They may be doing it like crazy in practice, but no one else has seen it.

We'll go through those things in the next couple days.  I'd have to say, this is where I would pick our team as well.  We are in the toughest division in the MAC, with very strong OU, Kent and Akron programs, and coming off last season with the graduation losses we had, this is just a reasonable expectation.

Obviously, the highest level of love is for OU.  You can see where the rest falls out.

Note, also, that A'uston Calhoun is picked to the All-East team with some pretty good players.

Finally, note that Toledo is picked to win the West.  Not to confuse the issue with my hate for Toledo (and I hate Toledo), it is important to look at UT and EMU...both teams were awful only a couple of years ago, and yet now they are passing us, and our program has been in place a lot longer.  It just seems like other teams are succeeding and we are languishing.

Having said that, expectations are there to be exceeded.  Let us hope that this will look different in March than it does today.

2012-13 East Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Ohio – 141 Votes (19 first place votes)
2. Akron – 122 Votes (5)
3. Kent State – 89 Votes
4. Buffalo – 68 Votes
5. Bowling Green – 53 Votes
6. Miami – 31 Votes

2012-13 West Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Toledo – 143 Votes (20 first place votes)
2. Eastern Michigan – 118 Votes (4)
3. Western Michigan – 88 Votes
4. Ball State – 74 Votes
5. Northern Illinois – 46 Votes
6. Central Michigan – 35 Votes

2012-13 East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Zeke Marshall, Akron
A’uston Calhoun, Bowling Green
Javon McCrea, Buffalo
Walter Offutt, Ohio
D.J. Cooper, Ohio

2012-13 West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Jesse Berry, Ball State
Abdel Nader, Northern Illinois
Rian Pearson, Toledo
Julius Brown, Toledo
Nate Hutcheson, Western Michigan

ICSTR Eagle Edition

The ICSTR held its weekly meeting today and came up with the results.  For the Falcons, it was pretty good.  BG was +4, which is their best result of the season--the last time they were +4 was the Buffalo game.  EMU was +3.  BG has faced very good special teams...only one team has had a negative game all season against BG, and that was Idaho.  After being in positive territory only one in the first five games, BG has now been on the plus side for the last four games.

Also, BG made most of its bones on punting...Schmeidebusch had a lot of opportunities to use field position to pin EMU back, and he more or less delivered.  For his part, EMU's MAC-leading P had a big day as well.

BG Positive (+6)

EMU Kickoff return to 20
BG Punt to EMU 19
BG Punt to EMU 16
BG punt to EMU 14
BG punt to EMU 7 (+2)

BG Negative (-6)

BG punt 24 yard net
BG missed 38 yd FG

EMU Positive (+4)

EMU 42 yard FG
EMU punt 45 yard net
EMU punt to BG 17
EMU punt 51 yard net

EMU negative (-1)

EMU Kickoff return to 20

Monday, October 29, 2012

Benchmark report, EMU

Here are the benchmarks for the game Saturday.  No great surprises here.  A couple observations:

When you take the sacks out, EMU had pretty decent success running the ball.  Thankfully, again, BG was able to put them in a hole and force them to pass.

At the same time, their meager passing numbers become dreadful when you charge sacks against their passing yards.

BG's defense was absolutely great on 3rd down.

BG's offense took care of the ball and obviously had an excellent day running the ball and on third down, and that was enough for this game.

We only gave up one sack, but we also only tried 21 passes.  From watching, it didn't seem like the protection was awful or great.

The crowd at the Doyt....

The officially reported crowd was 13,000 Saturday.  This photo is of the BG student section shortly before game time....