Welcome to another week of the B1G-MAC Swap where our friends from Hustle Belt stop by to chat about the relegation of the worst B1G team that week to the MAC and the promotion of the best MAC team that week to the B1G. It's not a perfect science, and sure, we're definitely a little partial to teams who haven't been chosen, but that's usually because the worst and best performances that week haven't repeated yet. Soon enough I suppose.
All that in mind, check out Part I over at Hustle Belt. We may or may not have relegated Penn State, and by that I mean we totally relegated Penn State. Ray has never been happier. So let's check in on Part II below!
Jesse: If we're giving you Penn State, who do we get back? There seems to be a couple of candidates for promotion this week.
Bryan: A week ago, I sent y'all Toledo. They backed up that claim by improving to 2-0 in the MAC against a talented, but troubling CMU team. Toledo's clicking on all cylinders right now, and just might be the best the MAC has to offer.
But still, I can't find any reason to go with Toledo over Akron this week. The Zips beat Pitt, at Pitt, by a pretty solid margin. That's with the backup running back doing most of the heavy lifting. Terry Bowden has definitely turned this team, which just a year ago notched its first FBS win in several years. A Bowden in the B1G. That's what y'all get this week.
Jesse: Terry Bowden in the B1G? Is this before or after Michigan starts their coaching search, because I could see them at least talking to him. That would be a very Michigan thing to do...
But let's talk a little bit more about Akron. Last weekend, I watched Pitt-Iowa and the Panthers looked decent. That run game was solid against Iowa - at least for a half - and in general, I thought they were a pretty put together team. Then they got absolutely worked over by Akron, who I know very little about and I am forced to reckon my belief that Pitt is decent and Akron is pretty good or that Pitt is meh and Akron is still pretty good.
I don't have the stats in front of me, but I have got to assume that if Akron beat Pitt, that means they have to have a decent run defense, which will be necessary in the B1G.
Bryan: I think Akron is actually pretty good. That's with Kyle Pohl stinking it up. It starts and ends with Akron's defense. Jatavis Brown and Justin March are incredibly talented linebackers, and they set the tone for the rest of that defense.
Here's a stat: Akron's allowing 166.8 yards per game on the ground. It's not stellar, but it's also barely giving up scores on the ground. If you take just the Pitt and Penn State games, Akron has only allowed 245 yards rushing, against teams with substantially larger offensive lines than thee Zips normally play, and in Pitt's case, against a team with a pretty solid ground game. Akron has really struggled running the ball itself, but it can certainly defend it.
Jesse: Hey, that's sometimes what it takes. I think the best analogue we have to that right now is Iowa who cannot seem to get all their pieces firing, but a good defense can get you to 4-1.
So let's think about this for a second. Akron is probably going to get dropped in the East, which is generally an unfortunate thing for them. I think that they legitimately can compete with that bottom tier and maybe knock off a few in the middle tier, especially with how the Big Ten has done so far. I'd say Rutgers, Indiana, PSU, Michigan and Maryland are possible wins, which isn't nothing. Ohio State and Michigan State are going to be losses just based on talent alone. If you had Penn State's schedule, Akron would then also have to crossover against Illinois and Northwestern. I think they would have a chance in both.
That's a decent tossup schedule. Assuming they'd be dogs in all of them, I'd say they take at least two, maybe three. They'd instantly be better than Purdue and probably better than Illinois. It's not a bad existence by any means. Hmmm... I guess I welcome our new Zipper friends.
Bryan: Not a bad existence at all for a team which was struggling just to win a single game a few years ago. And I forgot to mention the best part of this whole deal: You all get Zippy, probably one of the best mascots in all of sports. She's an absolute gem.
Jesse: /looks up Zippy
Oh. It's a Kangaroo. Awesome. I think that might instantly vault to the tops of the ranks.
Bryan: She has moves, too:
Jesse: Amazing. I'm pretty sure that she will get along with Goldy and Herky and... well, all of our other rather random plush mascots. They can rap along to that weird Big Ten song and all will be well. On that note, have fun this week. If Nebraska gets burned to the ground in EL, I might be hard to find. Here's hoping that doesn't happen.
Bryan: Stay B1G!