It's that time of the week again everyone. The B1G-MAC Swap! Bryan M Vance from Hustle Belt takes time to help us figure out who the best of the MAC was last week, and we reciprocate by giving him the B1G team most worth of relegation. This week we welcome Illinois' next new head coach to the ranks of the Big Ten. Fun times were had by all.
Jesse: So, we meet again Bryan. Last week was a weird one in College Football, and it seems that our fair conferences were not completely exempt from that. I mean, I didn't see anything quite as hilarious as the Notre Dame fan meltdown, but it was still a little loopy. In other words, just another day in the neighborhood. How fancy was MACtion this week?
Bryan: Fancy MACtion. Like katsup. Rare, and not all that great when you do try it. MACtion was as odd as ever. Suddenly, two of the worst teams in all of college football from a year ago are very much in the hunt for division titles, Ohio actually remembered how to win a football game after September, and CMU gave me the biggest middle finger in the world a week after I handed them the SEC East by laying an egg against one of the worst Ball State teams in a LONG time. So basically, it was another week of Mid-American Conference foolsball.
Jesse: Well, we had three blowouts, two of which were most definitely close at one point, and now have no idea what to think of the middle. Ohio State looks like it could make a run for the playoffs, though. So that's fun. Actually, that's just sort of depressing. They just simply have more depth than everyone. I think that Team Speed Kills might be calling us and asking if we can promote the Buckeyes soon. That will only fuel Michigan State's penchant for #CONSPIRACY even more.
But seriously, last week was either feast or famine it seemed. Michigan State, Nebraska, and Ohio State took it to Indiana, Northwestern, and Rutgers. Minnesota needed a late FG and INT to seal a win against Purdue (which was weird). Oh, and we're still in the depth of BYE so the only other game was Maryland outmuscling Iowa in a game that ended up closer than it had any right to be. Sooooo... business as expected except not really in those last two. As a Nebraska fan, though, I was happy to report that Nebraska finally beat Northwestern by more than a possession.
But enough about the games, let's bring on the swap. That's what we're here for. It sounds like the MAC was crazy last week. I look forward to hearing who we have coming to B1G Country.
Bryan: The MAC was as wild and wonderful as the great state of West Virginia (which, as MAC fans, is full of backstabbing Herdsman). Our last winless team took Army-which had beat two decent MAC teams already-to the woodshed. UMass just may be the hottest team in the MAC right now. Together with WMU, they have the longest winning streaks in the MAC. WMU made BGSU's offense look like it was put together with junkyard kids. Ohio, all banged up and pieced together, narrowly knocked off an Akron team without its starting quarterback. CMU vomited profusely all over the game of football. Then we had NIU...the longtime power of the MAC, barely beat Miami.
ICYMI: Last Week's B1G-MAC Swap
ICYMI: Last Week's B1G-MAC Swap
I've spent a lot of time debating who I'd send up this week. I really think UMass could win the East at this point, but I still think Akron is the best team in the MAC. Miami is way more impressive than its 1-7 record suggests, because it's at 1-7 without an offensive line. Literally, it's air between Andrew Hendrix and the defensive lineman who want to eat him. This may be the only week Kent State wins this season...but I'm going to go with a different team. A team which has yet to be promoted. A team, which no one expected to be competitive, let alone playing like one of the best the MAC has to offer.
This week, I give you the boat rowin' Broncos of Kalamazoo, and their dancing, hair-gel-wearing captain, P.J. Fleck.
Jesse: ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT! Actually, I really like P.J. Fleck. I think he'll make a nice addition, and with the Broncos getting promoted, there's less of a chance he'd be intrigued by the eventual offer to coach Illinois, so that's a plus. Tell me, what exactly is making Western Michigan less of a tire fire than we expected? As a follow up, how can a team that got beat by Purdue compete in the B1G?
Bryan: The short answer: Recruiting. That's what the B1G is all about right? Well if any MAC team could compete with the bottom to mid-tier B1G teams in terms of talent, it'd be Fleck's Broncos after a few more recruiting classes. Already, his first full class-the best ever seen in the MAC, even with his top two prospects never making their way to the ‘Zoo-has taken a team that lost to an FCS squad at home a year ago, and led them to a 12-point win at the reigning MAC champs house.
Jarvion Franklin is a man amongst boys out there. The TRUE freshman running back currently sits at sixth in the nation in rushing. He's No. 1 in the nation in rushing touchdowns. He averages over five yards a carry, and is bigger than most linebackers. Couple him, with the highly talented receivers WMU already had, and the fact that Fleck actually knows how to coach (this was the only legit knock anyone had on him coming into this season, and now he's proven that's not a problem) and the Broncos have done what every good football team needs to do: Get better each and every week.
I'm confident if we put the Broncos back on the field with Purdue today, now that Franklin has seven games under his belt, not zero, that the Broncos would row all over those Boilermakers. (P.S., that really was the short answer, for the long answer, see the artist formerly known as Brown and Gold over at Hustle Belt.)
Jesse: The B1G is all about recruiting... like the MAC... or, you know, guys that the MAC identifies or something. Or, that's just Iowa. Sorry Kirk. Anyhow, I do love that WMU is getting better every week because that really is a sign of a team on the rise and shows that a coach and his staff has half a clue of what is going on. Now, I will say this. I was mostly being facetious about the Purdue thing. Apparently the Boilers know how to offense all of a sudden. I would gladly watch a Purdue-WMU rematch.
So here is my semi-educated guess on how the Broncos would do. Right now, it feels like you have a team with a strong offense and an okay defense. Like, really just plain middle-of-the-pack defense. That sounds like a good recipe for beating teams like Illinois, Indiana, and probably Purdue depending on how good their defense does. As always, it seems, we're already 11th place. That is where things get hazy for me. Northwestern, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, and Iowa are in that next tier and I would argue that all of those teams could beat WMU, but also probably each could lose to them. Assuming home/road splits and some normal craziness, I'd give them a 3-3 split. We're up to 8th! In the end, however, they end up losing to that top tier of teams. So, 8th it is. Accurate? Fair? Am I over/underrating WMU?
Bryan: Right now, 8-7 seems fair to me. I think the Broncos could beat Michigan. Brady Hoke would be so confused by Fleck's dance moves he'd forget to coach his football team. I don't think the talent gap is that large between the Broncos and those middle B1G teams. Here's the thing about the Broncos though. They were among the worst teams in all of college football a year ago. Now we're saying they could probably finish eighth in the B1G this year. Give Fleck a few more seasons of recruiting with the B1G brand behind his back and you could say buh-bye to Michigan. I think Fleck is that damn good.
But anyway, we gave you a gift, and a fantastic one at that. Without Fleck, we go back to being a boring conference full of old guys, and Matt Campbell who dresses like an old guy. Since we gave you our blue chip prospect, we better get something decent in return.