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Midweek MACtion, Conference Realignment, College Football Playoff Rankings Open Thread

College football on Tuesday and Wednesday?! SIGN US UP.

NCAA Football: Army at Ball State Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Tuesday night! In college football’s Ordinary Time there would’ve be much to talk about, but Advent is upon us, as we spend four weeks preparing for Jesus’s birth the MAC Championship Game in Detroit, Michigan.

A blessed MACtion Season to you all.

Also beginning tonight, though, is the ESPN (and SEO how dare you this is just a college football interest blog not a moneymaking tool nothing else) ratings bonanza that is releasing the first set of College Football Playoff rankings.

College Football Playoff Rankings Show

Date: Tuesday, November 2
Time: 6pm CT
TV: ESPN (streaming, too, I assume)

My guess:

  1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0)
    2. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)
    3. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1)
    4. Oklahoma Sooners (8-0)
    5. Michigan State Spartans (8-0)

UPDATED: Actual CFP Rankings!

22. Iowa Hawkeyes
21. Wisconsin Badgers
20. Minnesota Golden Gophers
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
8. Oklahoma!!!!!!
7. Michigan Wolverines
6. Cincinnati Bearcats
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
4. Oregon Ducks
3. Michigan State Spartans
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
1. Georgia Bulldogs

Here’s a place where you can talk about those things or, just in general, the sports of the week! We’ll keep this thread open and pinned as a place to talk about all things MACtion and college football for the next couple nights, and we’ll be sure to update with the CFP rankings as they become available.

Midweek MACtion Schedule

Shouldn’t you be grading essays right now? Yes, bold headings guy, but this is a lot more fun than reading how many things in the civil rights movement one should compare and contrast.

Tuesday, November 2

Ball State Cardinals (4-4, 2-2 MAC) at Akron Zips (2-6, 1-3)

6pm | CBSSN | Balls -20 | O/U 58.5

About Akron: Perennial Penn State opponent Akron is Bad. The Zips did pick up a transitive win over Minnesota with a 35-20 win over Bowling Green, but they’ve been largely uncompetitive the rest of the way. QB Kato Nelson hurt his knee against Temple, a problem since he’s a threat to run, and both of their two backups—running threat and 6’6” mountain DJ Irons or a relatively efficient passer Zach Gibson—could see time tonight. Problem is, can they stay upright?

About Balls Tate: After a rough start to the non-conference with 30-point losses to Penn State and Wyoming, the Fightin’ Balls ripped off three in a row over Army, Western Michigan, and Eastern Michigan before falling to Miami Hydroxide two weeks ago. QB Drew Plitt will huck it around to a talented trio of WRs for the Robotbirds, but RB and possible adult film star Carson Steele can churn for yards on the ground, too.

Prediction? Sure, I could make one. Robotbirds, 42-21.



This poll is closed

  • 64%
    (9 votes)
  • 35%
    (5 votes)
14 votes total Vote Now

Miami Hydroxide Redhawks (4-4, 3-1) at Ohio Bobcats (1-7, 1-3)

6:30pm | ESPNU | M(OH) -7 | O/U 54

A rivalry game! So named, apparently, for the red brick construction on both campuses.

Is there a trophy? No, unfortunately.

About Miami Hydroxide: QB Brett Gabbert is back for the Redhawks after suffering an injury against Central Michigan, and the big-armed sophomore has gotten more efficient as the year’s worn on—he threw 2 TDs as Miami put a scare in Minnesota on September 11, and he can hit deep threat Jack Sorenson at any time. Keyon Mozee, at 5’7” and 179, is very undersized for an RB, but that’s MACtion!

Of note: the Fightin’ Bases seem to have taken all their ESPN pictures in black turtlenecks, which I am very here for.

About Ohio: Lost to Northwestern 35-6, meaning they are very bad. Have found new and hilarious ways to lose, including blowing a 21-0 lead to Buffalo and losing 27-26, allowing Central Michigan to drive 83 yards in 7 plays for a game-winning touchdown, and gaining 457 yards on Kent State but turning the ball over three times.

There are two quarterbacks. One is Armani Rogers. He ran a 99-yard TD against Buffalo. If he is in, they’re probably running! The other is Kurtis Rourke. Yes, his brother played for Ohio, too. If he is in, they might be throwing! This has been your guide to Ohio football.

Prediction? I dunno. Miami has been surprisingly good at the point of attack, so unless Rourke can throw all over the Redhawks, I don’t like the Bobcats’ chances. M(OH), 35-27.

Note: I started looking ahead to the next preview, got distracted, and forgot the BIRD in question here was a Redhawk, not an EMU. I do not regret that part of the mistake; I regret not making more ROCKETBASE-type comments.

Remember that this blog is free and you are getting what you pay for.



This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (6 votes)
  • 40%
    (4 votes)
10 votes total Vote Now

Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-3, 2-2) at Toledo Rockets (4-4, 2-2)

6:30pm | ESPN2 | Toledo -9 | O/U 54

In a game I have decided to call THE JAMBOREE ON 23, two schools from exceptionally Rust Belty towns get together to do bad things on a football field.

About EMU: This is...a relatively competent Eagles offense? They hung 59 on Texas State and 55 on Bowling Green, which isn’t impressive unless you were entering the MAC part of the schedule, which the Eagles clearly are. EMU is hell-bent on running the ball, which is a shame because they aren’t great at it, but they’ve also scored 19 rushing TDs so what the hell do I know. QB Ben Bryant has been a capable passer since taking over for good against Texas State, but he’s thrown at least one pick against anyone worth a damn.

About Toledo: A 3-point loss to Notre Dame, 2-point loss to NIU, and 3-point loss to Central Michigan. Three losses by 8 points (the other was a 22-6 loss to Colorado State) have the Rockets under the gun for bowl eligibility. QB Dequan Finn appears to be on the way to replacing Carter Bradley at the helm of the Rockets’ offense—Finn’s an accomplished runner with 6 TDs—but it’s the Bryant Koback show running the ball (642 yards, 5.3 ypc, 5 TDs).

Prediction: I don’t know if I’d favor the Rockets by 9 here...but maybe a few turnovers decide this one? The Rockets have taken better care of the ball, but I’m all in on EMU, 34-24.


Pick a name for this illustrious rivalry!

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    The Jamboree on 23
    (13 votes)
  • 33%
    The Rust Belt Rivalry
    (9 votes)
  • 18%
    Battle on the Bays
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (comments!)
    (0 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now


Oh yeah, and pick a winner:

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (4 votes)
  • 69%
    (9 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now

Wednesday, November 3

Central Michigan Chippewas (4-4, 2-2) at Western Michigan Broncos (5-3, 2-2)

6pm | ESPNU | WMU -10 | O/U 66.5
Battle for the Victory Cannon/Michigan MAC Trophy

Is there a trophy? There are TWO! CMU and WMU both shoot off cannons when they score, so they play for the Victory Cannon.


That leads, of course, to legendary shit like this:


Bonamego’s been fired since, but I am very here for doing weird things with rivalry trophies—as well as that hideous bedding and wood paneling.

Then, any team that goes 2-0 in the CMU/WMU/EMU tri-valry wins the Michigan MAC Trophy as well. Western last won this one in 2018, as the series has been split 1-1 each year since.

About CMU: The Fightin’ McElwains blew it against Northern Illinois a couple weeks ago, otherwise they’d be in the driver’s seat in the MAC West. Freshman QB Daniel Richardson has emerged as the Chips’ leader (3 TDs and 0 INTs in that 39-38 loss to NIU, a 14:2 ratio overall), but the ball starts around the ground with Lew Nichols III, who could break 1,000 yards on the season tonight (166 for 915 and 5 TDs). The issue has been the Chips’ defense—they’re bad.

About WMU: They beat Pitt! (No, really.) After a thumping loss to Michigan, the Broncos have been...well, decent, winning a 44-41 shootout over recently-ranked Pitt and a 23-3 mauling of San Jose State, as well as putting up 64 on Kent State a few weeks back. But there have been baffling losses, like a 45-20 demolition at the hands of Ball State and last weekend’s 34-15 dismantling by Toledo. Sophomore QB Kaleb Eleby is a dynamic passer—18:2 TD:INT last year and 12:2 this year, about to go over 2,000 yards for the season—and, if he is over 60% passing on the game, the Broncos have won it. But the WMU line hasn’t kept him upright (18 sacks), leaving him and RBs like La’Darius Jefferson (9 TDs on just 3.9 ypc) stranded at points.

Pick? This one should be damn good. Let’s go WMU, 45-42.


Who gets the VICTORY CANNON?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    (7 votes)
  • 77%
    (24 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now

Northern Illinois Huskies (6-2, 4-0) at Kent State Golden Flashes (4-4, 3-1)
6pm | ESPN2 | Kent -3.5 | O/U 68

Each MACtion, even better than the last. This one’s a potential preview of the MAC Championship Game.

About NIU: I admit I was down on the Thomas Hammock Era when the Huskeis had so much production to replace, but damn if he hasn’t built something special all over again in DeKalb. Despite the 117th worst defense in the country by FEI, having given up 50 to Wyoming and 63 to Michigan, the Huskies have ripped off five straight, including four straight one-score wins in MAC play—a +18 total in conference play to go with a season-opening 22-21 win over Georgia Tech.

That’s largely been managed by our old friend Rocky Lombardi, who’s been a mediocre 58% passer with a 9:6 TD:INT ratio. Thankfully, Rocky’s job is to helm a rushing attack featuring speedsters Harrison Waylee (5.7 ypc, 4 TDs) and Jay Ducker (478 on 88 attempts as a frosh), bowling ball Clint Ratkovich (3.6 ypc, 5 TDs), and his own legs (350 sack-adjusted yards and 5 TDs).

About Kent: Leave the passing to the Golden Flashes, then. Senior Dustin Crum can air it out to the speedy Dante Cephas—if the line gets him enough time. In the Flashes’ four losses—including to then-#5 Iowa (lol), then-#6 Texas A&M (also lol), and Maryland (September edition), Crum’s been sacked 20 times. In the Flashes’ four wins? 3 times.

Kent features sophomore Marquez Cooper running the ball and backs him up with senior Xavier Williams, and the two are a strong 1-2 punch—both undersized, but this is the MAC, kids.

Oh, right—the Flashes are 122nd in FEI defense. So...uh...68’s the over/under, and I’d consider taking the over.

Prediction: While I love our sweet, sweet Flashes, I can’t help but wonder if Hammock’s got a stew cookin’—again! how do they do it in DeKalb?—at NIU. Huskies, 48-38.


Only one comically bad defense can win!

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    (17 votes)
  • 37%
    (10 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now


Over-under 68?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    (23 votes)
  • 17%
    Under :(
    (5 votes)
28 votes total Vote Now

Here’s your open thread for the next two days’ games! We’ll update with tweets on the College Football Playoff rankings as they become available, so feel free to talk about those in the meantime, too.

While you’re here, as well, consider giving a click to our friends at Hustle Belt! They’ve previewed these games in a lot more depth than me, and they’re good guys and gals who deserve your support, too.

Thanks for patronizing OTE, as always. usual gamethread rules apply, and behave!