It’s a crazy time – at least for me -- when football and basketball overlap. However, I have found at least a few moments to catch up on some notes to pass along. So here they are, along with a few observations . . .
I find it humorous and refreshing to see Gonzaga atop both the AP basketball poll a mid-major polls. Of course, it was also nice to see the undefeated Buffalo Bulls right behind them at No. 2 in the Mid-Major Top 25.
Toledo is having a fineseason, as well, starting out 7-1, good enough to earn the No. 9 spot. Kent State is lurking just outside the top 25.
For the full mid-major list, see HERE.
Three MAC football head coaches were relieved from their positions this year Getting pink slips were Terry Bowden at Akron, John Bonomego at Central Michigan and (during the season) Mike Jinks of Bowling Green.
The latter was replaced by Boston College offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler. Central Michigan turned to former Florda and Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain, who did not coach in 2018.
Schools, of course, are quick to drop the axe if they are going to make the move. A new coach needs to assemble the new staff and hit the recruiting trail almost before the contract ink is dry.
This year’s football National Letter of Intent days is Dec. 18. Even “surviving” coaches will be busy trying to reel in their commitments or quickly fill in for any last minute losses. With some of the new transfer rules, its probably wilder than ever down the home stretch.
New coaches have a two-sided situation – trying to bring players into a struggling program, but olso being able to offer a “new day” or new approach.
Of course, the MAC has been fertile ground for finding future coaching stars among many big programs. Hence, some schools might have to worry about losing a successful coach to bigger money or a high profile opportunity.
I could be wrong, but despite all his success, I’m thinking that if Frank Solich wants to be on the sideline next year, it will still be among his Ohio Bobcat players.
Congratulations to the Northern Illinois Huskies on a MAC Championship. They did it the hard way, coming back from a 29-10 deficit to edge Buffalo 30-29 in the championship game.
Buffalo, of course, had an excellent season and showed enough underclassmen star power to suggest they could get back to the title game again next year. This is the MAC, however, and nothing is guaranteed. Among areas of focus for improvement by the Bulls is likely the kicking game. UB was seventh among MAC teams in field goals (9-of-13) and last in PATs (51-of-59). The Bulls missed one PAT in the championship game and ended up losing by one.
Best of luck to MAC athletes headed to college football all-star games. It’s a good chance to show their skills with NFL scouts always looking for less-hearlded gems.