For this week’s MAC Blogger Roundtable, we were asked a few questions by Eagle Totem, an Eastern Michigan Blog run by Carter Addler. He does a great job over there and always gives in-depth analysis on Eastern.
Here’s a complete list of the blogs involved in the roundtable:
Over The Pylon - Ball State
Maroon Musket - UMass
Saddle Up, Fight On - Western Michigan
The Chip Report - Central Michigan
Eagle Totem - Eastern Michigan
Red and Black Attack - Northern Illinois
Bull Run - Buffalo
Hustle Belt - The Conference
Let’s Go Rockets - Toledo
Falcon Blog - Bowling Green
1. By now any sports fan who didn’t stay up for the game has surely seen the blown call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game (“the worst call in NFL history“), one of many blown calls going both ways in that game. MAC teams have also seen their share of bad officiating. Tell us about the worst officiated game or worst single call your team has seen? What do you think could be done to improve officiating throughout college football, but especially in the MAC?
The worst-officiated game I can remember recently was UMass/Boston College last year. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the officials for the result. That game could have been called perfectly down the middle, and UMass still would have lost by a couple of touchdowns. However, Boston College got away with holding throughout the game, I counted five clips that went uncalled, they hit Kellen Pagel late twice and at one point one of their defensive linemen shoved Jonathan Hernandez’s face into the ground a good five seconds after the play was over.
At the end of the day, the Eagles received two flags.
Again, the refs could have been on the UMass payroll, and the Minutemen would have still lost that game. My problem was with the fact that they were showing a very real bias toward the FBS home team. This is something that I feel FCS teams and lower-level FBS teams deal with every year at the start of the season. They go to play an BCS opponent, and in the midst of getting smacked around they are fouled without consequence. I think this is a case of officials enjoying the cheers from the home crowd. I am not sure how to fix this – it’s just a very human aspect of the position.
Some of my readers will hold me to task if I don’t make a quick mention of the phantom call on the UMass defense during last week’s Miami (OH) game. Essentially, the referees called offensive pass interference after Alan Williams caught a pass for a touchdown. Upon watching the replay, there was no pick or interference – the Redhawk defense was just out of position and too slow to respond. To quote one of my readers: “I’m going to say the refs were so surprised by our easy march down the field that they figured we must be doing something wrong.”
2. EMU alumnus TJ Lang has gotten national attention for his outspoken tweets and comments following the game. What’s one subject you wish you could get a really candid comment on from a current or former player or coach (or even administrator)? (Bonus: Make up a fake quote.)
I want to know exactly what’s going on with UMass’ stadium expansion.
We have seen pictures of the new football facility and press boxes, but nowhere in any of the new information is any indication that UMass will add seats to McGuirk Alumni Stadium. As it stands, McGuirk has 17,000 seats and, to be frank, is a concrete dump that barely got the job done at the FCS level.
In the Membership Agreement with the MAC, the Minutemen agreed to make significant improvements to the stadium, including a “new end zone facility” and a “new and/or renovated press box.” Nowhere in the agreement is anything mentioned about adding more seats or improving the general structure of the stadium. What we know is that the school is about to spend $30 million to upgrade its stadium. We also know that the license to use Gillette Stadium officially ends on June 20, 2017.
The new press box and end zone facilities will be attractive alterations, but if no seats are added, McGuirk will be the smallest stadium in the MAC – holding 3,500 less than Kent State’s Dix Stadium. This is not going to cut it, and if UMass wants to be taken seriously at the FBS level it must add at least 3,000 seats.
It would be nice if the school went the extra mile and added enough seating to surpass Holy Cross for the second biggest college stadium in the state.
Here’s my Fake Quote:
“Our plan is to knock down the wall behind the far end zone and build and extra 5,000 seats that will be flush with the current seating at McGuirk. That will bring the total seating of the stadium to 22,000. After that, our plan is to stabilize the portion of the structure not housing the press box so that it can support additional seating. Our decision to add an end zone facility, press boxes and additional seating is based on the idea that we would like to have out-of-conference teams visit McGuirk and enjoy all the things Amherst has to offer.”
3. Hustle Belt recently asked if September 22, 2012, was the best MAC football day in history. What do you think? Does this sort of “big” day have any lasting impact on the MAC in general, and your school’s program in particular?
It’s hard for me to answer this question because, as the new guy in town, I am not as well-versed in MAC history as the rest of you. I know that I had a number of texts from some of my friends from the South after the MAC performance that day. Most of them were tongue-in-cheek: “So does that mean UMass is going to lose every game this year by 30?”
To be completely biased, I think the best day in MAC football history was April 20, 2011. You do the math.
In my opinion, no one day can have a lasting impact on anything but the memories of the fans involved. Sure, there may be a little boost in recruiting, but generally one great weekend is forgotten as soon as the following Saturday in college football. For me, last weekend was a reminder that UMass was granted access to an underrated, talented conference. Hopefully after a few recruiting classes, the Minutemen can be part of one of these great football days.