Jacobson: Northern Illinois is undefeated halfway through its Mid-American Conference slate. While I don’t think anyone is shocked at the Huskies’ 4-0 mark, the way they have rolled over three of their four conference opponents might have been a bit unexpected.
While the Huskies certainly are playing well, riding a seven-game winning streak into today’s game against Western Michigan, there are a number of good squads in the MAC. Who is your surprise team to date in the MAC?
Nitz: I’ll brag a little here: I picked Kent State to finish second in the MAC East when I filled out my preseason poll in July. I still figured Ohio would roll over the whole division, and every one else would be fighting for second place. However, right now it looks like the Bobcats-Golden Flashes matchup at Dix Stadium on Nov. 23 will decide who wins the East Division.
I thought Kent State would be an improved team this season, but I didn’t expect this.
Jacobson: So then what are the chances, in your opinion, Kent State wins the MAC East?
Nitz: With the game being in Kent, I think the Golden Flashes have to be favored over Ohio at this point. Sure, the Bobcats are undefeated and had a nice win over Penn State to open the season, but at the same time, Ohio has had close calls against Akron and Buffalo. That shouldn’t happen to a Top 25 team.
Jacobson: Kent State is definitely a feel-good story, but there are some teams having some pretty poor seasons in the MAC as well. A quick glance at the conference standings show three teams with only one win on the season and Massachsetts has yet to record a victory in its first seven games.
What team is your biggest disappointment in the MAC right now?
Nitz: Easy. Two of the schools in the MAC West: Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. I fully expected the Broncos to compete for a West Division title along with NIU and Ball State. In terms of the Eagles, they were nearly bowl eligible last season, and I thought they would really be able to compete in Ron English’s fourth season as coach. But, Eastern Michigan once again is at the bottom of the division.