1. NIU beat Iowa on the road, and I don't think any of us were surprised. I don't think there have been too many times in our history when we expected a MAC team to beat a Big 10 team...is this a milestone in the development of the MAC?
I don't think I would call this a mile stone, more like a return to where the conference was before they slumped in the middle of the last decade. A dozen years ago you expect the MAC #1 team to be able to handle a middle of the pack "AQ" team. I think the milestone happens when we see the middle of the pack MAC teams beating up on the lower rated P5 teams. Buffalo, for example, has had a terrible time with the then AQ school UConn. The last two games were very winnable but UB came up short. Those kind of losses, or Kansas playing NIU tough hurt the MAC.
EMU Struggling against Howard hurts the MAC just as much as Ohio getting torn apart by Louisville. The Eagles have to own that game whistle to whistle and the Bobcats have to keep it close for at least a half. I'm not picking on those two teams there are any number of squads we can look at last week that played poorly.
2. Do you think power football is making a comeback in the MAC?
The trick to "getting there" is for four or five teams to become top 40 or 30 teams. Beating Bowling Green or Ball State has to be meaningful for NIU (or vice versa). The fact Kent and NIU were both ranked last season is why a one loss NIU team went to a BCS bowl.
It's too early this season to know if that kind of power is back in the conference. So far it really does not look promising. Ohio looked awful, Toledo was held out of the end zone, and Kent struggled against Liberty.
Right now it looks like Ball State, NIU, and Bowling Green may be carrying all the weight and that's not going to help get a MAC team down into the low teens unless they run the table.
Hopefully thought Toledo and Ohio get traction while the teams we expect to finish in the middle of the conference up their pla.
If by Power football you mean are we getting back to stout defense hard nosed running and away from the spread then I say maybe. I credit Temple and NIU for starting the trend of focusing on the defense and ground game which has spread through the conference as "the spread" starts to fall by the wayside.
3. Everyone says the BCS schools are moving toward their own division. Do you think the MAC will end up either in FBS or in a new division with the other schools that are currently non-AQ and how much does it matter to you if they did?
Buffalo worked harder than most people know to get back to division one athletics (now if they could just consistently play at that level). UB quite literally dragged the New York State University system kicking and screaming into division one athletics, and SUNY fought it the whole way. If UB was frozen out now it would be devastating.
That being said I am not worried, and I have went on at length as to why. For all the traction that the G5 versus P5 narrative has achieved the problem the big boys have is not the MAC, or the AAC, or even the Sun Belt. All of the "Group of 5" conferences tend to vote with the big boys on the important issues like full cost of attendance. I really believe that this entire dust up is about governance not just money.
The schools holding up pay for play come from the low money non football conferences. That's about half of division one. The schools who are board are the FBS teams along with the A10, Big East, and WCC. I expect if there is going to be a split it will be all 170 of those schools splitting from the MEAC, the MAAC, and anyone else who is not seeing eye to eye with the FBS schools things like compensation issues.