Preseason picks can be thrown out the window

Sean Ammerman

After a win-drought of almost Sahara proportions, the Kent State football team proved it could win last week.

Now that the losing streak has been snapped, the team can focus on an even bigger picture: winning the Mid-American Conference East Divistion title. A win against MAC opponent Bowling Green this weekend will put the Kent State in pretty good shape. In fact, it would give the team sole possession of first place in the division.

The MAC preseason polls rated Miami, who Kent State beat last week, ahead of Bowling Green. That seems to indicate the Falcons will be less of a threat than the RedHawks.

But now in week four, it’s clear to see that any predictions people made before the season can now be thrown out the window.

An array of MAC games last week made analysts scratch their heads. One was Central Michigan’s upset of Akron, which along with Kent State’s upset of Miami, means the best two teams, according to the preseason coaches’ poll, lost their first MAC games.

The MAC West is having a similar turnover. The two top teams from last year, Toledo and Northern Illinois, are both in the bottom half of the division.

This proves what Kent State coach Doug Martin has been saying all season; that any MAC team can beat any other on any particular day.

Martin compared last week’s win to a NASCAR race, with his Flashes having the best “car” that day.

In short, the parity in the MAC is so great that any team could come away with the MAC title. No team can dominate. That could be good news for Kent State if it lucks out with the best “car” a few more times.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Talks of MAC titles are premature, to say the least. And until the Flashes win two more games, they are still a losing football club.

Kent State has played progressively cleaner football each week. But they will still have to cut back on simple mistakes if they want to beat Bowling Green.

Kent State currently owns the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, in quarterback Julian Edelman, and the top MAC receiver, in Najah Pruden. Even with those weapons, the defense is the Flashes’ secret weapon. For all the offensive stats, it’s the defense that has kept the team in the past two games.

When the offense failed numerous times to bag the games against Miami and Army, the defense saved the day. Players such as defensive end Daniel Muir and defensive lineman Colin Ferrell stepped up, rushing quarterbacks and drawing more lineman when they aren’t compiling sacks and tackles.

The reason I’m not talking more about all the missed field goals and redzone opportunities is because of the defense.

And if they continue to play well, the defense will be the reason Kent State football has something to play for in December.

Contact assistant sports editor Sean Ammerman at [email protected].