MAC title awaits if NIU wins on Saturday

By Chris Jurmann

The MAC West title will be decided Saturday afternoon in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Ignore undefeated Toledo, they won’t be able to beat both Bowling Green and NIU. Tiebreakers, therefore, will all but assure NIU of the MAC West title provided they take care of Bowling Green this weekend.

It certainly seems like cause for excitement. I mean, we’ve all but wrapped up a bowl game for the first time in 20 years, right?

One problem. Bowling Green is the scariest mid-major team I’ve seen this season.

It was only one game, a game they lost, but it was enough to convince me to fear the Falcons.

BGSU went into Ohio State, the defending national champions, and fell 24-17, with the game decided on an interception with less than a minute remaining.

This team put fear into Ohio State and I’m sure they’re keeping Joe Novak up late all this week.

It all starts at quarterback, where Josh Harris, or Lethal Weapon 5 as his Heisman campaign nicknames him, leads the most unique offense in the country.

Ninety percent of the offense is run out of the shotgun with four or five wide receivers. Every skill position is interchangeable.

A running back who also plays wide receiver and sometimes quarterback. The quarterback who is sometimes the running back and will occasionally shift to wide receiver before the start of the play.

And everything ends up in the hands of the Lethal Weapon. He can pass, run, catch and do everything. The whole system is so unconventional that it works and is impossible to defend against perfectly on every play.

The offense has worked so well it ranks No. 2 in the country. It allowed them to beat No. 11 Purdue and nearly snap Ohio State’s winning streak before Wisconsin beat them a few weeks later.

The defense? To be honest I don’t remember much. Maybe I was just too focused on how we would try and combat this Bowling Green offense.

I just wonder how we’re supposed to stop Josh Harris now. The same Josh Harris we struggled to stop when he was a year younger and on the road.

This Falcons team wants revenge. We stole their thunder last year when we knocked them from among the undefeated.

Their resume is just as impressive as ours. Not to put down the great teams we beat, but right now Alabama, Maryland and Iowa State are a combined 10-12, while Purdue and Ohio State are a combined 12-2.

It’s going to take a great game from one side of the ball to beat Bowling Green. Either the offense needs to put together its best performance of the year or it has to be the defense.

If either happens, we will win Saturday. If they don’t, we will be sitting at home hoping for someone else to lose just like last year.