The MAC enters this weekend with a 3-5 head-to-head record against their big brother conference form the same region, the Big Ten. With three more games on the schedule today, the MAC has a chance to take a winning record or split against the Big Ten this regular season. It is still unlikely with two of the match-ups pairing Eastern Michigan against defending Big Ten champion Michigan State in East Lansing and UMass visiting Penn State. The Spartans are not taking EMU for granted, and Wisconsin should not be taking Bowling Green for granted either. The Badgers host the Falcons in the early portion of the day, and they may face the stiffest test out of the three Big Ten-MAC pairings this afternoon.
In today’s posting from Tom Oates for the Wisconsin State Journal, Oates points out just how good of a test this is for Wisconsin. Wisconsin has made a transition from the big, stalwart style of play that has been symbolic of Wisconsin and Big Ten football for years and moved to a smaller, lighter brand of football under head coach Gary Andersen. This has been exposed by a team like LSU but should be fit for combating a team like Bowling Green. The Falcons are known to open things up on the offensive side of the football the way that is becoming more and more common around the country. Andersen has seen this style of play and is aware of the increasing popularity of the up-tempo and wide-open offensive movement. That is what makes Saturday afternoon’s game in Madison so intriguing.
“In my opinion, in today’s day and age of football, the way it’s changed, you have to be able to get into a package where you can get three corners on the field or four corners on the field, or even have a safety come down and play linebacker,” Andersen said this week.
Bowling Green is the defending MAC champion and still a strong candidate to come out of the MAC East despite losing starting quarterback Matt Johnson for the year due to injury. Last week James Knapke passed for 395 yards and three touchdowns in a home win against another Big Ten team, Indiana. Wisconsin will be a different beats altogether for Bowling Green, but the Falcons should feel confident in their abilities against the Badgers.
The NCAA has officially extended its dead period for all recruiting activities, shutting down the key spring evaluation period for college football in the process.
In a brief statement released Wednesday afternoon, via Twitter, the NCAA announced the recruiting dead period, which was originally put into effect in mid-March, was extended through May 31. The decision was made following advice and information from experts monitoring the ongoing pandemic linked to COVID-19.
The extended dead period means no face-to-face contact for coaches and recruits, official and unofficial visits, Junior Days, and more. The decision is not unexpected given the current climate in the sports world and with various stay home orders being extended on a state-by-state basis and federal guidelines and recommendations being adjusted.
As with the previous announcement of the dead period, texts and phone calls (and Zoom conference calls?) are all still allowed to keep communication on the recruiting trail open during these unique times.
The NCAA had originally planned to have a dead period lasting until April 15, at which point the NCAA would evaluate the situation before making another decision. As previously noted, April 15 is traditionally the day when coaches were allowed to visit recruits for the spring evaluation period. This extended dead period will wipe that out, at least for now.
Tulane is preparing to fill one spot on the offensive line with a graduate transfer from Duke. Offensive tackle Jaylen Miller has committed to the Tulane Green Wave, as reported by NOLA.com on Tuesday. Miller reportedly made his announcement with a message on his Instagram account.
“[I] am beyond excited to start my new journey at Tulane University,” Miller said in his Instagram post. “I am looking forward to grinding, sacrificing, and winning with my new family. Let’s get it.”
As a graduate transfer, Miller will be eligible to play this season for Tulane. It will be expected Miller will be a candidate to fill a starting vacancy on the offensive line for Tulane given his previous experience at Duke.
Miller’s 2018 season was cut short in mid-October due to a fractured ankle. Although Miller eventually missed practicing in the spring of 2019 for the Blue Devils while rehabbing, he did serve in a backup role for the Blue Devils last fall. Miller appeared in nine games.
Whether on the recruiting trail or transfer portal, Rutgers football is working it on the personnel front under Greg Schiano.
On his personal Twitter account this week, Keenan Reid announced that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career with the Rutgers football team. The cornerback spent his first three seasons at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Because he’s moving up from the Div. II level, Reid would be eligible to play immediately for the Scarlet Knights in 2020. He also has a redshirt available if the need arises.
The move will serve as a homecoming as Reid went to high school in Somerset, NJ.
Reid actually enrolled in classes at Rutgers before he even received an offer from the football team. He participated in walk-on tryouts in late January. That tryout led to a preferred walk-on offer from Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano.
“I wanted to take a chance on myself. I grew up around Rutgers in Franklin Township right down the street,” the 6-0′, 175-pound Reid told 247Sports.com. “I just wanted to take a chance, come back home and be where I wanted to go from the beginning. This is big for me and my family.”
Reid was a three-year starter for the Lions. He finished with a pair of interceptions. He also blocked six kicks during his time at the lower-level school.
Rutgers football hasn’t been shy in dipping into the transfer portal under its first-year coach. In early February, the program confirmed the addition of four transfers from Power Five programs. Three of those came from the Big Ten. Late last month, an FCS offensive lineman was added to the roster as well.
It was a busy day personnel-wise on the punting front for the Michigan State football program.
Last year, Bryce Baringer placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. This week, it was reported that Baringer had pulled his name out of the portal, an indication that the punter has decided to remain as part of the Michigan State football team.
Conversely, Michigan State confirmed that Jack Bouwmeester is no longer part of the Spartans football team. According to mlive.com, Bouwmeester has returned to his native Australia. No reason was given for the development. It’s unclear at this point whether the move is permanent.
Baringer began his collegiate career at Illinois. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2017, Baringer transferred to Michigan State prior to the start of the 2018 season. Because of injuries that year to the two punters ahead of him on the depth chart, Baringer played in four games. In that action, he averaged 32.4 yards on 15 punts. Four of those punts landed inside the 20-yard line.
Mlive.com wrote that “Bouwmeester, who Michigan State found through ProKick Australia, was the program’s first incoming punter recruit to land a scholarship since [Jake] Hartbarger.” Bouwmeester was a three-star 2019 signee, rated as the No. 9 punter in the country. He took a redshirt as a true freshman after not playing in any games.
Hartbarger served as the primary punter for Michigan State last season. As a sixth-year senior, Hartbarger’s eligibility has expired.
Baringer is one of three punters currently on the Michigan State roster. The others are redshirt junior walk-on Tyler Hunt and redshirt freshman walk-on Evan Morris. Hunt was the second of the two punters injured during that 2018 season. Hunt, who replaced the injured Hartbarger that year, started five games, punting 36 times for an average of 40.1 yards per.