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Y11 Notes: Bowls, Portals, and Carousels
Bowl games announced yesterday and the transfer portal opens today. But the coaching carousel? Well that never stops.
Y11 Notes: Monday, Dec. 5
Historical year calls for historical rematch
EMU finished the regular season with an 8-4 overall record, finished the year on a 3-0 run, and went 5-3 in MAC play. It gets to be MAC co-West champions with identical MAC records as Toledo, which won the MAC championship on Saturday over Ohio (17-7).
EMU’s eight wins is the most the team’s had since 1987, back when the Hurons went 10-1 to win the MAC championship (pre-title game era) and beat San Jose State 30-27 in the Cal Bowl. Best season in school history.
Now, 35 years later, they’ll meet again. This time, on the famous blue turf in Boise, Idaho.
Eastern has an all-time FBS bowl record of 1-4. EMU won the 1987 Cal Bowl matchup, and lost its other four trips.
This is EMU’s fifth bowl game over the last seven seasons. He’s still seeking his first bowl win with the team.
EMU’s 5-3 MAC record marks the team’s eighth winning conference season since 1976, the second time under Chris Creighton’s leadership (2018).
This is just the seventh 8-win season in program history.
EMU started the year with the MAC’s first-ever regular season win at a Pac-12 school.
This will be EMU’s first-ever game on Boise’s blue field.
This will be the second all-time meeting between EMU and San Jose State. The first, of course, came in 1987.
Of all the possible bowl destinations, this feels like the least surprising. Forget about what’s convenient and fun for fans to attend. This is a MAC bowl tie-in that EMU’s been able to dodge long enough. After a Bahamas Bowl, Camellia Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and a LendingTree Bowl, it was finally time for EMU’s players to fight for their right to give Creighton a french fry bath.
Other MAC teams bowling this year:
Arizona: Ohio vs. Wyoming — After its poor game against Toledo Saturday, I’m not going to be too intrigued by this game until kickoff.
Bahamas: Miami vs. UAB — The Trent Dilfer hire was certainly a decision by UAB, and I’m still stunned Miami got this far in the first place.
Boca Raton: Toledo vs. Liberty — If Jason Candle is still at Toledo for this game and he can’t get his team to beat a Liberty squad whose head coach just left for Auburn, are we going to be so sure that the MAC title win he just had is good enough to land him a better job?
Camellia: Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern — Hilarious that Kyle Vantrease, Georgia Southern’s QB, will finish his college career against Buffalo, his old team. This is what the transfer portal and bowl seasons are all about.
Quick Lane: Bowling Green vs. New Mexico State — I will be in North Carolina so I can’t attend this game live as much as I would love to. The bowl selectors clearly have Sickos Committee as a target demographic, and it’s great to know that there’s finally an easy-to-understand marketing phrase for fans of brutal and nasty college football.
On the Transfer Portal
Today’s the first day of the transfer portal window. Starting today and for the next 44 days after, players can enter their names into the transfer portal. There will be a second 15-day window beginning May 1, 2023, for players to transfer out then, too.
This is due to recent rule changes to stop the transfer portal from being a thing that requires round-the-clock attention 365 days a year from hundreds and thousands of people. Now, after Selection Sunday, players have 45 days to hope into the portal and try to find a new school before spring ball starts.
I’ve got a subscriber-only open chat that’ll be updated all offseason with names that move in/out of the transfer portal for all 12 MAC schools, so feel free to join the conversations there as teams work through the next nine months of roster construction.
For EMU, five players have already decided to split for the transfer portal.
EMU transfers out
TE, Evan Furtney
TE, Cole Rusk
WR, Dennis Smith
WR, I’Shawn Stewart
WR, Zach Westmoreland
So far, no major contributors to the team, but that’s also easier to avoid when the team’s riding a great season into a bowl game that they probably are excited to play in. After the bowl season and spring ball, we’ll naturally see this number rise.
Zach Westmoreland might still have the best ceiling of all the receivers to leave, and it’s hard to tell what the plan really was going to be for him this year. This would’ve been a convenient season for him to see more playing time than he did his first year with EMU, but it just didn’t work out.
Other MAC transfers out of note
QB Brett Gabbert of Miami is a huge, huge loss for the RedHawks. He was the 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year who helped Miami win the MAC title that season over CMU. Gabbert never managed to stay healthy this season, and leaves Miami with two years of eligibility.
WR Dante Cephas from Kent State, back-to-back First Team All MAC recipient, has hit the portal. Big loss for the team that needs playmakers like him.
LB Ryan Selig from WMU was a big part of the defense’s success this year and he’ll probably be a Big Ten MLB soon enough.
RB Harrison Waylee from NIU, one of the key running backs at NIU over the last three seasons. He has a career 1,929 rush yards on 373 attempts (5.2 avg.) with 10 TD.
On the Coaching Carousel
Western Michigan, which let go of Tim Lester last week, is one of five open FBS jobs as of this writing. I’m sure WMU will want to get a move on with its new hire, but I do wonder if they have a candidate in mind that’s still busy with the FCS Playoffs.
Ohio’s Tim Albin has been linked to the Tulsa job opening, but I haven’t noticed any movement on this front since Stewart Mandel mentioned him as a candidate last week.
Toledo coach Jason Candle could finally get the jump up into a new job now that he has two MAC Championships on his resume, but when will things speed up for him? Is his next job going to be another head coach position, or will Candle try to be an offensive coordinator elsewhere?
There’s always the chance that Candle stays at Toledo, but it’s hard to imagine that he’d want to stay for Year #7. Even if he signs an extension this year, I don’t think he won’t still be interviewing elsewhere.
The Cincinnati job opening reportedly included Buffalo’s Maurice Linguist and Kent State’s Sean Lewis as potential takers, but the only G5 program to ever make the 4-team playoff chose Scott Satterfield from Louisville today.
FBS Head Coaching Jobs Opened
Arizona State, Herm Edwards fired(Kenny Dillingham hired) Auburn, Bryan Harsin fired(Hugh Freeze hired) Charlotte, Will Healy fired(Biff Poggi hired) Cincinnati, Luke Fickell left for Wisconsin(Scott Satterfield hired) Coastal Carolina, Jamey Chadwell left for Liberty(Tim Beck hired) Colorado, Karl Dorrell fired(Deion Sanders hired) Florida Atlantic, Willie Taggart fired(Tom Herman hired) Georgia Tech, Geoff Collins fired(former interim Brent Key hired) Liberty, Hugh Freeze left for Auburn(Jamey Chadwell hired) Nebraska, Scott Frost fired(Matt Rhule hired)
North Texas, Seth Littrell fired
South Florida, Jeff Scott fired(Alex Golesh hired)
Stanford, David Shaw retired
Texas State, Jake Spavital fired(GJ Kinne hired)
Tulsa, Phillip Montgomery fired
UAB, Bill Clark retired(Trent Dilfer hired)
UNLV, Marcus Arroyo fired
Western Michigan, Tim Lester fired
Wisconsin, fired Paul Chryst(Luke Fickell hired)