COLUMN: EMU got no respect in All-Conference voting
Hello and welcome to the Mid-American Conference, where the votes don’t make much sense and the stats don’t matter.
The 2015 All-MAC teams were announced Wednesday, Dec. 2 and only two Eagles made it onto the list of three All-MAC teams that were voted on by coaches within the conference. Linebacker Great Ibe was a second team selection and running back Darius Jackson was a third team selection.
Darius Jackson rightfully deserved a spot on an All-MAC squad, however he earned a third team selection, behind two Toledo Rockets running backs. Jackson ran for over 1,000-yards this season, on 208-carries and averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry. He recorded 14 rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns, with 201-receiving yards. Jackson was second in the MAC in rushing yards, carries and touchdowns. He was 37th in the nation in rushing yards and 17th in the nation rushing touchdowns.
Kareem Hunt of Toledo didn’t play in three games this season and one game was cancelled. He rushed for 894-yards and only 10 touchdowns. His partner in crime was Terry Swanson, who had 132-carries, 870-yards and just seven touchdowns. Both were second team all-conference.
How does that work?
What was the voting criterion for these coaches? If the team’s record was involved in the process that would answer a few questions, but I don’t believe that could determine the best players in the MAC based on team record.
Great Ibe was a second team All-MAC selection—why second team? He was second in the nation in total tackles with 131, only behind Kentrell Brothers of Missouri with 152. Ibe was the only player in the MAC to earn the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week this season, following the UMass game where he recorded 21-tackles. Ibe tied the nations season best for most tackles in a single game against UMAss, but gets a second team All-MAC selection?
It’s also a mystery to me how there were no EMU specialists on any All-MAC team?
Dylan Mulder, EMU’s placekicker, didn’t miss a single PAT attempt this season, he was 36-for-36. Well, he’s got half the MAC kickers beat with that stat. On top of PAT attempts, Mulder went 11-for-17 in field goals made this season. Mulder went 4-for-5 from field goal attempts that were 50 or more yards, including a school record 55-yard field goal, which is also the longest field goal made in the MAC this year. No other MAC kicker made more than one kick longer than 50-yards this season, except Mulder with three.
The 2015 All-MAC placekickers were Christian Hagan of NIU (first team), Brian Eavey of CMU (second team) and Andrew Haldeman of WMU (third team).
Hagan is deserving of his spot, having made a 52-yard field goal, going 49-for-51 in PAT’s and converting on 77.8 percent of his field goal attempts.
The final game of the season, EMU fans witnessed Brian Eavey of CMU, who went 0-for-2 against the Eagles in field goal attempts. Like Mulder, Eavey was perfect in PAT attempts this season, but 0-for-3 from field goals 50-yards or more, and only went 5-for-10 from attempts 40-49 yards out. Overall Eavey was 5-for-13 in attempts longer than 40-yards.
Western Michigan’s place kicker Andrew Haldeman was 47-for-50 in PAT’s and didn’t attempt a field goal 50-yards or more. Other than that he was fairly accurate with having the highest percentage of field goals made in the MAC at 80 percent, but 14 of those were within 39-yards or closer.
Mulder made 64.7 percent of the field goals he attempted but 10-of-the-17 he attempted were more than 40-yards and he made seven of those 10. At the very least I would say Mulder was deserving of a second team All-MAC selection, if not first. I’m fairly certain 7-for-10 (Mulder) is better than 5-for-13 (Eavey) from 40-yards or more.
Austin Barnes, EMU’s punter, is another specialist that could be argued a spot on an All-MAC team. Barnes had 45-punts this season, averaging 43.6 yards-per-punt. His longest was 58-yards this season.
The third team All-MAC selection was UMass punter Logan Laurent. He had 63 punts averaging 42.2 yards-per-punt this season. His longest punt of the season was 56-yards.
For the 2016 season, EMU has plenty of talent returning that could make All-MAC rosters at the end of the season,but will that actually happen? Only time will tell.