MGN HQ is now in Saint Louis, Missouri. The various life events that propel a man to pack up and move his life have done so in life of your humble website proprietor in 2021, and now that boxes are (mostly) unpacked and a new routine has been forged in the fires of convenience and necessity, we may begin doing internet stuff as intended.
Last we left things, NT was bowing out of the bowl game and basketball was preparing for conference play. As it stands now, NT football might be returning last year’s starting QB while also having brought in some new faces, and Grant McCasland has his hoops squad at a sparkling 6-1 record in league play.
We have been watching, although not as closely, and certainly not as focused, so forgive us as we catch up on things a bit. Moving was tiring, expensive, and it is a lot colder up here. We are back.
Let us do a grab-bag of thoughts:
Austin Aune looks like he is returning. Bringing back the starter is usually a good and healthy thing that would inspire hope and fun, but Aune had an awful season while Western’s QB just lit up the national record book. It was a bad look and one that made us all question the head man’s recruiting chops. Ask anyone and you will get a different answer about what is exactly wrong about NT football right now. We have said many times that this league is very winnable and in modern football it all starts with the QB. Beyond that, there were some injuries and poor fits along the skill spots offensively, but the QB play was by far the absolute most glaring issue. Finding a productive starting QB is JOB ONE, and I am not super hopeful.
Still, an offseason brings time for growth and development and there is a very long time before the first kick off of 2022, so we can be a little patient. A little.
Mac has the squad at 5th 1 defensively, and 2nd offensively. UAB beat the squad in Denton and probably is just too much of a matchup nightmare for this team but we can enjoy a tough, coherent squad again. There is probably some magic missing compared to last year’s squad, so I wouldn’t make any plans for the NCAA Tourney just yet, but this group will give itself a chance every night. That’s fantastic because it is all we can ask for: a chance. I have not followed the league as closely as in year’s past (ahem, that moving thing) but I can tell you the East is very much not a juggernaut any longer. Marshall is garbage, FAU is surprising, WKU is still talented but may fire their coach, and everything is upside down.
In the West, it is UAB, NT, La Tech (very good and coming up this week), followed by a dangerous Rice, a talented UTEP (good defense), young Southern Miss (Thursday), and an awful UTSA. It is definitely the kind of league schedule that can trip a team up if focus is lost. The right kind of bracket and the right kind of night can easily translate into your Mean Green dancing again. Of course, it is an entirely different season and the magic that saw NT slay some CUSA demons on the way to a tourney win is not necessarily present. Still, there is plenty of reason to get excited.
Speaking of, I see that NT is somewhere near the middle of the pack in attendance. The local college hoops squad for me(SLU) is requiring proof of vaccination or negative test upon entry, and heavily discounting tickets. I know NT has been trying to get more people up to see the Mean Green and seriously, if you feel comfortable with the Omicron stuff, go to the games and support the squad. You will have a lot of fun.
We will be blogging and podcasting here very soon. MGN HQ is now in a 100+-year old house and even if it was renovated it still requires some maintenance. Also, I have a basement for the first time in my life so I need to figure out what to do with it. We encourage you to sign up for membership as helps support what we do here. That thing “what we do” has changed a bit over the years (it has been since 2009 in some form!) where it was a tiny blog, then something like a group blog, a forum-like alternative, and the slightly more mature thing it is now. Blogging is not what it used to be, but your humble author believes in the value of owning one’s own intellectual property and this form is a great way to own and control it. We still spend too much time on twitter but we have already been disciplining ourselves into putting the effort here, before there.
Some people have asked about newsletters, and I personally subscribe to a bunch. We try not to fill the email inbox with too much. There is a space for MGN newsletterdom, but I don’t know where and how it fits. We don’t take membership money because we want to make a living doing this, but to offset the cost of doing this a little. It can get expensive to run a site that is even moderately popular. I have mentioned this before.
Anyway, to highlight the difficulty of ramping up word-production, I can tell the mini-story of this post: I began writing this on Monday, and am only finishing this up on Thursday afternoon at 5:20pm, before finishing up some more work, making some dinner for the children, and settling in for the NT MBB game. Midwest MGN is not a fully operational battle station quite yet. But we are closer than we were on Jan 1.
all of these are kenpom ratings↩