2:15 p.m. ET
Was able to sit down and talk to Michael Kelly, chief operating officer of the College Football Playoff, which replaces the BCS in 2014.
I'll have more on this in my MAC Media Day notebook, but here are some interesting things Kelly had to say.
• One team from the "Group of Five" conferences (American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt) will get an automatic bid into one of the six "Access Bowls."
The selection committee will decide which bowl game that team will play in, but Kelly said the Group of Five commissioners are still deciding how to figure out which team would get the bid. One option could be the selection committee.
• There will be five at-large spots in play for the Access Bowls, and Kelly said the selection committee will choose those teams, not the bowls. That only benefits leagues like the MAC.
• Kelly said for the most part, there won't be any bowl games between the semifinals on New Year's Day and the National Championship Game (which takes place Mon., Jan. 12 this season.
It's ultimately up to ESPN, but hopefully the GoDaddy.com Bowl won't take place the Sunday before the title game, when it also gets lost in the NFL playoff action.
That's the end of today's blog, as I'm about to finish up writing and get on I-94 and head back to DeKalb. Be sure to check out HuskieWire for plenty of coverage the next two days, including a story on former Huskie and first-year Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck.
10:10 a.m. ET
Just spoke with Ball State defensive tackle Nathan Ollie, who was teammates with Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago.
Ollie, a third-team All-Mid-American Conference selection last season, will get his chance to try and stop Lynch Nov. 13 at Huskie Stadium. I asked him what he remembers about Lynch from their high school days.
"One thing I remember about Jordan, he's probably got some of the best footwork I've ever seen," Ollie said. "He's just a hard worker, one of those blue-collar types of guys, hard-working guys that come ready to work every day."
Most teams had a tough time stopping Lynch last season. Ollie said the main key to keeping him in check is to try and stop him from running downhill.
"Everybody has to do their job. You do your job, and you get him running east and west, not north to south. You get him running north and south, it's over," Ollie said. "You do your job, stay in your gaps, everybody plays together as a defense, that's the key to stopping Jordan Lynch."
9:30 a.m. ET
Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher just got done with his annual press conference, and it was pretty lengthy. I'll have more on this in my MAC Media Day notebook, but here are the cliff notes from Steinbrecher.
• Commissioners and thletic directors from the bigger conferences have been making waves recently, suggestion that the big six conferences split away from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that changes are needed, citing numerous things, including the revenue gap between the bigger and smaller conferences, such as the MAC.
Steinbrecher was inevitably asked about the situation this morning. He feels the power conferences see creating their own division a last resort. Steinbrecher wants to see the athletic directors have more communication with one another in terms of various topics.
"They're looking for a system in which their views can be clearly articulated and we can address them," Steinbrecher said. "We have not had that system for some time. Let's play out and see if we can get the governance system working. We need to get our ADs much more engaged than they have been in the past. "
• Steinbrecher also took on the issue of player stipends.
"There's clearly interest in doing something that augments what the grant and aid is right now, particularly at the highest levels," he said. "I think it's been a little unfairly pointed out that, the low-resource conferences, or schools voted that down. The fact of the matter is, the high-resource schools, there were too many proposals."
• The future of the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl is very much in doubt after the Big Ten and ACC agreed to play a bowl game at Ford Field starting in 2014.
Steinbrecher enjoys having Ford Field (which is really nice if you haven't been here) as a venue, and said the league would love to continue playing a postseason game in the Motor City. He did say that Comerica Park, the home stadium of the Detroit Tigers, wouldn't be an option.
"I know (Little Caesar's Bowl President) Ken Hoffman and his staff are interested in seeing what they can do to put together a game," Steinbrecher said. "We're interested in being in bowl games, and so we're interested in talking to folks who want to put on bowl games. If Ken is willing to bring something forward, we'll engage in that conversation."
Steinbrecher added that the league will contract for two or three more bowl tie-ins for the 2014-19 time period. The MAC currently has contracts with the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
8:25 a.m. ET
To nobody's surprise, Northern Illinois has been picked to win the Mid-American Conference by the league's media.
NIU finished with 16 first-place votes in the MAC West, and had 14 votes to win the conference. Toledo, which had five first-place votes, was picked second, while Ball State came in third. Central Michigan was picked to finish fourth, while Western Michigan came in fifth and Eastern Michigan sixth.
Ball State picked up three first-place votes while Central Michigan came in with one. Ohio was picked to win the East Division.
Here is the full poll:
MAC WEST (First-place votes) Points
1. Northern Illinois (16) 138 2. Toledo (5) 122 3. Ball State (3) 108 4. Central Michigan (1) 67 5. Western Michigan 61 6. Eastern Michigan 29
1. Ohio (15) 164 2. Bowling Green (8) 154 3. Kent State (1) 119 4. Buffalo (1) 101 5. Miami 78 6. Akron 53 7. UMass 29
MAC Championship winner: NIU 14, Toledo 3, Ohio 3, Bowling Green 2, Ball State 2, Central Michigan 1
- Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, @SNitz_DDC