Are You, as a Temple Fan, Obligated to Root for the Buffalo Bulls?

Are You, as a Temple Fan, Obligated to Root for the Buffalo Bulls?

We'll find out this evening.

Though the outcome of tonight's MAC showdown between the Ohio Bobcats and Bowling Green Falcons has zero effect in determining whether Temple will or will not win the MAC East, it will have an impact on the ways in which the team can or cannot reach the MAC Championship game.

Regardless of what's in store for the Bobcats and Falcons, Temple will need Miami (OH) to beat Ohio U next weekend, in order to have any shot at winning the East. What tonight will determine is just how many other games and teams need to go and work in Temple's favor.

Oh, and we should add that a Miami (OH) loss tonight combined with an Ohio win negates any chance the Owls have of winning the East. So, uh, other than that, here's what we're looking at...

Starting with the more "direct" of the two scenarios, an Ohio loss tonight would move the Bobcats to 4-3 in conference. Another loss to the Miami (OH) Redhawks next week, would drop them to 4-4. In the event Temple wins its only remaining MAC game—a Black Friday meeting with Kent State—the Owls would finish 5-3 and either tie Miami (OH) for the division lead or win the East outright. In the event both teams would finish 5-3, Temple would be on its way to the championship game in Detroit as a result of its head-to-head victory over Miami.

The other scenario would see Temple relying on the not-so-reliable Buffalo Bulls. Should Ohio beat Bowling Green this evening, and lose to Miami next week, there would be a three-way tie atop the division between the Owls, Bobcats and Redhawks (Note: this assumes Miami takes of their own business against Western Michigan tonight). In the event all three finish 5-3, the Owls will need Buffalo to finish ahead of Bowling Green in the MAC East Standings.

Why? Because, believe it or not, the Ohio Bobcats lost to Buffalo 38-37 on October 8.

As the MAC tiebreak rules first consider head-to-head records between the tied teams, all three would remain deadlocked at 1-1. The next tiebreak examines the head-to-head records of the tied teams against the rest of their division opponents in rank order.

Since all three teams have beaten or will have beaten Kent State, the tiebreak would move on to the next team on the list. All three teams have also beaten the Akron Zips, so they bear no difference here. The two teams that would decide tiebreak number two are the Buffalo Bulls and the Bowling Green Falcons. Given Temple's loss and Ohio and Miami (OH)'s victories over Bowling Green, the Owls would be eliminated from the tiebreak as soon as they had to compare head-to-head records with the Bobcats and Redhawks against the Falcons. If, on the other hand, Buffalo finishes ahead of Bowling Green, Ohio would be bounced from the tiebreak and Temple would win out via its head-to-head victory over Miami.

As it stands, Buffalo is currently 1-5 in conference while Bowling Green sits at 2-4. They have yet to meet head-to-head and will do so next week. If Bowling Green beats Ohio tonight, than the Owls no longer and have any use for the Bulls. On the other hand, if Ohio beats Bowling Green, Temple will need to rely on both Miami and Buffalo next week. In either case, they will need Miami to beat Ohio. Without that game going Temple's way, this all for naught.

So, it isn't over just yet, Temple fans. But the Owls may have to root for a Buffalo team who—other than their win over the Bobcats—have beaten only the Stony Brook Seawolves (*wow*) in 2011.

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles are coming off two straight losses and the slate doesn't get any easier with the 5-0 Vikings coming to town.

It also marks the return of Sam Bradford, who was traded just before Week 1, paving the way for rookie Carson Wentz to start.

The Eagles kick off against Minnesota at the Linc on Sunday at 1 p.m., so it's time for our (cough) experts' predictions for the Week 7 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
I'll admit, this game just has a weird feel. It has the feeling like the Eagles might be able to catch the Vikings sleeping after their bye week and hand them their first loss of the season.

I was almost tempted to pick the Birds in this one.

But I'm not.

Ultimately, the Vikings are just the better team. I'm not sure how the Eagles are going to put up points against them. And I'm not convinced the Eagles' defense will be able to stop anyone after what we saw last weekend.

They keep it close, but the Birds fall to 3-3.

Vikings 20, Eagles 17

Derrick Gunn (2-3)
The good news is Minnesota's offense is ranked 30th in the league and the Vikings' run game is dead last averaging 70.6 yards per game. 

The bad news is the Vikings' defense is a monster, ranked 2nd overall and first in points allowed at 12.6.

There is not a weak link in the Vikings' D and they are fundamentally sound across the board. The Eagles' defense vows that what happened to them at Washington — allowing 230 rushing yards — won't happen again. 

Carson Wentz got roughed up by the Redskins' pass rush, and unless the Eagles' offensive line plugs the leaks, more of the same could happen this Sunday. The Birds have every reason to rebound at home, but I just don't like the overall matchup. 

Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Ray Didinger (2-3)
The Vikings aren't going undefeated. You don't go 16-0 in the NFL with a 30th ranked offense which is what the Vikings have. Yes, their defense is very good. Going back to last season they have held each of their last nine opponents to 17 points or less. They are deep, fast and well-coached by Mike Zimmer. But the offense led by Sam Bradford coughs and sputters a lot.
As a result, the Vikings will play a lot of close, low-scoring games and somewhere along the line they are going to lose. It could even happen this week when they play the Eagles. Special teams could be huge. The Eagles have a big edge with kicker Caleb Sturgis. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has already missed three field goals and two PATs. However, the Vikings return men -- Marcus Sherels on punts, Cordarrelle Patterson on kickoffs -- are very dangerous. I expect the Eagles to keep it close but in the end I have to go with the superior defense.
Vikings 21, Eagles 16

Andrew Kulp (2-3)
Which Eagles defense shows up on Sunday? If they can limit Minnesota's anemic ground attack, which ranks dead last in the NFL, this should be a close game. Sam Bradford is playing really well, but it's not like he's airing it out all over the place.

Then it becomes a question of how Halapoulivaati Vaitai responds to a rough debut. The Vikings pass-rush is fierce, so it doesn't get any easier this week. As long as the protection gives Carson Wentz a chance, that will at least give the rookie signal-caller a shot at making a few big plays.

For some reason, I like their chances at both. It's going to be another ugly one, but the Eagles do just enough to squeak by.

Eagles 20, Vikings 19

Corey Seidman (2-3)
I foresee a low-scoring game in which the Eagles are more competitive than some might think.

But in the end, the Vikings have the personnel and the defensive-minded head coach (Mike Zimmer) to get key stops down the stretch.

Vikings 20, Eagles 16

Andy Schwartz (1-4)
You’re still reading? 

Well good for you. Much appreciated. 

Because clearly I certainly don’t know what to expect from this team. 

But let’s forget all that for the moment and look at the Bradford Bowl. 

The Vikings’ offense is hardly scary (30th in the league in yards per game behind the Rams and Niners), but their defense is (second in yards per game behind Seattle).

The Eagles’ offense is hardly scary (22nd in yards per game), and their defense (sixth in yards per game) was pretty scary a few weeks ago.

So let’s look at the intangibles. Which team needs this game more? The Eagles. And they’re at home. 

But given the outcomes the last two weeks and that Minnesota is unbeaten and coming off a bye, it certainly makes sense to pick the Vikes, who are favored by 2.5.

Then again, the Eagles not too long ago were unbeaten and coming off a bye … and we all know what happened.

So I’ll say the Birds pull off another upset and remain unbeaten at the Linc. 

Just don’t bet on it.

Eagles 6, Vikings 5

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.