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Temple Update: Pierce’s Status Unconfirmed, We Outline MAC East Tiebreak Scenarios Amended

Nov 4, 2011, 3:47 PM EDT

Bernard Pierce's status remains in question following a head injury sustained Wednesday night. The rest of his team isn't out the race for the MAC East, yet. Scenarios inside.

Remember yesterday when I claimed that for all intents and purposes “it was over,” and that Ohio had done it again? Well, scrap that. Forget it.

Because I also said I’d be back sooner rather than later rather with some cockeyed way the Owls could find themselves back on the road to Detroit.

An update on Bernard Pierce’s head injury and a complete breakdown of the Owls’ potential road to the MAC Championship after the jump…

Bernard Pierce Injury Update

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Starting with the injury report, coach Steve Addazio remained tight-lipped Friday afternoon regarding the status of star running back Bernard Pierce. Pierce, who leads all FBS backs in rushing touchdowns scored, is not only battling a nagging hamstring, but now also an undisclosed head injury.

Pierce left the field needing some help after a late game helmet-to-helmet collision Wednesday night. He did not return home on the team flight that evening, but instead made a trip to an Ohio hospital for overnight evaluations.

Addazio declined comment on the situation, stating that he had not talked to Pierce since Thursday and did not know his status. He did concede that he might learn more later today. He also stopped short of specifically calling the injury a “concussion.”

If it is indeed a concussion, it will not be Bernard’s first—sort of. Pierce battled “concussion-like” symptoms for a good portion of the early season in 2010.

“We all know he got dinged,” said Addazio. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

MAC East Tiebreakers—Try to Stay with Me

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When asked whether he was aware or would make himself aware of the scenarios which could still see his team on its way to the MAC Championship, Addazio acknowledged that he’s had individuals attempt to fill him on the all the possibilities. Still, he revealed that he would rather not know, preferring instead to focus on the task at hand.

“I just don’t want to play that game,” he said. “I don’t want to get occupied with all that. That’s out of my control. What’s in our control right now is to have our football as prepared as we can possibly have them for this Wednesday night.”

“So, yes, some people have come up to me and said it to me, and I don’t think I could regurgitate it back to you properly, and it’s just not on my mind. I don’t want it to be.”

The coach may not want to know, but the fans usually do. With thanks to “Andy Musser” of Charlie’s Manuel for all his help, we can present to you two scenarios that could still see the Owls finish atop the MAC East.

Before we get too far, I’d like to mention that I’m not sure what prevented conference officials from striving for clarity, but I’ve read Supreme Court opinions with clearer direction. The tiebreaker rules themselves are somewhat arduous to interpret, and, with so many teams still in the mix for the MAC East crown, I don’t promise these scenarios to be the easiest to follow. As such, I’ll strive for brevity in an effort to be as clear as possible.

Anyway, we’re working with—for now—two specific scenarios (the second of which has been amended in accordance with an alternate reading of tiebreaker number two). We’ll open with an explanation of the rules and then move to the scenario itself.

MAC Tiebreakers—Points 1-3 (excludes point 4)

1) Head-to-head record versus tied opponent(s)
2) Best record between tied teams against division opponents ranked highest to lowest
a) Once a team or teams is or are eliminated as a result of the above, tiebreak reverts to point 1.

3) Highest in-conference win percentage of teams played in the opposite division between the tied teams

Scenario 1

–Temple finishes 5-3 in the MAC, defeating Miami (OH) and Kent St.
–Ohio loses two of its three remaining MAC games.
–Bowling Green does not win the remainder of its MAC games.
Result: Temple wins the MAC East either outright or via head-to-head tiebreak with Miami

Scenario 2

–Temple, Ohio and Miami (OH) finish in a 3-way tie at 5-3 in MAC play after Miami defeats Ohio
–Buffalo finishes ahead of Bowling Green in the MAC East
–Ohio is eliminated under tiebreak No. 2 as a result of their loss to Buffalo
Result: Temple wins the MAC East via head-to-head tiebreak with Miami

If you’ve been researching these scenarios yourself and spot any gaps in logic, outright errors or alternate possibilities that went uncovered, please leave an explanatory note in the comments or reach out to me via e-mail (link found in the above byline). I can update the page as necessary and will continue to outline possibilities each week until the Owls are officially eliminated.

Even if you’re still reeling from the sting of Wednesday night, take solace; it isn’t totally over—yet.