MAC pick ’em, week 11
I hope you had a relaxing bye week last week — I know I did — but now it’s time to get things going again with the football coverage. Normally I’ve been giving my picks on Friday, but the MAC games are moving into the middle of the week, so in order to give my picks before the games actually take place, they might be moving around some, though that also means that betting lines are not necessarily announced.
After a very light schedule with only four MAC games last week, we have six this week. Notable byes this week include Temple and Ohio, who will be resting and preparing for their MAC East showdown next Tuesday; the winner of that game will need but to win one final game (on the road) to secure the division championship. Miami is also in the hunt; if Temple wins, the RedHawks will control their fate, but if Ohio wins they’ll need to hope for someone else to upset the Bobcats. But there’s no need to wait for next Tuesday for a big MAC game, because we’ve got a doozy coming up tomorrow night, when Toledo (6-3; 5-0 MAC) travels to Northern Illinois (7-2; 5-0 MAC) for the inside track on the West Division title. No other school is still in the running, and both teams will play their final two games against bottom-of-the-MAC opponents; the four teams on their schedules (Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Bowling Green) are a combined 9-29 this year (6-15 MAC). So the winner of this game will probably win the division and get the trip to Ford Field on December 3.
This should be a great game tomorrow night, but I’m picking Northern Illinois to win for two very simple reasons. One is that Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin will miss the game due to the shoulder injury he suffered in the first quarter of the EMU game. The other is that this game will be played in DeKalb, and when in doubt, I give the edge to the home team. So I do think that the Huskies will win the game and, as I’ve predicted for a while, win the division and the conference.
Wednesday night Miami University will play at Bowling Green. Miami hasn’t really upset any teams this fall, but they also haven’t been upset. I think that trend will continue, and the RedHawks will win the game, becoming bowl-eligible and staying in the East Division title hunt.
Friday night Ball State will play at Buffalo. I think the Bulls will have a decent chance at the upset, but, much as it pains me to write this, I think Ball State will probably edge them out. Then on Saturday, we’ll have the MAC-Armed Forces Challenge (OK, I just made that up), with Kent State hosting Army and Central Michigan travelling to Annapolis to play Navy. Unfortunately for MAC fans, I think the Armed Forces will go 2-0, and the Black Knights and the Midshipmen will both become bowl-eligible.
The last MAC game of the week — not chronologically — is EMU at Western Michigan. You’ll have to wait a few more days for the full write-up to find out who I’m picking in that one.