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MAC pick ’em, week 3

September 14, 2011

Last week I went 10-1, putting me at 20-4 for the season. My only miss last week was picking Northern Illinois to beat Kansas, but honestly, if they were to replay the game, I’d pick the Huskies again in a heartbeat. This week features several legitimate rivalry games and several more theoretical rivalries. Also, after not hosting a single ranked team in 2010, each of the two best MAC teams will host a top-ten opponent this week.

Legitimate rivalries:

  • Central Michigan at Western Michigan for the Victory Cannon and the first leg of the Michigan MAC Trophy. It’s been six years since the Broncos won the Michigan MAC Trophy — EMU has won it twice since then — and six years since they last beat Central Michigan at football. More than 2000 days since their last win over their rival. All that ends this weekend. Western Michigan is the better team (they were last year too) playing at home. If the Broncos don’t win this one, Bill Cubit’s seat will start heating up quickly.
  • Marshall at Ohio in the Battle for the Bell. Ohio is just plain the better team, and it will be obvious to any casual observer when the Bobcats put a hurt on the Herd like Rufus did to Brutus last fall.

Theoretical rivalries:

  • Eastern Michigan at Michigan in the Battle of Washtenaw County. The full preview will be forthcoming later this week, so for now I’ll just point out that Michigan is 9-0 in the series, and is likely to be 10-0 by the end of the day Saturday.
  • Penn State at Temple. The Nittany Lions’ streak of the most consecutive wins over an opponent will also be one longer by the end of the day.

Oddities of the schedule:

  • Wyoming at Bowling Green. Someone remind the Falcons that the first digit on the interstate that passes their campus is a “7”, not a “1”. Two weeks ago they played (and won) in the Kibbie Dome, and now they’re preparing to face Wyoming. Home field advantage and a long trip for the Cowboys will give Bowling Green the edge in this likely shoot-out.
  • Akron at Cincinnati in the Diagonal Ohio Bowl. The Bearcats will have an easy go of things. The real question is whether the
  • Akron football team can finally outscore the Akron soccer team, after coming up short the last two weeks.
  • Miami at Minnesota. Last week Minnesota lost to New Mexico State, one of the worst FBS teams around. This week Miami will remind everyone that they are the defending MAC champions, while the Golden Gofers will lose to a MAC team for the second year in a row.
  • Buffalo at Ball State. No clever name, no clever comments. I refuse to waste the effort on a game in Muncie. I hate to say it, but I think the Cardinals are going to win this one. The Bulls are statistically better, but they’ve faced lower quality opponents (Stony Brook and Pittsburgh, compared to Indiana and South Florida).
  • Kent State at Kansas State in the Alphabetically Adjacent Bowl. Kansas State is “averaging” (they’ve only played one game) just 10 points per game. No worries for the Wildcats, however, since Kent State is averaging 9.5 points per game. Plus Kansas State is “averaging” 7 points allowed, while the Golden Flashes average 34 points allowed.

Main event:

  • #4 Boise State at Toledo. After a convincing win at Georgia and then two weeks to prepare, Boise State should have little trouble with the Rockers.
  • #7 Wisconsin “at” Northern Illinois. So far this fall, Wisconsin looks like the team to beat in the Big (12) Ten, while Northern Illinois is hoping for another crack at the MAC Championship game. When it comes to football, Big (12) Ten > MAC, and I think Wisconsin will continue that tradition.
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