MAC pick ’em, week 4
EMU is still getting rated down — justifiably so, since they haven’t proven that anything’s changed — based on the last two years, and Penn State looks about as vulnerable as the Nittany Lions are likely to be. Anyone who’s making honest picks is taking Penn State over EMU, but I do think that this game will be a lot closer than most people expect.
Astonishingly, Michigan State only leads their series against Central Michigan 4 games to 3. However, they’re 0-6-1 against the Michigan State freshmen. This year LeFevour’s gone, Jones is gone, and the Chippewas’ scoring is mostly gone. Central Michigan will have no chance against a Michigan State team reeling from last week’s embarrassing loss at Notre Dame. The Spartans will take their frustrations out on the Chippewas, and the professional media person who picked Central Michigan to win the MAC West Division will continue to feel foolish.
Toledo gets a third short at a “major” opponent, and this one is pretty winnable. Syracuse is no Ohio State, and Toledo will get a win over an AQ team.
As you can guess from my MAC power ranking this morning, I’m still skeptical of Temple. Maryland finished last season 9-4 and nationally ranked, and I don’t think Temple can keep up with the Terrapins’ passing attack. As long as O’Brien doesn’t have another one-touchdown, three-interception day, Maryland will win.
Miami will edge out Bowling Green. I’ve continued to rate Miami fairly highly within the MAC, but if the RedHawks lose this one, they’ll plunge in my ranking next week.
Even Akron should be able to win by about a dozen points over VMI. I think the Zips may get one more win after this, over rival Kent State, who they get at home.
Army over Ball State. Ball State barely managed to beat Buffalo, and I just don’t buy Indiana as a quality win; half the MAC should be able to beat the Hoosiers outside Bloomington. I don’t think the Cardinals will have an answer for the Black Knights’ running.
Ohio will beat Rutgers. A number of people suggested before the season that Ohio might finish 12-0. I’m not jumping on that bandwagon, but I’m expecting the team to do well most of the year, but end with their usual late-season collapse.
South Alabama over Kent State. You read that right. While Toledo is out trying to earn respect for the conference, the Golden Flashes will be the shame of the MAC this week.
I’m not convinced either Illinois or Western Michigan is quite as good as they’re getting credit for. I had a hard time picking one way or the other in this game — I can imagine either team winning by double-digits — but when in doubt, I’ve got to default to the Big (12) Ten team beating the MAC team. That’s just the way it is.
Connecticut should have no trouble beating Buffalo. If the Bulls somehow win this one, expect the Buffalo-to-the-Big-East talk to heat up, though.
Northern Illinois over California Polytechnic. Nothing really to say about that one.