MAC pick ’em, week 7
Last week I went a measly 5-3, dragging my season record down to 47-17, with an asterisk on one miss (Toledo-Syracuse). Miami waited until week 6 to start playing, which is rough for Army, who looks headed for 0-4 against the MAC. I picked Temple wrong for the third week in a row (I’m 2-4 picking Temple this year). Buffalo had their best offensive performance of the Jeff Quinn era, scoring 38 points against Ohio — their previous high against an FBS opponent was 28 — while Ohio is in a full-fledged Solich slide (lost to Rutgers 38-26; barely beat Kent State 17-10; lost to Buffalo 38-36).
This weekend will feature six MACtastic games with no outsiders. Akron (1-5; 0-2 MAC) takes the week off, which is probably for the best.
Toledo (3-3; 2-0 MAC) at Bowling Green (3-3; 1-1 MAC): In 1935, Toledo won over Bowling Green, putting the series record at 6-3-3 in their favor. Legend has it that the 63-0 game sparked a riot, which led to the schools putting the rivalry on hiatus for 13 years. When the teams resumed play in 1948, the story goes that players from the two teams smoked a six-foot peace pipe at halftime of the annual basketball game. The
Peace Pipe Battle for (a 19.8 mile stretch of) I-75 is, or at least it once was, one of the most heated rivalries in all of college sports. This year, in addition to changing the name, the game, which has come at the end of November for more than a decade, was scheduled at mid-season. I have to admit, part of me wonders if the MAC is trying to downplay this rivalry in preparation for the coming division realignment in football. (Though, moving Bowling Green to the West Division for football only seems like the most sensible option, and that would preserve this rivalry…) Anything can happen in a rivalry game, but Toledo clearly has the better team, and I expect them to win the first go-round with the new trophy.
Buffalo (2-4; 1-1 MAC) at Temple (4-2; 2-1 MAC): I picked against Buffalo last week and got it wrong, but I’m picking against them again this week. I just don’t think they can repeat their offensive explosion against Temple.
EMU (3-3; 1-1 MAC) at Central Michigan (2-4; 1-1 MAC): EMU. Preview tomorrow. I really mean it this week.
Ball State (3-3; 1-1 MAC) at Ohio (4-2; 1-1 MAC): As I mentioned in the intro, Ohio is in the middle of a full-fledged Solich slide, and if they don’t get things straightened out, they could wind up at about 4-4 in the conference. Meanwhile, Ball State has been up and down this fall, and after being outscored 104-6 the last two weeks, they’re due to bounce back. It hurts to write, but I think the Cardinals will find a way to win this game.
Miami (1-4; 0-1 MAC) at Kent State (1-5; 0-2 MAC): Though their records are similar, I think the RedHawks are the decidedly better team. Miami should have little trouble spoiling Kent State’s homecoming game.
Western Michigan (4-2; 2-0 MAC) at Northern Illinois (3-3; 1-1 MAC): Northern Illinois’s offense is still solid, but after giving up 45+ points in each of three games, plus 30 points to Cal Poly, it is quite clear that the Huskies’ defense is broken. Western Michigan, meanwhile, looks like they’ve got the complete package, and their two losses, at Michigan and at Illinois look a little different know that both the Wolverines and the Illini are ranked. The Broncos haven’t really had a big win the last two years, but they’ll get one this weekend, and they’ll all but eliminate last year’s West Division winners from championship contention.