MAC pick ’em, week 10
Last week I went 3-1, bringing me to 59-21 for the season with an asterisk on one miss (Toledo-Syracuse). A whole bunch of MAC teams had byes last week, setting up early-week games starting this week. In fact, the MAC games this week are perfectly spaced at one each night, and only EMU against Ball State on Saturday. Western Michigan, Akron, Miami, Buffalo, and Bowling Green are off this week, with the Broncos and the Falcons prepping for games next Tuesday and Miami for next Wednesday.
Northern Illinois (5-3; 3-1 MAC) at Toledo (5-3; 4-0 MAC): The winner of this game will have a clear path to the division title. If Toledo wins, they’ll have at least one-game lead plus the tie-breaker over EMU and a two-game lead plus the tie-breaker over Northern Illinois. With just three games remaining, one additional Rocket win or Huskie loss would eliminate Northern Illinois, while two Toledo wins, two EMU losses, or one of each would eliminate the Eagles. On the other hand, if Northern Illinois wins (assuming all the involved teams win out), the three teams would be tied — temporarily — for first place, with Toledo holding a tie-breaker over EMU and Northern Illinois over Toledo. It would only be temporary because EMU will play at Northern Illinois on the last day of the MAC regular season. The EMU rooting interest is conditioned on whether you think Toledo will lose a game after this AND EMU will win out. If you think that will happen, you want Northern Illinois to win so the Eagles can beat them for the title, but if you think — as I do — that is unlikely, you want Toledo to win this game to give EMU the easiest path to a second-place finish. Regardless of what you might want, I think the Rockets are a much better team, and I expect them to win tonight.
Temple (5-3; 3-2 MAC) at Ohio (5-3; 2-2 MAC): Miami also still controls their own fate and with help, even Akron could win, but in all likelihood, this game will determine the East Division champion. Common foes are Akron, Ball State, and Buffalo. Temple won those games by a combined 117-3, while Ohio lost narrowly to both the Cardinals and the Bulls. I don’t think either team is that great, but based on what I’ve seen so far this season, Temple should win this one.
Akron (1-7; 0-4 MAC) at Miami (3-5; 2-2 MAC): As I write almost every week, it wouldn’t surprise me if Akron pulls off the win, but the RedHawks are clearly the better team, and I expect Miami to get the win and stay alive in the East Division race.
Central Michigan (3-6; 2-3 MAC) at Kent State (2-6; 1-3 MAC): I have no real reason for this, but I think Central Michigan is going to win, and possibly win big. The only common foe is Northern Illinois, to whom Kent State lost 40-10, while Central Michigan beat them 48-41, so I’ll pretend that’s my justification, but the truth is, I just think so.
Ball State (5-4; 3-2 MAC) at EMU (5-3; 3-1 MAC): I’ll have the full preview later this week, so for now I’ll just go on record as saying that I think the Eagles will win.