MAC pick ’em, week 11
Last week I had my worst week of the year — by far — going 1-4 in my picks. The only one I had right was that Miami would beat Akron. That drops me to 60-25 for the season with an asterisk on one miss (Toledo-Syracuse). This week features six games of MAC-on-MAC action, while Ball State gets a semi-bye to prepare for their trip to Northern Illinois next Tuesday.
Northern Illinois (6-3; 4-1 MAC) at Bowling Green (4-5; 2-3 MAC): Northern Illinois may not have a defense, but they sure do have plenty of offense. That might or might not be enough to win the conference, but it should be enough to beat the Falcons.
Western Michigan (5-4; 3-2 MAC) at Toledo (5-4; 4-1 MAC): This is going to be a big test for each team. Western Michigan wants to be seen as legitimate after their mid-season swoon, and frankly, Bill Cubit probably needs to get his team to a bowl. Toledo, on the other hand, may have seen their title hopes dashed in a defense-free scoring bonanza last week. In August, this looked like the West Division Championship, or at least the semifinal, but now it might be more like a consolation game. The big question here is how each team will respond. The Broncos will throw everything they can into this game, but in the end, I think the Rockets will come away with the win.
Miami (4-5; 3-2 MAC) at Temple (5-4; 3-3 MAC): On paper, Temple should win this game, but on paper, the Owls should be about 7-2 and in control of the East Division, not 5-4 and desperately hoping for an Ohio loss. Meanwhile, after a slow 0-4 start, Miami is 4-1 in their last five games and, unlike Temple, controls their own destiny. Don’t ask me how, but one way or another, the RedHawks will win this game to stay in the title hunt, while further embittering Temple fans.
Ohio (6-3; 3-2 MAC) at Central Michigan (3-7; 2-4 MAC): I think this may be closer than it should be but Ohio will pull off the win. I certainly don’t trust a Frank Solich-coached team late in the season, but I don’t trust the Chippewas even more.
Buffalo (2-7; 1-4 MAC) at EMU (5-4; 3-2 MAC): As always, the full preview will be later in the week, so for now I’ll just say that I think EMU will win this one.
Kent State (3-6; 2-3 MAC) at Akron (1-8; 0-5 MAC): I keep wanting to pick Akron to win. I keep thinking that this week will be the week. And the Zips keep coming up short. Earlier in the season I pointed to this game as their best chance to get a win in the MAC. I still think so, but with Kent State coming off back-to-back wins, it seems a lot less likely. I don’t know how it happenned, but it seems as though the Golden Flashes are starting to get things figured out, while the Zips are still a shambles. I think Kent State will win the 2011 Wagon Wheel Trophy.