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Misc The MAC The MAC Archive This Week in MAC Football
Written by MikeSpinelli

Mike Spinelli

This week the MAC has several key conference matchups in both divisions. This week you get bonus coverage. We have two Games of the Week. One a battle for supremacy in the West, the other is the longest running non-conference rivalry in college sports.

Victory Bell

The TV Game of the Week is not a conference game, but is a very interesting matchup and the oldest non-conference rivalry in college sports. Miami travels to Cincinnati for the 117th version of the Victory Bell. Truth be known, the two teams were conference foes for a short time, Cincinnati being a member of the MAC from 1946-53. Miami leads the series 59-50-7, but Cincy has won the last six. The Bearcats come into the game 3-0 after shredding Pittsburgh and Delaware State, and besting VaTech last week. They are currently ranked 23rd in the Coaches Poll and the USA Today poll and 25th on ESPN’s Power Rankings. They pass and run equally well, and give up only 13.7 points per game. The quarterback, Munchie Legaux, has 789 yards passing, with 7 TD’s and 3 INT’s. The leading rusher is George Winn, who is averaging 6.1 yards per rush. Munchie’s favorite receiver is Kenbrell Tompkins, with 12 catches for 204 yards and 1 TD. Also watch for Ryan Abernathy (21.3 ypc and 3 td). Miami is having a nice season itself, with three wins and two losses to Ohio State and Boise State. The Red Hawks aerial attack is among the best in the game, with Zac Dysert passing for over 1400 yards and 11 TD’s. Zac leads the Hawks in rushing, edging Jamire Westbrook 183-181. Andy Cruse has the most catches with 38, while Dawan Scott gains the most yardage averaging 16.3 per catch. They have a tendency to give up a lot of points, including 56 by the Buckeyes and 49 last week against the Zips. Both teams won squeakers last week. This is going to be a close game, Cincinnati has better numbers, but has not played the caliber of team Miami has. Cincinnati’s more balanced attack and home field advantage make them the favorite. But, I’m going with Miami in the Upset of the Week. You can catch the action on Fox Sports Ohio Saturday at 7.

The MAC Game of the Week pits Northern Illinois against Ball State in a battle of West Division heavyweights.  This one is going to be a big gamble with potentially great rewards for Northern Illinois, much like playing poker at party casino. Ball State has been a big surprise this year, knocking off Indiana and South Florida. They also scored 27 on Clemson. The come into the game at 1-1 in the MAC with a win against Eastern Michigan and a loss to Kent State. The Cardinal’s weakness is their defense. Northern Illinois is one of the favorites to with the West this year, and comes in at 1-0 with a big win over Central Michigan last week. Both teams love to run the ball, the Huskies rushing for 1160 yards and 16 TD’s already, and the Cardinals rushing for 1068 yards and 10 TD’s. Both QB’s have similar ratings, although NIU’s Jordan Lynch has also rushed for half of the team’s yards. Ball State has the home field advantage, but Northern Illinois has a stronger defense. I’m taking NIU in this one; the game is on ESPN3 at 3:00 Saturday.

Other MAC action has Bowling Green visiting Akron. BG has been a disappointment so far this year, losing to Toledo by 12 and then getting routed by VaTech 37-0. Last week they scrimmaged Rhode Island and hope to have their game back on. Akron comes in 1-4 0-1 after a tough loss to Miami last week at home. They still have the fifth ranked air attack in the NCAA, but their undersized defense lacks depth and has been a weak spot for the team. They looked very good, and very beatable last week. Hopefully the very good team shows up for the whole game this week. Akron’s at home, and the home crowd showed up ready to play 12th man last week, but I’m still going with Bowling Green in another close game.

Kent State travels to Eastern Michigan in the battle of the teams I picked for fourth in their division. Kent State started out sloppy, as has been well documented. Eastern Michigan hasn’t been able to get out its own way, going 0-4 including a 31-14 loss to FCS Illinois State. One player of note, Kent’s Dri Archer is averaging 8.7 yards per rush and 17.3 yards per catch with 6 total TD’s. The line has Kent State favored by 3, I don’t think it will be anywhere near that close.

UMass travels to Western Michigan Saturday. Should be a no-brainer, right? Bronco’s QB Alex Karder is still out with his finger injury. And last week they had nothing for Toledo. UMass is no Toledo, but they have been progressing very quickly in their first year in the FBS. They lost to Miami 27-16 two weeks ago, and last week came within 3 of Ohio. And Ohio had their starting QB in the game. But I’m still taking the Broncs passing game and defense.

Central Michigan travels to Toledo this week. Toledo has looked stronger in all facets of the game but has played a slightly weaker schedule. They have a better (2-0) Mac record after beating Bowling Green and Western Michigan last week on the road. Central Michigan is 0-1 after getting trounced by Northern Illinois last week. Terrance Owens has almost 1300 yards passing, David Fluellen has 500 yards rushing, and Alonzo Russell has almost that many receiving. Yeah, Toledo wins big…

And then there’s Buffalo playing Ohio. On paper this should be a rout. Ohio, everyone’s favorite to be playing in Detroit this December. Buffalo blowing chunks against Kent in their conference opener. But that was before Ohio darn near got their ass handed to them by UMass last week. Does anyone know what that was about? I’d like to say the Bobcats continue their run to a ranking.  But losing to UMass going into the fourth quarter? I’ll take Ohio, and cross my fingers…

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