Week 2 MAC Fearless Predictions

Posted Sep 7, 2013

Week 2 - MAC Fearless Predictions, Analysis & Previews

Bowling Green (1-0) at Kent State (1-0) Sept. 7, 1:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Bowling Green established itself as a major MAC player in the season opener by destroying Tulsa, arguably the best team in Conference USA. Now it's time for the real work to begin in conference play, needing to get by the defending MAC East champion. Kent State struggled way too much in its opener against Liberty, but the close call doesn't matter, especially if it can come up with a big win over the Falcons.

Why Bowling Green Might Win: Kent State's offense really, really struggled against Liberty. The yards were there, but the points were hard to come by, needing a 42-yard touchdown pass to Chris Humphrey late to get out alive. The Golden Flashes should be able to move the ball a bit, but they don't have the firepower to keep up the pace.

Why Kent State Might Win: It might just take a wee bit of tweaking rather than a big overhaul. Kent State wasn't the Kent State of last year as it lost the turnover margin – okay, 1-0 – and committed nine penalties. However, it was able to keep the Liberty offense off the field by converting third down after third down, holding on to the ball for almost 39 minutes. If the run defense can hold up against the deep Bowling Green ground game, it has a shot to pull this off.

Who To Watch Out For: Matt Schilz won the Bowling Green starting quarterback job, but Matt Johnson ended up serving as the main man in the blowout over Tulsa. Schilz completed just 1-of-4 passes for 12 yards, while Johnson ran for 50 yards and threw for 151 yards with a pick. However, he only completed 11-of-23 throws. The 6-0, 210-pound sophomore was the team's top recruit a few years ago and offers up a bit more running ability. While he hasn't shown it yet, he can throw, setting the Pennsylvania high school record with 7,944 yards with 85 touchdowns.
What Will Happen: Kent State's defense will make it a dogfight, but it won't have the offense to overcome a few early Falcon scores.
Prediction: Bowling Green 26 … Kent State 17
Line: Bowling Green -7 o/u: 44.5
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 2

Army (1-0) at Ball State (1-0) Sept. 7, 12:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: That's how the Ball State offense is supposed to work. Illinois State had no chance against the ultra-efficient Cardinals that didn't run the ball well, but overcame a sluggish start and a 21-9 deficit late in the first half to rip off 42 straight points. Meanwhile, Army got through a sluggish opener, beating a mediocre Morgan State team 28-12. There was a little more passing than usual for the Knight offense with 101 yards and a score, but the running game still needs to get it in gear.

Why Army Might Win: The ground attack came up with two 100-yard rusher with quarterback Aaron Santiago making things happen on the outside and Larry Dixon pounding away in the middle. Santiago established himself as the new star of the attack with 120 yards and three touchdown runs, including a 33-yarder to start off the scoring, and Ball State's defense might not be quite ready to handle it. However …

Why Ball State Might Win: The linebackers held up more than fine against Illinois State. Stopping the pass was a bit of a struggle, but Army doesn't move the ball through the air. The Cardinals allowed just 74 yards on 36 carries last week, being very active at stopping plays before they could get going. If Army gets behind early, it's over.

Who To Watch Out For: Keith Wenning didn't show any ill-effects of an offseason injury. He wasn't quite his normal self accuracy-wise, but he threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns with two to Willie Snead from 40 and nine yards out. The Army secondary isn't all that awful, but it's about to be tested in a bit way.
What Will Happen: Army will tear off over 250 rushing yards, but it won't be able to control the clock to keep Wenning off the field. Ball State will have way too much offensive pop.
Prediction: Ball State 34 … Army 17
Line: Ball State -7.5 o/u: 62
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 2

Maine (1-0) at Massachusetts (0-1) Sept. 7, 2:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: UMass ran into the Wisconsin buzzsaw, getting steamrolled over, around and through on the way to a 45-0 loss. With Kansas State up next, Charley Molnar's team could use a win just to make something positive happen over the early part of the year. On the flip side, Maine plays Bryant next week. The Black Bears beat Norfolk State 23-6 on the road to kick off the year.

Why Maine Might Win: Maine has a passing game. The Minutemen were susceptible to the deep ball against the Badgers, and Maine is going to bring it with quarterback Marcus Wasilewski a good veteran who can put up big yards. He had an off game last week, and he throws a ton of picks, but he can do a little of everything, running well with a team-leading 54 yards last week.

Why Massachusetts Might Win: The Maine defense might be the real deal. If there's going to be any hope of making any noise in the Colonial, the Black Bears have to stop the middling Minutemen offense before it can get going. That wasn't a problem against Norfolk State, allowing just 80 yards on the ground, and the pressure should come from the D to keep the momentum going.

Who To Watch Out For: Did anything positive come out of the UMass loss to Wisconsin? Yes, freshman running back Stacey Bedell. Wisconsin was able to collapse around him, but he showed excellent potential and upside running for 70 yards on 19 carries. He didn't tear off anything big, but if he gets a little bit of blocking, he'll be effective.
What Will Happen: Does Maine have the consistency to roll past a UMass team that's better than what it showed last week? The defense will make up for a middling O.
Prediction: Maine 24 … Massachusetts 17
Line: Maine -3.5 o/u: 42
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

New Hampshire (0-0) at Central Michigan (0-1) Sept. 7, 3:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: It's a dangerous FCS-FBS game with New Hampshire kicking off its season after watching Central Michigan get ripped up by Michigan. The Chippewas didn't have any answers in the 59-9 loss, and now there's a big concern. UNLV is up next and shouldn't be a problem, but if CMU can't handle UNH, it'll be uh-oh time.

Why New Hampshire Might Win: The passing game might be too good for CMU to deal with. There isn't a Devin Gardner, but the Wildcats have good quarterbacks in Sean Goldrich and Andy Vallace who can each produce. There's enough firepower to give the Chippewas a long day.

Why Central Michigan Might Win: New Hampshire will look nice and easy defensively after dealing with Michigan's attack. The Wildcats haven't played yet and might need a little time to tune up, and as bad as things were for the Chippewas, they got their feet wet. The offense is going to be much, much better than it looked, however …

Who To Watch Out For: CMU suffered a disaster losing its top running back, Zurlon Tipton, for the season to a broken ankle. Sophomore Saylor Lavalii has been strong as a kick returner and got in some work as a backup runner, but now he might be the main man after running for 52 yards on ten carries. The 5-9, 213-pounder is extremely quick and good whenever he gets the ball in his hands, adding a bit more flash than Tipton.
What Will Happen: New Hampshire will come out with a strong first game with the attack looking sharp from the start. The loss of Tipton and the lack of a consistent passing game will be a deathblow to the reeling Chippewas.
Prediction: New Hampshire 30 … Central Michigan 17
Line: Central Michigan -3.5 o/u: 62.5
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

James Madison (1-0) at Akron (0-1) Sept. 7, 6:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: James Madison might have to fight to be a part of the Colonial title chase, but it has the tools and the defense to be dangerous after stomping Central Connecticut State 38-14. UCF lost to UCF 38-7, but it might as well have been a shutout with the only Akron touchdown coming in the final few seconds. If the Zips can't come up with a win here, UMass might be the only other team on the slate they can beat.

Why James Madison Might Win: What happened to the Akron offense? It showed so much promise at times last season, but it failed to get off the ground against UCF with the passing game failing to push anything deep and the ground attack bottled up. With a great-looking defense, the Dukes were able to get behind the line against CCSU last season and stopped the offense before it could get started. In Dae'Quan Scott, the offense has a dangerous back to work around.

Why Akron Might Win: JMU might be mistake-prone. It committed seven penalties last week and lost two fumbles; Akron has to take advantage of every opportunity. UCF was able to pound away for yards when it had to, but the ground attack only gained 157 yards. Granted, that's because the Knight passing game was too busy cranking out yards in chunks, but the defense had a few decent moment up front.

Who To Watch Out For: Dae'Quon Scott might be one of the best backs Akron faces this year. He can catch, run, and make several big plays without a problem. He's not a workhorse, but he can be a home run hitter who takes the fight out of the Zip defense. Akron has to establish itself offensively right away, but first and foremost, it has to take Scott out of the gameplan.
What Will Happen: Akron won't take Scott out of the gameplan. The James Madison defense will come up with a solid game, forcing the Zips to dink and dunk, but not do enough to keep up on the scoreboard.
Prediction: James Madison 31 … Akron 16
Line: Akron -3.5 o/u: 53
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1

North Texas (1-0) at Ohio (0-1) Sept. 7, 7:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Things couldn't have gone much better for North Texas in its opener, destroying a bad Idaho team 40-6 after cranking out 40 unanswered points. The defense got down 6-0 early, but didn't allow a thing after. Meanwhile, things couldn't have gone much worse for Ohio to kick things off, getting picked clean by Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville in a blowout loss. It was a bad day against a great team, and now Ohio has to show that it was just an aberration.

Why North Texas Might Win: Bridgewater took target practice on the Ohio secondary, and now Derek Thompson might do the same. The North Texas passer completed 23-of-27 throws for 349 yards and two touchdowns, firing at will. Can Ohio generate any pressure? It couldn't against the Cardinals.

Why Ohio Might Win: North Texas isn't Louisville. Lost in the blowout was how Idaho was able to move the ball without a problem. 11 penalties and three turnovers turned out to be a big deal, but the offense came up with 369 yards of total offense. The Mean Green secondary can be thrown on, and Ohio has to try.

Who To Watch Out For: The stars didn't show up for Ohio. Tyler Tettleton completed just 11-of-23 passes for 140 yards, while Beau Blankenship ran 12 times for 22 yards and never, ever got loose. The Mean Green will focus on stuffing Blankenship first, and Tettleton has to make the secondary pay. He has to prove again that he can do that.
What Will Happen: Ohio will rebound nicely. North Texas isn't bad, but this is a good, strong, smart team that will show that last week was a disaster because of the competition. Things will be slightly different against the Mean Green.
Prediction: Ohio 37 … North Texas 21
Line: Ohio -4.5 o/u: 58.5
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5