MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 2
Posted Sep 7, 2006

Previews and Predictions for the Week Two MAC Games.

East  Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami Univ. | Ohio
West  Ball State | Central Mich | Eastern Mich | Northern Illinois | Toledo | West Michigan
Past MAC Predictions:
Week One 

How'd we do so far? 11-0 straight up, 7-2-1 ATS

MAC Week Two Fearless Predictions, Part 2

MAC Game of the Week

Toledo (0-1) at Western Michigan (0-1)  7 pm EST Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: The battle for the MAC West kicks off with two high-powered teams looking to get over tough losses. Toledo put up a brilliant performance in a 45-43 three overtime loss at Iowa State showing off a great passing game and enough firepower to throw a scare into everyone left on the schedule. The Broncos weren't great against Indiana slopping its way through a 39-20 loss, and with a trip to Virginia next week before facing Temple, must win to avoid a likely 0-3 start. There will be plenty of fireworks and lots of points in what should be a fun shootout.
Why Toledo might win: WMU couldn't handle the Indiana passing attack even after starting QB Blake Powers got knocked out for the game. Toledo ripped up  Toledo's Clint Cochran carved up the Cyclones for 370 yards and three touchdowns last week and shouldn't have any problems throwing at will on the porous Bronco pass defense. With questions at quarterback, WMU's offense won't likely be nearly as crisp as UT's.
Why Western Michigan might win: Toledo had a few problems in pass protection against Iowa State and couldn't contain QB Bret Meyer from doing just about anything he wanted to. WMU starting QB Ryan Cubit is out with an arm injury, but JUCO transfer Thomas Peregrin is a mature passer with a live arm and a little bit of time in live action completing nine of 12 passes for 51 yards and a score last week. He's the type of bomber who could get hot in a hurry.
Who to watch: How did WMU try to go on without star WR Greg Jennings? Redshirt freshman Jamarko Simmons might not be Jennings, but he established himself as a go-to guy against Indiana catching seven passes for 100 yards. Toledo's top target last week was Chris Hopkins, who was named by the Mackey Award people as the tight end of the week after catching 13 passes fro 139 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, the highlight everyone saw was the miss on the two-point conversion that would've tied the game. With WMU focusing on stopping Hopkins, the running game should open up.
What will happen: Peregrin will throw for well over 300 yards with three touchdown passes, but it won't be nearly enough.
CFN Prediction
: Toledo 45 ... Western Michigan 31
... Line: Toledo -10.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2.5

Central Michigan (0-1) at Michigan (1-0)  12 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Michigan was hardly sharp in a 27-7 win over Vanderbilt, but it's the sign of a good team that it can with with relative ease when it doesn't play all that well. With the showdown at Notre Dame coming up next, the Wolverines have to use Central Michigan to sharpen everything up from better route running from the receivers to more big plays to more pop from the return game. That might be easier said than done against Chippewa squad that gave a rock-solid and far superior Boston College team all it could handle in a 31-24 Eagle win. While CMU doesn't have the horses to get into a firefight with the Maize and Blue, it has enough good players to have a puncher's chance if everything breaks the right way.
Why Central Michigan might win: Michigan looked far from being a finished product against Vanderbilt. Dropped passes and a few missed opportunities kept the Commodores from mounting any sort of serious threat. Expected to win in a blowout just like BC was last week, the Wolverines, with their heads already in South Bend, might just let CMU hang around and hang around and hang around until it's the fourth quarter and the game is far closer than expected. However ...
Why Michigan might win: ... it took gimmicks, quirky plays, and several off-the-wall chances for CMU to get into a position to have the ball down seven late against BC. It wasn't like the Chippewas just stepped up and played better than the Eagles. Those same tricks won't work twice; Michigan has the film from last week's game. The Wolverine coaching staff also has the luxury BC's didn't of being able to properly prepare for ...
Who to watch: ... freshman backup quarterback Dan LeFevour. When CMU starter Brian Brunner suffered a concussion on a crushing hit on the second play from scrimmage against the Eagles, LeFevour stepped in and went 22 of 37 for 221 yards and ran 14 times for 72 yards. CMU RB Ontario Sneed is the team's offensive star, so if Michigan focuses on keeping LeFevour contained, Sneed has to take advantage. ... Michigan didn't want to wear down Mike Hart against Vandy, but according to the coaches, the game went flying and the backups didn't get as much work as expected. Hart won't last the season if he keeps carrying it 31 times, so look for Kevin Grady and Brandon Minor to combine for at least 20 carries.
What will happen: Michigan will play like its fans have been waiting for and will look like a top ten team. This is the game when things will start to click.
CFN Prediction
Michigan 41 ... Central Michigan 10 ... Line: Michigan -27
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ...

(0-1) at NC State (1-0)   12 pm EST ESPNU Saturday, September 9th 
Why to Watch:  After struggling to put points on the board against D-IAA in a 23-10 win, Appalachian State, the Wolfpack tees it up against the defending MAC champion coming of a not-that-bad 34-16 loss at Penn State.  Akron can move the football with QB Luke Getsy and the passing attack, but going to Carter-Finley, a week after having traveled to Penn State, it’s a rough trip against a team looking for a big showing. Things ease up in a big way for the Zips after this playing Central Michigan, North Texas and Kent State, so an upset win could mean a big run.
Why Akron Might Win
:  Getsy. The senior quarterback will give the Zips a chance every week with his ability to throw downfield and put pressure on opposing secondaries.  In addition, he’ll face a secondary that may be missing NC State’s best cover-corner A.J. Davis along with a defensive line that’s still trying to get over the loss of several NFL draft picks.  Getsy can attack the Wolfpack secondary to stretch the field and open more running room for RB Dennis Kennedy.  The Zips defense shut down Penn State last week in stretches; NC State doesn’t have the offensive ‘cache’ that the Nittany Lions have.
Why NC State Might Win:  NC State RB Andre Brown is beast and is difficult for any defense to tackle on first contact.  Brown should see the ball 20 to 25 times to wear down a travel weary Zip defense to control the tempo  The Wolfpack defense is strong and quick against the run and has the potential to entirely eliminate Kennedy and the running game, putting the onus of the offense fully on Getsy’s shoulders.  Once they’ve taken away the running game, they can bring a myriad of blitzes at Getsy, along with showing him different coverages and ‘looks’ downfield.
Who to Watch:  For the second consecutive week, all eyes will be on Wolfpack QB Marcus Stone, and that might not change for the next 11 games.  He completed seven passes against Appalachian State for a meager 36 yards. Let’s just say the offense is looking for a wee bit more production.  Versatile Zip rover John Mackey is the key for the Zip defense on Saturday with his ability come up and play the run (eight tackles against Penn State) and in pass coverage. He has to stop NC State WR Darrell Blackman, or at least keep him in check.
What Will Happen:  Brown will help the Wolfpack control the football for 35 minutes plus keeping the Zips offense off the field and the defense fresh.  The State defensive line, led by DT Tank Tyler and DE Ray Brooks, should allow the linebackers to continue to roam free to the ball by dominating the Zips at the point of attack, while the offense should find more offensive balance and put the Zips away in the fourth quarter.

CFN Prediction: NC State 24 ... Akron 16 ... Line: NC State -10
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2

Kent State
(0-1) at Army (0-1)  1 pm EST ESPN Classic Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Thanks to Temple and a few scattered Sun Belt programs, this isn't a battle of the two worst teams in the country. After one game, it's not far off. Army was horrendous in a 14-6 loss to Arkansas State showing no offense and no run defense whatsoever. Kent State got steamrolled over by Minnesota in a 44-0 loss and is desperately trying to find some semblance of an offense to break a ten-game losing streak.
Why Kent State might win: Arkansas State isn't exactly Minnesota. Despite the stats and the performance against the Gophers, the Golden Flashes are improved with more weapons to work with on offense and a defense that should be able to hold up against the mediocre teams. Army certainly qualifies. The Black Knights didn't find anything to hang their hats on against the Indians and are far away from being consistent in any phase.
Why Army might win: Fine, so the Golden Flashes have more talent, they still have to show they can score. Over the last six games, all losses, KSU has averaged less than a touchdown per outing. Army was able to come up with three Arkansas State turnovers and was only able to generate six points, but if it can keep forcing mistakes, the offense will start to capitalize. It has to. Kent State's offense isn't nearly sharp enough to get through this without giving it a way a few times.
Who to watch: Kent State was supposed to have a dangerous passing game coming into the year, but starting quarterback Michael Machen has had problems with an injured shoulder. Now the job is Julian Edelman's, and it will be even if Machen is back with his mobility and maturity from the JUCO ranks to come in handy as the season goes on. Now he has to produce.
What will happen: It won't be pretty, but Army will rebound and play far sharper than it did last week. Kent State won't be able to run like Arkansas State did.
CFN Prediction
: Army 23 ... Kent State 17
... Line: Army -4
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1.5

Miami University
(0-1) at Purdue (1-0)  1 pm EST Saturday, September 9th
Why to watch: Were the week one performances by these two really show their real skin? Miami had to deal with an emotionally charged Northwestern team that wasn't going to lose the first game back after the death of Randy Walker. Purdue tagged poor Indiana State for 60 points and need to keep putting up big numbers to try to erase all the problems of last year. As average as MU might be, it'll still be a nice test for the Boilermakers with a showdown with Notre Dame coming up soon.. Things ease up in a big way for the RedHawks after this with games against Kent State and Syracuse, but a win in West Lafayette would do wonders for national respect when it comes to bowl time.
Why Miami University might win: Most looked at the final score in the Purdue win over Indiana State and assumed it was a total annihilation from the word go. and that was sort of the case, but the Sycamores came back and made a game of it thanks to some big plays. If the RedHawks can come up with a few turnovers and a big kick return from Ryne Robinson, this should be interesting. It didn't show against Northwestern, but MU has a strong running game with the backs to control the tempo. However ...
Why Purdue might win: ... Northwestern's run defense was among the worst in the nation in 2005, so either things changed in a huge way this off-season, or Miami's running game didn't play as well as it should've. Purdue might not hold the RedHawks to 73 rushing yards if it's D plays like it did against the Sycamores, but the game plan will be to stuff the run first and make MU QB Mike Kokal win the game. If this gets into a shootout of any sort, Purdue will win in a walk.
Who to watch: The two quarterbacks hold the keys to their respective team's seasons. Kokal wasn't bad against Northwestern completing 16 of 26 passes for 182 yards and showed off a little of his mobility, but he didn't generate any consistent drives. He needs to keep the chains moving with his feet as well as his arm for the RedHawks to have a shot. Running isn't a problem for Purdue's Curtis Painter, who dashed for two touchdowns and threw for 261 yards and two scores last week. He's great at running the option and knows how to find top receiver Dorien Bryant, but he has to up his completion percentage and has to be more comfortable in the pocket.
What will happen: Miami will play a lot better, Purdue will play a little worse, and this will be surprisingly close until midway through the fourth quarter.
CFN Prediction
Purdue 31 ... Miami University 20 ... Line: Purdue -16.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2.5

MAC Week Two Fearless Predictions, Part 2