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MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 4

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 20, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week four MAC games


MAC
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 | Week Two | Week Three

How'd we do so far? 26-5 straight up, 14-12-2 ATS


MAC Week Four Fearless Predictions, Part 2

MAC Game of the Week

Central Michigan (1-2) at Eastern Michigan (0-3) 3:30 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: You know it's a light week when the conference's best game is between two teams with a combined 1-5 record, but if these two play a game anywhere near as entertaining as their last two, when Eastern Michigan won 23-20 in overtime last year and won a 61-58 three overtime thriller the year before, it'll be the game of the week. The Eagles haven't been bad in an 0-3 start, but it's defense has a lot to be desired. Central Michigan pushed Boston College in the opener and got thumped by Michigan, and then righted the ship in a big way with a great 24-21 win over the defending MAC champion, Akron. Now the Chippewas have a shot to take a 2-0 MAC lead in the MAC race in a must-win with road trips to Kentucky and Toledo ahead.
Why Central Michigan might win: CMU is far, far more battled tested playing three nasty teams, while EMU's toughest game was against Michigan State. The Eagle defense did a great job against Northwestern, but it wasn't even close in the first two games and should have a nasty time with CMU's offensive balance. The Eagle offense hasn't been nearly efficient enough to keep up the pace if CMU gets out to a big early lead.
Why Eastern Michigan might win: CMU's pass defense hasn't even been close, and when it didn't allow a ton of yards, against Michigan, it was because it was being steamrolled over. Yeah, the Chippewas picked off Akron's Luke Getsy three times, but it also gave up 375 yards. That's great news for ...
Who to watch: ... Eastern Michigan WR Eric Deslauriers. You'll have to forgive the big senior if he spent this week drooling after catching 24 passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns over the last two seasons. He started off the season hot with ten grabs for 127 yards and a score against Ball State, and was held in check over the last two weeks. Expect him to break out and come up with yet another huge day with at least two big deep plays.
What will happen
: Can this really be another great overtime shootout? Absolutely. Neither defense can stop the other team's offense, but Central Michigan's attack is a little better.
CFN Prediction
:
Central Michigan 38 ... Eastern Michigan 31 ... Line: Central Michigan -4.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 2.5

Kent State (1-2) at Bowling Green (2-1) 1:00 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: Kent State went from also-ran, afterthought status to a living, breathing MAC East contender after a 16-14 win over Miami University. O.K., so contender might be a wee bit strong, but it might not be the pushover it was last year. The next two weeks will make or break any MAC title dreams with a date with Akron up next week. Bowling Green certainly hasn't been the Bowling Green of old with a great running game and no passing attack, but it's 2-1 after way-too-close wins over Buffalo and Florida International. With road trips to Ohio and Ohio State ahead, the Falcons have to come away with a win.
Why Kent State might win: Kent State's rushing attack isn't back to the days of Josh Cribbs, but with Julius Edelman at the helm, there's far more production from the ground game than last year when it was the worst in the country. Bowling Green has done absolutely nothing against the run over the first three games and should give up at least 200 yards to the Golden Flash attack. The KSU D has been solid against teams its own size, but ...
Why Bowling Green might win:  ... the offense isn't scoring. It's not like the Golden Flashes are going to hang 50 on the board. As good as Edelman has been, he's still raw and still makes mistakes. The biggest issue has been keeping the chains moving and scoring when the offense does go on long drives. Bowling Green's offense might have changed since last year, but the running game is leading the way to points. Bowling Green knows it can score 30 points; Kent State hasn't broken 17.
Who to watch: The experiment is working. Bowling Green is playing two quarterbacks with freshman Freddie Barnes being used as both a running back and a quarterback and Anthony Turner working more as the team's main passer. Each has ranked out a 100-yard rushing day and each keeps the opposing defense on its toes. There's not a whole bunch of continuity to the offense, and the passing game needs more pop, but these two should combine for at least 150 yards.
What will happen
: Bowling Green has too much offense for Kent State. There's no proven point production from the Golden Flash attack.
CFN Prediction
:
Bowling Green 26 ... Kent State 17 ... Line: Bowling Green -7
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1.5 

Ohio
(2-1) at Missouri (3-0) 2 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: One ... more .. non-conference ... game to go. There was plenty of talk around Missouri this off-season about wanting to finally get through a non-conference schedule unscathed, and this is the team to do it. The defense is ranked second in the nation, the offense is diverse and effective, and very quietly, this is starting to become the sleeper team in the upcoming Big 12 race. Of course, Ohio isn't just going to come in and lie down for the Tigers. Frank Solich's team has played well over the first few weeks shocking Northern Illinois and playing Rutgers relatively well. However, this is the the team's third road game in a row before resuming MAC play against Bowling Green next week.
Why Ohio might win: The defense has held up well despite playing against two great backs in NIU's Garrett Wolfe and Rutgers' Ray Rice. The pass defense has been fantastic so far and the rest of the team is doing many of the little things right with good special teams and just enough timely offense, including an explosion over Northern Illinois, to be competitive. This is no cupcake rolling into Columbia.
Why Missouri might win: The Bobcat offense is way too inconsistent to win this game. It somehow found a way to tear up NIU for 332 yard through the air, but its running game, even with a great back in Kalvin McRae, was held to -6 yards against Rutgers. The Tiger defense has been a brick wall against the run so far allowing just 132 yards in three games. If Ohio doesn't get a brilliant game out of QB Austen Everson and/or Brad Bower, it's going to lose and lose big.
Who to watch: Brad Smith was both good and bad for Missouri. The record-setting former quarterback was a tremendous talent who could win games by himself, but he also had to try to often to do it alone. This year's Tiger team is getting more production out of all the skill players, and it's paying off in a better, finer-tuned attack. One of the big pluses has been the emergence of junior RB Tony Temple, who tore off 168 yards last week against New Mexico for his second 100-yard day in the first three games.
What will happen: Expect Ohio's defense to keep this tighter than Tiger fans might like for about a half. And then look for the Mizzou D to capitalize on a few big Bobcat offensive mistakes.
CFN Prediction
:
Missouri 30 ... Ohio 10 ... Line: Missouri -20.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ...

Buffalo (1-2) at Auburn (3-0) 2:30 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: Ahhhh, the breather. Auburn escaped a controversial 7-3 win over LSU in a defensive classic to take the lead role in the SEC race and be in the mix for the national title. Before the Tigers venture out to South Carolina to continue their conference slate, they get a Buffalo team that's been far more competitive under new head coach Turner Gill than it was on previous seasons. The Bulls got blasted 31-13 by Northern Illinois last week, but pushed Bowling Green the week before in a three overtime loss and beat Temple. They can afford to get a little beaten up with two weeks off before the home date with Ball State.
Why Buffalo might win: The only possible shot the Bulls have of keeping this from being a laugher is if Auburn has completely ignored this game after last year's classic. The score might stay low with the Auburn starters certain to be pulled early. Buffalo might not be playing that well on either side of the ball, but its special teams have been fantastic with a great return game and good early performances from the kickers. UB might have a field position edge, and it should be able to conjure up a few field goals.
Why Auburn might win: Dress up in an Auburn uniform and you could probably tear off six yards a crack against the UB D. Buffalo held the pitiful Temple running game to 80 yards, but gave up 356 and four touchdowns to Bowling Green and 344 and three score to Northern Illinois. Kenny Irons might have 100 yards by the end of the first quarter. The Buffalo D line isn't strong enough to hold up for more than a few drives, while the offensive line has no hope of protecting QB Drew Willy.
Who to watch: Auburn's Brandon Cox has been great, and soon he has to take his game to another level. It helps to have Irons to hand off to, but now the junior quarterback has to start making more big plays happen and has to do more than just limit his mistakes. Now he has to use this game, and the half he'll probably play, to take more shots down the field like he did against Mississippi State. Expect a few bombs against a secondary that'll be cheating up to stop the run.
What will happen
: Auburn will have this in the bag by halftime, but won't obliterate the Bulls. UB's starters will go a full four, while Auburn's might play a half.
CFN Prediction
: Auburn 45 ... Buffalo 6
... Line: Auburn -42.5
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1.5 

Indiana State (0-3) at Northern Illinois (1-2) 3:05 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to watch: If Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe wanted to run for 500 yards, he could do it in this game. There might not be a sure-thing win for a NIU team that lost to Ohio and is coming off a 31-13 blowout over Buffalo, but this is it against an Indiana State team that started the season 0-3 with a 60-35 loss to Purdue and a 59-40 loss to Murray State along the way. NIU will try to tune everything up and get the backups some meaningful work before going on the road over the next three weeks to face Ball State, Miami University, and Western Michigan.
Why Indiana State might win: If Ohio can bomb away for 332 yards and three touchdowns on the NIU secondary, and Buffalo can throw for 250 yards and a touchdown, then anyone's passing attack can put up big numbers against it. ISU might be 0-3 and it might have one of the worst defenses in all of football at any level, but Reilly Murphy can throw the ball. A lot. He throws a lot of interceptions, but he has led the way for the D-IAA's sixth ranked passing attack.
Why Northern Illinois might win: Wolfe will have 100 yards rushing when he gets off the bus. ISU allowed 190 rushing yards and five scores against Purdue, 347 yards and two scores against Eastern Illinois, and 335 yards and three touchdowns to Murray State. NIU is 10th in the nation on the ground averaging 232 yards per outing. The three words you're looking for are Oh ... Dear ... Lord.
Who to watch: Northern Illinois knows it can run the ball with Wolfe. Now it's time once against for sophomore Montrell Clanton to get more work after rushing for 93 yards and a score against Buffalo. He's a tad bit bigger than Wolfe, but not all that much, and he has much of the same quickness. Wolfe needs as little work as possible to save himself for the bigger games ahead.
What will happen
: The horror ... the horror.
CFN Prediction
:
Northern Illinois 52 ... Indiana State 17 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating:
(5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1


MAC Week Four Fearless Predictions, Part 2