MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 5
Posted Sep 27, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week five 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 | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

How'd we do so far? 34-7 straight up, 19-14-2 ATS

Week Five MAC Fearless Predictions, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games

MAC Game of the Week

Akron (2-2) at Kent State (2-2) 2:00 PM EST  GamePlan Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: Raise your hand if you ever thought Kent State would be a part of a Game of the Week? The Golden Flashes have been surprisingly solid after an 0-2 start with road wins over Miami University and Bowling Green for a stunning 2-0 MAC record with a chance to get three big wins in a row in East play. Akron is a tough team to figure out with a good win over NC State and a blowout over North Texas, but it's trying to get through a brutal first half of the season with five road games out of the first six. The defending MAC champion, would be in big, big trouble with a loss after suffering a setback in the MAC opener against Central Michigan two weeks ago.
Why Akron Might Win: Technically, the Kent State secondary is having a great season allowing only 135.5 yards per game, however, it hasn't faced anyone who's throwing the ball with any consistency. Akron's Luke Getsy will provide the first real test averaging 238 yards per game with six touchdown passes in his last two games. So far, it's been all about balance with the Zip offense winning both games when it went for over 100 yards and losing the two when it was under. KSU's run defense will give up 100 yards.
Why Kent State Might Win: Kent State has done a fantastic job of getting to the quarterback over the first four games with 12 sacks and consistent pressure. Getsy is a mobile veteran, but he'll make mistakes when he's trying to do too much under pressure, and he's been hit early and often so far behind a line that's having major consistency problems. If Getsy has to throw for 300 yards to win, that'll likely mean a few big interception chances coming KSU's way.
Who to Watch: Kent State sophomore QB Julian Edelman has taken the starting job by the horns and shows no signs of giving it back. After a rough opening day game against Minnesota, he has settled down and been a decent all-around playmaker. While far from a finished product, the JUCO transfer is becoming more and more accurate and has shown off the running skills not seen since the days of Joshua Cribbs. He's not going to outpass Getsy, but he might out play him.
What Will Happen: In a do-or-die game for the Zips, they'll come up with one of their most complete games yet. With Dennis Kennedy back from a shoulder injury, the running game will be there to provide the balance needed to come away with a big road win.
CFN Prediction
: Akron 20 ... Kent State 17 ... Line: Akron -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2.5

Toledo (2-2) at Pitt (3-1)  12:00 PM EST  ESPNU Saturday September 30th
Why to watch: Pittsburgh rebounded from a disappointing loss to Michigan State by disposing of The Citadel 51-6 to be in a position after this week to be 4-1 for the first time since 2002.  The Panthers have owned the MAC through the years but have dropped two of their last three against the conference including a shocking 35-31 loss to Toledo in 2003 that then-freshmen, such as H.B. Blades, Clint Session and Sam Bryant still haven’t forgotten.  After opening with a league game and two Big 12 road trips, Toledo finally got a breather last week against I-AA McNeese State.  With starting QB Clint Cochran nursing injuries and the Rockets trying to fuel their running game, the Cowboys wound up being a welcomed remedy. A confidence boost would be nice this week before diving back into MAC play against Central Michigan.
Why Toledo might win:  No matter who’s under center, the Rockets can light up a scoreboard.  In games against Iowa State and Kansas, both of which are no worse defensively than Pitt, Toledo averaged 40 points a game.  In their only game against a challenging offense, the Panthers were abused by Michigan State two weeks ago for 533 yards and 38 points.  In other words, Toledo will score. However …
Why Pittsburgh might win: … the pitch-and-catch combo of Tyler Palko to Derek Kinder has been one of the most prolific in the month of September and should get more than enough time to work against a shaky Rocket secondary.  The nation’s top rated passer has only been sacked three times so far, and Toledo shouldn’t be able to apply too much pressure. If Cochran can’t go again Saturday, Toledo will be forced to lean on freshmen QBs Brandon Summers and Aaron Opelt along with a stagnant running game that’s ranked 80th in the country.
Who to watch: Toledo’s answer to Pitt’s Blades and Session is All-MAC LB Mike Alston, a fierce defender, who’ll be asked to rally the youngsters around him on defense, while trying to make Palko uncomfortable on pass plays.  He has a knack for making plays in the opposing backfield, leading the Rockets with 5½ tackles for loss and three sacks.
will happen
: Toledo has already shown it can play with BCS schools, taking Iowa State to double overtime and beating Kansas in overtime.  The Rockets will hang with Pitt, but fall short with a second-half rally.                      

CFN Prediction
: Pitt 34 ... Toledo 24 ... Line: Pitt -14
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2.5

Bowling Green (2-2) at Ohio (2-2) 2:00 PM EST  Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: In the crazy MAC East race, neither team can afford a slip up. Ohio shocked Northern Illinois three weeks ago for a 1-0 start in conference play, and now it get s a chance to make a huge statement over the next two weeks with home dates with the Falcons and Western Michigan after getting pounded on over the last two weeks by Rutgers and Missouri by a combined score of 55 to 13.  Even at 2-2, Bowling Green has been a tremendous disappointment having way too many problems with Buffalo and FIU and getting blasted 38-3 by Kent State. A loss would send things spiraling downward with at trip to Ohio State up next week. .
Why Bowling Green Might Win: Which Ohio offense will show up? It's looking more and more like the explosion against Northern Illinois was a fluke, and now the running game, which was supposed to be a major plus, has hit the skids averaging a mere 69 yards per game while the offense ranks last among MAC teams. Bowling Green might not be playing all that well, but it's cranking out yards and should be able to outgain the Bobcats without much of a problem. However ...
Why Ohio Might Win: ... if Kalvin McRae and the Ohio ground game was ever going to wake up, this would be the game. The Bowling Green run defense has been consistently bad bottoming out last week against Kent State allowing 216 yards. The Falcons have allowed three rushing touchdowns in each of the first four games, and despite being held to -6 rushing yards against Rutgers and 43 against Missouri, Ohio will be licking its chops to go against a porous D.
Who to Watch: For the Bobcats to win, they'll need to control the Bowling Green running game and keep QB Freddie Barnes under wraps. That means Tyler Russ and Matt Muncy, arguably the league's best 1-2 linebacking tandem, will have to be nearly flawless. They had major problems over the last two weeks against the Tiger and Scarlet Knight running games, but they're sure tackler and are great at keeping decent gains from being long runs. The better they are,  the better the chance Ohio has of pulling off the win.
What Will Happen: McRae will get his second 100-yard day of the season while the Bobcat defense will come up with its best performance of the season.
CFN Prediction
: Ohio 31 ... Bowling Green 16 ... Line: Ohio -5.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2.5

Miami University (0-4) at Cincinnati (1-3) 3:30 PM EST  Saturday September 30th
Why to Watch: The battle for Ohio might not be at stake, but this is an important battle for the survival of each team's season thanks to a combined 0-7 record against D-I teams this year. A high scoring series in recent years, Miami has done the MAC proud winning four of the last five including a 44-16 thumping last year in Oxford. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, things are getting worse over the first month of the season with losses to Syracuse and Kent State after battling Purdue in overtime. With a MAC showdown against Northern Illinois coming up, this is a vital game for the team's confidence. Cincinnati finishes up its MAC World Tour with Akron next week before dealing with a trip to Louisville, so it desperately needs this win to get in the hunt for bowl eligibility.
Why Miami Might Win: The matchup works out well. MU's biggest weakness over the first four games has been run defense, and Cincinnati can't run, while the biggest strength has been passing, and the Bearcats can't stop anyone through the air. Cincinnati's biggest issue has been the offensive line with no pass protection and no push for the running game, so Miami has to find a way to disrupt the UC offense. However ...
Why Cincinnati Might Win:  ... as bad as the Cincinnati offensive line has been, Miami's has been far worse allowing a nation high 23 sacks in four games and doing nothing to open holes for the decent RedHawk backs. While each team is having problem, at least Cincinnati lost to Virginia Tech, Pitt and Ohio State. Cincinnati's most respectable loss was to Purdue followed up by last week's drubbing from Syracuse.
Who to Watch: It's all up to the offensive lines. Cincinnati QB Dustin Grutza has been a productive passer when he's had time to operate, but he hasn't had the luxury all that often. The same goes for Miami's Mike Kokal, who's a talented passer when he gets the chance to throw. Syracuse tagged him for seven sacks last week, and while he held on to the ball a bit too long at times, the offensive problems can't be pinned on him. In other words, the team that gets the better offensive line play will win the game.
What Will Happen: Cincinnati will get a bit more offensive balance to take the pressure off Grutza and come away with an ugly win. Don't expect any fireworks like in past seasons.
CFN Prediction
: Cincinnati 26 ... Miami University 20 ... Line: Cincinnati -8
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) ... 2

Week Five MAC Fearless Predictions, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games