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MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 8, Part 2

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 26, 2006


Preview and predictions for the week nine MAC games, Part 2


MAC
East  Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami Univ. | Ohio
West  Ball State | Central Mich | Eastern Mich | No. Illinois | Toledo | West Michigan
Past MAC Predictions:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

How'd we do so far? 55-12 straight up, 32-27-2 ATS


Week 9 MAC Fearless Predictions | Get Tickets for These Games

Ball State (2-6) at Miami University (1-7), 2:00 EST, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: Bowl-bound teams get 15 practices in December to get better looks at those underclassmen that’ll vie for starting jobs in 2007.  Ball State and Miami will get the next four games.  Neither Brady Hoke nor Shane Montgomery will empty out his bench this weekend, but both coaches would like to give more reps to the next generation of players.  For a ray of hope, the Cardinals can point to Nate Davis, the true freshman quarterback who leads the MAC in passing efficiency and is No. 7 nationally, despite struggling in last week’s loss to Western Michigan.  After losing 19 seniors and eight all-league players, Miami was supposed to slip this fall, but not this far.  Last week’s loss to Akron ensured that the RedHawks would finish below .500 for the first time since 1993.
Why Ball State might win: Whether it’s been Davis or Joey Lynch behind center, the Cardinals have been able to go vertical as well as any other team in the conference this fall.  They average 285 yards passing a game and boast a quartet of quality receivers that’ll find the soft spots in the RedHawk defense.  No one in the country allows more sacks than Miami, which means another shaky afternoon for the offense.
Why Miami might win: While the RedHawk defense has been respectable in 2006, the Cardinal D has been one of the flimsiest in America.  Miami has struggled on offense for most of the year, but will get healthy against a Ball State unit that’s dead last in pass defense and next-to-last in total defense.  WR Ryne Robinson, the one headliner left in Oxford, will have the sixth multi-touchdown game of his career.
Who to watch: A lack of recognition may keep Ball State’s Darius Hill from winning the Mackey Award given to the nation premier tight end, but not a lack of talent.  One year after catching just 11 balls, the junior leads all tight ends with 585 receiving yards and is second among receivers with 10 touchdown catches.
What will happen: Expect a flurry of passes, very little rushing production. The BSU passing game will be better than Miami’s.
CFN Prediction: Ball State 27 … Miami University 24 ... Line: Miami -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ... 1.5


Eastern Michigan (1-6) at Western Michigan (5-2), 3:30 EST, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: If Western Michigan’s game with Central Michigan two weeks from now is going to have MAC championship implications, the Broncos have to keep winning to stay within a game of the front-running Chippewas.  They’ve remained in the hunt with a balanced offense and a defense that’s had the capability and the athleticism to take over games.  Eastern Michigan may be 1-6, but the Eagles have found ways to be competitive in most games and are coming off its first win of the season, a 17-13 upset of Toledo.
Why Eastern Michigan might win: Despite the slow start, the Eagles are playing their best football of the season.  The offense displayed rare balance last week, getting 70 yards rushing and a score from Pierre Walker and the pass defense has turned the corner since getting paddled in the first two games.  The defensive bookend of Jason Jones and Kevin Howe gives Eastern a pass-rush that’s helped keep opposing quarterbacks in check.
Why Western Michigan might win: The Bronco defense has been hell on everyone it’s faced this season.  It leads the nation in turnover margin, picking off at least two passes in each of the last six games, and leads the MAC in sacks and total defense.  Eastern Michigan’s league-worst offense will have a devil of a time reaching double-digits against Western Michigan, let alone scoring enough to trigger an upset.
Who to watch: Against Ball State last Saturday, Western Michigan’s Ameer Ismail did more in four quarters than some defensive players do in four years.  The senior linebacker went berserk, collecting 13 tackles, an NCAA-record tying six sacks and a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown.  With as much attention as Ismail is going to get the rest of the way, everyone around him will be able to make more plays.
What will happen: The Western Michigan defense will snuff out any thoughts of a letdown, creating a couple of early turnovers that Bronco back Mark Bonds will cap off with short touchdown runs.
CFN Prediction: Western Michigan 31 … Eastern Michigan 10 ... Line: WMU -15
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ... 1.5


Akron (3-4) at Toledo (2-6), 7:00 EST, ESPN360, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch:  Back in August, this game had the look of a possible MAC Championship preview.  Looks can often be deceiving.  The Zips and the Rockets have been two of the league’s biggest disappointments in 2006, falling out of the conference hunt by mid-October and failing to capitalize on last season’s momentum.  Toledo has never recovered from getting rocked by Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, losing four straight games in ugly fashion.  Last Saturday’s loss to winless Eastern Michigan was a clear sign there’d be no second-half rally from the Rockets.  After beating Miami University a week ago, Akron is clinging to the hope it can get hot enough down the stretch to parlay seven or eight wins into one of the league’s four automatic bowl berths.
Why Akron might win: A date with Eastern Michigan, the MAC’s worst offense, was the only thing that kept Toledo from allowing more than 40 points for a fourth consecutive game.  Other than LB Mike Alston, the Rocket defense is on life support, and about to get exposed again by an Akron offense that’s showing signs of balance after Dennis Kennedy ran for 129 yards and two scores in last weekend’s win.
Why Toledo might win: Injuries, poor pass protection and turnovers have plagued the Rockets all year, but a change in fortune will happen this weekend.  QB Clint Cochran returned from an injury last week to lead Toledo to a pair of fourth-quarter scores in his three series of work.  He’ll provide senior leadership that was missing when freshmen Aaron Opelt and Brandon Summers were calling signals.  For a change, Rocket quarterbacks won’t be running for their lives against an Akron D that had just four sacks before last week’s game with Miami.
Who to watch: When he gets protection and even moderate support from the running game, Akron’s Luke Getsy is still one of the best passers in the MAC, despite his mediocre output this fall.  He’ll use the sputtering Toledo defense and the field-stretching skills of freshman David Harvey as a launching pad for a strong finish to an otherwise forgettable senior year.
What will happen: Every game matters, but you got the sense last week in Ypsilanti that there was nothing left in the Toledo tank.  Akron still has something to play for, which will be evident in a comfortable double-digit win.
CFN Prediction: Akron 27 … Toledo 17 ... Line: Akron -5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ... 1.5


Week 9 MAC Fearless Predictions | Get Tickets for These Games