MAC Fearless Predictions, Week 9
Posted Oct 20, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week nine MAC games

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, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games

MAC Game of the Week

Ohio (5-3) at Kent State (5-2), 2:00 EST, ESPN360, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: The game of the week in the MAC will go a long way to determining the Eastern Division champ, especially if Kent State leaves Dix Stadium with its sixth consecutive victory.  The Golden Flashes continue to be the story this year in the conference, ascending to the top of the division, despite being pegged to finish near the cellar in the pre-season.  With a win, Kent also becomes bowl eligible, a vital step toward its first post-season game in 34 years.  If the Flashes are the story in the East, the Bobcats have emerged as the sub-plot.  Ohio has responded to a three-game losing streak that could have sapped its spirit, by winning three straight games, including a signature victory over the Big Ten’s Illinois.
Why Ohio might win: The Bobcat defense has been rock-solid throughout the year allowing more than 30 points in a game just once, despite facing Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Missouri and Illinois.  The unit is 14th in the country in pass efficiency defense, improving in run defense and second in the conference in points allowed.  Led by the linebacking duo of Matt Muncy and Tyler Russ, Ohio will put the brakes on the Kent running game, holding the Flashes to their lowest point total in more than a month.
Why Kent State might win
: Kent has improved as the season has progressed, the sign of a quality team.  The days of an unsure offense and a suspect defense are long gone.  As sophomore QB Julian Edelman matured into one of the league’s better playmakers, the productivity of the offense has soared, averaging 36 points over the last four weeks.  Along with RB Eugene Jarvis, who’s coming off a career day, the Flashes will wear down Ohio with balance and the occasional big play.  Ohio’s D is good, but Kent’s is actually better, sporting the MAC top pass defense, while allowing just 15 points a game since the opener with Minnesota.
Who to watch: Andre Kirkland continues to be the leading man of a Kent State defense that’s fueled this improbable run to a MAC title.  The senior safety has done a little bit of everything for the Flashes, leading the team in tackles, while pitching in 7½ tackles for loss, six passes defended, three sacks, three forced fumbles and a pair of picks.  Kirkland’s job this weekend will be to contain RB Kalvin McRae, Ohio’s only threat on offense.
What will happen: Kent will enjoy the closest thing it’ll get to a coming-out-party, stifling the one-dimensional Ohio offense and reducing its magic number for winning the East to one.
CFN Prediction: Kent State 27 … Ohio 14 ... Line: Kent State -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ... 3

Northern Illinois (5-3) at Iowa (5-3)  12 PM EST ESPNU Saturday October 28th
Why to Watch: It's a interesting off-week for both teams in their conference races with Northern Illinois facing a critical three-game stretch starting with Toledo next week and Iowa looking to prove it isn't totally average with Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota to close out a slightly disappointing regular season. The Hawkeyes didn't get much going in the 20-6 loss to Michigan and is on a two-game losing streak after the gag at Indiana. NIU got over a loss to Western Michigan with a blowout of Temple, but it could use a big, splashy win to get in the hunt for one of the MAC's at-large bowl bids.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: Iowa's leader, QB Drew Tate, is out with a thumb injury. The NIU pass defense has been abysmal all season long, while the defensive front has held up well against the run. If Iowa can't throw with any consistency and has to rely on a banged up Albert Young, who was held to 17 yards by the Wolverines, and Damian Sims to carry the load, there could be a few issues. However ...
Why Iowa Might Win: ... the Hawkeye running game has been terrific against the mediocre run defenses. NIU can slow down the run a little bit, but it's not the Ohio State or Michigan run D. Against everyone else, the Hawkeyes have averaged 178 yards per game ripping off 386 yards and three scores against Purdue and 175 yards and three touchdowns before getting stopped by the Wolverines. On the other side, star Huskie RB Garrett Wolfe, was held to 70 yards over the last two weeks; the Hawkeye D should be able to take a cue from the last two games and load up to keep him bottled up. Can NIU win the game through the air? Probably not.
Who to Watch: Tate's injury might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Jake Christensen will be the team's main man over the next few years after being one of the team's top recruits last season. He saw time in the opening day win over Montana completing all three of his passes, and now he needs as much seasoning as possible to go into 2007 with a little bit of experience under his belt. However, senior Jason Manson, the favorite among the players, was listed as a co-No. 1 on the depth chart and might see time. He has the experience, but he's been awful when given playing time throwing four interceptions in the close call win against Syracuse.
What Will Happen: Tate or no Tate, Iowa will have no problems as long as it keeps Wolfe under 200 yards. The Iowa offensive line, as average as it's been this year, will control things for the running attack taking the pressure off the passing game.
CFN Prediction
: Iowa 31 ... Northern Illinois 13 ... Line: Iowa -17.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ... 2

Bowling Green (4-4) at Temple (0-8), 1:00 EST, Saturday, October 28
Why to watch: There are lopsided series, and then there's Bowling Green vs. Temple. The Falcons are just 6-1 all-time against the Owls, but have won the last three times by a combined score 183 to 46 while hanging 70 on the board in each of the last two seasons. Temple is on a 20-game losing streak with no real hope in sight of pulling up with MAC contender Central Michigan, Penn State, and Navy coming up, so it might be this week of 24 straight defeats going into 2007. Despite the problems, there have been some improvements with more offensive production, but there hasn't been even a sniff of success since the 9-3 overtime loss to Buffalo in the season-opener. Bowling Green is two wins away from bowl eligibility and needs this game as a tune up for what has to be a big finishing kick to get a 13th game.
Why Bowling Green might win: The Falcons should be able to run all day long. Temple did a phenomenal job of bottling up NIU star Garrett Wolfe last week, but have been hammered and run over, around and though by anyone else. To be fair, NIU threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and didn't spend so much time with the ground game. The Owls have faced a few mobile quarterbacks, but no one who can tear off yards in chunks like Anthony Turner. RB Chris Bullock should be able to pound the ball.
Why Temple might win: Bowling Green isn't very good. Its defense is active, but it doesn't stop anyone cold and can get hit for big plays. Even though Temple's offense is hardly consistent or productive, it has been able to hit a few home runs. This isn't the Falcon offense of the past few years; it's not going to bomb away for 70 points.
Who to watch: Temple's big issue has been the offensive line that's going through growing pains. Senior tackle Elliot Seifert is the only upper-classmen, and outside of center Alex Derenthal, no one else has produced. The foundation is there in the backfield with young quarterbacks Vaughn Charlton and Adam DiMichele each showing a little bit of promise, and senior RB Tim Brown proving to be good enough to crank out 100 yards when he gets a little bit of room, so if the line plays well, Temple might have a shot to make this interesting.
What will happen: Don't be shocked if Temple makes this a game. The Owl offense will crank out a few yards, but the run defense won't be able to hold down the Falcon running game.
CFN Prediction: Bowling Green 30 ... Temple 17 ... Line: Bowling Green -20
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

Buffalo (1-6) at Boston College (6-1) 1:00 PM EST ESPN360 Saturday October 28
Why to Watch:  The Eagles get a one week respite from ACC play as Turner Gill’s Buffalo squad gets a nice payday.  Tom O’Brien’s crew returns home one week after an impressive win over Florida State in Tallahassee 24-19 to keep BC at the top of the ACC Atlantic Division and ahead of a hot Clemson team.  For the Eagles, this is the ultimate sandwich game, as they travel to Winston-Salem to take on conference co-leader Wake Forest next week.  For Buffalo, it’s the second non-conference game against a highly ranked BCS opponent (Auburn was the first), with a trip to Wisconsin on tap later this season.  The Bulls only have one win this season, and have lost six in a row, but have been more competitive than the record would indicate.  Competitive enough to ‘hang’ with Boston College?  We’ll see.
Why Buffalo Might Win: Buffalo can only hope that BC QB Matt Ryan sits this one out.  Ryan has been banged up since the first game of the season and was a gametime decision last week for the FSU game.  The Eagle signal caller gives his offense its identity and isn’t going to be nearly as sharp if he doesn’t play.  The Bull defense is ranked 31st in the nation against the pass, so even if Ryan does play, he’ll face a solid unit that really isn’t bad.
Why Boston College Might Win:  The Eagles have given up a total of 22 points in their last three games, while UB has been rumbled on by everyone allowing 227 rushing yards per game and is third to last in the nation in scoring defense giving up 36 points per game. The Eagles will move the ball at will even if Ryan rests his gimpy ankle/body.
Who to Watch:  Brian Toal gets most of the publicity within the BC linebacking corps, but fellow LBs Jolonn Dunbar and Tyronne Pruitt have been the leaders.  These two combined for 13 tackles at Florida State and have been strong against the run.  They won’t be tested much this week by Buffalo’s running game and should fly into the backfield and disrupt anything the Bulls try to do.
What Will Happen:  The only question in this one is whether Buffalo will put any points on the board.  Boston College will run the football more than it has throughout their ACC campaign to get this over with in a hurry to start dealing with Wake Forest.
CFN Prediction: Boston College 42 … Buffalo 7 ... Line: Boston College -36.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Flicka) ...

Week 8 MAC Fearless Predictions, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games