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Thur. Night Football - Akron vs. Ohio Preview
Posted Nov 15, 2006

Preview and predictions for the week Twelve 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 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11

Week 12 MAC Fearless Predictions, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games

How'd we do so far? 63-15 straight up, 39-31-2 ATS

MAC Game of the Week

Akron (5-5) at Ohio (7-3) 7:30 PM EST ESPNU Thursday, November 16th
Why to Watch: Out with the old, in with the new? Ohio can wrap up the MAC East title with a win, while defending champion Akron can make things very interesting if it can pull off the upset. The Zips need to win this week and beat Western Michigan to finish up, while hoping for Ohio to lose to Miami University, to throw everything for a loop. With a two-game winning streak, the Zips are playing as well as they have all year, and now they're looking for their first good win since beating NC State in early September. Ohio is on a five-game winning streak including a win at Illinois and a season-defining win over Kent State to take control of the East.
Why Akron Might Win: Has Ohio faced a passing game yet this year? Technically, the Bobcats have the seventh best pass defense in the nation allowing just 153 yards per game, but the best passing game it's dealt with was Missouri's, and Chase Daniel threw for 258 yards. Everyone else on the slate runs the ball. That's not to say Ohio doesn't have a decent secondary; it's just untested. However, Luke Getsy and the Akron passing offense should be able to move the ball a bit.
Why Ohio Might Win: If this comes down to field position and the punting game, Ohio will have a huge advantage. The Bobcats need to run the ball to win, so it's vital they always stay close to the Akron side of the field and don't have to go on long drives. That shouldn't be a problem with a tremendous punt return game (although, i t hasn't had a chance to show it off much over the last few weeks), and a punting game that averages more than six yards a kick than Akron's. The Zips are second-to-last in America in punt returns and 10th in punting
Who to Watch: This game is all on Getsy. The Akron senior has been solid all year and turned it on over the last few weeks throwing six touchdown passes and just one interception in his last two games. It helps to play Bowling Green and Buffalo, but he's making better decisions and has been more accurate. The emergence of freshman David Harvey has helped. The young receiver has turned into a top playmaker with 11 catches for 230 and four touchdowns over the last two games.
What Will Happen: Ohio's defense will force Akron to be one-dimensional, while the running game will seal the East with a sixth straight 100-yard game from Kalvin McRae.
CFN Prediction
: Ohio 20 ... Akron 13  .. Line: Ohio -6
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2.5

Ball State (3-7) at Toledo (4-6) 7 PM EST ESPN2 Tuesday, November 14th
Why to Watch: Also-rans in the MAC West race, each still has something to play for on national television. Toledo has won two straight and has a shot to finish up a fantastically disappointing season with a .500 record if it can beat the Cardinals this week and close out with a win over Bowling Green next Tuesday night. BSU scored more points on Michigan, thanks to some help from the defense, than anyone has all year in a 34-26 loss a few weeks ago. At 3-3 in MAC play, a shot at a winning conference record is there with a win in Toledo.
Why Ball State Might Win: Ball State's one mega-weakness, pass defense, won't likely be exposed by a Toledo team that can't throw. Toledo's Aaron Opelt might be a shot in the arm for the offense at times this year, but he's a wildly inaccurate passer throwing for a mere 49 yards on Northern Illinois last week. If the Ball State run defense can shut down Jalen Parmele and Richard Davis and force Opelt to win the game, it might not be pretty. However ...
Why Toledo Might Win: ... Ball State's run defense is hardly a prize. It doesn't help the stats to get rolled over by Michigan for 352 yards and three touchdowns, but the Cardinal defensive front really hasn't been up to the task all year even against the most pedestrian of ground games. The Toledo offensive line appears to have finally found its stride over the last few weeks and should be able to control the game from the start.
Who to Watch: The future of MAC football might be here in this game in the quarterbacks. Opelt was handed the keys to the offense early in the season and has had his moments both good and bad, but for the most part, he's been able keep the offensive moving and has handled the pressure relatively well. However, if the running game's not working, he's not the type of quarterback yet who can carry the offense. On the other side, Nate Davis is making a big pitch for All-MAC status throwing for 1,495 yards and 15 touchdowns. His key is avoiding interceptions having thrown at least one in each of the last five games. With no consistent running game to get excited about, he has to shine to give the Cardinals a shot.
What Will Happen: Toledo's defense will be just a bit better and the running game will do a bit more to overcome a nice, 250+ yard day from Davis.
CFN Prediction
: Toledo 26 ... Ball State 20 .. Line: Ball State -4.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2

Miami University (1-9) at Bowling Green (4-6) 7:30 PM EST ESPN2 Wednesday, November 15th
Why to Watch: What was expected to be the battle for the MAC East title before the season has now turned into an afterthought between also-rans. Miami has been a disaster losing three straight since the way-too-close win over Buffalo, but it gets a chance to be a spoiler looking to ruin Bowling Green's chance to finish .500 and sour Ohio's great season next week. Bowling Green's season went into the tank with a three-game losing streak bottoming out with a loss to Temple two weeks ago. If the Falcons can close out with wins over the RedHawks and Toledo, they have a slim chance to win the East if everything breaks the right way.
Why Miami University Might Win: The Bowling Green secondary has gone into the tank giving up 11 touchdown passes in the last five games giving up over 200 yards through the air to everyone but Temple. Since Miami doesn't/can't run and has bombed away for an average of 262 yards a game over the last five, putting up big numbers against the porous Falcon secondary shouldn't be a problem.
Why Bowling Green Might Win: If you can't stop the run, you can't stop Bowling Green. Helped by mobile quarterback Anthony Turner, the Falcons lead the MAC in rushing and have scored eight touchdowns on the ground over the last four games. The RedHawk linebackers aren't going to be able to contain Turner on the outside, while Chris Bullock should be able to rumble wherever he wants to. Bowling Green's offensive line should own parts of the game.
Who to Watch: Can Turner start proving he's a winner? He ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns against Akron, along with 192 passing yards, and lost. He threw well against Central Michigan, and lost. The sophomore is a tremendous all-around talent who should grow into a weapon over the next few seasons, and now he has to win his final two games to show the coaching staff, and the team, that he's the type of player who can make a good team a potential MAC champion.
What Will Happen: Miami's lines aren't improving. Bowling Green should be able to generate pressure into the backfield, while Turner and the Falcon running game should crank out over 250 yards of rushing offense.
CFN Prediction
: Bowling Green 23 ... Miami University 17 .. Line: Bowling Green -4
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2

Central Michigan (7-3) at Northern Illinois (5-5) 8 PM EST ESPNU Friday, November 17th
Why to Watch: This year's MAC West champion, Central Michigan, tries to keep its impressive five-game winning streak going against the 2005 MAC West champ, Northern Illinois, whose season has gone from disappointing to disastrous with a two-game losing streak meaning it has to win the final two games to finish with a winning record. The Huskies have been shockingly ineffective on offense, while the defense has been awful from the start. CMU's three losses came to Boston College, Michigan, and a bowl bound Kentucky.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: Considered more of a running team because of Ontario Sneed, Marcel Archer, and mobile quarterback Dan LeFevour, the Chippewas have actually been more explosive through the air ranking third in the MAC averaging 240 passing yards a game. CMU's balanced offense, the best in the league can win either on the ground or the air, but it should be able to bomb at will on a NIU secondary that got lit up by everyone this year but Toledo, who played last week in a thick fog. Even Temple threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns on the Huskie corners.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: Letdown. Central Michigan doesn't have anything to play for other than making the record look better, so there's a chance it comes up with its first clunker since the 24-17 overtime win over Eastern Michigan. The CMU secondary has given up yards with teams in comeback mode, and it can be dinked and dunked on a bit. As long as the NIU quarterbacks get a little bit of time, he should be able to come up with a 200-yard game, but ...
Who to Watch: ... who's going to be the Huskie signal caller? Phil Horvath was yanked in the in the Toledo game after making a bad decision, but Dan Nicholson wasn't any better completing just seven of 20 passes for 45 yards. The passing game has been effective at times throughout the year, but consistency has been a major problem. Horvath has only thrown 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, but he still gives the team its best chance to win. If the coaching staff is looking towards the future, Nicholson is in.
What Will Happen: Central Michigan is the most complete team in the MAC. The offensive balance will be too much for the Huskies to overcome with its struggling attack.
CFN Prediction
: Central Michigan 27 ... Northern Illinois 14  .. Line: Central Michigan -3.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Bachelor: Rome) ... 2.5

Week 12 MAC Fearless Predictions, Part 2 | Get Tickets for These Games