MAC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 25
Posted Nov 21, 2006

Preview and predictions for all the week 13 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

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How'd we do so far? 67-18 straight up, 41-36-2 ATS

MAC Game of the Week

Western Michigan (7-4) at Akron (5-6) 3:30 PM ESPNU EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: Western Michigan is jockeying for bowl position looking for its eighth win of the season after battling Florida State in a 28-20 loss last weekend. On a two-game losing streak, the Broncos have to prove they deserve a 13th game by officially ending the defending MAC champion's season. The Zips lost to Ohio last week to make the Bobcats the East champion, but they can technically be bowl eligible with a win this weekend.
Why Western Michigan Might Win: The Akron offensive line has had issues in pass protection all season long and should have a nightmare of a time with Ameer Ismail and the Bronco defensive front. It'll be this simple for Akron: if it can't pass, it can't win. Dennis Kennedy and the Akron ground game will be lucky to get 100 yards on WMU, so if the Bronco offense can get up early, Akron might start to panic and start bombing away. That's what the Broncos want.
Why Akron Might Win: WMU tends to play up or down to its competition and doesn't blow anyone out. For whatever reason, the Broncos struggled against Eastern Michigan and Miami University, yet pushed Florida State. The team isn't good at putting games away with issues letting down even after getting all the momentum. This isn't a WMU offense built on comebacks, so a couple of early big pass plays, if Akron can get them, should mean everything.
Who to Watch: Luke Getsy led Akron to a MAC title, but he hasn't had the big senior year expected of him. Despite throwing for 2,530 yards and 18 touchdowns, he's been inconsistent and hasn't been efficient enough. In his final home game, look for him to throw, throw and throw some more. If Akron is going to go down, it's going to go down doing what it does best on offense.  
What Will Happen: Western Michigan has been good on the road this year and will be motivated enough to turn up the defensive heat and come up with a close win to get the eighth victory.
CFN Prediction
: Western Michigan 27 ... Akron 24 .. Line: Akron -1.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 2

Bowling Green (4-7) at Toledo (4-7) 7:30 PM EST ESPN2 Tuesday, November 21st
Why to Watch: What many though might be a MAC title preview a few months ago now is just for a confidence booster going into the off-season. These are two relatively young teams in key spots that should bounce back to be major players next year, but one team will go home with an ugly 4-8 season and a lot to work on. The other will go home with a 5-7 record with a lot to work on. Toledo lost a tough 20-17 battle to Ball State with no offensive consistency, while Bowling Green is on a four-game losing streak after missing a last-second field goal against Miami University.
Why Bowling Green Might Win: Toledo's run defense was mediocre all year long, and it got rolled over by Larry Bostic and Ball State last week. In a workmanlike performance, the Cardinal ran 33 times for 143 yards controlling the clock and the tempo. Bowling Green's ground game wasn't effective against Miami, but it's still the MAC's best with QB Anthony Turner and RB Chris Bullock able to run inside or out. The Toledo linebackers aren't playing well enough to keep the Falcons to under 200 yards.
Why Toledo Might Win: Outside of the Miami loss, Bowling Green runs a break, but don't bend, defense. It rarely comes up with the clutch play and never comes up with the stop whenever the offense makes mistakes. If field position is an issue, Toledo should win with one of the MAC's stronger punting games. Bowling Green has been awful in punt returns, worse in punt coverage, and even worse at getting any sort of net yards off the kicks.
Who to Watch: Let the quarterback battle begin. Aaron Opelt was being brought along at times this year to be the quarterback of the future while fighting through several mistakes. He started off the Miami game relatively well completing two of his first three passes, but he was still dumped for sophomore Clint Cochran as the coaching staff looked for even more of a spark. Cochran only completed 12 of 23 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, but his team still lost at home. Final impressions are big, so the one who plays better this week, if they both get to play, might have the big edge going into the off-season.
What Will Happen: Bowling Green's ground game will be more effective than it's been over the last several weeks, but it's still not going to be enough as Toledo uses the home field to come out with the win.
CFN Prediction
: Toledo 20 ... Bowling Green 13  .. Line: Toledo -6
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 1.5

Northern Illinois (6-5) at Eastern Michigan (1-10) 11 AM EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: Northern Illinois can all but seal a bowl bid somewhere with a seventh win of the year, but it has to prove it can be consistent after breaking a two-game losing streak with a resounding 31-10 win over MAC West champion Central Michigan. It might be the last game in the great career of NIU star RB Garrett Wolfe, who leads the nation with a 157.82 yard per game average going against an Eastern Michigan team looking for its second win of the season. Having been close all year with seven losses by eight points or fewer, it will try to go into the off-season on the right side for the first time since a win over Toledo in mid-October.
Why Northern Illinois Might Win: After weeks of being held in check, Wolfe finally broke out against Central Michigan with 203 yards and a touchdown as the offensive line finally got him room to move. That shouldn't be a problem against the nation's third worst run defense that played well against Kent State last week, but has been consistently motored on all season long. Even though linebacker, at times, has been a relative strength for the Eagles, the quickness isn't there to handle Wolfe if he gets into a groove.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: The Eagles have to give the Huskies long fields to work with as much as possible, and they should be able to with one of the nation's best punting games. While NIU has been decent at returning punts, it's been lousy on kickoff returns and does nothing with its own punting game. The defense has hardly been consistent with the secondary struggling all season long and the defensive front getting ripped up at times against effective ground attacks.
Who to Watch: EMU leading passer Andy Schmitt wasn't sharp against Kent State, and then he got knocked out with a dislocated shoulder meaning Tyler Jones, who's been part running back, part quarterback, will have to get the full-time nod. He's had his moments getting the passing game moving, highlighted by a 260-yard day against Bowling Green, but he's at his best on the move. The better he is through the air, and the more he can limit his interceptions, the better chance the the Eagles have of pulling off the upset.
What Will Happen: Wolfe needs 264 yards to hit the 2,000-yard mark. The NIU coaching staff isn't going to be afraid to feed their star the ball to get him the mark.
CFN Prediction
: Northern Illinois 23 ... Eastern Michigan 13  .. Line: Northern Illinois -7.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 1.5

Ohio (8-3) at Miami University (2-9) 12 PM EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: Ohio is already in the MAC title game winning the East title after beating Akron last week for the sixth straight win of the season. While the motivation might not be there with nothing to play for, and a bowl game already assured, it'll have to guard against going into the title game down and losing the momentum built up over the last few weeks. For Miami, this is the end of one of the most disappointing seasons in the MAC even after beating Bowling Green last week in a lifeless 9-7 game. Beating Ohio, even an unmotivated Bobcat team, would be a plus going into the off-season.
Why Ohio Might Win: If Ohio's heart is in it, Miami's run defense won't be able to slow down the Bobcat offense. The offensive line has been terrific over the winning streak doing a great job in pass protection while paving the way for six straight 100-yard Kalvin McRae rushing days. Ohio's defense has been fantastic in MAC play and is only allowing 15.45 points per game helped mostly by a stingy secondary that's been a rock over the second half of the season. MU has to throw to win, but consistency has been a major problem.
Why Miami University Might Win: How much rest will the Ohio coaching staff get its stars? While the team will certainly try, McRae isn't going to get the ball 31 times like he did last week. The Bobcats don't have the type of offense that'll throw points up on the board in bunches, so if this stays tight into the fourth quarter, MU should be able to pull away against several Bobcat backups.
Who to Watch: This will be the final game in the fantastic career of Miami receiver Ryne Robinson before he gets a tryout somewhere in the NFL. Known more throughout his career as a punt returner, he has spent most of his time as the team's top target turning in an All-MAC caliber season saving some of his best games for the last month highlighted by a ten-catch, 180-yard, one touchdown day two weeks ago at Western Michigan. He'll get the ball in his hands in a variety of ways to get the offense moving.
What Will Happen: Ohio is the far better, far more consistent team, but Miami will keep the mediocre Bobcat offense in check until late when the RedHawk offense will come up with one big play from the passing game to put it away.
CFN Prediction
: Miami 16 ... Ohio 13  .. Line: Ohio -4
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 1.5

Kent State (6-5) at Ball State (4-7) 12 PM EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: Kent State can all but secure a bowl appearance somewhere by getting its seventh win of the season, but it has to face a Ball State team fired up to make this its bowl game. The Cardinals beat Toledo last week after pushing Michigan to the wall the week before, and with a young team with plenty of solid prospects, going into the off-season with a win would be a huge confidence boost going into 2007. The Golden Flashes struggled with Eastern Michigan last week after losing three straight games including a 41-14 gack against Buffalo, but it'll all be forgotten about with a win.
Why Kent State Might Win: The Golden Flash strength smacks dead into Ball State's strength; efficient passing. KSU is fourth in the nation and fist in the MAC in pass efficiency defense while allowing just 149 yards per game thorough the air. Granted, the secondary hasn't faced many, if any, sophisticated passing attacks, but the corners are good enough to make life hard for BSU QB Nate Davis. The Cardinals are a pure passing team, so if that gets shut down, the offense will sputter.
Why Ball State Might Win: Why has Kent State hit such a wall over the last month? The running game has stopped and the mistakes have kicked in with five lost fumbles in the last month and 39 balls put on the turf (though most were recovered) on the year. Every time it seems like the offense is about to get going, something stalls the drive. While the Cardinal defense gives up yards in chunks, it's doing a solid job of not breaking all too often over the last several weeks. KSU's offense is hardly sharp enough to explode.
Who to Watch: Ball State might be a passing team, but RB Larry Bostic has been a key player providing balance at times. He ran over Toledo for 143 yards on a workmanlike 31 carries and was effective against Miami University. The more pressure he takes off Nate Davis, the better the offense has been running. Kent State is getting rushing production of its own with Eugene Jarvis coming off a 155-yard day against Eastern Michigan. He should roll for at least 100 on the porous Cardinals.
What Will Happen: Kent State needs this, Ball State wants this. The Cardinals have played far better over the last few games and will come up with just enough offense to pull it off.
CFN Prediction
: Ball State 23 ... Kent State 17  .. Line: Ball State -4
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 1.5

Central Michigan (7-4) at Buffalo (2-9) 1 PM EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: Central Michigan clinched the West Division already, but it would like to go into the title game against Ohio on a high note after getting ripped apart by Garrett Wolfe and Northern Illinois last week. Buffalo has played better, at least in MAC play, as the season has gone on showing a little more pop and better play from several young players. Beating CMU would show that Turner Gill's program is on the right track going into the off-season.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: While CMU doesn't need to win this game considering it's going bowling somewhere, a loss to Buffalo might put the Chippewas at the bottom of the MAC bowl game pecking order. In other words, it'll try. Buffalo's offense hasn't been nearly productive enough to suggest it can hang punch for punch with CMU is Dan LeFevour gets things rolling, but the big key will be turnovers. KSU lost to UB by turning it over five times, so if CMU can simply hang on to the ball, it should be able to win.
Why Buffalo Might Win: Will CMU's head already be focused on Ohio? An unfocused performance against Northern Illinois meant a blowout loss, and while BU doesn't have a Garrett Wolfe, it has an active enough defensive front that could force a few mistakes. CMU turned it over three times against the Huskies, and if the Bulls can get into the backfield and force a few mistakes, the offense should be able to capitalize.
Who to Watch: The CMU running game needs to get back on track, and that means Ontario Sneed and Marcel Archer need more carries. After getting down early against NIU, LeFevour had to start chucking it around with the two top backs finishing with just ten carries. The Chippewas aren't going to be able to just turn it on against Ohio next week, so look for the ground game to be established early on against the Bulls.
What Will Happen: Buffalo will come up with the effort, Central Michigan come up with the production.
CFN Prediction
: Central Michigan 30 ... Buffalo 14 .. Line: Central Michigan -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 1.5

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