MAC Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis
Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every MAC team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The MAC Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.


-  Akron - Nov. 7 vs. Kent State
This is a landmine because ... The timing stinks. Will the Zips be cashed after going on the road to face Buffalo, Syracuse, and Northern Illinois? Yes. Kent State will be looking to take advantage with what should be a decent defense and a potentially good offense led by Eugene Jarvis. Even though last year's game was a 30-27 Zip nail-biter, this will be more of a battle than Akron will want.

-  Bowling Green - Sept. 3 vs. Troy
This is a landmine because ... There really isn't a landmine game on the schedule, it's not like Bowling Green will be the prohibitive favorites in any game, but the season opener against Troy comes close. The season opener against the preseason Sun Belt title favorite has the makings of a nice midlevel bowl game and it'll be a good test for the Falcon offense. The Troy defense will be excellent.

-  Buffalo  - Oct. 10 vs. Gardner-Webb.
This is a landmine because ... GW is a mid-level FCS team, at best, but it can throw the ball. Buffalo will be coming off a MAC-title level game against Central Michigan and will be in the heart of the conference season when it has to deal with a passing attack that should finish among the top 15 in the FCS.

Kent State - Sept. 3 vs. Coastal Carolina
This is a landmine because ... Coastal Carolina is mostly known for being blasted 66-10 by Penn State last season, but it rebounded to put together a nice season. It doesn't do any one thing well, but it's a sound enough team to give the Golden Flashes problems in the season opener.

- Miami Univ.
- Nov. 5 at Temple
This is a landmine because ... The Owls are hardly going to be under the radar with dreams of playing for the MAC title, but they're not among the four best teams in the league. MU has a nasty first half of the season and needs to use the home games over the second half to go on a run. The one road game over the final five weeks is in Philadelphia and could be the one bump in the road over a hot final month.

Ohio - Sept. 19 vs. Cal Poly
This is a landmine because ... Head coach Rich Ellerson is off to Army, but Cal Poly still has a slew of very talented players from a team that was among the best in the FCS in offense. If anyone knows how to defend the option, it should be Ohio head man Frank Solich, but the Mustangs run it extremely well. The Bobcats will be coming off a road trip to North Texas.

- Temple - Sept. 3 vs. Villanova
This is a landmine because ... The battle for Philadelphia isn't going to be a layup in any way for the Owls. Villanova is coming off a 10-3 season with two losses to James Madison and one to West Virginia. The defensive front should give the Owls a lot of problems, while the ground game might control the action.


 Ball State
- Sept. 3 vs. North Texas
This is a landmine because ... The season opener will set the tone for the Ball State season. There's a new coaching staff, a lot of personnel turnover, and no respect in the ranking of MAC teams. North Texas is also looking for a big start and has the passing game to potentially pull off the upset. MiQuale Lewis will run wild on the Mean Green, but UNT's Riley Dodge could throw for well over 350 yards.

-  Central Michigan - Oct. 10 vs. Eastern Michigan
This is a landmine because ... The Chippewas aren't going to take their directional brothers lightly after losing last year in a shootout, but they could be looking ahead a little bit to the MAC game of the year, the October 17th date at Western Michigan. If the CMU defense isn't appreciably better than last year, it could get tagged again by Andy Schmitt and the EMU passing game.

-  Eastern Michigan - Sept. 5 vs. Army
This is a landmine because ... The season opener will mean everything to the two new coaching staffs. Eastern Michigan desperately needs the victory with road games against Northwestern, Michigan, and Central Michigan to come over the following month. The Rich Ellerson offense at Army will be impossible to prepare for. Is it going to be as good as Cal Poly's was last year? EMU has to deal with the option right away, and it might not be pretty.

- Northern Illinois - Sept. 12 vs. Western Illinois
This is a landmine because ... NIU will be coming off a date at Wisconsin and will be going to Purdue the following week, but they can't take the Leathernecks lightly. WIU only finished 6-5, but it pushed Arkansas in a 28-24 loss and has the type of rushing attack that could pull off the upset in DeKalb.

- Toledo - Sept. 26 at FIU
This is a landmine because ... There are a lot of bad things to worry about. From the trip to Miami, to the game against Ohio State, in Cleveland, the year before, to the big MAC opener at Ball State the following week, a potentially good Rocket team could be off to a disastrous start and could be extremely distracted. FIU will be circling this game as a key home date that it must win.

- Western Michigan
- Oct. 31 at Kent State
This is a landmine because ... It'll be an interesting October for WMU. After starting out on the road at Northern Illinois and Toledo, the Broncos have the Central Michigan showdown and face defending MAC champion, Buffalo. And then comes the trip to Kent State. WMU will not only be coming off a tough stretch, but it might be looking ahead to the big game up the road at Michigan State the following week.