Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
[breathes into paper bag]
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. It's actually here. The freakin' Day of MACkoning. WE PLANNED ALL YEAR FOR THIS, GANG.
It's an all-nonconference weekend, with eight games against the Big Ten, and a single showdown each with the Big East, Big XII, and Conference USA. We have varying warning levels of blowouts, BCS breakers, and boondoggles. Everything will start with a "B," you see.
And I wish I had an extra 18 days just to sift through all these fantastic games, bundled with possibility and purpose. But here we are.
For some reason, many people think that BG's in trouble because Matt Schilz is out with an injury and they still don't have a starter. No, this wasn't the problem. Denard Robinson still factors into why BG's going to get righteously owned. And also why you may see a MAC blogger weeping as he exits the gates of the Big House tomorrow. Guess: Michigan 41, BGSU 21
UConn is 0-1 in the MAC, which is worse than Buffalo. But even if the Bulls drop this one, at least they won't lose any ground in the standings. MATHEMATICAL LOOPHOLE? Or is Jordan Todman going to run for 400 yards on 10 carries? Guess: UConn 23, Buffalo 7, and no, Todman won't rush 10 for 400. Update/correction: mostly because Todman's out for the game.
What we do know is that Iowa can become wholly inconsistent when they travel to a distant land that causes people to sweat and hallucinate and see water where there is no water. Iowa doesn't have water, and they might sweat profusely, but not when they're playing a group of young men that can only beat SEMO-brand football teams. Anything better than 56-0, when these two played in 2005, will be a fresh change of pace. Iowa 48, Ball State 10
Ooh, a plucky little matchup here. The second or third best MAC team and a square-in-the-middle Big Ten team. It's a match made in sexy upset heaven. The only problem is Northwestern is 3-0, although their competition is Rice, Vanderbilt, and Illinois State. CMU wins aren't much better, but of all the games you see laid out in front of you, this one looks the most delectable. And apparently it's a trophy game. However ... you know what, NU starting off 4-0 could throw a crank in the Big Ten power struggle. I'm down with that. Guess: Northwestern 30, CMU 23
Oh, but this one I'll ride to the piggy bank. Two straight spunky road wins for Tim Beckman's side have turned that MAC East favorite pick into a better-looking shot-in-the-dark. The Boilermakers' special teams are weaksauce, their wins are unspectacular and Drew Brees ain't their quarterback. It's not even Kyle Orton. I could look it up, but that would detract from my main point here. Guess: Toledo 29, Purdue 28
And here's another extremely trendy, almost ahead-of-its-time selection, because Miami's looked so unMiami for the last two weeks, what with winning their games and feeling good about themselves. You almost have to forget how all teams played in Week 1, because the jitters are gone and the miscommunication has been corrected. If only the RedHawks had 11 Ryan Kennedys on defense, the outcome might be positive for the Oxfordians. Oh, and a slightly better offense, which is getting there. The only missing piece is about 16 botched plays from the opposition. Guess: Missouri 27, Miami 13
You want to pick Temple. You need to pick Temple. Penn State's offense does not have much going for it. They struggled to post 24 points against Kent State, and the Owls' defense is slightly better than that. Now add in a Big Ten-style offense — run, run, run, SERPRIZE PASS, clutch field goal — and you just might see Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown keep up with the Joe Paterno Speedwagon. If you want the Al Golden-to-Penn State rumors to fly and flutter as the season progresses, you need to pick Temple. But if you want to be right... Guess: Penn State 20, Temple 16
This is what I love about gamesmanship. OSU coach Jim Tressel tries to not take this game lightly. And in college football you can't look at ANY game as an automatic win. But ... you could probably venture to sleepwalk through this game if you're a top-five team. Tressel notes how he's seen improvement in EMU. And sure, they're better than last year. (They punt well!) In fact, it'd be more impressive to somehow be worse than that. But ... I'm sorry. When OSU is trying to convince people they deserve to be considered a football game, and the Eastern Echo is trying to convince people they deserve to have a football team, I just can't see it. Guess: Ohio State 48, EMU 0
Hats off to the Kangaroos for scheduling three FBS nonconference games, although everybody's still probably thinking about that Gardner-Webb game. It's for this reason you will start 0-4 — probably much more than that — but that's okay. You didn't soften the schedule to try and become a 6-6 bowl team at the end of the year. You're being yourselves, and that's admirable. Now, please try and at least be in this game in the second half, couldya? Guess: Indiana 33, Akron 7
I don't get you, Marshall. First you join the MAC, become the top dog, and then you leave. You never call for a few years, making us think you're just trying to distance yourselves from your past, and now all of a sudden you want to come back and start being friends with us again. BG last week, and now OHIO this week. You want to come back? We'll be glad to make room for you. But we just need to know where we stand. Rufus would like to know too. Guess: Marshall 23, OHIO 14
The night will end with this joyous romp through the pleasant northern metropolis of Minneapolis. The Twins are such a big story up there, I'm wondering if anybody's going to notice Chandler Harnish outgaining the Golden Gophers on total yardage. Probably somebody. They're an astute bunch up there. Guess: NIU 30, Minnesota 21
Byes: Kent State, Western Michigan