MAC Football Week 2 Preview, Or: Directional Illinois vs. Directional Michigan

Neat things to watch this weekend. 13 games, 13 stories. All times Eastern.

12:30 p.m. – Ball State (1-0, 1-0) at Clemson (1-0, ACC)
TV: ACC Network/ESPN3

I don't know if BSU has an extremely good chance of winning this one, but it's at least an opportunity for Jahwan Edwards to make a name for himself, y'know, other than Quake. Traditionally the Cardinals have faltered against bigger opponents, and actually looked terrible (see: 2011 vs. Temple, South Florida). I pray the eggs they drop are not entirely foul-smelling, as that would be extremely un-birdlike.

1:00 p.m. — Illinois State (1-0, Missouri Valley) at Eastern Michigan (0-1, 0-1)
TV: CSN Chicago/ESPN3/MAC-Sports.com

Possibly a dangerous game for the Eagles. ISU pounded Dayton 56-14 mostly due to a dangerous rushing attack that saw two rushers go well over 100 yards. And you saw how EMU slowed Edwards down. Might be dangerously close!

1:00 p.m. — Southern Illinois (0-1, Missouri Valley) at Miami (OH)
TV: ESPN3

There was a run there where SIU had a string of incredible games against the MAC and FBS in general. They upset NIU in 2007, Indiana in 2006, lost to NIU by one point in 2004 and only lost by a touchdown to WMU in 2005 and Marshall in 2009. In this case they've fallen back a bit, finishing 4-7 last year in the Missouri Valley Conference and was ousted 48-29 to Eastern Illinois in Week 1.

Having Miami switch opponents from Ohio State to Southern Illinois in consecutive weeks is like going from facing Lavos in Chrono Trigger to playing Southern Illinois in football.

3:30 p.m. — Michigan State (1-0, Big Ten) at Central Michigan (1-0)
TV: ESPNU

Lots of great harmony between our man Rovitz and The Only Colors, with our Q&A and their Q&A. Getting along is great. But what the heck is this shit, Central Michigan students? Some of you are cheering for Michigan State because they're better at football? I ... I don't know what to say. That's not your school. You may have grown up liking them, but that's not your current center of education. If you chose to get a degree in East Lansing, then you can be a Spartans fan. But it seems completely backwards to want Michigan State to win all the while spending thousands of dollars at a university, a fraction of which goes toward operating a football team that you are hoping loses.

Having said that, Michigan State is going to win this. But should CMU do the unthinkable, they'd be the first MAC team in 13 tries to beat a Big Ten school on MAC soil.

3:30 p.m. — Indiana (1-0, Big Ten) at UMass (0-1)
TV: ESPN3

Hey, looky, another Big Ten at MAC stadium, even if Gillette Stadium really qualifies as a "MAC stadium." It's a rental, but we'll take it. And it's UMass's first home game as an FBS team. There are going to be a lot of firsts this year for the Minutemen, and hopefully one of the "firsts" is their first win. It's a decent chance for the Minutemen to win, but they "first" must play their "first" game where they get at least 100 yards of offense. Baby steps.

But Indiana was nearly defeated by Indiana State, led by former WMU quarterback Mike Perish. Their weakness is MAC quarterbacks. It's time to see if Mike Wezgyn is ready for that honor, and we don't give it out easily to anyone.

4:00 p.m. — Toledo (0-1) at Wyoming (0-1, Mountain West)
TV: None (free radio broadcast on utrockets.com)

No TV? That's a shame, but if you do feel a slight shake, that was probably the Rockets offense and/or defense exploding for some reason. And if a Wyoming ball carrier suddenly shows up in your house, he ran all the way there because someone in the Toledo secondary didn't wrap him up.

On that note we helped out with some Q&As out in this game from our elevated brothers at Mountain West Connection and Cowboy Altitude.

6:00 p.m. — Tennessee-Martin (1-0, Ohio Valley) at Northern Illinois (0-1)
TV: ESPN3

UT-Martin beat Memphis 20-17 in their opener, and if you want to call that FCS over FBS, in the letter of the definition that is correct. By virtue of that win, UTM is now ranked 26th in the SportsNetwork FCS poll. Again, possibly a partial upset alert only because NIU occasionally dilly-dallies with FCS opponents (see: Cal Poly in 2011, North Dakota in 2010). NIU played an A-minus game against Iowa and a B-minus effort should be enough to vanquish the Skyhawks.

And if NIU needs anything else to play for, they're doing it for Mike Dunbar who was reassigned away from offensive coordinator duties to focus on his cancer battle.

6:00 p.m. — Morgan State (1-0, MEAC) at Buffalo (0-1)
TV: TWC/MAC-Sports.com

I am feeling so good about Buffalo's chances I'll instead have fun with game notes here. From the Morgan State release:

Travis Davidson returns as one of the top running backs in the MEAC ... The senior collected 107 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns, including a 70 yard TD run against Sacred Heart in the season-opener.

That's an excellent day, although they just tipped their hand that two-thirds of his yards were on one carry. Take away that one run and Davidson ran 21 times for 37 yards. Uh, neat!

Morgan State's victory came in overtime against Sacred Heart, 30-27. They may pose a few challenges on defense but that's about it. Bull Run gets deeper than me on this.

6:00 p.m. — Akron (0-1) at Florida International (0-1, Sun Belt)
TV: ESPN3

Another game against a Florida team that they have no business competing against, but they have to play out the schedule that Terry Bowden did not create. OK. If there's a kernel of hope, it's that while FIU is perceived to be dangerous, they were must mauled by Duke, of all teams. Duke!

But FIU had an interestingly horrendous game. They boasted over 500 yards of offense — almost 100 more than Duke had — yet they killed two of their possessions on fumbles, missed two field goals, turned the ball over three times on downs, and the only reason it was remotely close was two touchdowns at the end of the game, including a recovered onside kick.

Just mistakes everywhere, and mostly execution at critical times. If they didn't fix any of this, Akron's got a shot. But I'm mostly hoping for improvement from the Zips, and not losing by 40. Shoot for 20.

7:00 p.m. — Eastern Illinois (1-0, Ohio Valley) at Western Michigan (0-1)
TV: ESPN3

Hey, I already told you what happened with EIU. They whupped on Southern Illinois, and now they're both playing MAC teams to up the challenge a bit. What we know is that EIU loves to throw the ball, and they had seven passing touchdowns against the Salukis. They also love trickiness: two of their wide receivers threw TD passes.

I am hoping for 40 points from both teams, just to make this watchable. I am probably not going to get that. Western does not historically dick around with FCS competition. They systematically vaporize weaker competition.

7:00 p.m. — Idaho (0-1, WAC) at Bowling Green (0-1)
TV: ESPN3/BCSN

You know, I've said enough.

7:00 p.m. — New Mexico State (1-0, WAC) at OHIO (1-0)
TV: ESPN3

I don't know what to think of this one. I want to say, yep, Bobcats trounce these Aggies. So I choose to believe that. NMSU blasted Sacramento State 49-19 in their first game, but I'm not sure what to make of that. Last year the Bobcats struggled but eventually pulled through with a 20-point win in Las Cruces, and now OHIO is much much better than that 2011 opener. NMSU is marginally better. Do the math.

7:30 p.m. — Kent State (1-0) at Kentucky (0-1, SEC)
TV: ESPN3

And FINALLY, we get to a realistic SEC victory. Kent State had no business playing Alabama last year but Nick Saban wanted someone to kick around. They did not look good against them, naturally. But Kentucky did not look all that excellent against Louisville on Sunday, and yes it was Towson but KSU looked great, save for ahem ahem throatclear.

I don't know if this one's important to win for KSU, but if they do it's going to be their first nonconference win over an FBS program since 2007 when they took down Iowa State 23-14 — and both teams finished 3-9. That's a long time. It would also likely serve as another reason for the SEC to try and do something about their weak link should the Flashes figure this one out, but it would also create a perception of an even deeper MAC East. I've been big on Kent State and you should be too, and hey, they've won five of their last six games ... nobody particularly outstanding but they're taking care of business. This would count as their finest win in a while on name recognition only, and maybe Roosevelt Nix starts getting more national attention.

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