5-4 last week boys and girls, so we've taken a big step towards forgetting the abomination that was our first week of picks, or week three of MAC play. The margins were slim, but we were just six Western Michigan touchdowns from going 6-3. I certainly hope you did bet in week four, because much of the football across the nation was unwatchable. While Ohio State, Louisville, and Miami (Fla) all ran it up into the 70s, our own beloved conference was not immune to the blowout. The average margin of victory last week was over 26 points a game. So with our 5-4 week, we are now 7-14 for the season. Chin up degenerate bettor! We're now hitting on .333 of our picks, making us the Green Bay Packers of the MAC betting world. Or the Eagles! My girlfriend is a dog lover, so I'm not allowed to say anything positive about the Eagles. So let's be the Packers. Your week five picks:
Miami at Illinois (-24.5)
Fans of the common opponent rejoice! Both of these teams ran into Cincinnati on their non-conference slate with dramatically different results. Last week the Redhawks did battle with the Bearcats at Yager stadium. Cincinnati scored two late touchdowns en route to a 14-0 win. This game was a scoreless tie midway through the fourth, but Miami was simply dreadful on offense. Four first downs, 0-11 on third down, 87 yards of total offense, including seven on the ground. If they were still playing right now Miami wouldn't have any points on the board. Conversely, the Fighting Illini torched Cincinnati for 45 points on September 7th. Hop on this now, this spread could grown by Saturday. Take Illinois, lay the points.
Northern Illinois (-2.5) at Purdue
A position that Northern Illinois is familiar with. Favored against a Big Ten opponent. The Huskies took care of business the opening week, knocking off Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. Since then, the offense has been explosive, averaging over 500 yards of total offense in wins over Idaho and Eastern Illinois. The defense has been less impressive. The Vandals stung NIU for 35 points and the FCS Panthers did their best MACtion impression, losing late 43-39 in a thriller. I was going to say Purdue is the basement of the conference, but I was reminded Indiana is still a Big Ten member for at least another week. The Boilers have the 120th ranked offense in FBS football. This is the sort of game Northern gets up for and Purdue just wants to skip. Take the Huskies, lay the 2.5. Sorry Dad.
Akron at Bowling Green (-15)
Akron what are you supposed to be? A week after nearly pulling off a shocker at Michigan, the Zips drop a shootout at home to Louisiana-Lafayette. Of course, Michigan needed a Houdini act again to escape UConn, so maybe a win against the Wolverines isn't all that impressive. Bowling Green has averaged 41 points in three wins this year. This is a Falcon offense that can and will put up a ton of points. In Akron's lone win they gave up 33 points to James Madison. We said we'd give Akron one week following the Michigan thriller. They burned that week. Back to the Zip football your father knows. Take the Falcons, lay the points.
Toledo at Ball State
On October 20th, 2001, I attended a game at the then named Ball State Stadium between the Cardinals and the Rockets. As Ball State put the finishing touches on a win over #25 ranked Toledo, the student section prepared to rush the field and tear down the goal posts. With just over a minute left in the game, I started to join the throng of students. I felt a hand on my arm, and my girlfriend at the time implored me not to go. I insisted, shocked she would not be participating in the revelry. There's a famous scene in the Robert DeNiro classic, A Bronx Tale, where Chazz Palminteri explains what he refers to as "the car test." The car test is where you approach your locked vehicle, first unlock her door, and if she doesn't reach over to unlock the driver's side, she's no good. I prefer the goal post test. If a woman will not rush the field to tear down the goal posts, carry them through campus, throw them in the duck pond, and then inexplicably jump in to retrieve them, she's no good. I dumped her a week later. Chirp, Chirp!!
Central Michigan at North Carolina State (-24)
Man the Fightin' Chips sure did look sharp in those throwbacks last weekend didn't they? Almost didn't notice the 197 yards on 32 carries Toledo's David Fluellen shredded CMU for. Stop doing the math, it's six yards a carry. Blowout losses to Michigan and Toledo, victims to the greatest comeback in UNLV history, and a squeaker of a win against New Hampshire. That's Central Michigan's season. They're going through growing pains, I get that. Cooper Rush will have plenty of opportunities. The Wolfpack defense yielded 244 yards and 3 scores to Clemson's Tahj Boyd a week ago, though mostly in the second half. Saylor Lavallii on the other hand, won't come close to duplicating last week's 144 yard effort. This North Carolina State defense gives up just 110 yards on the ground. Take the Wolfpack, lay the points.
UConn at Buffalo (+2.5)
Too many Michigan references in this article. Let's make this the last. Again, I don't know how much credit we can give UConn for playing Michigan close. More than likely this is an especially bad Wolverines team, slowly but surely fading into obscurity. UConn gets it done with defense. Scratch that, UConn doesn't get it done. The U of M game was their closest of the season. They opened the year dropping a game to FCS Towson by two touchdowns. Sound bad doesn't it? But is it going 5 OTs to beat Stony Brook bad? That was Buffalo's effort two weeks ago. We're going MACtion for this one. Buffalo's opening week effort against Ohio State being the trump card. Take the Bulls and the points.
Kent State (+2) at Western Michigan
A pair of ambitious non-conference schedules for these two. Kent State's All-American running back Dri Archer has been out virtually all season. Without Archer this offense ranks 117th in the nation. 104 yards on the ground, 170 yards in the air. The news as of the time of this article is that Archer is going to play. The Broncos do not have a Dri Archer. The Broncos allow nearly 250 yards per game on the ground. Now certainly, it's difficult to determine the sort of condition Archer will be in when he takes the field. What is undeniable however, is that his NFL draft stock plummets with every game he doesn't play. Eventually you reach a point where you've got to add something to the resume. Expect big numbers from Archer, because he wants to get paid. So do you, so take the Golden Flashes, and the points.