Remember the last few years when the MAC's schedule was pretty simple: play your five division rivals, then crossover games, followed by rematches against your division opponents? No more of that business. The opener is a mix of crossover and divisional games. All games at at 7 p.m. EST and available on the MAC Digital Network:
Bowling Green (5-8) at Central Michigan (7-6)
Ah, a fine rematch of last year's MACT opening round, where CMU stunned the Falcons. The Chippewas' fast-paced offense plays a disciplined BG defense. Interesting to see how this one goes.
Ball State (6-6) at Eastern Michigan (7-7)
First to 60 wins, if it goes that high. Interestingly enough, EMU swept the season against Ball State last year, and this year the Eagles may actually be the ones better on paper.
Western Michigan (8-5) at Akron (9-4)
(Preview) Time for WMU to see if they can remain a nice story by dumping them straight into the JAR and see what they're made of. Just like that. Akron has a 7-game winning streak against the Broncos, dating back to 2008.
Toledo (4-7) at Kent State (9-5)
The Rockets haven't matched up well against the Flashes for years. Not only have they lost five straight games against them, they've all been by 16 points or more. How about a 15-point loss? Baby steps.
Northern Illinois (2-10) at Miami (5-7)
A bad draw to start the MAC season is "MAC West team at MAC East opponent," but this might've been about as decent a start as NIU could have hoped. There's a possibility they could pull this one out, given they beat the RedHawks last year with a largely nascent squad.
Buffalo (5-9) at Ohio (9-5) (STO/ESPN3)
A pretty decent one to televise. Last year's MAC semifinal featured a near-comeback by the Bulls, who have had trouble with the Bobcats as of late. (Then again, hasn't everyone?) As has been pointed out, UB hasn't had a ton of success this year but through all things McCrea anything is possible.