The Last Big Saturday

Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

Week 9 marks the final slate o' MAC games before weeknight programming invades the schedule.

There are eight games this Saturday and, as usual, a bunch of good ones:

12:00 p.m. — NIU at WMU
12:00 p.m. — Ball State at Army
3:30 p.m. — Kent State at Rutgers
3:30 p.m. — Ohio (OH) at Miami (OH)
3:30 p.m. — Akron at CMU
3:30 p.m. — EMU at BGSU
3:30 p.m. — Toledo at Buffalo
7:00 p.m. — UMass at Vanderbilt

The noon game is obvious: NIU at WMU, because Ball State-Army is on CBSSN and I don't get that. But I'm going to be crazy conflicted on that pack of five games at 3:30. For obvious reasons I'll zero in on Bowling Green and Eastern, but even Akron-CMU and Toledo-Buffalo have enticing possibilities. Then of course, Ohio and Miami is a rivalry game where the Bobcats can finally show well against a decent MAC team. Finally, the bonus game: Kent State at undefeated Rutgers, perhaps the week's finest game, AS WE ALL PREDICTED IN AUGUST.

It's a nice problem to have; if one game's bad, no sweat, go to the next one. And it's the last time we may have a difficult time deciding like this. You see, next week begins the ripple effects of scheduling MAC football on weeknights. For the rest of November Saturdays, there will be just four games per weekend, with the rest laced about the weeknights. (There are five games on Black Friday.)

There's obviously something to the ritual of watching football on Saturday afternoons. The violence is relaxing. The day afterward gives all of us a time to digest the game, let our angst or joy sink in for a bit, then move on with our week on Monday.

I'll say this about the weeknight games they selected: all of them ought to have division implications. Toledo and OHIO play on three weeknights in November, most of any teams. In fact, EVERY weeknight game features either OHIO or Toledo. It's like they planned this.

Of course, this gums up my schedule so — watching all the games, every night, on top of the start of basketball season (wheee!) on November 9.

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