Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Central Michigan plays Western Kentucky in tonight's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, carrying on their shoulders a conference still looking to crack a decent bowl performance.
Forget about a win. At this point a MAC team is just looking to not lose a bowl game by 20 points. I think tonight's going to be the night!
Look, in fairness to Toledo a lot didn't go their way in Boise against Utah State: Dan Molls was knocked out on the opening kickoff, David Fluellen was dinged up and Terrance Owens wasn't able to play until the fourth quarter for some reason. I didn't watch Ball State get blasted by Central Florida and perhaps I am better off for it, but from the box score they were effectively out of the game by halftime. Two losses, five games to go — and this is already double the number of bowl losses compared to last season (4-1). OK then.
CMU, as you may have read, isn't favored to win tonight against bowl virgins Western Kentucky either. It's already a victory for the Chippewas that they made a bowl game at all, winning three games in their last three weeks, matching each of their 2010 and 2011 seasons, then being selected over some better teams. It's a win for the Pizza Bowl that they selected an in-state team able to sell out their allotment of tickets.
In fact, the LCPB (née Motor City Bowl) hasn't been won by a MAC team since 2006, when ... well, look at that, Central Michigan beat Sun Belt opponent MTSU 31-14. That means that we're on a five-game losing streak in this bowl which began essentially as the MAC's first hometown bowl.
And that's the downside of getting seven MAC teams as opposed to six. Suppose Toledo was playing in this game; they'd be rightly favored over WKU, and perhaps better matchups are formulated downstream. Ah, the "what if" game. So much fun to play because there are no losers, except reality.
If they win, CMU will have to perform in similar fashion to what happened at Iowa; stay patient, have their offensive line block like hell (which they can), allow Ryan Radcliff time to make some downfield passes, and pray to the pizza heavens that David Harman can hit a 50-yarder. Seems simple enough.