With just over a month remaining in the season, I thought it would be time to look forward to the Bowl Season and each MAC school's chance at making a bowl game. Let me state for the record these are my individual predictions, and you are free to dispute my thoughts. With that said, lets get straight to it. ABC order of course!
Well, the Zips do have a fairly easy schedule remaining statistically. But realistically, they have to win out. They still have to go to WMU on Black Friday in what very well could be Jordan White's final game. Even if they win out, they are still 6-6, with no quality wins.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home.
At 5-3 (3-1), the Cardinals are very much in the thick of things in the MAC West. They are one win away from being eligible from going bowling. However, they have the strongest part of the MAC West left: Toledo, the 2 other 5-3 (3-1) teams, and @ WMU who has been dominant at home. I have been a firm believer that Ball State isn't as good as their record shows, but I'm also a WMU fan who thought Western could win the MAC. They are on the road for their next 3 games before getting Toledo at home. Tough, tough schedule. They might steal one or two against the directionals, but beating Toledo and NIU will be tough.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home.
The Bowling Green Falcons have had a strange year. They got spanked by Western Michigan, but beat a great Temple squad. At 4-4 (2-2), their record shows who they are. They are in the thick of things in the MAC East, a half game back of Temple, and tied with Ohio. The Falcons have road games at Buffalo and Kent State, and home games against NIU and Ohio. The NIU game scares me because of the shaky Falcon run defense, but besides that, this is a favorable schedule. I really think Bowling Green needs to win the East, and they can do that now that they have beaten Temple.
VERDICT: Hung jury, favoring a bowl bid.
Buffalo is in a boat very similar to Akron, only they have 4 games left, not 5. That missed PAT, while not fully losing the game last weekend, probably killed any chance Buffalo had to make a bowl game. The Bulls host Bowling Green and travel to Ypsilanti still. I don't see the Bulls winning both, or even one.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home
At 2-6 (1-3), Central Michigan is headed to a last place finish in the MAC West. While they do go to Kent State and Akron the next two weeks, they do have Ohio and Toledo at home. I'm pretty sure there is no correct way to word that so that the away games actually seem like the better choice. Toledo just seems like the road block for the .500 record, and the weak wins would keep them home.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home.
Remember the last two years where EMU only had 2 wins? They have 5 now, and are 3-1 in conference. They are the surprise in the conference, and are only 1 win away from .500. The scary part? They have a bye week before hosting Ball State, host Buffalo, and head to Kent State and their non-existent offense. They do go to NIU, but 8 wins is not a pipe dream anymore, it's very realistic. Eastern needs to win 2 games to be bowl eligible, due to 2 wins over FCS schools, but again, not a pipe dream.
VERDICT: Hung jury, favoring watching at home. While a good story, Eastern has really had a weak schedule. Maybe an 8-4 Eastern squad gets in, but not a 7-5.
When you have people thinking air can beat you, you have problems. The only win Kent State has is over a South Alabama squad, and it wasn't even pretty. Kent St still has 5 games left, and at 1-6, it will be difficult to get to .500. They still have to go to Temple? Oh yeah, forget about it. They do host Central, Bowling Green, and Eastern, but all 3 will be fighting for a badly needed win. And Kent State isn't good. Did I say that? Sorry Roosevelt Nix.
VERDICT: Practicing offense. They don't have time to watch football.
After jumping out to a horrible start, the defending MAC Champs are finally starting to seemingly stabilize. However, it could be too little too late. They are 2-5 (1-2), and still have to go to Temple and Ohio. The good news is they get Buffalo, Akron, and WMU at home. .500 isn't impossible, but very improbable given Miami's woes early on, and the fact that to beat WMU, all you do is run. This Miami team is based on passing. Either way, the loss to Minnesota hurts their bowl chances substantially.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home. Or for Miami fans, hockey season!
NIU has turned their season around. They still have MAJOR problems on defense, and escaped Saturday with a win over Buffalo, but their spanking of Western Michigan showed everyone NIU is still alive and well. The Huskies are 5-3 (3-1), and are part of that crazy 3-way tie behind Toledo in the MAC West. NIU does not have an easy schedule from here on out, and their next game is huge: @ Toledo. After that, the Huskies travel to Bowling Green, but get fellow 3-wayers Ball State and Eastern Michigan at home.
VERDICT: Bowlin'! I think that at the end of the year, a bowl game will need a filler, and NIU's offense, and lack of defense, just look good to make a shoot-out game. Everyone loves a shoot-out.
Ohio has been banged up lately, and fell off the top of the MAC East. They are still 5-3 (2-2), and only a half game behind Temple. Lucky for them, they can put themselves on top of the East if they beat Temple next Wednesday. The Bobcats do still have a trip to Bowling Green, so the MAC East is very much up for grabs.
VERDICT: Hung jury, hopelessly hung.
The Temple Owls are so scary good because of Bernard Pierce. However, they have dropped two games due to what could only be described as overconfidence. Nevertheless, they are 5-3 (3-2), and are on top of the MAC East, but both Ohio and Bowling Green have a game to play to get get even with the Owls. Temple only has one away game left, Ohio. That game will make the East either a 2 or 3 team race with the Bowling Green Falcons. The Owls host Miami, Army, and Kent State the rest of the way.
VERDICT: Pack your bags Owl fans, you're goin' bowlin'! The bigger question will be whether or not they make the MAC Championship game.
Toledo had a rough non-conference schedule. They narrowly dropped a win at Ohio State, got crushed by Kellen Moore, and got screwed by Big East officials. Nevertheless, they are the lone undefeated MAC team, and are on top of the MAC West. 5-3 (4-0) sounds good, and most bowl officials will see the Syracuse loss and count it a win. Toledo has home games against WMU and NIU, two tough games (in theory), then hit the road to play Central and Ball State to end the year. If they beat NIU, there is no reason they can't win the West
VERDICT: Bowlin'! There is no doubt in my mind.
After starting 4-2, the Broncos have dropped their last two, and just haven't looked good. Now at 4-4 (2-2), they aren't in the same boat as Bowling Green, they are in a sinking ship. They haven't looked good on the road, and still have to face Toledo and Miami there. They do have Ball State and Akron at home, so .500 could be reachable, as the Broncos have obliterated opponents at Waldo Stadium. However, .500 doesn't look good anymore.
VERDICT: Watchin' at home. Or for Bronco fans, hockey season.
So I have 3 teams going to bowl games, with Bowling Green probably joining them. Here are my predictions as to the bowls themselves:
Little Ceasars Bowl: Toledo
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Temple
Potato Bowl: Bowling Green (enjoy those Hustle fries Suss)
Military Bowl: Northern Illinois