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2011 MAC Football Viewing Guide, Part I

So you want to watch one Mid-American Conference football game a week? You've come to the right place. Unfortunately the stuff's not on EVERY day, but they do enjoy those weeknights!

This shall be your guide to the one MAC game every day (that they play) that you oughta try to find on the telly or Legitimate Internet Television. (Or radio! That's so vintage.) Since the MAC released the full schedule last week, we can now parse it, plan our weekends, and ultimately determine how little a life we'll have this fall.

Thursday, September 1: Villanova at Temple — Forget about FBS vs. FCS. Temple is a solid team and Villanova is always a contender for the Division I championship. This has been each team's opening game the past two years and they've both been classics. Each team won on last-second field goals. So throw out the classifications and enjoy a hell of a rivalry on the first day of college footblal.

Saturday, September 3: Ball State vs. Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium — While technically a home game for the Cardinals, this game was moved to the home of the Indianapolis Colts at the 11th hour. Both teams have new head coaches. Winner gets to be called the second-best team in the state for at least one calendar year.

Saturday, September 10: Toledo at Ohio State — Ambitious and farsighted, but with the Buckeyes suspending five key players and UT gearing up to be MAC favorites, there is an outside chance at the Rockets being the first in-state team to knock off OSU since the 1921 Oberlin Yeomen did so by a score of 7-6. Back then, that was a lot of points!

Saturday, September 17: Wyoming at Bowling Green — You can also have your pick of NIU-Wisconsin or Toledo-Boise State. But Cowboys offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon will return to Doyt Perry Stadium for the first time as an opposing coach since he was fired as BGSU's head guy after the 2008 season. As proof the cosmos is watching, that year Brandon and the Falcons defeated Wyoming 45-16 in Laramie.

Saturday, September 24: Central Michigan at Michigan State — This probably won't be an upset waiting to happen, although Dan Enos, a former MSU quarterback and assistant coach, will be facing off against his alma mater. The last time these two tangled, Dan LeFevour sparked a comeback victory in East Lansing, and I'm sure Sparty forgets hard.

Saturday, October 1: Cincinnati at Miami — The RedHawks haven't been able to take out their Victory Bell opponents since UC's move to the Big East, but with a down year in Cincy and a surprising resurgence in Oxford, the five-game losing streak could abruptly stop in its tracks in Yager Stadium.

Saturday, October 8: OHIO at Buffalo — Not a ton of compelling matchups for 10/8, but Buffalo should be slightly improved and OHIO is going to regress a little. Competitive enough to be worthwhile.

Saturday, October 15: Toledo at Bowling Green — The Battle of I-75 is unseasonably early this year. Usually it's right around Thanksgiving. The last time they clashed in October was 1999. And the last time BG won this rivalry was TWO years ago! That's far too long.

Saturday, October 22: Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan — Be one of the 500 in attendance as we watch the conclusion of the annual battle for the Aluminum Compass. CMU-WMU and CMU-EMU will have already taken place, so here's your rubber match. And don't count out the Eagles. They actually won this beast back in 2007, which is a longer drought than Western (2005).

Saturday, October 29: Central Michigan at Akron — The last time CMU went into Akron, they scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to stage a comeback win. Again, that was LeFevour-powered. If UA is improved at all, then circle this one as a potentially close finish.

And that does it for the first two months. In the month of November, 15 of the first 25 days have MAC football. We'll get to that in Part II.