This week's MAC football games, times, and TV listings:
12 p.m. — Buffalo (1-3, 0-1 MAC) at Ohio (5-0, 1-0 MAC) [ESPN Game Plan/ESPN Plus/ESPN3]
This one's the TV game, perhaps mostly for the fact that, hey, it's probably time to show these guys on television again. It's a modest 5-0 in that they're the last undefeated team, but man that UMass game really stings. If they can whomp the Bulls by a keen 20 or 30 points they'll be back on track. And I just can't figure UB out. They looked lethargic on offense against Kent State, then slightly better against UConn, and now Branden Oliver may be back.
1 p.m. — Kent State (3-1, 2-0 MAC) at Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-0 MAC) [MAC Digital Network]
Hopes are about as high as they've been for Golden Flashes football in quite some time. It's fair to say that if he played for Ohio State, Dri Archer would be a national story. Instead he's more of a curiosity, but given how much EMU has been lapsing on special teams and, well, almost everything else, Archer is again a threat to score from either the kickoff return, running back, or slot receiver position.
But this could also be a turnaround affair for EMU. Yes they're 0-1 in the hole after a bizarre opening week game against Ball State, but this could be the start of a new season for them. They're off a bye week, they've confirmed a new starting quarterback, and they might just wash the terrible start away if they can pull off a homecoming win against an upstart MAC East contender.
2 p.m. — Bowling Green (2-3, 0-1 MAC) at Akron (1-4, 0-1 MAC) [MAC Digital Network]
Here's what I said earlier about the game, although I'll add this: it's a shame this one's not in Bowling Green. I'd love to get a picture of Terry Bowden at a BG-area pizzeria.
2 p.m. — UMass (0-5, 0-2 MAC) at Western Michigan (2-3, 0-1 MAC) [MAC Digital Network]
Yet another "first." It's their first ... well, game against WMU ever. It is not expected that UMass' score just keeps going up. Our writers agree that WMU rights the ship, and that makes sense.
3 p.m. — Central Michigan (2-2, 0-1 MAC) at Toledo (4-1, 2-0 MAC) [ESPN3]
Points points points hurrah points. That's a fair assessment of this game, is it not? The only way CMU stays in this game, and it's a legitimate matchup in favor of the Chips, is if the Rockets cannot put any pressure on Ryan Radcliff. The CMU offensive line is rather large and difficult to move by hand, and right now the Rockets line is thin with injuries to T.J. Fatinikun (out for the year), Danny Farr and Christian Smith, the latter two which may or may not play.
We didn't see much out of the CMU defense against NIU, other than heads lowered once another touchdown was scored. Promises of a 40-point shootout from both teams loom large. We can only hope.
3 p.m. — Northern Illinois (4-1, 1-0 MAC) at Ball State (3-2, 1-1 MAC) [ESPN3]
They're playing for the luminous Bronze Stalk, an actual trophy that exists. I've said this before, but it looks like BSU and NIU are trying really hard to become rivals, simply because everybody else in the division has a rival and they're geographically. And they're both in farmish country (as is the REST OF THE CONFERENCE) so why not let them have theirs?
It's a darn shame that this one is running parallel with Toledo/CMU. Both are huge MAC West determiners. If NIU runs away with it, it's a two-team race. But Ball State can throw a wrench into the division with a surprise victory, which they are very capable of doing. This might be the hardest game for me to predict.
7 p.m. — Miami (3-2, 2-0 MAC) at Cincinnati (3-0, 1-0 Big East) [Fox Sports Ohio/ESPN3]
If it's one thing I keep forgetting, and yet they play every year, it's that Miami and Cincinnati are still rivals. But then again, there they are, right next to each other in southwest Ohio. I applaud both teams for keeping this one alive, but at some point, given the playoff system, Cincy will want more of an annual challenge and make this game bi- or tri-annual, no?
I'm not saying Miami needs another 500/100 game out of Zac Dysert, but they wouldn't say "no" to it either. Anybody who can run with a darn would help, actually. But the main issue is that Cincinnati is playing entirely too well, although they've only had five games under their belt, which is kind of weird. But if MU can make this one happen, it'll be their first win over either of their rivals (Cincy and OHIO) since 2005.