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Spread Offense: Week Four MAC Picks

In the red after one week, it's time to make some money back.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Two.  Last week I picked two games correct, of twelve, against the spread.  I refuse to write that "Hustle Belt" picked two games correct, as I'm confident none of my colleagues would take kindly to being associated with such laughable inefficiency.  The first week of Spread Offense set a staggering benchmark for futility unlikely to be duplicated in this lifetime or the next.  That's why Vegas has such big buildings.  Sincerest apologies to Akron.  They easily covered and at very least dealt Michigan football a significant blow.  Wolverines whenever you're ready we have your burial plot ready next to the University of Texas.  So we're like the Cleveland Browns in week 13, 2-10 and nowhere to go but up.  My picks for week 4 of MACtion.

Toledo (-13) at Central Michigan

Both of these squads had their taste of BCS competition out of conference.  Toledo stayed competitive with Florida and Missouri before dispatch NCAA darling Eastern Washington, of Oregon State upset fame, a week ago.  The Chips were destroyed by Michigan in their opener, squeaked by New Hampshire, and blew a three touchdown lead against UNLV a week ago.  With Logan Woodside and Cooper Rush under center expect it to be a ground battle.  Take the Rockets, lay the points.

Vanderbilt (-32) at UMass

The Minutemen lock horns with their 3rd BCS conference opponent of the season.  In the first two games, against Wisconsin and Kansas State, they were outscored 82-7.  Vandy is already two games deep into SEC conference play, and although they're 0-2, they hung tight with Ole Miss and then #13 ranked South Carolina.  Typically big numbers in these spreads scare me off, but I came across a bigger number.  Massachusetts gives up 323 yards on the ground.  In the time it took you to read that sentence I scampered for an 8 yard gain against the Minutemen.  Take the Commodores and lay the points.

Western Michigan (+19) at Iowa

Iowa, who you may remember was slapped by Northern Illinois to open the season, gets its second crack at the MAC Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, site of the aforementioned bitch slapping.  Western Michigan faces their third Big Ten foe with losses at Michigan State and Northwestern sandwiched around a home loss to (cringe) Nicholls State.  Iowa's getting the win here but this isn't the defense of your father's Hawkeyes.  The Broncos will score enough to keep it interesting.  Nineteen points is a lot, this spread will shrink as we grow closer to Saturday.  Take Western Michigan and the points.

Ball State (-10.5) at Eastern Michigan

So last week I explained that you should NEVER bet on your favorite team.  It's that level of logic that prevented 2-11 for the week.  The Cardinals will look to rebound from a loss where their normally explosive offense stalled in a scoreless second half at North Texas.  Ball State learned that they can't outscore every opponent.  Eastern Michigan lost at Rutgers last week, but did cover.  This will be a high scoring affair with both schools looking to start off the conference season 1-0.  I WANT SO MUCH TO TELL YOU TO TAKE THE CARDINALS AND LAY THE POINTS.  But I won't.  Because you never bet on your favorite team.  Even if it is like giving money away.

Austin Peay at Ohio (-30)

Austin Peay makes its first trip out of the state of Tennessee Saturday to meet the Bobcats in Athens.  The first three weeks for the Governors has been brutal, losses to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Chattanooga by a combined score of 125-13.  Following an opening week blowout loss to Louisville, the Bobcats offense is clicking with wins over North Texas and Marshall.  This may be a game for Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship to pad that stats.  I've no doubt Ohio can score 40 points.  I'm less confident Austin Peay can score 10.  Take the Bobcats and lay the 30 (my god it's 30 points, who lays 30 points??) points.

Murray State at Bowling Green (-26)

Bowling Green made me look foolish last week, disappearing in a beat down at Indiana.  It is quite an accomplishment to tally over 400 yards of offense yet put just three offensive points on the board.  This week's opponent is Murray State who scored 83 points two weeks ago.  Granted that was against Campbellsville University.  I didn't know where Campbellsville was so I had to look it up.  You should too.  (Spoiler Alert:  It's in Kentucky.)  You owe me points Falcons, and a lot of them.  Make it a bloodbath on Saturday.

Kent State at Penn State (-21)

Scandal free Kent State University travels to Happy Valley to take on the shell of a football team once known as the Penn State Nittany Lions.  Penn State was knocked off last year by Ohio in the first game since the NCAA sanctions, that unfortunately can't last forever, were levied.  The Nittany Lions racked up wins against Syracuse and Eastern Michigan to open the season before dropping a close one last week against Central Florida.  I initially had every intention of picking the Golden Flashes to cover, but the news that Dri Archer is doubtful, coupled with the fact I have picked all MAC schools so far, has me leaning towards Penn State.  The latter is referred to as the "gambler's fallacy" friends, and I hope you never have to know it.  Take the Nittany Lions, lay the points.

Cincinnati (-23) at Miami

My cousin Matt is a loyal Miami alum, so I'm going to choose my words carefully, as I'm told reading is a prerequisite for all graduates.  Through two games the RedHawks are giving up and average of 633 yards of total offense.  Cincinnati has averaged 54 points in their two wins.  This will be the ugliest game for our beloved conference on Saturday.  Miami is anemic on offense, generating just 180 yards a game.  The numbers don't get better.  Covering would be a huge victory for the RedHawks.  Take the Bearcats, lay the points.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Akron (+7)

I won't recap what Akron did last week.  You saw that right?  Driving a crippled football program further towards the brink of irrelevance.  Silencing 110,000 fans.  Either way, this is the sort of game you don't touch with a ten foot pole.  What did we see of Akron last week?  Is the Kangaroo Show a program on the come up?  Will there be a let down after an incredibly spirited, inspired performance last week in Ann Arbor?  This is the same Akron team who needed a defensive stop to hang on against James Madison a week before.  Let's give the Zips one more week before they fade back into Mid-American obscurity.  Akron covers.

Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois (-14)

FCS Eastern Illinois has manhandled opponents this season.  Their one FBS opponent, San Diego State, fell 40-19 in the opening week.  Northern Illinois started their season with a bitch slapping (have I said that before?) of Iowa before getting by Idaho last week.  Northern clicked on offense against the Vandals, running up 45 points, but yielded 35, making for a closer game than most expected.  My guess is Idaho threw enough of a scare into the Huskies that they will come out against the Panthers guns blazing.  Expect numbers in the forties as Northern gets out early, often, and coasts to a three touchdown victory.  Take the Huskies, lay the points.