WE'VE MADE IT, YA'LL. (And relatively intact too!)
The much-anticipated Battle of I-75 is upon us, and we have been leading into it with PUH-lenty of coverage, including a preview made a month before the game, a primer for casual fans about the #HATRED these two teams share, and of course, a Q&A with YA BOY MATT CAMPBELL, because damn it, he's just a cool guy.
I don't really need to tell you too much about the teams involved in the game, but I feel obligated to do so.
Bowling Green (8-2, 6-0 MAC) comes in as a potential bracketbuster in the access bowls, and could really use a win against a previously-ranked Toledo team in order to gain some national attention. Matt Johnson and company have bee lighting up scoreboards recently, outscoring opponents 272-99 over their last five games, a performance that as good enough to help the Falcons clinch a trip to the MAC Championship Game for the third straight year.
Toledo (8-1, 5-1 MAC) is trying to get back into the national picture as well, but has a tougher row to hoe than BGSU, as they have to survive the gauntlet that is the MAC West to even have the opportunity to go to the MAC Championship game. Phillip Ely has been somewhat uneven over the last three games, but other contributors, such as Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson, have stepped up recently on the offensive side to help the Rockets remain in prime positon.
Both of these teams badly need this win to have any chance to steal away the guaranteed G5 spot in the access bowl, as it would count as a quality win for either side. With BGSU already guaranteed a championship berth, their road is easiest to be MAC Champion. Toledo, meanwhile, has to stop advances from Western Michigan (who the Rockets play next week) and Northern Illinois (who has a win over the Rockets in case of a tiebreaker) to even have a chance. That the game that could potentially clinch that spot happens to fall on rivalry week makes this game even more appointment television.
BUT HARK! This isn't the only #MACtion on tonight!
Ball State (3-7, 2-4 MAC) has been falling apart this season, to say the least. However, Riley Neal and James Gilbert have been some bright spots for the Cards looking forward, and they look to pay spoiler over the rest of the MAC schedule as they lost their bowl eligibility in a thrashing against Western Michigan last week.
Ohio (6-4, 3-3 MAC) is still hurting from being left out of bowl season last year, and seeks to get that seventh win to essentially guarantee that pivotal bowl spot. They'll have to do so against either Ball State or Northern Illinois. Ohio seems to have turned their season around after thumping Kent State last week, but with Derrius Vick battling an injury, one has to wonder which Vick will show up.
Here is the schedule for tonight's events:
|Time (in Eastern)
|Bowling Green (8-2)
|Ball State (3-7)
Remember: take a drink in the spirit of #MACtion, and don't be that guy in the comments.
Here are the amateur prognosticator's picks for tonight's games, courtesy of the MAC Pick 'Em group. They seem to favor the home teams:
Toledo Rockets vs. Bowling Green Falcons (84%)
Ball State Cardinals vs. Ohio Bobcats (81%)
Bowling Green (46%, 1st)
Toledo/Ohio (6%, t-4th)
Ball State did not receive any high votes.
Ball State (14%, 3rd)
Bowling Green (3%, 6th)
Toledo/Ohio (1%, t-7th)