Well, here we are, ya'll. We've come to the end of the season, and today could determine the set-up of the MAC Championship Game in Detroit on December 5th.
Here's how the MAC tiebreakers basically fall: Northern Illinois can clinch the MAC West with a win over Ohio, regardless of the Toledo-Western Michigan result. If NIU loses and Toledo wins, Toledo will advance. If Toledo and NIU both lose (or both win), NIU advances.
Northern Illinois (8-3. 6-1 MAC) is doing what they do best in November: win. Their NCAA-best 21 game win streak in the month of November remains intact, even despite a major loss of talent, whether to the NFL last season, or to injury in 2015. Joel Bouagnon has been on fire the past couple weeks, with Drew Hare, the starting signal caller, out for the year. Paris Logan was also injured in last week's game. NIU's defense seems to have finally congealed into a solid unit and has done a solid job in presenting opposing offices from running efficiently. The Huskies have certainly looked better since their opening loss to Central Michigan.
Ohio (7-4, 3-3 MAC) looks to stand up and stop the streak that the Huskies have been on over the last five years. Although their divisional crown chances have been denied, Ohio plays a pivotal role in the MAC West race if they can upset NIU. A signature win over NIU would also put Ohio at 8-4, essentially guaranteeing a bowl in a week 2015 for bowl bids, which would put them in a sixth bowl in seven seasons. The Bobcats have found their offensive mojo over the last two games, outscoring opponents 75-31 in two victories. The JD Sprague to Jordan Reid connection has ben rand to wild success, while AJ Ouelette seems to have returned to form.
Ball State (3-8, 2-5 MAC) is in a tailspin, going 1-7 in the last eight games after a decent 2-1 start at the beginning of the season. Riley Neal and James Gilbert have been solid as true freshman contributors, but the team looks listless outside of a fairly expected 20-10 win over the even-more-listless UMass Minutemen. They will be looking to finish off the season with a huge upset against the best passing offense in the nation, while fielding one of the worst total defenses.
Bowling Green (8-3, 6-1 MAC) hit a little bump in the road last week with a tough rivalry loss, and if there is one thing that you don't want to face as an opponent, it is an offensive juggernaught, especially an offensive juggernaught with a mission. A loss to Toledo hurts their access bowl chances, but a convincing win with video game stats, combined with a legitimate championship performance would put them in a prime position once again as a Group of Five Conference Champion. Matt Johnson, Roger Lewis, and Travis Greene look to have a field day on the team's senior day.
Here's the schedule:
|Time (in Eastern)||Home||Away||TV/Streaming|
|7:00 PM||Northern Illinois (8-3)||Ohio (7-4)||ESPNU|
|7:30 PM||Bowing Green (8-3)||Ball State (3-8)||ESPN3|
Remember: drink in the spirit of #MACtion and don't be that guy in the comments.