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Pin ‘Em Down: Week 3 Staff Picks

Conference play kicks off in Week 3 with a battle between two undefeated, on-the-rise programs.

James H. Jimenez

Two weeks later, five undefeated teams still stand in the conference.

Ohio (1-0) and Toledo (1-0) both were granted bye weeks in Week 2 after defeating FCS opponents at home on kickoff week. The Bobcats narrowly edged a Howard team that Kent State put to sleep last week, while Toledo demolished VMI by a score of 66-3.

Both of these 1-0 programs will take on 1-1 ACC squads in Week 3. As a result of tropical storm Florence, Ohio and Virginia will meet in Nashville instead of Charlottesville, while Toledo will play in front of its home fans against the Miami Hurricanes.

Akron (1-0) avoided a battle with Nebraska on Week 1 thanks to a lightning delay but took care of Morgan State of the FCS in Week 2.

Eastern Michigan (2-0) and Buffalo (2-0) are the only MAC teams that have taken down an FBS team this year. The Eagles shed off a 16-point underdog label to stun Purdue last Saturday, thanks to the leg of kicker Chad Ryland, who sunk a 24-yard attempt at the buzzer. The Eagles’ 20-19 win caused some chaos in the pick ‘em, as only upset-enthusiast James Snyder selected the Eagles to derail the Boilermakers.

Buffalo knocked off Temple by a touchdown on the road last week, but due to a poor performance by the Owls in Week 1, the entire Hustle Belt staff (and the fans) decided to pick the Bulls to pull it out in Philadelphia.

As Week 3 approaches, here are the current standings with Randy Carpenter in the lead, and Steve Helwick and the fans trailing just one game behind:

The unanimous picks this Saturday include Penn State over Kent State, Minnesota over Miami (OH), Western Michigan over Delaware State of the FCS, and Northwestern over Akron.

Ohio vs. Virginia provides the most volatility in the chart above, with five pickers siding with the Bobcats, who underwhelmed in Week 1. Four others have faith in the Cavaliers, coming off a close loss at Indiana in Week 2.

Lastly, two MAC matchups commence this week. As mentioned earlier, Eastern Michigan and Buffalo should draw plenty of eyes as one of those teams will jump to its first 3-0 start in a long time. The Eagles last went through their first three games unscathed in 1989 and Buffalo has never accomplished such a feat since joining the FBS.

The conference battle of underwhelming 0-2 programs between Central Michigan and Northern Illinois also awaits in DeKalb. NIU has scored just 13 points through two games against Iowa and Utah, but that isn’t stopping seven out of nine pickers from choosing the Huskies and their strong defense from edging out a Central Michigan team. A Central Michigan team that lost to Kansas, 31-7, in Mt. Pleasant last weekend.

Ten games transpire this weekend, but will there be any upsets to the extent of Eastern Michigan’s wild victory over Purdue? We’ll find out by the time midnight strikes on Saturday night.