If I would have told you last week that Toledo would come within a touchdown of clinching the MAC West with a wide receiver playing quarterback, you would have laughed me off. Well, Dwight Macon pulled off the most #MACtion thing possible and threw for two TD's and rushed for two more in relief of Michael Julian and Logan Woodside. However, Northern Illinois came back to turn every MAC West match from here on out into must-watch television.
In the Michigan MAC Trophy race, Western Michigan thoroughly dispatched Eastern Michigan, while Central Michigan had to stop the Miami RedHawks on the very last play to preserve a win of their own.
Akron lost their fourth match in a row against Buffalo, clinching the MAC East for Bowling Green, who beat basement-dwelling Kent State. Ball State is officially out of bowl contention with a loss to UMass, ensuring the 0-5 bowl streak lives on another year.
So what does this week have in store?
|Date/Time||Home||Away||Where To Find It|
|Tuesday 11/18, 7 p.m.||Akron (4-6)||UMass (3-7)||ESPN3|
|Tuesday 11/18, 8 p.m.||Ohio (5-5)||Northern Illinois (8-2)||ESPNU|
|Wednesday 11/19, 8 p.m.||Toledo (7-4)||Bowling Green (7-3)||ESPN2|
|Wednesday 11/19, 8 p.m.||Kent State (1-9)||Buffalo (3-7)||ESPNU|
|Saturday 11/15, 1 p.m.||Central Michigan (7-4)||Western Michigan (7-4)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 11/15, 1 p.m.||Ball State (4-7)||Eastern Michigan (2-8)||ESPN3|
Last week, I went 1-2 again. At least the Huskies won, so I'm thankful for that. (Get it? It's a Thanksgiving joke. Hello? Guys? Okay, fine, be that way.) I am still above .500 though, with a 17-7 record. Let's pick 'em!
Let's get one thing straight right now: the Bobcats desperately need this win to remain in the hunt for a bowl. The Bobcats' last game is against Miami, which has a stellar 2-9 record right now. To be taken seriously as a bowl-eligible team, they need a marquee win in a match-up in which they are not highly favored. Their best win is over a flailing Akron. A win against the MAC crown jewel that is Northern Illinois would surely put them in the discussion for a bowl, even if they lost to Miami. Last game, the Bobcats showed signs of life against Buffalo, dominating on all three sides of the ball. Northern Illinois also must win this game, as they control their own destiny in the MAC West. Any slip up, and Toledo, Central, and Western will be looking for blood. Northern Illinois should win though, because Cameron Stingily is a grown-ass man.
The Falcons are going bowling, but that doesn't mean that this game means nothing to them. The Battle for I-75 this year is a potential preview for the MAC Championship, making the 2014 reiteration of the rivalry extremely important for the psychological edge. It is yet to be seen what the plan is at quarterback, as Julian and Woodside are questionable with injury. Will it be up to Dwight Macon and Kareem Hunt to carry the load? If so, they would have to outpace James Knapke, Roger Lewis, and the rest of the explosive #FalconFast offense in order to have any chance. This game is either going to be really close, or really a blowout. I believe it will be close, but Toledo pulls away with a win thanks to home field and Bowling Green's injuries at running back.
All you need to know about this game is that as a Chippewa fan, I am currently in a glass case of emotion. This game will do a lot for deciding the fates of both teams going forward. If Toledo and Northern Illinois lose the two games mentioned prior, it could very well be a fight for the top of the MAC West. Even if that doesn't happen, it still will have an important impact on the MAC bowl tie-ins, as certainly a head-to-head matchup will be a determining factor in which game both teams land in. The Battle for the Victory Cannon has more implications than it has in recent years, and it is sure to be a raucous crowd in Mt. Pleasant. It is the final game of the season for Central, whereas the Broncos have to face NIU after this week. As much as I try to detach my heart from my head, I simply cannot go against my Chips on this one. Fire up.