Week Four may as well have been Slaughterhouse Five for MAC squads. Not only did the conference go 3-6 as a whole, but Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green turned in historically bad performances. We mean really, really bad performances... like the "HOLY HELL, IS THAT ONE YARD OF OFFENSE IN THE FIRST HALF!?" kind of bad performances. (Poor Eagles fans.) But hey, on the bright side, we beat both of the FCS schools on the schedule, and Idaho!
This week will hopefully be different as most teams take a break before the start of the conference season. The teams that are playing will have an about even mix of conference and non-conference game, which should help make the overall standings a little more easy to read.
There are no repeat teams this week, but Eastern Illinois will seek to be the last FCS school to try and upset a MAC squad. In other random schedule facts, the state of Virginia has sure enjoyed #MACtion over the past two weeks; Norfolk State played Buffalo last week, and Virginia and Virginia Tech will be hosting MAC teams at home this week.
|Date/Time||Home||Away||Where To Find It|
|Saturday 9/27, 12:30 p.m.||Virginia Tech (2-2)||Western Michigan (2-1)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 1:30 p.m.||Pittsburgh (3-1)||Akron (1-2)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 2 p.m.||Ohio (2-2)||Eastern Illinois (1-3)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 3 p.m.||UMass (0-4)||Bowling Green (2-2)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 3:30 p.m.||Virginia (2-2)||Kent State (0-3)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 3:30 p.m.||Buffalo (2-2)||Miami (0-4)||ESPN3|
|Saturday 9/27, 7 p.m.||Toledo (2-2)||Central Michigan (2-2)||ESPN3|
I laid a giant goose egg in my non-conference selections last week, as Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, and Massachusetts all lost, bringing my record to an impressive 3-11! Seeing as conference play is looming, I will now be selecting winners for each #MACtion game that is selected as highlight of the week, and keeping track of that instead.
Buffalo Bulls vs. Miami RedHawks
When will I ever have the chance again to say that this is a must-watch game? Chuck Martin, the head coach for the RedHawks is making a serious case for Coach of the Year, despite Miami having lost all four games this season. The RedHawks have been aggressive and have kept games close against Michigan, Cincinnati, and Marshall. Buffalo, meanwhile, has struggled against Army, Duquense, and Baylor. Besides Baylor, that's not exactly a stout schedule. Joe Licata will have to avoid Quentin (aka "Quinterception") Rollins (2nd in the FBS in interceptions,) and the RedHawks must be disciplined and together on the offensive line to keep Andrew Hendrix upright. Miami wins in a close game.
This is it. The ultimate challenge. A clash of and for the generations. Which coaching philosophy will prevail: Beamer Ball, or Coach Bro Ball? In all seriousness, Western Michigan has played well this season, but against inferior competition (Purdue, Idaho, Murray State.) Virginia Tech is looking to rebound from what can only be described as a shocking loss to perennial ACC flounder Georgia Tech, a loss in which their performance did not at all resemble the same Hokies squad that beat The Ohio State Buckeyes. A trip to Blacksburg should provide the challenge that P.J. Fleck and his fellow Boat-Rowers--ahem, Broncos-- need to see just where they stand as a team.
Both these teams are currently at a crossroads. After a series of close losses, UMass fell back down to Earth and got crushed by the Nittany Lions. Bowling Green, after a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Indiana Hoosiers at home, literally got run over by the Wisconsin running attack (they gave up 644 yards on the ground). The Minutemen host the game at McGuirk Alumni Stadium for the first time in two years, so the building will be jumping come gametime. Only two things can happen here: either it's a really close game thanks to home field advantage, or one side out-executes the other and runs up the score. Expect Bowling Green to win running away either way.
Talk about story lines! Thomas Rawls is back in the line-up for Central, though it is unknown if he will start or not. #TitusWatch will also be in full effect as a sprain of the type of severity that Titus Davis suffered Week One is normally healed by now. Jesse Kroll has filled in nicely in his stead though, so that may be why he has not come back yet. The Toledo Rockets, favored to win the MAC East by a mile, are spiraling coming into this match. The Rockets are committed to the Logan Woodside Experience at QB, as Kareem Hunt and the rest of the Rockets backfield has performed just fine in Phillip Ely's absence. The key for the Rockets will be to get their freakishly athletic wide receivers, including Alonzo Russell, to perform consistently enough to balance out the offense. Toledo will win because of home field advantage, but don't be surprised if the Chips keep it close.
Compliments? Comments? Complaints? Refer to the comments section and let me know what you think the Game of the Week is, or if my predictions are on point.