Sunday, August 27, 2006

MAC Preview

I have spent considerable time slicing and dicing the MAC for 2006, in order to develop these predictions for you, the valued reader of this blog.

A note--I looked at conference games. I could care less about the OU-Tennessee-Martin game.

You're going to get two things today. First, a team by team look at the coming season. Then, a couple insights will be revealed. There are, in fact, a couple of teams--teams we are not certain about--who will do a lot to decide the races in the various divisions.

Let us proceed anon.


Akron (6-2). The East is clearly a riddle, wrapped in an egg roll wrapper that has been lying out on the counter for a few days. I can and will make the case for any of four teams to win the East. That being said, I believe Akron is most likely. They have only one tough road game in the division--(OU), and if there is one weak link in the four contenders for the East Crown, it is OU. I am not subscribing to the Franklove. I believe, in fact, that Akron will lose at CMU and at Toledo, and nowhere else. I believe they will go to Athens and get a win.

Miami (5-3). I don't think the RedHawks are back on form yet. They lost a lot off last year's team, and return talent if not experience. In that, they are like BG. I believe NIU will go to Miami and win, and that Miami will lose on the road to Akron and BG. To win the title, Miami only needs to win the game at Akron...certainly not an insurmountable task. If the game were in Oxford, I think they would, in fact, win the game. But it is not.

OU (5-3). GBHFrank has a couple of breaks on his schedule. First, any team that uses one of its four road games on EMU has an advantage, because there's no home field advantage there at all. They also have Kent on the road--another winnable game. Their only tough road games are NIU and Miami. I think they will lose those games, and I think Akron will win in Athens, too. To win the East, all OU has to do is beat Western, Buffalo, BG and Akron at home and EMU and Kent on the road. Certainly not an insurmountable task.

BG (4-4) Falcon fans may think I am too negative. I just think we are too young to play well on the road. Therrefore, I think we lose to CMU and OU in the early parts of our schedule, and Akron and UT in the November portion. I defy anyone to say this is not plausible. On the other hand, to win the East, all BG needs to do is beat Akron and either OU or CMU on the road. Certainly not an insurmountable task, but a little more insurmountable than for the other three teams.

Kent (2-6). I think they will beat EMU in Kent and Buffalo on the road.

Buffalo--(1-7). I think they will beat Ball State in Buffalo. I don't know why, but I don't see them winless.


NIU (8-0). Novack has to absolutely love how this schedule stacks up for his team this year. I strongly believe that NIU could run the table. First, they play only one tough road game--at Miami...a game I still think they will win. They have their primary West opponents, UT and CMU in DeKalb this year. And they have Garrett Wolfe running behind a supercharged Oline.

UT (7-1). I think UT will take the third Bowl bid for the conference. In fact, the only game I see them losing is @NIU. I think they sweep their crossovers, (Akron, BG and @Kent), and beat CMU and Ball in the Glass Bowl. They have road games at EMU and WMU--probably not a difficult assignment. UT did lose some talent. However, they will get stronger as the season they always do.

CMU (6-2). I like Brian Kelly, and I think CMU will thrive this year. I think they will only lose to UT and NIU on the road. Since their other road games are Buffalo and EMU, I like their chances of going 6-2.

Ball State (3-5). Ball has a tough road. It isn't clear how much they have improved, really, and after losing to UT and NIU--the two best teams in the conference--I think they will also lose @ Miami and Central.

WMU (1-7). Don't know what to make of this team (see notes later). They lost an awful lot last year. I can't imagine them being any good this year---though I guess if I am off on a team, this is it. I think they beat EMU. They have a really though schedule. They play three of the top four teams in the East.

EMU (0-8). And hundreds of people will watch.

Some notes:

Two, maybe three teams are going to have a lot of say in how things go.

The first is WMU. I mention that they play three of the top four teams in the East--@OU, @Akron and Miami. If they hold serve against Miami at home--which I don't see--then Miami has a much harder road to the title. If they can pick up a road upset against Akron (not a huge upset) or OU (really not a huge upset), than that also throws the very competitive East into chaos. Finally, they host UT and NIU. If WMU has any team at all and can defend their home field, a 4-4 season is possible.

The second is CMU. They play two of the top East teams, both at home. BG and Akron will both need wins in Mt. Pleasant. If Central is as good as I suspect, they both will lose. If CMU is faltering, one or both teams picks an additional win up.

The maybe team is OU. I don't think they are going to be strong, but I could be wrong. They could easily, easily, win the East, see above. And then Franklove will move the act to a BCS eligible school.

I think NIU will beat whoever the East proffers up in the MACC. And I think the Bowl bids will go to NIU, UT, and Akron/East Slappy.

So there you have it. This will be a total laugh to read around Christmas time. A game by game prediction of the BGSU season will be on the way later this week.

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