MACtion and important games special!
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Ohio @ Buffalo (ESPN2): This game features the top two teams in the MAC East and will likely decide that division. Statistically, the Bobcats are the superior team, but they already have a MAC loss to Central Michigan. I’ll stick with them anyway, mostly due to familiarity and consistent success, I suppose.
- Bowling Green @ Miami (ESPNU): Bowling Green is okay, by MAC standards. Miami is awful by any standard. I’d suggest the other game.
8:00: Central Michigan @ Ball State (ESPN2): Central Michigan is sitting at 3-5 and trying to stay in the MAC bowl picture. A win here would help tremendously. Unfortunately for them, Ball State is pretty good – I’d even go as far to say that their 24-27 loss to North Texas in September was a fluke, considering the Cardinals have since beaten Virginia, Toledo, and all their other MAC foes so far.
- Oklahoma @ Baylor (FS1): This the game of the week, other than the other games of the week. But hey, it’s first, and doesn’t that count for something? (Answer: not really.) Anyway, the thing that has struck me about Baylor’s schedule so far this season is that they have played absolutely nobody. Look it up. Their best win is probably West Virginia or Kansas State. I also still think the Sooners are the top team in the Big 12 and that the loss to Texas was a bit of a fluke. Hey, it’s entirely possible the Bears are legit – I bet the offense would be able to put points up against anyone. But they will lose either to these Sooners or to Oklahoma State, I am pretty sure. At the very least I am expecting they face adversity for the first time this season. For the purposes of my bowl predictions, I have pretty much put this down as a win for Oklahoma so far, so that’s what I’m going with. However, I think everyone would agree that Baylor continuing to roll is a much better story.
- Troy @ Louisiana-Lafayette (ESPNU): The Cajuns have been raging through Sun Belt play so far, and I expect more of the same from Thursday night’s undercard.
9:00: Oregon @ Stanford (ESPN): Explosive Offense Runs Into Team That Actually Plays Defense (part 2). I don’t really expect a repeat of last year’s gritty 17-14 contest that saw the Ducks go to overtime, though. For starters, I don’t think this Stanford defense is as good, and I’m not sure their offense will be able to make enough plays to win. Right now I have this one going Oregon’s way. If it doesn’t, woo boy, the bowl predictions are going to get fun.
8:30: Louisville @ Connecticut (ESPN2): I like that since their standings page uses winning percentage, UConn is not actually dead least in the AAC standings because they’ve only played 3 conference games so far. Anyway, they’re awful, Louisville rolls.
9:00: Air Force @ New Mexico (ESPNU): This is a matchup of two really bad defenses. Unfortunately, Air Force’s offense is spectacularly inept this year, so it’s doubtful they’ll be able to stop the Lobos from getting their 3rd win on the year.