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Nick's 2009 MAC Football Picks - Week #2 Preview & Picks
Colorado (0-1, 0-0 Big 12) at Toledo (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Friday, September 11, 2009 • 9 p.m. • Toledo, Ohio • Glass Bowl (26,248)
ESPN • Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore
Series: First Meeting • Last Meeting: N/A
Notes: Senior QB Aaron Opelt threw for a career-high 423 yards and 3 TDs at Purdue last week...Last season Opelt threw for 2,176 yards and 12 TDs last season...S Barry Church is a three-time All-MAC selection...Toledo returns 18 starters (9 offense/ 9 defense), including all five offensive linemen. Colorado returns 15 starters (10 offense/5 defense) from a team that went 5-7 last year, including 2-6 in the Big 12... Colorado suffered a 23-14 opening loss against Colorado State.
Nick’s Pick: Toledo 36 – Colorado 34
Comment: An upset special! The Buffalos lost to intra-state rival CSU and have only five days of rest to prepare for a road game to a MAC school. Not usually a motivator for a Big Twelve team where Iowa State and Kansas have each recently lost in The Glass Bowl. UT’s offense has the firepower to outscore CU.
Pittsburgh (1-0, 0-0 Big East) at Buffalo (1-0, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 12 Noon • Buffalo, N.Y. • UB Stadium (29,013)
ESPN Plus / Game Plan
Series: Pittsburgh leads, 1-0 • Last Meeting: at Pittsburgh 27, Buffalo 16, Sept. 6, 2008
Notes: Bulls return 15 starters (6 offense/ 9 defense) from last year’s squad that defeated Ball State in the MAC Championship and earned an invitation to the International Bowl...Offense suffered a blow during camp when RB James Starks was lost for the season...WR Naaman Roosevelt set school record with his 20 th career TD reception in last Saturday’s 23-17 road win at UTEP. Last season Pittsburgh achieved their winningest regular-season in 26 years with a 9-3 mark, earning a berth in the Sun Bowl... Pittsburgh defeated Youngstown State 38-3 in the opener at Heinz Field.
Nick’s Pick: Pitt 24 – Buffalo 20
Comment: This is probably the biggest home game in the history of the UB program. I’ve doubted Coach Turner Gill before and lost, hopefully for MAC fans I miss on him and his program again. Expect a very close ballgame either way.
Western Michigan (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Indiana (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 12 Noon • Bloomington, Ind. • Memorial Stadium (52,692)
Big Ten Network • Announcers: Matt Devlin, Anthony Herron, Larra Overton
Series: Indiana leads, 4-0
Notes: Western returns 11 starters (11 offense/ 4 defense), including four starters from the offensive line...QB Tim Hiller ranks sixth in MAC history with 77 career passing TDs and his career completion percentage (64.4%) ranks seventh. Defeated Eastern Kentucky last week, 19-13, at Memorial Stadium...Last year went 3-9, including 1-7 in the Big Ten...QB Ben Chappell set career marks with 27 completions, 36 attempts and 326 yards in the opener vs. Eastern
Nick’s Pick: Western Michigan 28 – Indiana 23
Comment: Ever since former Ball State coach Bill Lynch took over the IU program, MAC teams can now beat the Hoosiers. Look for Western to bounce back after a sub-par performance at Michigan.
Eastern Michigan (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Northwestern (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 12 Noon • Evanston, Ill. • Ryan Field
Big Ten Network • Announcers: Matt Rosen, Mark Campbell, Rebecca Harlow
Series: Northwestern leads, 2-0 • Last Meeting: Northwestern 26, Eastern Michigan 14, at Detroit’s Ford Field, Oct. 19, 2007
Notes: Eagles post 15 returning starters from last year’s 3-9 squad (7 offense/8 defense)…First-year head coach Ron English has confidence in his offense which boasts four returning offensive linemen, along with starting QB Andy Schmitt, RB Terrence Blevins and WR Jacory Stone…Schmitt ranks third in school records for passing yards (6,533) and completions (574). Wildcats return 13 starters (5 offense/8 defense) from last year’s team that went 9-4, including 5-3 in the Big Ten, and earned an invitation to the Valero Alamo Bowl...Opened the season with a 47-14 win over Towson, increasing its winning streak to five consecutive regular-season non-conference contests.
Nick’s Pick: Northwestern 36 – EMU 14
Comment: New coaching staff, same ole’ Eastern. If the Eagles cannot handle Army, they certainly cannot handle the Wildcats.
Central Michigan (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Michigan State (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • Noon • East Lansing, Mich. • Spartan Stadium
ESPN - Series: Michigan State leads, 4-2 • Last Meeting: Michigan State 24, Central Michigan 7, Sept. 11, 2004
Notes: Central’s earned a trip to the Motor City Bowl in each of the last three consecutive seasons…Chippewas return 16 starters (6 offense/ 10 defense)...In MAC history LeFevour ranks second in total offense, sixth in completions, seventh in passing yards and tied-seventh in passing TDs…WR Antonio Brown ranks second in school history with 197 career receptions. Spartans last year posted a 9-4 mark, including 6-2 in the Big Ten, and earned a berth in the Capital One Bowl...Opened the season with a 44-3 win over Montana State in East Lansing...Michigan State has compiled a 31-11 record in games played against non-conference opponents since 1999, including 8-3 under Mark Dantonio.
Nick’s Pick: Michigan State 30 – Central Michigan 13
Comment: The Spartans have a terrific and physical defense and should be able to win this game by a comfortable margin. Under Butch Jones tenure, the ‘Chips have not fared well in non-conference games.
Morgan State (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Akron (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 2:00 p.m. • Akron, Ohio • InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (30,000)
Series: First Meeting • N/A
Notes: Akron returns 15 starters (9 offense, 6 defense), including four starters on the offensive line that helped the 2008 squad rank fourth in the MAC with 165.2 rushing yards per game…Starting QB Chris Jacquemain has played in 29 games, including 22 starts, over the last two years and last season ranked 5th in the MAC with 2,748 passing yards. Morgan State returns 12 starters (6 offense/ 6 defense) from last year’s squad that finished 6-6 overall, including 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference...Opened the season with a bye, as Akron is their opener of the 2009 campaign. Former Akron QB Carlton Jackson is the QB for Morgan State.
Nick’s Pick: Akron 41 – Morgan State 20
Comment: The Zips picked a cream puff to open their beautiful new stadium. Hopefully this is the game that kick-starts the offense and the season after last weeks disaster at Penn State.
Kent State (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at Boston College (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 2:00 p.m. ET • Newton, Mass. • Alumni Stadium (44,500)
Series: Boston College leads, 1-0 • Last Meeting: Boston College 21, Kent State 0 at Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2008
Notes: Golden Flashes’ boast 15 returning starters (8 offense/ 7 defense), including four starters on the offensive line that helped Kent State rank 11th in the nation last year with 230.6 rushing yards per game...RB Eugene Jarvis’ 265 all-purpose yards in the opener vs. Coastal Carolina leads the nation...Defense limited Coastal to 185 yards of offense in 18-0 win last Thursday (Sept. 3). Boston College returns 14 starters (7 offense/ 7 defense) from last year’s squad that went 9-5, including 5-3 in the ACC...Lost to Vanderbilt in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl...Defeated Northeastern 54-0 in the opener...RB Montel Harris scored on a 48-yard run on the first play from scrimmage last Saturday vs. Northeastern.
Nick’s Pick: Boston College 24 – Kent State 7
Comment: The Golden Flashes have a defense good enough to keep it close but unless the offense wakes up, unlike their performance last week against Coastal Carolina, BC’s offense will be on the field way too long and the KSU defense will wear down and falter in the second half.
Bowling Green (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at Missouri (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 9 p.m. • Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium (71,004)
Series: Bowling Green leads, 3-1 • Bowling Green 20, Missouri 13, 2001
Notes: Bowling Green returns 11 starters (8 offense/ 3 defense)...In the opening 31-14 win over Troy, WR Freddie Barnes set a school record with 15 receptions and set a career-high 157 yards and 2 TDs...QB Tyler Sheehan added 339 yards through the air, his third career 300-yard passing effort...In the opener, Falcons converted all three red zone opportunities. Missouri opened with a 37-9 win over Illinois at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis...Sophomore QB Blaine Gabbert made his first start and threw for 319 yards and 3 TDs, and rushed for another...K Grant Ressel converted all three FG attempts (32, 44 and 41 yards) in the victory.
Nick’s Pick: Missouri 38 – BGSU 17
Comment: The Falcons will be competitive against a very good Missouri team that will compete for a Big 12 North title all season.
Ohio (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at North Texas (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 7:00 p.m. ET • Denton, Texas
Series: First Meeting • Last Meeting: N/A
Notes: Bobcats return 14 starters (7 offense/ 7 defense)…Last year Ohio was 4-8 and 3-5 in the MAC…Boo Jackson passed for 2,355 yards in -08, second-highest single-season total in school history…LB Noah Keller led club with 104 tackles last year and his totals ranked ninth overall in the MAC. North Texas went 1-11 in 2008 and boast 17 returning starters (8 offense/9 defense)…Head coach Todd Dodge will have all five starting offensive linemen returning and is pining his QB hopes on his son, freshman Riley Dodge.
Nick’s Pick: Ohio 21 – North Texas 17
Comment: It would not be a good thing for the MAC to lose twice to NTU. Hopefully the Bobcats will not lay an egg like Ball State did last week.
New Hampshire (1-0, 0-0 Colonial) at Ball State (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 7 p.m. • Muncie, Ind. • Scheumann Stadium (22,500)
All-MACcess Live Streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: First Meeting • Last Meeting: N/A
Notes: Head Coach Stan Parrish ran the offense last year and takes over the reigns for the Cardinals...Last year’s squad finished the regular season 12-0 as West Division champions...GMAC Bowl appearance marked first time in school history to post consecutive bowl appearances (International Bowl in ‘07)...RB MiQuale Lewis ranked fifth in the nation last year in rushing (124.0 ypg). NH opened the season with a 24-14 win over St. Francis ( Pa.)...In the victory, RB Sean Jellison rushed for 125 yards, including a 70-yard TD run, and added a 30-yard TD reception...Over the last five years, the Wildcats have posted a 47-17 overall record, including 10-3 mark last season.
Nick’s Pick: Ball State 20 – New Hampshire 17
Comment: The Cardinals looked awful last week but New Hampshire did not impress against non-scholarship St. Francis (PA). NHU was a pre-season Top 10 FCS team entering this campaign and has played I-A teams very well over the past few seasons. Don’t be surprised, and saddened as MAC fans if the Wildcats prevail.
Western Illinois (1-0, 0-0 MVC) at Northern Illinois (0-1, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 7:30 p.m. • DeKalb, Ill. • Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium (24,000)
Series: Northern Illinois leads, 20-17-1
Notes: Head coach Jerry Kill enters his second year with the Huskies and return 11 starters (7 offense/ 4 defense) from a squad that finished 6-7 overall, 5-3 in the MAC, and earned an appearance in the Independence Bowl…Program has earned a bowl appearance in three of the last five years…QB Chandler Harnish started last season as a freshman and led the club in passing and rushing…RB Me’co Brown saw plenty of action as a freshman last year and led the backfield with 510 yds. rushing. The Leathernecks defeated Sam Houston State, 35-28 as QB Matt Barr (437 yards passing) and WR Lito Senatus (235 rec. yards) set career highs and each rank second in school records...RB Dre Gibbs recorded his third career 100-yard game.
Nick’s Pick: NIU 26 – Western Illinois 21
Comment: The Leathernecks have played MAC teams tough through the years and will do so again this weekend. Look for NIU to win in a hard fought contest.
Miami (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Boise State (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 • 8 p.m. • Boise, Idaho • Bronco Stadium (34,127)
Series: First Meeting • Last Meeting: N/A
Notes: RedHawks return 14 starters (8 offense/ 6 defense)…Senior QB Daniel Raudabaugh ranks fifth on Miami’s all-time career passing list with 4,681 yards…Junior redshirt Jordan Gafford missed ’08 campaign after suffering season-ending injury week 2 at Michigan and looks to return to ’07 form when he ranked fourth on the team with 89 tackles…Gafford and senior WR Dustin
Woods named team captains. The Broncos entered the season ranked #14 and opened with a 19-8 victory over #16 Oregon...Boise State set a school record with a crowd of 34,127 fans for the opener vs. Oregon... Last year, Broncos posted a 12-1 overall record and an appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Nick’s Pick: Boise State 35 – Miami 0
Comment: After Miami lost 42-0 to Kentucky last week, how bad will this game be? Let’s hope Boise State has a bit of a letdown after last week’s emotional victory over Oregon.