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2010 MAC Football Picks - Week #1 Preview & Picks
This Week’s MAC Schedule
Thursday, September 2
Friday, September 3
Saturday, September 4
SE Missouri State (0-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley) at Ball State (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday, September 2, 2010 • 7:00 pm ET • Muncie, Ind. • Scheumann Stadium (22,500)
All-MACcess Live Streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Notes : The Red Hawks went 2-9 in 2009 and return 15 starters (7 offense/8 defense)...Four losses last year were by 10 points or fewer...Picked to finish tied for seventh in the OVC Preseason Poll…Junior QB Matt Scheible and senior DL J.J. Sanchez garnered preseason All-OVC accolades. Ball State returns 17 starters (10 offense/7 defense) and 47 letter winners from last year’s team that went 2-10 and 2-6 in the MAC…Senior RB MiQuale Lewis is third all-time in school history with 3,334 career rushing yards...Lewis also rushed for a school-record 301 yards against Eastern Michigan last year...Senior K Ian McGarvey led the MAC by making 18-of-21 field goal attempts.
Luke’s Lock: Ball State 28 – SE Missouri St 13
Comment: The Cards will not fall to a I-AA foe like they did last season.
Rhode Island (0-0, 0-0 Colonial) at Buffalo (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday, September 2, 2010 • 7:00 pm ET • Buffalo, N.Y. • UB Stadium (29,013)
Time Warner SportsNet Buffalo • All-MACcess Live Streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: Buffalo leads 3-0
Notes: Rhode Island returns 17 starters (8 offense/9 defense) from last year’s 1-10 team…The URI defense ranked second in CAA in turnover margin in 2009, recovering a league-best 15 fumbles and picking off 11 passes…Senior linebacker Rob Damon was named a preseason All-America by the Sports Network after leading the CAA with 124 stops in 2009. First year Head Coach Jeff Quinn inherits a Buffalo program that went 5-7 and 3-5 in the MAC…UB returns 14 starters (6 offense/eight defense)…Senior DB Davonte Shannon became the first UB player to garner three straight first-team All-MAC selections in 2009…Bulls ranked third in the MAC in total offensive (405.5) and defensive (342.7) yards per game last season.
Luke’s Lock: Buffalo 42 – RIU 7
Comment: The Bulls have more talent – period.
Murray State (0-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley) at Kent State (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday, September 2, 2010 • 7:00 pm ET • Kent, Ohio • Dix Stadium (25,000)
All-MACcess Live Streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: First Meeting
Notes: First-year Head Coach Chris Hatcher comes to Murray State from Georgia Southern and inherits a Racer squad that went 3-8 in 2009…Senior WR/KR Marcus Harris was named a preseason All-American by The Sports Network as a kick returner…He needs only 21 catches to set the school record…Harris and teammate K/P Kienan Cullen were named preseason All-Ohio Valley selections. KSU returns 49 letter winners, including 16 starters (9 offense/7 defense) from last year’s, 5-7, 4-4 in the MAC…Kent State will enter the 2010 season with the active FBS career leaders in interceptions (S Brian Lainhart, 15) and rushing yards (RB Eugene Jarvis, 3,426)…QB Spencer Keith set Kent State freshman records with 2,147 yards passing and 14 touchdowns in 2009.
Luke’s Lock: Kent State 30 – Murray State 10
Comment: Could this be the year Kent State gets back to a bowl? If so, it would be the first time since 1972. Starting 1-0 is a definite.
Hampton (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Central Michigan (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Thursday, September 2, 2010 • 7:00 pm ET • Mount Pleasant, Mich. • Kelly Shorts Stadium (30,255) All-MACcess Live Streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: First Meeting
Notes : Hampton went 5-6 last year (Rose’s first as head coach), with the Pirates going 3-5 in MEAC play…The Pirates ranked third in the MEAC in scoring defense in 2009, giving up just 19.4 points per game…The Pirates were also third in the MEAC in total defense, giving up 278.1 yards per contest…Senior LB Julio Sanchez was named Preseason MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Central Michigan returns 41 letter winners, including 12 starters (6 offense/6 defense)…CMU finished the season ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll…CMU has posted a winning record in each of the last five seasons, the longest current stretch in the MAC…CMU is the only current MAC member to ever play in four consecutive bowl games.
Luke’s Lock: Central 52 – Hampton 14
Comment: The ‘Chips will roll under the leadership of the new coaching staff.
NIU (0-0, 0-0 MAC) at Iowa State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Thursday, September 2, 2010 • 8:00 pm ET • Ames, Iowa • Jack Trice Stadium (55,000)
FOX SportsNet; Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Series: Iowa State leads, 2-1
Notes: NIU returns 49 letter winners, including 17 starters (6 offense/11 defense)…Last year, the Huskies went 7-6, 5-3 MAC, and earned a bid to the 2010 International Bowl (L, South Florida, 27-3)…RB Chad Spann rushed for a MACbest 19 TDs in 2009, which tied the school-record…QB Chandler Harnish stands 10th in NIU career total offensive yards (3,966) and passing yards (3,198). Iowa State went 7-6 in 2009 and won the Insight Bowl, 14-13 over Minnesota despite being picked to finish last in the preseason Big 12 poll…It was the Cyclones first bowl win since 2004…Cyclones return 12 starters (7 offense, 5 defense).
Luke’s Lock: Iowa State 24 – NIU 21
Comment: This will go to the wire; NIU has a real shot at a nice BCS road win.
Villanova (0-0, 0-0 Colonial) at Temple (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Friday, September 3, 2010 • 5:00 pm ET • Philadelphia, Pa. • Lincoln Financial Field (68,532)
ESPN3.com • Announcers: Scott Graham, Rene Ingoglia
Series: Villanova leads 16-12-2
Notes: Villanova was the 2009 FCS National Champion defeating Montana, 23-21…The Wildcats finished the season 14-1 and return 31 letter winners and 15 starters (8 offense/7 defense)…WR Matt Szczur was the 2009 CAA Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American…This is the second Mayor’s Cup between Villanova and Temple. Returns 56 letter winners, including 16 starters (9 offense/7 defense)...Last year, Temple posted records of 9-4, 7-1 MAC (Co-East Div. Champs) and visit to the EagleBank Bowl (L, 21-30 UCLA)…Picked as preseason favorite to win MAC East & MAC Championship Game…All-American Bernard Pierce returns after breaking the school’s rushing records for a freshman.
Luke’s Lock: Temple 21 – ‘Nova 20
Comment: Quite possible the best game of the week; the Owls will win the Mayor’s Cup this year after a gut wrenching loss last season.
Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) at Toledo (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Friday, September 3, 2010 • 8:00 pm ET • Toledo, Ohio • Glass Bowl (26,248)
ESPN • Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore
Series: Arizona leads 2-0
Notes: Arizona was 8-5 in 2009 and advanced to the Holiday Bowl (L, 33-0 Nebraska)…Wildcats were picked fifth in 2010 Pac-10 Preseason Poll, garnering two first place votes...UA’s all-league returnees include second-team picks OC Colin Baxter, OT Adam Grant and CB Trevin Wade, with QB Nick Foles and DE Ricky Elmore nabbing honorable mention. Rockets have 41 returning letter winners on their roster, including 14 starters (7 offense/ 7 defense) off last year’s 5-7 team…WR Eric Page led the nation’s freshman with 82 receptions and 1,159 yards in 2009…Rockets play seven bowl teams, including a trip to No. 4 Boise State…Four of Toledo’s first six games are on the road.
Luke’s Lock: Arizona 31 – Toledo 24
Comment: Look for the Rockets to make this an entertaining game and yes, UT always has a real shot to beat a BCS team at home. They’ve done so three straight seasons.
Miami (0-0, 0-0 MAC) at Florida (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • Noon ET • Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field (88,548) ESPN • Announcers: Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Bob Griese
Miami leads 1-0
Notes: RedHawks return 20 starters (11 offense/9 defense) from last year’s squad that posted a 1-11, 1-7 MAC record...QB Zac Dysert threw for 2,611 yards in 2009, third highest total in MAC history by a freshman...Jerrell Wedge averaged 1.54 tackles for loss per game in 2009 (18.5 total tackles for loss), which tied for eighth in FBS. Florida enters the 2010 season with half of its starters returning from the 2009 Sugar Bowl Championship team, which went 13-1 and became the first Division I FBS team to win 13 games in consecutive seasons...Finished ‘09 ranked
#3 nationally in both the AP and Coaches’ Polls... Florida yielded 174 points in 2009, tied for third-fewest in college football.
Luke’s Lock: Florida 63 – Miami (O) 3
Comment: Not a good game for Miami to play at this point in time during their program’s rebuilding stage.
Western Michigan (0-0, 0-0 MAC) at Michigan State (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • Noon ET • Lansing, Mich. • Spartan Stadium (72,027)
ESPN2 • Announcers: Bob Wischusen, Brian Griese
Series: Michigan State leads 10-2-0
Notes : Broncos return 15 starters (8 offense/7 defense) from last year’s squad that finished 5-7, 4-4 MAC...Western Michigan offense must replace QB Tim Hiller, school’s career leader in total offense (11,220 yds.) and fourth in MAC history; and RB/KR Brandon West, who set the NCAA all division record for career all-purpose yardage (7,764). Spartans welcome back 15 starters (7 offense/6 defense/2 specialists)...Finished last season 6-7, including 4-4 in the Big Ten, and ended the year with a 41-31 loss to Texas Tech in the Valero Alamo Bowl...The bowl invitation was the program’s third consecutive bowl appearance...Defense is led by All-American and 2009 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, LB Greg Jones.
Luke’s Lock: Michigan State 33 – Western 14
Comment: The Spartans should control this contest from start to finish.
Syracuse (0-0, 0-0 Big East) at Akron (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • 6 p.m. • Akron, Ohio • InfoCision Stadium -- Summa Field (28,000) ESPN3.com • Announcers: Michael Reghi, TBA
Series: Tied 1-1
Notes: Orange return 15 starters (5 offense/10 defense) from last year’s squad that went 4-8, 1-6 in the Big East...Redshirt senior RB Delone Carter and junior RB Antwon Bailey are a proven ground gainers as Carter ranks 19th on SU’s career rushing yards record list and averaged 85.1 yards per game last season and Bailey averaged an impressive 5.4 yards-per-carry in two seasons. First-year Head Coach Rob Ianello inherits a Zips team that returns 17 starters (6 offense/8 defense/3 specialists) from last year’s club that went 3-9, including 2-6 in the MAC...Last year, freshman LB Brian Wagner ranked 7th in FBS with 11 tackles per game (132 total)...RB Alex Allen granted sixth year of eligibility and had a team-best five TDs last year.
Luke’s Lock: Syracuse 26 – Akron 17
Comment: The Orange are improved while Akron has several unanswered questions. The Zips have the talent to pull the upset but can the new coaching staff build a winning mindset?
Army (0-0, 0-0 Independent) at Eastern Michigan (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • 7:00 p.m. • Ypsilanti, Mich. • Rynearson Stadium (30,200)
All-MACcess live streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: Army leads 3-0
Notes : Black Knights return 46 lettermen and 15 starters (7 offense/8 defense) from last year’s 5-7 squad...In 2009, Army ranked 16th in the nation in rushing (203 ypg)...Sophomore QB Trent Steelman led the team in ‘09 with 202 rushing attempts, 706 rushing yards and five rushing TDs...Through the air, Steelman completed 54 of 110 passes for 637 yards, three TDs and tossed only two INT. Eagles return 44 letter winners and 12 starters (6 offense/6 defense) from last year’s team that went 0-12, 0-8 in the MAC...Secondary features DB Ryan Downard, who has totaled nine interceptions in three years and DB Marty Cardwell, who ranked second on last year’s team with 105 tackles, as the Eagles led the MAC in pass defense (150.5 ypg) in 2009.
Luke’s Lock: Army 30 – EMU 9
Comment: This may be one of the chances Eastern has to win a game in 2010.
Wofford (0-0, 0-0 Southern) at Ohio (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • 7 p.m. • Athens, Ohio • Peden Stadium (24,000)
All-MACcess live streaming via www.mac-sports.com
Series: First Meeting
Notes: Wofford returns 47 lettermen, including 18 starters (9 offense/9 defense) from last year’s squad that went 3-8...Head Coach Mike Ayers has guided the Terriers in the transition from the NAIA to the NCAA FCS and along the way has won two Southern Conference titles...Wofford has posted a winning record in 15 seasons with Ayers, including seven of the last eight campaigns. Bobcats return 13 starters (7 offense/6 defense) from last year’s squad that went 9-5, 7-1 in the MAC and earned a visit to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (L, 17-21 Marshall)...LB Noah Keller’s 155 tackles led the MAC last season and set a MAC Championship Game record with 16 tackles against Central Michigan...LaVon Brazill is a threat on punt returns as his 3 TDs led FBS last year.
Luke’s Lock: Ohio 27 – Wofford 7
Comment: The Bobcats rarely beat anyone badly. OU will win but the score will not be a blow out.
Bowling Green (0-0, 0-0 MAC) at Troy (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 4, 2010 • TBA p.m. ET • Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000)
Series: Bowling Green leads 1-0
Notes: Falcons return eight starters (4 offense/4 defense) off a team that finished 7-6, 6-2 MAC and received an invitation to the Humanitarian Bowl (L, 43-43, Idaho)...Freshman QB Matt Schilz should open the season under center....Offense must find replacements from last year’s potent offense that featured Tyler Sheehan (4,051 pass yds., 27 TDs) and WR Freddie Barnes (155 rec., 1,770 yds). Troy enters 2010 as the four-time defending Sun Belt Conference Champion...Head Coach Larry Blakeney enters his 20th year on the sidelines for the Trojans, only Joe Paterno and Frank Beamer have been in their current positions longer in the Football Bowl Subdivision...Troy scored 40 or more points in six consecutive Sun Belt games to end the 2009 season.
Luke’s Lock: Troy 28 – BGSU 17
Comment: The Falcons upset Troy last year to open the season, look for the Trojan to return the favor. BG is a team in transition, so is Troy this season. This game may be closer than the score indicates.