MAC Football

MAC Basketball


Nick’s Picks for the 2004 MAC Bowls


GMAC BOWL - December 22 (Wednesday) - 7:00 (CT)
Bowling Green (8-3, 6-2 MAC) vs. Memphis (8-3, 5-3 C- USA )
Television: ESPN (Mark Jones, Bob Davie, Holly Rowe)
Site: Mobile , Ala. - Ladd Peebles Stadium (40,600/Field Turf)
Series: First Meeting.
Coaches: BG-Gregg Brandon (19-6, second season); UM-Tommy West (25-22, fourth season at Memphis ; 60-57, 10th season overall).
2004 Common Opponents: None

Nick’s Pick:               BGSU 45 – Memphis 41
Line:                           BGSU by 4.5
Comment:                  The Falcons have scored an incredible 57 TDs this season and average 502-yards per game.  They have a very bad taste in their mouth after losing a 20-point halftime lead against their arch-rival, Toledo , to end the season.  Memphis is a splendid team with balance but their defense is a little suspect giving up over 400-yards per outing.  The MAC has never lost to Conference USA in a bowl game.   The GMAC Bowl is historically one of the most entertaining bowl games of the season.  This year should be no different.  Give the nod to Bowling Green with their prolific offense in a thriller.


FORT WORTH BOWL -December 23 (Thursday) - 7:00 (CT)
(6-5, 6-2 MAC) vs. Cincinnati (6-5, 5-3 C- USA
Television: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Craig James, Heather Cox)
Site: Forth Worth, Texas - Amon G. Carter Stadium (44,088)
Series: UC leads 5-3-1 ... the Thundering Herd won the last meeting, 25-13 in the 2000 Motor City Bowl played at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich ... that has been the only meeting since 1946 ... UC was a MAC member from 1946-1952 and was one of the founding MAC institutions.
Coaches: MAR-Bob Pruett (94-22, ninth season); UC-Mark Dantonio (6-5, first season).
2004 Common Opponents: Both schools lost to Ohio State - Marshall 24-21 and UC 27-6 ... both teams beat Miami - Marshall 33-35 and UC 45-26.

Nick’s Pick:               Marshall 26 – Cincinnati 21
Line:                           Cincy by 1
Comment:                  Both of these teams have had disappointing seasons compared to their preseason aspirations.  Marshall nearly beat Ohio State and Georgia on the road but where blown out at BGSU and lost at Akron .  Cincy has been a real hard to figure with blow-out victories over Memphis , Southern Miss & Miami (O) and blow-out losses to Army and Louisville .  Marshall has a better defense and the mindset of “playing for championships,” which includes bowl games.  Marshall should pull this game out and give the MAC another victory over a Conference USA school.


MOTOR CITY BOWL - December 27 (Monday) - 5:30 (ET)
Toledo (9-3, 7-1 MAC) vs. Connecticut (7-4, 3-3 Big East) 
Television: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Craig James, Heather Cox)
Site: Detroit , Mich. - Ford Field (65,000/Artifical Surface, Indoors)
Series: First meeting.
Coaches: UT-Tom Amstutz (36-14, fourth season); UConn-Randy Edsall (31-36, sixth season).
2004 Common Opponents: Both schools beat Temple - Toledo 45-17, UConn45-31.

Nick’s Pick:               Toledo 34 – UConn 21
Line:                           Toledo by 3
Comment:                  The Rockets have played very good football with three straight wins over quality opponents by dominating the second half of play.  Unfortunately for Toledo , they will be missing the battering ram, 6-foot 240-pound Scooter McDougle at tailback.  UConn has had lots of success against the lower-echelon of the MAC beating Buffalo , Akron , Kent State and Western Michigan over the past two seasons.  The Huskies have a terrific QB but Toledo ’s defense has improved a lot since the beginning of the season.  This is the first bowl game ever for the Huskies while Toledo is playing in their third MCB and 9th bowl game overall.   


INDEPENDENCE BOWL - December 28 (Tuesday) - 5:30 (ET)
Miami (8-4, 7-1 MAC) vs. Iowa State (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) 
Television: ESPN (Dave Barnett, Bill Curry, David Norrie, Alex Flanagan)
Site: Shreveport , La. - Independence Stadium (53,000)
Series: First meeting.Coaches: MIA-Terry Hoeppner (48-24, fifth season);
 ISU-Dan McCarney (44-72, 10th season)
2004 Common Opponents: None.

Nick’s Pick:               Miami 37 – Iowa State 21
Line:                           Miami by 3
Comment:                  Iowa State had an impressive four-game winning streak late in the year and nearly won the Big-12 North.  The offense however has not been very good for the season and they have recorded just 22 TDs.  Miami’s offense has been explosive at times and they played a rugged schedule with road trips to Michigan, Cincy, Marshall and Detroit to play Toledo in the MACC.  In a game like this you look at who wants it more and certainly Miami has an edge in this category.  The RedHawks should roll.


SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC - December 30 (Thursday) - 8:00 (PT)
Northern Illinois (8-3, 7-1 MAC) vs. Troy (7-4, 5-2 Sun Belt) 
Television: ESPN (Pam Ward, Mike Tomczak, Dave Ryan)
Site: San Jose , Calif. - Spartan Stadium (28,867/Natural Grass)
Series: First meeting.
Coaches: NIU-Joe Novak (46-55, ninth season); Troy-Larry Blackney (115-52-1, 14th season)
2004 Common Opponents: None.

Nick’s Pick:               NIU 24 – Troy 14
Line:                           NIU by 1
Comment:                  While the average fan may not look at this match-up as very appealing, any person with knowledge of college football knows that these are two good football teams.  Over the past three years NIU has beaten Wake Forest , Maryland , Iowa State and Alabama while Troy has beaten Missouri and Marshall (twice).  Each program is giddy over any bowl opportunity and will be prepared well to play.  NIU’s offense is better than the men of Troy by an average of 446 to 283 in the ‘yards per game’ category.  Look for NIU to run the ball well and use some play-action passes to get their first bowl victory since the 1983 California Bowl.


MAC Championship Game

Toledo (8-3, 7-1 MAC) at Miami (8-3, 7-1) - 7:35 (ET) kickoff
Television: ESPN (Mike Tirico, play-by-play; Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, analysts; Jill Arrington, sideline)
Site: Ford Field - Detroit, Mich. (65,000)
Series: Miami leads 42-27-2 ... the RedHawks have won the previous three meetings, including a 23-16 game on Nov. 2 at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio ... Miami has handed Toledo its only home loss in the last 30 games on the Rockets' home field at the Glass Bowl ... UT's last win vs. Miami was in 1997 (35-28 at Toledo).
Coaches: UT-Tom Amstutz (35-14 fourth year); MIA-Terry Hoeppner (48-23, fifth season).
Designation: Miami is the designated home team.

Last Meeting: On Nov. 2 via an ESPN2 audience, in an election night special, the RedHawks forced four Rocket turnovers en route to a 23-16 win ... the RedHawks broke a 16-16 tie on a one-yard touchdown run by Luke Clemens with 14:56 left in the fourth quarter ... Clemens rushed for a game-high 94 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries ... Miami QB Josh Betts was successful on 24 of 41 pass attempts (.585 pct.) for 295 yards ... nine of Betts' passes ended up in the hands of Ryan Robinson, who totaled 146 yards on the receiving end ... Toledo QB Bruce Gradkowksi completed 23 of 36 attempts (.638 pct.) for 203 yards a touchdown and an interception ... Lance Moore also had nine receptions for 104 yards ... Toledo had three runners with 45 or more yards - Scooter McDougle (68), Kenny Higgins (53) and Trinity Dawson (45) ... both team's defense had four sacks with two for Miami's Alphonso Hodge.

Championship Rematch: This will be the fourth time in the eight years of MAC Championship game history that a regular season rematch will be featured in the title contest. Previous year rematches are: Year Regular Season Result Championship Result 1999 Marshall 31, @W. Michigan 17 <@Marshall 34, Western Michigan 30> 
2000 W. Michigan 30, @Marshall 10 <@Marshall 19, Western Michigan 14> 
2003 @Miami 33, Bowling Green 10 <Miami 49, @Bowling Green 27> 
2004 @Miami 23, Toledo 16 <Miami vs. Toledo (@Detroit)>

Championship History: Toledo is appearing in its fifth MAC Championship game, one short of the league record of six held by Marshall ... The Rockets won the title in 2001, beating Marshall 41-36 ... The Thundering Herd topped the Rockets on three occasions - 1997 (34-13), 1998 (23-17) and 2002 (49-45) ... Miami's only MAC Championship game appearance was last year vs. BGSU.

Quick Notes: 
-The game features two of the league's top scoring offense - Toledo at 35.2 ppg and Miami at 33.4 ppg. 
-Miami leads the league in sacks with 37 while Toledo has allowed the third least amount of sacks (14). 
-The starting QBs rank second and third, respectively, in the MAC in passing efficiency with Toledo's Bruce Gradkowski at 162.2 (256 of 363, 3,224 yards, 23 TDs and 7 int.) and Miami's Josh Betts at 141.3 (227 of 365, 2,951 yards, 19 TDs, 11 int.). 
-Toledo's leading rusher, Quinton Broussard, is averaging only 50.7 ypg, yet the Rockets as a team are third in the MAC in rushing yards with 166.1 ypg. 
-Miami tops the league in rushing defense, allowing 101.8 ypg. 
-In the "hidden yards" stats, Miami has a MAC best 21.8 average on kickoff return and the league's top return man in Korey Kirkpatrick (28.4 ypr). 
-The RedHawk's Ryne Robinson has two punt returns for TDs this year and a MAC record five in his career.

Nick's Pick        Toledo 38 - Miami 27
Line:                  Miami by 2
Comment:          Toledo had four turnovers and nearly won at Miami last month.  No one in the MAC is playing better football at this point in time  than Toledo.  The Rockets score early and hold off Miami in the 4th period for their second MACC win in five tries.



Nick’s Picks for Week #13


#24 Bowling Green at Toledo
Tuesday night, November 23, 2004, 7pm, ESPN2
Glass Bowl Stadium (26,248)
BGSU leads the overall series 36-28-4; home team has won six straight in this series.
Toledo :  Tom Amstutz is 34-14 in his 4th season – BG’s Gregg Brandon is 19-5 in his second season.
Annual trophy is called “The Peace Pipe” (since 1980) for the winner of this rivalry which began in 1919.


  • Toledo is 5-7 overall against ranked opponents and 29-1 at home in their last 30 home contests.
  • In most MAC offensive statistical categories, BG ranks first with Toledo ranking second.
  • BGSU QB Omar Jacobs continues to lead the nation with 32 TD passes and 21.6 points responsible for per game. He also is second in the nation in total offense (348.0) and passing yards per game (322.0). He also is third in the country in pass efficiency (172.4) and fifth in completions per game at 24.7.
  • As a team, the Falcons are second in the nation in passing offense (327.7), fourth in total offense (496.4) and scoring (43.9), fifth in turnover margin (+1.3) and pass efficiency (170.1), 20th in pass efficiency defense (107.8), and 23rd in scoring defense (19.8). BGSU leads the MAC in all of those team rankings.

Comment:                  I like Bowling Green to win the game, but history dictates that the home team gets the upper hand.  Over the past 21 seasons, the home team has 17 times.  In a rivalry this heated and close, pick the home team in a minor upset.

Nick’s Pick:               Toledo 35 – BG 28
Line:                           BG by 4.5


Kent State at UCF
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Stadium: Florida Citrus Bowl (70,000)
Site: Orlando , Florida
Doug Martin is in his first season as the head coach at Kent State . He was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2003 and was previously an assistant coach at East Carolina, East Tennessee State , and Kentucky . George O’Leary is in his first season at UCF. He compiled a 52-33 mark in six years at Georgia Tech.


  • Kent State looks for its fourth-straight win to close the 2004 season.  The Golden Flashes set a school record by scoring 69 points in a 69-17 victory over Eastern Michigan last week scoring nine touchdowns and totaled 575 yards of offense.
  • The three-game winning streak by KSU is the first since October of 2001. The Golden Flashes are looking for their first four-game winning streak since closing out the 1976 season with five straight victories.
  • UCF is looking for its first win of the season. The Golden Knights (0-10, 0-7 MAC) nearly ended their streak last week before falling at Ball State Ohio University , 21-17.
  • The Golden Knights also dropped the final four games of the 2003 season, extending their losing skid to 14 games. Their last win was a 31-13 victory over Central Michigan on Oct. 25, 2003.
  • This is just the third all-time meeting between the two schools, with UCF holding a 2-1 advantage. UCF won the first two meetings (59-43 in 1997 and 32-6 in 2002) before Kent State picked up a 36-16 victory last season.

Comment:                  The Golden Flashes have saved their best play for the end of the season with Josh Cribbs playing terrific football and the defense making tremendous strides.  UCF is looking to close out a terrible season and build some momentum as they move to Conference USA .  Kent State is a team playing with a purpose and should win.

Nick’s Pick:               Kent State 28 – UCF 13
Line:                           Kent State by 8