We’re still one week away from a true Mid-American Conference slate of games, but the first day of October brings a good chunk of league action. The highlight will be a cross-division showdown in Philadelphia between two of the league’s premier teams when Toledo takes on Temple. At the other end of the standings, Eastern Michigan hosts Akron in the Cupcake Battle of 2011.
If you’re stuck apple picking, here is how everything will play out.
Toledo at Temple, 12 p.m.
Temple still desperately wants to join the Big East, while Toledo wants to destroy those cheaters, blind fools, BCS morons, teams in a league that might not have another season. On this day, we’re going to take a hungry Rockets team to make a bold statement with a big road victory.
Prediction: Toledo 21-17 Temple
Buffalo at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m.
Scandal seems to surround the Volunteers (who may want to stop paying so many of them), but the on-field product is still pretty good. Buffalo will struggle against a sea of orange, before turning its attention to conference play.
Prediction: Tennessee 38-10 Buffalo
Akron at Eastern Michigan, 1 p.m.
It’s David vs David! The Tortoise vs The Tortoise! It’s also a game that shows how far down Akron has fallen. The Eagles are an up-and-comer, but they’ve still got a long way to go. In Ypsilanti on this Saturday though, EMU will get back above .500 and will start MAC play 1-0.
Prediction: Eastern Michigan 13-7 Akron
Cincinnati at Miami, 1 p.m.
At 0-2, Miami felt like a great team with a few bad breaks. At 0-3, the RedHawks just look beatable. Cincinnati should find a way to pull away from its local rival and leave Miami searching for its first win.
Prediction: Cincinnati 23-10 Miami
Kent State at Ohio, 2 p.m.
Forget sneaky good, the Bobcats are starting to look like a front-runner in the MAC. Kent State on the other hand, is looking like a two-win team. That second win won’t come in Athens.
Prediction: Ohio 31-6 Kent State
Western Michigan at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m.
After two rough games against the Big Ten, maybe it’s time for the Broncos to stop scheduling games against the Midwest’s other big league. UConn presents an interesting challenge though. Look for a game that goes down to the wire. The safe pick would be to take the Huskies, but we’ll go the other way. Western Michigan in the upset!
Prediction: Western Michigan 30-27 Connecticut
Northern Illinois at Central Michigan, 3:30 p.m.
In year’s past, this was one of the best games of the MAC season. Right now though, NIU and CMU are going in opposite directions. The Huskies are still a contender while Central Michigan is just churning water, trying to stay afloat. Northern Illinois will put this one to bed before halftime.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 42-14 Central Michigan
Bowling Green at No. 22 West Virginia, 3:30 p.m.
The Falcons have played three very good games so far in 2011. Against the Mountaineers though, even a flawless performance won’t be enough. Bowling Green just doesn’t have West Virginia’s skill or depth.
Prediction: West Virginia 41-7 Bowling Green
Ball State at No. 2 Oklahoma, 7 p.m.
Oklahoma is a legitimate national title contender. Even at 3-1, Ball State isn’t quite there (ok, the Cardinals are not close to being a BCS title game contender). Still, you’ve got to love this match-up. It’s a game that Stan Parrish would have complained about.
Prediction: Oklahoma 49-17 Ball State