Tonight the MAC takes center stage in college football and that is but a mere appetizer for what’s to come tomorrow. Check it all out right here.
Bowling Green (+4.5) vs. Northern Illinois (at Ford Field) – The Mid-American Conference is in the spotlight for a second straight year and in the center of that spotlight is Northern Illinois. Last season, the Huskies finished off a perfect season by beating Kent State. The win sent them to Orange Bowl. They have the same opportunity tonight as they play Bowling Green. A win pretty much guarantees another BCS trip while a loss sends the Huskies to far less financially rewarding pastures.
I do not expect the Falcons to go quietly however. Bowling Green is 5th in the nation in scoring defense at just 13 points per game while the Huskies’ D gives up about 10 points more per game. I was impressed that Bowling Green went to Buffalo last week and knocked off the Bulls 24-7. The winner of that game grabbed the MAC East Title and the Falcons did just that on the road.
The difference in this one however is the amazing Jordan Lynch who will be under center for NIU. If Lynch is not in New York as one of the four Heisman Trophy finalists then there ought to be an investigation. He will be the difference in a fairly tight ball game but I like the Huskies to cover.
Texas (+15) at Baylor – This one is fairly simple. Should Oklahoma State lose against rival Oklahoma in the early game in the Big 12 then whoever wins between the Longhorns and Bears wins the conference and the BCS bid. In terms of on the field with these two we have to credit Mack Brown who has guided his team to an 8-3 record when many thought he’d be lucky to get to six wins when the ‘Horns were 1-2 on the season.
Baylor bounced back nicely from losing to the Cowboys and still has hopes for a BCS game. QB Bryce Petty has announced he will return for his senior season which should provide some motivation for the Bears. I like Baylor to win but the 15 points is just too much so take Texas.
Oklahoma (+10) at Oklahoma State – You already know the scenario from the game listed above and quite frankly I expect the Cowboys to put a significant whooping on the rival Sooners tomorrow. The Cowboys are 1-4 straight up in their last five home games against OU and I believe the over/under of 58 will go over with the Sooners averaging 31 points per game and the Cowboys averaging 41.
Sadly at 9-2, the Sooners’ season has been a disappointment with a loss to Texas and a serious blowout loss to Baylor. Injuries have not helped but Bob Stoops knows he can’t use them as an excuse. Regardless, I like Oklahoma State to cover.
Ohio State (-6) vs. Michigan State (Lucas Oil Stadium) – The Buckeyes’ defense was exposed last week by a very average Michigan offense and you can bet Mark Dantonio paid attention. His concern however will be stopping Ohio State because they can run the ball with several threats and Braxton Miller can throw it well too. I really want to take Sparty but OSU is too athletic. Take the Bucks to cover.
Missouri (-3) vs. Auburn (Georgia Dome) – Here’s the big question; can Auburn re-focus after such an amazing win over their most hated rival? I think they can but this year has been pretty magical for a Missouri team too that had to manage without their starting QB for much of it. Mizzou leads the SEC in both sacks and interceptions and I like them to cover.
Duke vs. Florida State (-29) (Bank of America Stadium) – Jameis Winston was cleared of any charges from an alleged sexual assault that happened a year ago. While being investigated he stayed sharp and played pretty well. Now that this is off his mind, how much better will he be? The Blue Devils have been an outstanding story but this one is over early. I’m taking the Seminoles to cover.