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MAC Football Preview, Week 1: Dan LeFevour, As Narrated By Daniel Stern

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Much like the SEC and Big Ten (just with extremely less coverage, knowledge, and national interest) it's time to preview and predict some good ol' fashioned Mid-American Conference football. Note: good ol' fashioned MAC football is currently a 17 point home underdog.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

7:00 p.m. — Troy at Bowling Green (TV: BCSN)

No one can succinctly question that the popularity of Troy University football is partially due to when Brad Pitt portrayed blue-chip quarterback Josh Achilles in the movie Varsity Blues. I think I got that right. BGSU 31, Troy 27

7:00 p.m. — Villanova at Temple (TV: Nope)

I keep forgetting that Villanova has a football team. That says a lot about their basketball program or nothing at all about their football. Temple 31, Villanova 10

7:00 p.m. — Coastal Carolina at Kent State (TV: Nope)

You may not find a better mascot vs. mascot matchup in all of the Week 1 games (Chanticleers and Golden Flashes). And no, a Chanticleer is not that thing that dangles from the ceiling. It's a rooster from Canterbury Tales, immediately making everyone at the University a bona fide nerd. And given how jocks bully nerds, perhaps a Chanticleer is something that dangles from the ceiling. Kent State 28, Coastal Carolina 14

7:30 p.m. — North Texas at Ball State (TV: ESPNU)

It could be the Letterman Factor, or the fact that they nearly went undefeated last year, or maybe we're all eight years old, but Ball State is incredibly popular online. Meanwhile, UNT remains extremely popular among those who can still remember the "Mean" Joe Greene Coca-Cola ads. The advantage is clear. Ball State 38, UNT 21

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

12:00 p.m. — Akron at #9 Penn State (TV: BTN)

You know, maybe Akron should just sit out from playing Big Ten opponents:

2008: Lost to Wisconsin, 38-17
2007: Lost to Ohio State 20-2 ("Two!? Well, I can't figure out just two!")
2007: Lost to Indiana, 41-24
2006: Lost to Penn State, 34-16
2005: Lost to Purdue, 49-24 (and this was their MAC championship season)
2004: Lost to Penn State, 48-10
2003: Lost to Wisconsin, 48-31
2002: Lost to Iowa, 57-21
2001: Lost to Ohio State, 28-14
2001: Lost to Purdue, 33-14

1999: Lost to Penn State, 70-14

And the list continues like that. They've never beaten a Big Ten team in their existence, and continuing to drag themselves back to Happy Valley won't change much. For once in your lives, just say no. Penn State 41, Akron 17

12:00 p.m. — Kentucky at Miami U. (TV: ESPNU)

"Hey guys, we're going to host an SEC Team! But before you get excited, let me tell you which one it is…" UK 14, Miami 10

12:00 p.m. — Toledo at Purdue (TV: BTN)

Since 1997, the Makers Of Things That Boil have dropped only three opening week games. Two of those were against MAC teams: 2003 against BGSU, and 1997 at Toledo. And neither of those teams were halfway bad; both years they still won nine games. Danny Hope still has a ways to go to bring the mustache power back to Purdue (although he's close). Meanwhile, Tim Beckman is nowhere near Tom Amstutz in the department of extremely easy, cheap jokes, and any Rockets detractors must now intellectualize their jeers. Purdue 36, UT 20

3:30 p.m. — Western Michigan at Michigan (TV: ABC or ESPN2)

What do I make of these working too hard" allegations at UM? Gosh, it's almost like they have something to prove. The schadenfreude surrounding coach Rich Rodriguez was entirely warranted last year, and a 3-9 season was incredibly surprising, albeit understandable, for a historic team in transition. Lloyd Carr probably would have won seven games with that team, but in that hypothetical  year the fans would have eaten him alive just as much, if not worse.

Maybe it's time for the Wolverines to, oh I don't know, rein in their expectations for this team, which simply cannot go to the Rose Bowl every year because they're entitled to it. I'll give Rich Rodriguez this much credit: he's trying to create his identity, rather than trying to assimilate himself into a "Michigan man," yet he's not completely repelling the team's history. The No. 1 jersey goes to a wide receiver, you say? So it shall be. But for now, I'll remove myself from the pile-on, started when he left his native domain for the land of wealth and Whole Foods (one of which is useful in the other), and see if he can't build a winning team. He did it at West Virginia, fer Chrissakes. He can do it again. Michigan 27, WMU 18

7:00 p.m. — Connecticut at Ohio (TV: ESPN360)

Frank Solich is going into his fifth year with OU, and I did not expect him at all to stay there that long. Nor did I see him having a losing record and maintaining the position. Perhaps the folks in Athens still feel sorry for him getting fired after going "only" 8-3 in his final year at Nebraska. But three years removed from a MAC East title and a bowl game, the Bobcats are favored to win the top-heavy division. And I still can't find Athens, Ohio on the highway without intentionally getting lost. UConn 20, Ohio 16

7:00 p.m. — Northern Illinois at Wisconsin (TV: BTN)

Known as generic-brand Bears-Packers. You saved a bundle today, alert shopper! Wisconsin 38, NIU 31

7:00 p.m. — Army at Eastern Michigan (TV: Nope)

I'm just going to say this. Thank GOD Iraq and Afghanistan aren't riddled with endzones. EMU 17, Army 7

9:00 p.m. — Central Michigan at Arizona (TV: Arizona Wildcats Network)

Dan LeFevour is finally a senior. God, it feels like the last season of The Wonder Years, just replace the anticipation of sexin' up Winnie with the possibility of being a Heisman finalist. Look at all the MAC career records he could rewrite in 2009:

• Offensive yards (383 more to pass Byron Leftwich's 12,084)
• Completions (87 more to pass Leftwich's 939)
• Passing yards (2,436 more to pass Leftwich's 11,903)
• Touchdowns (27 more to pass Chad Pennington's 100)
• Rushing TDs by a quarterback (18 more to pass Kareem Wilson's 49)

The latter two records would take a remarkable season, but keep in mind during his sophomore year LeFevour had 27 through the air and 19 on the ground. CMU 24, Arizona 17

9:00 p.m. — Buffalo at UTEP (TV: CBS College Sports)

There is something that screams "letdown" for the Bulls this year. Perhaps Terrell Owens is just that much of a distraction. If UB bombs this year, that means the Miners should come out victorious, having played Stratego as a child. UTEP 28, Buffalo 27

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  • http://twitter.com/dexterfishmore Dexter Fishmore

    Is Villanova the most low-profile program ever to produce a great NFL running back? (I speak of Brian Westbrook, of course.)

    It’s got to be either ‘Nova or Jackson State.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress barga

    you made a giant mistake with the WMU UM game

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Wrong, Dexter. The answer would be Jerome Bettis.