Enjoy the final week of Nothin' But Saturday games, kids. Next Tuesday is the start of Football Any Damn Night We Choose Season, making weekly MACrimony logistics extremely fun (read: irritating) for the whole family! The MAC in November will see:
• Three Tuesday games
• Three Wednesday games
• Four Thursday games
• Eight Friday games
• Five Saturday games
Buffalo and Bowling Green grab the lion's share of weekday play dates, doing so in all four weeks. Kent State will play it missionary style, leaving the confines of Saturday to throw the ball around only on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the way the good Lord intended.
But I'm looking too far ahead. There are actually two fantastic games for any football fan to enjoy this weekend. Onward with Halloween's offerings!
12 noon — Akron (1-6, 0-3) at Northern Illinois (4-3, 2-1) (TV: ESPN Plus, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN360.com)
Apropos of nothing, did you see the score of the Akron-Syracuse game last week? 28-14. And did you see what one guy said would happen? Ahh, what a prediction. And it's not even a leap year!
And how did NIU swing this part of the schedule? Between Miami last week, Akron tomorrow, EMU next week and Ball State after that, that's a combined 2-28, the two wins of which were against Morgan State and Eastern Michigan. This is what is known in Mario Kart as a turbo stripe. NIU 31, Akron 12
12 noon — Ohio (5-3, 3-1) at Ball State (1-7, 1-3) (TV: Nope)
That really was a great comparison by Ball State coach Stan Parrish, linking himself to Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans. Both teams last year had amazing starts. This year, they both tanked. Although I don't remember when Parrish wore a Dan LeFevour jersey to a charity event in order to feel like a winner. I hope he doesn't get used to the warm fuzzy feeling of running all over Eastern Michigan. The Bobcats are green, but they're not that green. Ohio 27, Ball State 17
2 p.m. — Western Michigan (4-4, 3-2) at Kent State (4-4, 3-1) (TV: Nope)
I'm not sure what's more shocking: that Temple's undefeated in the conference or that Kent State is right behind them. It's been their defense, which ranks in the top ten in the country in sacks (26), tied with Penn State. Safety Brian Lainhart is also the only player in the country with at least five interceptions and four forced fumbles. Remember those two "fantastic games" I was talking about? This isn't one of them, but WMU's great-except-when-it-isn't offense will be a wonderful test against the Golden Flashes when-did-they-get-competent defense. Kent State 26, WMU 18
3:30 p.m. — Temple (5-2, 4-0) at Navy (6-2, independent) (TV: CBS College Sports)
What in the world is Temple doing right? Five straight wins have made them the talk of the conference. No particular stat is amazing for them, but as a unit, they're rolling through the conference like a Walter Sobchak bowling ball. But Navy is on an equally-sized roll, being victorious in five straight games, including two in overtime. Remember how these brats almost beat Ohio State? If Toledo was the Owls' test of the season to date, so is this. I haven't believed in them all season. Why start now? Navy 35, Temple 27
3:30 p.m. — Toledo (4-4, 2-2) at Miami (0-8, 0-4) (TV: Ohio News Network, ESPN Game Plan, ESPN360.com)
Aaron Opelt's back. Party's over. Toledo 41, Miami 20
3:30 p.m. — Central Michigan (7-1, 5-0) at Boston College (5-3, 3-2 ACC) (TV: ESPN2)
The last time these two teams met, it was the opening week of 2006. A young Dan LeFevour made his first start as a freshman, throwing for a touchdown and running for two more. (As you've noticed, he's been doing that ever since.) On the other side of that game, current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan accounted for three TDs of his own in the 31-24 victory.
And wouldn't you know it. LeFevour's still the young'un in the QB matchup. The Eagles trot out 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie, who spent six seasons in the Minnesota Twins organization as a pitcher before deciding to switch sports. No word if Ron Gardenhire employed a double switch that sent a BC linebacker into the middle infield.
The Chippewas are knocking on the door that contains a house of ranked teams. Can they? Will they? Why wouldn't they? CMU 31, BC 28
7 p.m. — Eastern Michigan (0-7, 0-4) at Arkansas (3-4, 1-4) (TV: ESPNU)
Yeah, I don't know why either. Arkansas 42, EMU 21