Ranking the conference games
Welcome to the latest edition of the Tuesday countdown.
Every Tuesday, all the way up until the start of the season when Northern Illinois travels to face Wisconsin on Sept. 5, we’re going to have a list/ranking for you to read and debate. Whether it’s the best players, coaches or the worst place to watch a game, we’ll have it all.
Today, we’re going to rank the MAC's conference games, all 52 of them. Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments below.
Anything better to do today?
52. Miami (Ohio) at Western Michigan, Sept. 19
This could be the biggest blowout in the conference this season.
51. Temple at Eastern Michigan, Oct. 3
50. Kent State at Temple, Nov. 21
49. Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois, Nov. 5
Eastern Michigan comes to DeKalb on short rest after playing at Arkansas. Will this midweek game be out of reach before sunset?
48. Miami (Ohio) at Ohio, Oct. 17
47. Northern Illinois at Miami (Ohio), Oct. 24
46. Eastern Michigan at Toledo, Nov. 20
45. Western Michigan at Kent State, Oct. 31
44. Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan, Nov. 14
43. Miami (Ohio) at Temple, Nov. 5
Temple has one of the best defenses in the MAC, and Miami has one of the most anemic offenses.
42. Buffalo at Miami (Ohio), Nov. 18
41. Eastern Michigan at Akron, Nov. 27
40. Ball State at Eastern Michigan, Oct. 24
Halfway decent games
39. Kent State at Eastern Michigan, Oct. 17
38. Kent State at Ohio, Oct. 24
37. Toledo at Miami (Ohio), Oct. 31
36. Miami (Ohio) at Kent State, Sept. 26
35. Akron at Bowling Green, Nov. 20
34. Bowling Green at Miami (Ohio), Nov. 12
This might be Miami's best chance for a win in the MAC.
33. Buffalo at Kent State, Nov. 27
32. Ohio at Buffalo, Nov. 10
31. Kent State at Akron, Nov. 7
30. Toledo at Bowling Green, Nov. 27
29. Northern Illinois at Ohio, Nov. 21
Would anybody be surprised if this turned into an important game for both teams?
28. Ohio at Akron, Oct. 10
27. Central Michigan at Bowling Green, Oct. 24
26. Ohio at Ball State, Oct. 31
25. Bowling Green at Buffalo, Nov. 3
24. Akron at Northern Illinois, Oct. 31
This is a rematch of the 2005 MAC Championship game, which Akron won in the final seconds.
23. Akron at Buffalo, Oct. 17
22. Central Michigan at Ball State, Nov. 18
It's probably wishful thinking for these two teams to duplicate their game from last season, a 31-24 Ball State victory that was entertaining throughout. But with the game in Muncie, Ind., this time, it could be closer than people think.
21. Bowling Green at Kent State, Oct. 10
I have Bowling Green fourth and Kent State sixth, so it's not much of an upset, but the Golden Flashes are 1-7 against Bowling Green since 1987. This could be the year Kent State breaks through.
20. Western Michigan at Toledo, Oct. 10
Western Michigan has to travel to NIU the week before and plays at home against Central Michigan the week after this game. Toledo will be ready.
19. Eastern Michigan at Central Michigan, Oct. 10
Eastern Michigan doesn't get a lot of respect. OK, the Eagles get no respect. But Eastern Michigan has owned Central Michigan lately, going 4-1 in the past five seasons. It's always close between these two and last season was a memorable 56-52 triumph for the Eagles.
Important, but not crucial
18. Ohio at Bowling Green, Oct. 3
It's an early season conference game, but the winner can use it for some serious momentum. Ohio has been picked by some to win the East and a road win early in the conference schedule would do wonders for that.
17. Ball State at Temple, Oct. 10
Ball State still has a formidable defense, as does Temple. First one to 17 points wins.
16. Temple at Ohio, Nov. 27
15. Ball State at Northern Illinois, Nov. 12
Last year's game was a blowout, but this year the location has changed and Ball State is taking a step back.
14. Bowling Green at Ball State, Oct. 17
13. Northern Illinois at Toledo, Oct. 17
Will new Toledo coach Tim Beckman keep the 38-7 score on the Toledo scoreboard all week like Jerry Kill did with 70-21 score last season?
12. Temple at Toledo, Oct. 24
11. Toledo at Central Michigan, Nov. 11
10. Ball State at Western Michigan, Nov. 24
9. Akron at Central Michigan, Sept. 26
8. Toledo at Ball State, Oct. 3
Ball State will be coming off a game at Auburn while Toledo exits a non-conference schedule that includes Purdue, Colorado and Ohio State. The healthiest team might win this one.
7. Northern Illinois at Central Michigan, Nov. 27
This game might not matter in the MAC standings by the time it's played, but if NIU is hanging around six wins again this game is suddenly very important.
6. Temple at Akron, Nov. 13
If Temple is going to compete for a division title, the Owls have to win games on the road in November. Akron won't make it easy.
Getcha popcorn ready
5. Western Michigan at Northern Illinois, Oct. 3
Last season, NIU had to use three quarterbacks and almost pulled off the win, losing, 29-26. Brandon West ran for 175 yards against the Huskies.
4. Buffalo at Western Michigan, Oct. 24
Western Michigan's offense against Buffalo's defense sounds like a fantastic game to me.
3. Central Michigan at Buffalo, Oct. 3
This is the biggest test Central Michigan has on the road in the MAC, and last year's conference champions are still loaded at most of the skill positions.
Gather around the TV, lock the doors, answer no phone calls
2. Buffalo at Temple, Sept. 26
I have these two teams as 1-2 in the East and this early season game will set the tone for the rest of the conference season. Last season's game between these two was an instant classic, with Buffalo winning on a Hail Mary.
1. Central Michigan at Western Michigan, Oct. 17
The single most important game in the MAC regular season takes place on Oct. 17. The Chippewas and Broncos are the favorites to win the division and the conference title.