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QUIZ TIME, Open Thread: RETURN OF THE MACTION

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Bad football is back. Let’s talk about it for as long as we can.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Eastern Michigan at Illinois Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The MAC’s six-game, conference-only schedule kicks off tonight. Whether playing football amid a pandemic is a good idea or not, here we are—with a full slate of MACtion.

As I prepped for this, I planned on just a little gamethread. But wanting to avoid work and [/gestures around], it turned into something more—me wondering which MAC teams had upset a B1G program since 2000 (since that’s what SportsReference will let me sort).

So I made a Sporcle Quiz.

There’s previews of tonight’s games and a gamethread below, too.

Go nuts!

The Quiz: MAC Upsets of B1G Teams

All the answers are below, because I did this first as a “it’d be fun to list ‘em” experiment, then decided “Man, this would be a dumb, fun Sporcle quiz.”

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The Games: Wednesday, November 4

Eastern Michigan Eagles at Kent State Golden Flashes

5pm | ESPN+ | KSU -4 | O/U 65.5

This is the game I’ll be on to start, as both these schools made for a heckuva story in 2019. Eastern nabbed a couple road wins in its first three, beating the now-formidable Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and less-formidable Illinois Fighting Illini before doing just enough in the MAC season to earn a bowl berth, putting the scare in the Pittsburgh Panthers before falling in the Quick Lane Bowl, 34-30.

Kent State, by contrast, managed the greatest comeback since Lazarus (or something close): having escaped Kennesaw State in OT at home, they took whippings at Arizona State, Auburn, and wisconsin. But the Flashes rallied with wins over cellar-dwellers Bowling Green and Akron, then—after a three-game losing streak in which all three losses were by one score—turned the tables and beat Buffalo and Balls Tate by 3 before outlasting EMU at The Factory to secure bowl eligibility.

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED:

Yeah, that’s a smoothie bath for second-year HC Sean Lewis after an extremely improbable 51-41 win in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl.

I know, every noun in that sentence arouses me, too.

Still here? Jesus, how much MAC content do you need? I’m tuned in to this one, assuming these programs show any of the promise and shenanigans they showed in 2019—and thinking that Lewis (to say nothing of EMU’s Chris Creighton) could be up for a higher G5 job before long.

EMU needs to replace both QB Mike Glass III and RB/bowling ball Shaq Vann, though they picked up another Iowa transfer in RB Samson Evans (miss you, Tyler Wiegers), so perhaps there won’t be quite the offensive production for the Eagles.

On the other side, the Flashes bring back QB Dustin Crum, who’s a threat to run and pass and, last we saw, did drop 51 on Utah State.

There will, no doubt, be some first-week slop, but that’s just adding to what we love about MACtion. It’s magic, baby. And it’s back.

Western Michigan Broncos at Akron Zips

5pm | ESPN3 | WMU -20 | O/U 52

  • WMU (5): def. Illinois, 34-10 (2016); Northwestern, 22-21 (2016); Illinois, 23-17 (2008); Iowa Hawkeyes, 28-19 (2007); Iowa, 27-21 (2000)
  • Akron (1): def. Northwestern, 39-34 (2018)

When you basically blow your load on an EMU-Kent State preview, it’s a sign that (1) you have a problem, and (2) there’s not a lot else out there in the early slate. And boy, oh boy, is there not. Akron’s undergoing a major post-Bowden—never mind which—rebuild, while Tim Lester’s Broncos have struggled to approach the success of Our Lord and Saviour Peejus.

Add to that the Broncos needing to replace Jon Wassink and RB LeVante Bellamy and, uh...maybe this could be one of those fun, drunk MAC games that ends 19-17 on a safety or something. Let’s call that best-case.

Buffalo Bulls at Northern Illinois Huskies

6pm | ESPN2 | Buffalo -14 | O/U 52

  • Buffalo (1): def. Rutgers, 42-13 (2018)
  • NIU (6): def. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 21-17 (2017); Northwestern, 23-15 (2014); Purdue, 55-24 (2013); Iowa, 30-27 (2013); Minnesota Golden Gophers, 34-23 (2010), Purdue, 28-21 (2009)

I do not follow NIU closely enough to understand the negativity here—if just from Vegas—toward Thomas Hammock and the Huskies. Sure, the Bulls, with stud RB Jaret Patterson (he of nearly 1800 yards and 19 TDs in 2019) are formidable, and Lance Leipold is surely bound for a better G5 program someday. Hustle Belt notes that Hammock’s got a roster of 55% freshmen, so I guess let’s point to that.

It’s a team the Bulls should grind down, but...

Ohio Bobcats at Central Michigan Chippewas

6pm | ESPN | Ohio -3 | O/U 54

Between Jim McElwain and Tom Solich there is MORE than enough red-assery to go around here. Perhaps...literally?

figure it’d be red on account of the sunburn

Yes, this was all an excuse to use that picture.

Since last we saw the Bobcats, with Frank Solich was being concussed by a Gatorade cooler full of fries on the Smurf Turf of Boise, they’ve lost QB Nathan Rourke to graduation and probably the CFL. I dunno. They do add QB Armani Rogers, who Northwestern fans may remember from his running exploits as the UNLV signal-caller, but...well, lower your expectations when he drops back to pass. Rourke’s little brother is here, too, and you know a Solich team is going to pound the rock on the ground.

CMU operates out of a similar mindset under McElwain, pounding the ball with Kobe Lewis and bringing in Memphis transfer David Moore at QB, backed up by Sam Houston State transfer Ty Brock. The Chips put it together in 2019, making the MAC Championship and New Mexico Bowl, but sustaining it with some replacing at skill positions will take some doing. Still, this should be a matchup of two decent coaches and intriguing football.

And a -3 line—on ESPN no less!—is watch-worthy. But I’ll have another eye out for...

Balls Tate Cardinals at Miami Hydroxide Redhawks

6pm | CBSSN | M(OH) -1 | O/U 55.5

  • Balls (3): def. Indiana (x3): 41-39 (2012), 27-20 (2011 at Indianapolis), 42-20 (2008)
  • M(OH) (1): def. Northwestern, 44-14 (2003)

ONE-POINT MACTION LINE. DEFENDING MAC CHAMPS MIAMI HYDROXIDE.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS, YOUR HONOR.

Balls Tate alumnus Mike Neu remains at the helm, somehow, with QB Drew Plitt the hopeful among the Cardinal faithful and RB Caleb Huntley toting the rock. But...uh...the Fightin’ Balls are going to have to stop someone. And...let’s just say it’s “not a strength.”

Miami Hydroxide bases its offense on a large donation of electricity from QB Brett Gabbert (why couldn’t his name by Lewis?), brother of Blaine and first true frosh to lead the Redhawks. Chuck Martin’s club knocked off CMU for the MAC title on the strength of its defense, but ran into the stout DWT;WT Team of Choice Ragin’ Cajuns in the LendingTree Bowl. They should be able to compete at that level again, but getting more offensive production would sure help.

Bowling Green Falcons at Toledo Rockets

7pm | ESPNU | Toledo -24 | O/U 62.5

  • BG (7): def. Purdue, 35-28 (2015); Maryland Terrapins, 48-21 (2015); Indiana, 45-42 (2014); Minnesota, 32-31 (2007); Northwestern, 28-24 (2003 Music City Bowl); Purdue, 27-26 (2003), Northwestern, 43-42 (2001)
  • Toledo (4): def. Purdue, 31-20 (2010); Michigan Wolverines, 13-10 (2008); Minnesota, 38-7 (2001); Penn State, 24-6 (2000)

I’m tired and it’s almost 4pm. Let’s just assume Bowling Green is shitty until we hear news to the contrary, huh?

BUT WAIT THERE’S A RIVALRY TROPHY:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 15 Toledo at Bowling Green Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You’re damn right we’re gonna mention the I-75 Trophy. And it’s tied, 40-40-4. Beautiful.

Toledo and Jason Candle slumped to 6-6 last year and don’t have a for-sure QB on their roster in 2020, while Bowling Green hands it over to Boston College transfer Matt McDonald. Expect lots of Bryant Koback pounding out the running yards for the Rockets, while Scot Loeffler’s Falcons will take his “I coached Tom Brady” resume into building a wide-open offense while rebuilding a program.

Points and a rivalry game. We’ll see, MAC. We’ll see.


Here’s your quiz, here’s your gamethread, here’s your MAC preview. This year I like Buffalo to meet Toledo in the title game, with Buffalo winning.

This is based on the last 30 minutes of writing and literally nothing else.

Have a good night, be good to each other.