Everyone makes the same "return of the MAC" joke so why bother, life is too short to play the same song over and over when there are so many new ones to explore. So let's get right to it. The MAC football season kicks off tonight, the Fourth of November, with a full slate of action. Twelve teams. Six games. Enough blocking, tackling, and backdoor-covering to briefly distract from the shiniest thing.
In the interest of self-care and a brief diversion, let me offer my very first picks of the year in a segment that will absolutely not return unless we're still glued to our preferred cable news network in a week.
Eastern Michigan (+4) at Kent State
What are we to do with the entire concept of polling and public opinion in the wake of these past two elections? Does the blame fall on those attempting to map the collective human experience blinded by their own biases? Does it fall with an electorate that delights in being dishonest to media? Both? How do we remain connected with people who seem more interested in only exploring where we disconnect? Kent State 34, Eastern Michigan 31
Western Michigan (-20) at Akron
A Mitch McConnell-led Senate probably rediscovers an interest in fiscal responsibility and relishes the opportunity to serve as a powerful check on any Joe Biden administration. Western Michigan 45, Akron 20
Buffalo (-13) at Northern Illinois
What's the last thing you've eaten? Check that, what's the last six things you've eaten? Just a horrifying thing to reflect on. They absolutely need to schedule the 2024 election before Halloween so there's not a majority of the nation stress-eating at once. Buffalo 20, Northern Illinois 19.
Ohio (-2.5) at Central Michigan
Worth remembering that we're still on the steep slope of the third COVID wave's upswing as the weather gets colder and flu season begins and there is no plan or coming plan and the vaccine trials haven't progressed nearly as quickly as promised or hoped. Central Michigan 29, Ohio 24.
Ball State (+1.5) at Miami
It's entirely possible we look back on this moment and realize it wasn't the bottom of the seventh inning in this whole process but actually the top of the second. Horrifying! Ball State 40, Miami 30.
Bowling Green (+23) at Toledo
One simply does not go into the Glass Bowl, located ever-so-close to Katie Holmes' childhood home, and push Jason Candle's club around. The Rockets offense averaged 435 yards per contest last year and the thunder-and-lightning backfield of Bryant Koback and Shakif Seymour returns. Seven returning starters on the defensive side of the ball will get their first crack and rehabbing a terrible unit last year. Matt McDonald, a Boston College transfer, will have trouble getting a rhythm in his first career start. Toledo 47, Bowling Green 20.