College Football: Miami (Ohio) @ Buffalo Preview
I'm not going to even get into my opinion as to teams playing on Election Day (I sure hope the Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo players get to the polls), but there is football to be played on both Tuesday and Wednesday with all three games being MAC matchups. Could Ball State be a possible upset victim on Wednesday night? Who will take control of a muddled MAC East race after these two days? Here's a preview of the three games on the slate for Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Tuesday: Miami-Ohio (2-6, 1-3) @ Buffalo (4-4, 2-2) 7:30 PM EST on ESPN2
The Bulls are currently tied with Akron atop the MAC East standings, with the Redhawks just a game back in the standings. The division race has been every bit as wild as what's been going on in the ACC but without the same amount of national television coverage. But in QB Drew Willy the Bulls have one of the better signal-callers in the MAC. Miami will most certainly have their hands full with Buffalo, especially when you take into consideration the following two statistical rankings: Miami is tied for last in turnover margin and twelfth in total offense. Yes the Redhawks are second in the conference in total defense, but the fact that their offense struggles to put points on the board will cost them in this one. Buffalo wins and gives a little clarity to the East race.
Northern Illinois @ #17 Ball State 8 PM EST on ESPN2
The race in the MAC West is wide-open in regards to the top four in the division, but thankfully for the conference those four teams are with either zero or one league loss. An NIU win in Muncie would throw the race for a loop and eliminate any small, correction miniscule, chance that the Cardinals would have to crash the BCS party. QB Nate Davis is arguably the best quarterback in the conference, but he'll have his hands full with the league's top-ranked defense. And if Brady Hoke isn't the unanimous choice for MAC Coach of the Year then don't be surprised if one of those votes went to Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill, who has the Huskies one win away from bowl eligibilty in his first year in DeKalb. But they don't get that sixth win here, for the Cardinals have too much offensive firepower to drop this one at home.
Toledo (2-6, 1-3) @ Akron (4-4, 2-2) 8 PM EST on ESPNU
It's been a tough year for the Rockets, who announced today that head coach Tom Amstutz would step down at season's end and take on a fundraising role within the athletic department. The problems for Toledo have been on offense, with the conference's eleventh-ranked attack struggling to establish a consistent passing game and failing to hold onto the football (11th in turnover margin). The Zips, on the other hand, find themselves tied with Buffalo atop the MAC East due to a ranking of third in the MAC in turnover margin and fifth in total offense. But the Rockets do have a shot at putting some points on the board due to Akron being one of the poorer defenses in the MAC (12th in total defense). So even though the Rockets would like to win one for their soon-to-be departed head coach, look for the Zips to pull out a close one.
- Phil Fulmer steps down at Tennessee.
Unless you've been away from a computer, radio or television all day then you know that Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer will be stepping down come season's end. The main culprits in this: the eleventh-ranked offense in the SEC and recent struggles to beat rivals Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Add to this a decline in the quality of recent recruiting classes and you have all the makings for a departure. Fulmer is currently 150-51 at Tennessee and won a national title back in 1998. The Volunteers (3-6, 1-5) need to win out to reach bowl eligibility this season and host equally struggling Wyoming on Saturday.
-Texas Tech named FWAA/Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week.
Thanks to their exciting 39-33 home win over then-#1 Texas the Red Raiders were named National Team of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Other nominees were Florida (49-10 win over Georgia) and Northwestern (24-17 win over Minnesota clinched with an interception return for a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining).