The Toledo Rockets are looking to run the tables in an attempt to catch up with Western Michigan in the Mid-American West. It’s a tall order with the Broncos undefeated at this juncture. The final score of Western Michigan and Kent State is still pending as I write this, so they may have a loss on their resume as you read this. If the Broncos lost last night and Toledo wins tonight, then they would be tied in the conference. One loss this season for Western Michigan would be devastating, ultimately ending their chances of capturing a New Year’s Six Bowl bid. Playing in the MAC, a perfect record is needed to get those honors. Right now for the Rockets, the focus is on getting to the MAC Championship and winning. It seems likely whoever comes out of the West will win the conference.
Toledo travels to Northern Illinois for a matchup against a team who is a shell of their former glory. The Huskies were the class of the MAC for a few years. In fact, they played in a BCS Bowl against Florida State. It didn’t go so well for them, but getting to a bowl of that magnitude is a major accomplishment. At 3-6, Northern Illinois are on the outside looking in at a bowl game. Nevertheless, a win against Toledo would bring them two games closer, and additionally, it’d be a nice win for the Huskies against a top-tier team of the MAC.
It is extremely difficult to have a team who can win year after year in this conference. The head coaching turnover in the MAC is particularly high. The minute a coach has a couple of good seasons, he is on the market to move up to a bigger school. Therefore, schools have to start at the bottom again once a coach leaves. From a recruiting standpoint, it messes everything up and from a recruiting standpoint, the team is nearly starting from the start.
P.J. Fleck, the head coach of Western Michigan, is going to be scooped up within the next two years. This will be probably leave another door open for the powers to switch in the MAC Conference. The Rockets have been the model of consistency in the MAC. For the most part, in the last ten years they’ve played above average football and competed with the best teams. The Rockets have played in five bowl games since 2010. They will make it another this season, as they have already eclipsed the six win mark with a record of 7-2.
Toledo Rockets vs. Northern Illinois Huskies NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Northern Illinois +6.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Toledo vs. Northern Illinois Pick:
Toledo are led by Logan Woodside, who is fresh off a big performance against Akron. Woodside threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, with 327 yards passing. It’s been a superb year for the fourth-year member of the program. Woodside had his year taken away from him last season due to injury, but he’s come back with a vengeance. He had a solid year in 2014, passing for 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, so it was a big downer when he had to sit last year out. Woodside has been able to make up for lost time in 2016. He’s thrown for 34 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions, along with over 70 percent in completions.
Don’t look now, but the Rockets rank among the best offenses in college football Note that they are 4th in yards per game, which tops offenses like California, Louisiana Tech, TCU, and Baylor. They are also scoring at a clip of 40.3 points per game. Woodside has been averaging 345.5 yards per game through the air, which is 6th in the country.
The Huskies have been getting routed against the pass. They are 98th in the nation, allowing 259.4 yards per game. Northern Illinois are also 105th overall on defense, so I think Toledo will be able to do what they want on offense tonight. Northern Illinois will have to play keep-up with their offense, which they may be able to do. Their offense has been playing well, averaging 31.1 points per game. The best news for Northern Illinois is that their offense has been hottest of late, averaging 44.5 points in their last two games. 44 points against Buffalo and 45 against Bowling Green. I expect the Huskies to run the ball effectively on Toledo, who are allowing 154.7 yard a game, 54th in the nation. I have a feeling this could turn into one of those whacky midweek MAC games like Eastern Michigan and Ball State last night. The OVER is going to be the play tonight.
PICK: OVER 69 POINTS (-110)