Weekday MAC football returns on Tuesday night with a trio of games. This is the final week of weekday MACtion for the 2017 season. Some people will be glad these games are finally over with, and others are disappointed. I can say one thing, everyone will be wishing for football in the spring and summer, whether it’s the SEC or MAC. The SEC is about to get crazy, as Alabama and Auburn are due up in the Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon. This one is more than just a rivalry game.
There will be college football playoff implications on the line. The winner of the SEC will have an automatic ticket to the playoff, whether it’s Auburn, Georgia, or Alabama. A win over Alabama and a SEC Championship would give Auburn the 4th seed. An Alabama loss to Auburn would remove them from the SEC Championship, and maybe the playoff all together. You can’t have a Crimson Tide team in the playoff on name alone. Their best wins would be against LSU and Mississippi State. They just about lost that one to Mississippi State, too.
We’ll get back to that one on Saturday. For now, we have MAC competition to breakdown. The Kent State Golden Flashes will look to find another win as the curtain closes on the year. The difference between 2 wins and 3 wins is minimal at best, but for Kent State, any sign of life late in the season would be welcoming. Meanwhile, Akron locked in a bowl berth last week, but are looking for more this week.
In their rivalry game against Kent State, they are looking towards the MAC Championship in Detroit. Akron pulled off an improbable upset over Ohio last week, setting up a situation where the Zips can clinch at home against the Golden Flashes. Akron had to go to redshirt freshman Kato Nelson and he performed well against a good Ohio team.
Nelson passed for 4 touchdowns and 322 yards and 45 yards rushing in an effort that saw Akron win straight-up as 14.5-point underdogs. Head coach Terry Bowden hasn’t tipped his hand with who he is going with in this one. Thomas Woodson has connected on 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions this year. Nelson is the more mobile quarterback, while Woodson is a pure pocket-passer.
I would not be surprised if we see both of them tonight. Kent State got a career day out of George Bollas last week, but it wasn’t enough to come close. Bollas passed for 310 yards with a touchdown and interception on Central Michigan. However, they still lost by a score of 42-23. It’s tough to compete when all your defense does is allow the opposition to do whatever they want. It was a rare big day for Bollas and the option Kent State offense, though. Head below for our free Kent State vs. Akron pick.
Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Akron Zips Betting Odds:
Kent State +15(-110)
vs. Akron -15(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Kent State vs. Akron Pick:
Akron have been winning games thanks to their defense. In all of their wins, they held the opposition to just 16 points per game. They were de-cleated against Penn State in Week 1, a 52-0 loss. Reaching the MAC Championship was about the farthest thing on anyone’s mind back then. But it was seen as a nice learning experience for them. Meanwhile, Kent State got a prelude to how the rest of the season will probably look, a near win against Howard University. The Golden Flashes got the win, 38-31, but it was against Howard. They also have a 17-14 win over Miami-Ohio, a point of embarrassment for the RedHawks. Kent State are 0-6 on the road in 2017.
Bollas finally put together a nice game last week, but it’s been a tough year for him. He’s passed for 4 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a cringe worthy 49.7% completion percentage. This isn’t an offense who wants to dish the ball out that much. They’re an option team who would rather pick up yardage on the ground. That hasn’t worked, so the game plan against Central Michigan seemed to be throw the rock around and see what comes of it. Bollas had to be ecstatic with his performance, but that was an anomaly for him this year.
The Kent State offense ranks 128th in the nation, with 278 yards per game. They’re scoring just 12.8 points per game. For a team who wants to establish the run, they are not doing a very good job of it, with 151.7 rushing yards per game. Kent State have been outscored by an average of 45-15 in their last four games. Those four were against Ohio, Bowling Green, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan, not exactly the most high-powered offense in the FBS.
This is a rivalry game, and it traditionally plays close. However, Kent State hasn’t been this talentless and injured in the past. This is also a meaningful game for Akron, with the MAC Championship on the line, it’s essentially a playoff game for them. Fifteen Kent State players are on the season-ending injury list. Fading Kent State has been an ATM machine for me this season, so hopefully we can do it one last time in Akron on Tuesday night.
PICK: AKRON -15 (-110)