Whether you like it or not, MACtion continues on Wednesday night with three more games in the conference. Say what you want about MAC football, but at least it’s providing us with an outlet during this quiet sports period. Soon we’ll be back to college basketball, so that will provide some everyday sports action finally. Then the NBA isn’t too far off, as they’ll tip-off their season on December 22. Even when things go back to normal, whenever that may be, the NBA might stick with this schedule.
They get to avoid most of the NFL schedule. That’s a positive, but crossing over into the summer might be a problem. A lot of people are outside in the summer and don’t want to be tied to a TV. That’s the downside to maintaining a December start past this season. I do know that college football is most likely going to have a normal schedule next year. Barring something crazy, we won’t have to deal with another six-game MAC schedule.
At least we’ll have a championship game, and will award a winner in the MAC after it looked like no season. The return of the Big Ten set in motion the return of the MAC and the other conferences that were sitting out. It’s nice news for the Ball State Cardinals, who have a decent chance of winning the conference. Good chance? Not exactly. But I will go with decent enough odds for Ball State to win the MAC.
The conference is so wide open that we certainly can’t discount the Cardinals. Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo, Kent State, Buffalo, and Ohio can’t be ignored as well. That’s considerably more teams on a shortlist for a championship than you can say in other conferences. This was the case last season as well. It isn’t just because it’s a shortened year.
The Miami RedHawks won the MAC in a year when no one had them on their radar. Any of those teams I mentioned above could win. You can throw Bowling Green, Akron, and Northern Illinois to the wayside, though. There’s no hope there. Hope for a cover against Ball State? That’s possible. Let’s get straight into it. Head below for our free Northern Illinois vs. Ball State pick for November 18, 2020.
Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Ball State Cardinals MAC Football Betting Odds:
Northern Illinois vs. Ball State Prediction:
The Jordan Lynch era at Northern Illinois was fun in 2012 and 2013 for the Huskies. Lynch was third in Heisman voting in 2013, and Northern Illinois went to the Orange Bowl in a standout season for the Huskies. Northern Illinois has won four conference championships since 2011. Their most recent was in 2018, but it feels so long ago because of how bad they’ve been playing in 2020.
All of the talent from that squad is not present, and the Huskies are going through a rebuilding phase at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the good news is that the turnover from a bad to good team can be fast in the MAC. As far as this season is concerned, though, the coaching staff is just attempting to see what they have to work with for next year.
Northern Illinois heads into Wednesday with a winless record of 0-2. They weren’t close in either game, with the Huskies losing by a score of 49-30 versus Buffalo and 40-10 versus Central last week. The Huskies showed nothing against the Chippewas on both sides of the ball. Their offense was inept, while the defense was giving up big chunk plays. Ross Bowers struggled with 132 yards on 16 for 32 passing.
Bowers thought a transfer from the Pac 12 to the MAC would do him good, but I still see the same inconsistent quarterback that couldn’t hold onto the starting job at Cal. The Huskies’ leading rusher against Northern Illinois gained only 43 yards on a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. The Central Michigan running game chewed up the Northern Illinois defense, though. Lew Nichols gashed the Huskies for 91 yards on 7.6 yards per carry.
Caleb Huntley will likely have a field day for the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Huntley is one of the best running backs in the conference, and is probably going to add big numbers to his season total in this one. Huntley has rushed for 331 yards on 6.1 yards per carry through two games.
Drew Plitt is serviceable enough at quarterback to keep the Northern Illinois defense honest. The Ball State defense isn’t the best, and that’s where the Huskies will have an opening to make this a game. However, I don’t feel they’re bad enough to let an offense like Northern Illinois do much damage. A 41-23 win for Ball State falls in line with what I see transpiring.