Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Night MACtion Preview: Week 12

Last week we went 0-2 on Friday, 3-3 on Saturday, and then we won two NFL games on Sunday so the whole weekend was a wash. And honestly, that's when gambling in the most fun.

Kidding, obviously. It's the most fun when you win everything. Here are your winners tonight:

UMass @ Akron, 7pm
Line: Akron -7

Quote: "The Massachusetts football team won’t know for certain whether starting quarterback Blake Frohnapfel will be healthy enough to face Akron on Tuesday until game time, as he continues to deal with a right leg injury." Daily Collegian

Analysis: That explains why UMass is getting 7 points even though they've won 3 of their last 4 and Akron are 0-for-4 in the same stretch. 

Bonus quote from the same post: "Redshirt freshman Austin Whipple assumed Frohnapfel’s duties throughout the week. UMass coach Mark Whipple said he isn’t all that worried about his son assuming the starting role."

The case for UMass: Frohnapfel has lead the MAC in passing yards this season, so his loss definitely hurts UMass (who are currently 6th in the nation with 340.5 passing yards per game). However, Whipple walked on to Bill O'Brien's team at Penn State and then also played for James Franklin. So I think they will actually try to continue the passing attack that features four receivers with 4+ touchdowns and three more with 100+ yards on the season (am I reaching too far?). 

However, if UMass does look to the ground, the team averages 108 rushing yards per game and will be licking their chops against an Akron team that has given up 310 to Buffalo (who averaged 151 before that game) and 219 to Bowling Green (165 before that game) in the past two weeks. 

The case for Akron: The other team is replacing the top QB in the conference with the coach's kid who hasn't played a snap since prep school.

Pick: In looking up other previews for this game, I found myself really getting on this Whipple train. The dad is the head coach. The brother is the tight ends coach. The prodigal son is the quarterback, And we're getting a touchdown? I'm in on Minutemen +7 and I cannot fucking wait to watch this game.

Northern Illinois @ Ohio, 7pm
Line: Northern Illinois -3

Quote: "The Huskies are 32-0 when they run the ball 45 times or more." Chicago Tribune

Analysis: I don't know how far back that stat goes. Is that forever? Basically they've been a great running team for a long time, and this season they're 14th in the nation (and first in the conference) with 261 rushing yards per game. Following them are Toledo (247), W Michigan (192), Bowling Green (175), and C Michigan (167). 

The case for Northern Illinois: Ohio has NOT done well with stopping those other rushing attacks, especially those directional Michigan schools:
  • Western Michigan: 42 points, 530 total yards, 186 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
  • Central Michigan: 28 points, 467 total yards, 234 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
The case for Ohio: The Huskies want to get into the 30's. The Bobcats want to keep them around 20, like they did with Buffalo (14), Akron (20), E Illinois (19), Kent State (14), and Kentucky (20, although they lost 20-3). The only teams to hold the Huskies under 20 points this year are Arkansas (which doesn't really count) and Central Michigan.  C-Mich (little MAC slang for you) outgained Northern Illinois by 211 yards, including a surprising 173 rushing yards. 

Pick: Ask yourself two questions. Is Ohio as good as an SEC West team? Is Ohio capable out out-rushing Northern Illinois by a 3-1 ratio? Don't overthink it. Huskies -3.

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