During the first weekend of college football, a couple of teams from the tiny Mid-American Conference had some surprises in store for the BCS power conferences.
The Bowling Green Falcons, led by Tyler Sheehan at quarterback, overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat the No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers on their home turf. The Falcons' defense came up strong, forcing four turnovers from the Pitt offense, and the team rallied back to take the eventual 27-17 road win.
In other MAC news, the Akron Zips hung tough with the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers for a half before running out of gas. It still showed definite promise that the Zips could trail by only a touchdown at the break.
Don't forget that Western Michigan put up 24 points against Nebraska, and Minnesota narrowly defeated Northern Illinois, 31-27.
This upcoming weekend, however, will give the MAC several more chances to see if they can become the "Cinderella" story of the college football world this year.
Central Michigan, thought to be the preseason favorite to take home the MAC crown, will face SEC powerhouse Georgia. The Chippewas are led by quarterback Dan LeFevour, who may just be the best QB no one has heard of.
Buffalo, another MAC member, will face the same Pittsburgh Panthers that lost to Bowling Green. If Buffalo were to pull off the upset, the MAC would continue to get more recognition from BCS schools.
Lastly, Miami of Ohio travels to "The Big House" to take on the new-look Michigan Wolverines. Led by Texas native Daniel Raudabaugh and wide receivers Chris Givens and Jamal Rogers, the Redhawks should have a pretty productive year in 2008-2009.
Can the MAC continue its surprising ways? The answer is no—or at least not this weekend.
The Bulldogs of Georgia are far too strong to let LeFevour carve up their defense, even though he can do it to many other big-time programs.
Pittsburgh will be focused and ready for the game against Buffalo, although Turner Gill will have his boys ready as well.
If my former Redhawks make the upset happen in The Big House, I'll feel mixed emotions, but I definitely don't see it happening this year. The Redhawk defense has the ability, but the offense looked very stagnant against Vanderbilt in the season opener.
There are also some intriguing matchups down the road, namely the Falcons facing off with the Boise State Broncos in the third week of the year.
Here's to a great college football season!
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