After a night when there was a college football game and nowhere on TV that the game was being played, college football returns to prime time.
Once again, the forum poll showed us the way as the forum members at The College Football Place overwhelmingly chose Northern Illinois to cover against Kent State, and the final score and margin of victory was as decisive as the vote, as NIU waltzed past the Golden Flashes, 42-14, though they were only installed as a 3-point favorite.
The games are out for those already signed up for the free picking contest and for those who haven't signed up you still have plenty of time to do so. I takes less than a minute to get signed up and once you are registered you'll never have to register again.
In any event, we have a game tonight which shapes up to be a good one so let's take a look at it.
Central Michigan +7 vs. Ball State (Wednesday 11/19/08, 7 EST) 5 out of 10
This game shapes up to be a very interesting game in a week of interesting games. Ball State comes in a perfect 10-0 and is looking to run the table with probably its two biggest tests of the season to close out the year, playing against Central Michigan and then Western Michigan next week.
It is pretty clear that Ball State is the better team on paper, but is it that much better that it can win by more than a touchdown at what should be a pretty hostile crowd?
Central Michigan has only lost two games this season, one coming early on against Purdue and the other coming early as well, at Georgia. The Chippewas have run off six wins in a row and, while they haven't been dominant performances, I think there is something to be said about winning tough; it's something that may come in handy in a game like this one.
Ball State has dominated in every game and, while its defense is in the middle of the pack, it is a "bend but don't break" bunch, which shows up in the squad's No. 9 ranking in points allowed.
Central Michigan has controlled this series, going 8-3 against the spread in the last 11 meetings. The Chippewas are 9-0-1 against the spread in their last 10 home games against a team with a winning record and 14-2-1 against the spread in their last 17 home games overall. CMU is also 21-5-3 against the spread in its last 29 conference games.
Ball State also has strong trends following it in going 14-3 against the spread in its last 17 against a team with a winning record and 7-2 against the spread in its last nine overall.
Clearly these two, along with Western Michigan, are the class of the MAC, and I'm expecting a good game right down to the end. While I give Ball State a slight edge, the edge isn't enough to justify giving a touchdown on the road, so I'll take Central Michigan.
See the rest of Mitch's Part Two, Week 13 college football picks against the spread.