Bowling Green Falcons (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 8:00 PM EST
Where: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill.
TV: ESPNU, DirecTV 208
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BGSU +16/NIU -16
Over/Under Total: OFF
Two teams that have grown accustomed to sitting atop the standings in their respective Mid-American Conference divisions find themselves faced with a role reversal this season, when the Bowling Green Falcons travel to DeKalb, Ill., for a Tuesday night “MACtion” game against the Northern Illinois Huskies on ESPNU.
The Falcons and Huskies have played in three straight MAC Championship games dating back to 2013, but this year both teams have struggled to keep their “dynasties” going as the Falcons are stuck at the bottom of the MAC East standings while the Huskies find themselves in the very unusual position of sitting tied with perennial MAC doormat Eastern Michigan in the MAC West. Things are so bleak that Northern Illinois has to win out the rest of their season just to qualify to be bowl eligible, while Bowling Green has struggled so bad in Mike Jinks’ first year as head coach that they will be taking exams in December instead of preparing for a bowl game.
Everyone expected Bowling Green to struggle this year due to graduation turnover and the loss of former coach Dino Babers to greener pastures at Syracuse, but few expected this big of a struggle. A one-point victory over FCS-program North Dakota in week two of the season (won 27-26) is the lone highlight for Jinks and the Falcons in 2016, as they have lost six straight since then including an embarrassing, 28-25, defeat to Eastern Michigan at home on October 1st and a, 40-26, loss in their last game to Miami-Ohio at home on October 22nd.
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The same could be said for Northern Illinois too. Maybe everyone has just grown to used to the Huskies being the big bully of the MAC West, but Rod Carey and his staff have had may sleepless nights in DeKalb this season as the Huskies lost all four of their non-conference games to start the season and then lost a game at home they should have won to Central Michigan on October 15th, 34-28, in overtime. However, the Huskies seemed to have corrected themselves in their last game with a, 44-7, drilling of Buffalo at home on the 22nd and can still salvage the 2016 campaign if they finish strong and win out the rest of their games staring with a MACtion game against the Falcons.
If you want to know how far the Falcons have fallen all you have to do is look at the point spread for Tuesday’s game, since oddsmakers opened the MACtion contest with Northern Illinois as huge 16-point favorites. As a matter of perspective, the Falcons have NEVER been that big of underdogs to the Huskies going all the way back to 1997 season, but they have come a long way from just a few weeks ago when they closed as gigantic 31.5-point underdogs at Toledo (they covered in a 42-35 loss).
Northern Illinois QB Anthony Maddie had his best game of his young career in the aforementioned victory over Buffalo, scoring five touchdowns (four rushing) in the 44-7 win. Maddie’s four running scores tied a school mark with former Huskie QB Jordan Lynch back in the famous 2013 season. Maddie and RB Joel Bauagnon combine to form the running attack for the Huskies option-read attack and WR Kenny Golladay (829 yards, 9 TD) is the top outside threat for the passing game. They should all have big numbers when this one is done, because the main reason for the Falcons downfall this year is their weak defense, with Bowling Green allowing 509 yards agame (125th in FCS), 220 yards on the ground (107th) and an almost unbelieveable 44.1 points per game (128th).
But the Huskies defense hasn’t played much better over the course of the year, allowing 477 yards per game (116th) and 33.5 points a game (104th), so it’s quite possible the Falcons and QB James Morgan could put up big numbers for the Falcons on Tuesday.
Bowling Green has won two of the three MAC championship meetings with the Huskies, but as far as regular season meetings go its been all Northern Illinois winning four of the last five SU and 3-2 ATS in those regular season meetings.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Northern Illinois got back on track the last time out against Buffalo, as the slide for Bowling Green continues. I’m taking the Huskies at home minus the 16 points.
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