Well it’s about damn time.
|Thursday, August 29|
|Robert Morris @ Buffalo||7 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Albany @ CMU||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Morgan State @ BGSU||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Kent State @ Arizona State||10 p.m.||Pac-12 Networks|
|Saturday, August 31|
|Akron @ Illinois||noon||Big Ten Network|
|Toledo @ Kentucky||noon||SEC Network|
|Ball State vs. Indiana||noon||CBSSN|
|Rhode Island @ Ohio||2 p.m.||ESPN+|
|EMU @ Coastal Carolina||3:30 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Illinois State @ NIU||7 p.m. (6 p.m. CT)||ESPN+|
|Monmouth @ WMU||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Miami @ Iowa||7:30 p.m.||FS1|
Thursday night’s going to be an easy one to deal with, but it’s also one that should be worth staying up for. Maybe not for Robert Morris at Buffalo or Morgan State at Bowling Green or Albany at Central Michigan (though, if any of those are actually still games in the fourth quarter, that may or may not be a good thing and I’ll be here for it), but the opening nightcap between Kent State at Arizona State could be worth coming into work Friday groggy as all hell.
Lasy year, Kent State played three teams out of the Power 5 and lost all of them: at Illinois (31-24), at Penn State (63-10) and at Ole Miss (38-17). Now with another year of Sean Lewis and the one-time-SEC-3rd-or-4th-string-QB Woody Barrett, there’s enough intrigue here to make this a very watchable game to the end. Also, how could we say no to this game when we know Herm Edwards is on the other side?
Saturday’s busy, but it’s Week 1 which means three more games against the FCS, one Group of 5 vs. Group of 5 game (Eastern Michigan at Coastal Carolina) and the rest are games against P5 schools.
It’s Labor Day weekend so getting away from the family or the lake or whatever it is people do for the holiday break needs to be planned out. If there’s just one game on the schedule that general MAC fans/watchers should tune into, it’s Toledo at Kentucky and it’s not particularly close.
Toledo’s the people’s pick to win the MAC West this year, and the expectations around that program are always higher than the most average teams in the league. The Rockets tend to make non-conference games exciting, so this should be no different.
The last time Kentucky lost [at home] to a MAC team was in 2004 against Ohio, before Frank Solich was the team’s coach. All-time against the MAC, Kentucky is 23-4 all-time against the league and most recently edged out a 24-20 win over EMU two years ago.
The other noon games on Saturday are Ball State vs. Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium and Akron at Illinois, which are really going to be worth watching if, and only if, the MAC reps make those games competitive. Miami at Iowa is the last MAC game of the day, and is another MAC vs. P5 game to look forward to, but Miami’s all defense and no offense, at least from my perspective.
Behind the ESPN+ paywall: Rhode Island at Ohio, Eastern Michigan at Coastal Carolina, and Illinois State at Northern Illinois. Behind the ESPN3 notwall: Monmouth at Western Michigan. I’m not telling you why you should watch those games. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve already prioritized at least one of these games in your personal lives.