With MAC football now confirmed to return, schedule’s have been dropping left and right for the Mid American Conference teams that are ready to get back in the hunt for a MAC title and bowl game contention. Among these teams are our beloved Eagles, and although I’m happy to see them return, I am disheartened by their schedule.
EMU football schedule according to EMUEAGLES.COM
WEEK ONE: AT KENT STATE, NOV. 4
WEEK TWO: AT BALL STATE, NOV. 11
WEEK THREE: HOME AGAINST TOLEDO, NOV. 18
WEEK FOUR: HOME AGAINST CENTRAL, NOV. 28
WEEK FIVE: AT WESTERN MICHIGAN, DEC. 5
WEEK SIX: HOME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS, DEC. 12
According to EMUEagles.com, the Nov. 4, start date is the latest kickoff to a season in program history, breaking a previous start date record of Oct. 30, in 1899.
If you take a thorough look at their schedule and compare it to last year, it doesn’t look good for the Eagles. EMU went 2-4 against the listed opponents above in 2019, with losses to Kent State, Ball State, Toledo, and Central. That’s the first four teams they play. Not to mention the first two are on the road, which makes the start of their season even tougher.
EMU managed to pick up narrow victories against Western and Northern Illinois in 2019, but even those games are not guaranteed or even predictable wins. Western plays outdoors, and by the time Eastern plays them on Dec. 5, we could see a snowstorm or numbing temperatures. Even though EMU normally plays until the end of November during a normal season, something doesn’t sit right with me about those December games.
The same factors can be said about the season finisher against Northern Illinois, but EMU at least gets home field advantage. Eastern’s team has a talented cast and a strong coach in Chris Crieghton, but there are so many factors that will be coming into play this season. Weather, COVID-19, injuries, potential game postponement, and no fans could all skew the outcome of games.
It is hard to predict anything for this coming football season, but I’m going to do my best to predict a vague ending record for EMU. I’ll do a more in-depth analysis of each individual game in later articles, but for now I’ll do a general run through of each game. I will be predicting these games assuming no players have been sidelined by COVID-19 or injuries. Cool? Cool.
Week one at Kent State really does not look good for EMU. Kent State bested the Eagles 34-26 last year, and then went on to win their bowl game against Utah State. With this game being on the road and both teams rusty, this could be a messy game to watch. Without fans, both offenses will have an easier time getting their calls out and due to this we could see some high scoring games. I think EMU loses this one, although it most likely won’t be a blowout.
Week two at Ball State is less of a challenge but still a toss up. Ball State had a losing record of 5-6 in 2019, with one of their only wins being against EMU. Ball State barely won that game 29-23 which makes me think Eastern will hang with them again this year. I think this one will be a 50/50 toss up, but I’ll give the nod to EMU in sake of optimism.
In week three EMU gets their first home game, this time against Toledo. Toledo stole a victory from the Eagles last year in an overtime thriller by a score of 37-34 in a game that many think Eastern should have won. Toledo and EMU are very matched in terms of talent, but since EMU is at home and will be most likely clicking after their win against Ball State, I think EMU most likely wins this one by a field goal or two.
I don’t even want to talk about week four. Central will be coming to town and last year, Central absolutely blew the doors off of the Eagles by a score of 42-16. Sure, Eastern will be looking for revenge, but the talent levels are just different here. Central almost surely wins this game by a touchdown.
Nearing the end of the season, week five Eastern travels to Kalamazoo to play the Broncos. EMU won against Western in 2019 by a score of 34-27 even though Western finished with a better record than the Eagles did. I don’t know if it’s the fact that this game will be played in the bitter cold or the fact that I think EMU gets beaten handily the week before this, I don’t have confidence that EMU wins this game. I’m giving this one to Western by a couple scores.
Finally, in week six EMU hosts Northern Illinois. This is probably the only game I’m extremely confident Eastern wins, due to the fact that they are at home and that they destroyed NIU by a score of 45-17 last year. I say EMU easily wins this one by a few touchdowns and finishes the year on a high note.
Like I said earlier, there will be so many factors that change the predicted outcomes that me and many other analysts can make. All we can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that MAC football has returned.