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MAC Championship Preview

   by ASA - 12/03/2009

Line Movements

The line opened with the Chippewas as a 10.5 point favorite in this year’s MAC title game. That line has been rising steadily throughout the week and is now standing with the Chippewas -13.

The O/U opened at 53 and that is where the total currently stands.

The Skinny

Central Michigan (10-3, 8-0) got here unscathed in MAC play with their only two losses coming on the road to BCS Conference schools: Arizona (7-4) and Boston College (8-4). They had a very good ATS record this season, going 9-2 and covering all but one game when they were favored.

This will be the third MAC Championship game for the Chippewas in four years. They won it in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007, defeating Ohio and Miami (OH) by the combined score of 66-20 (both ATS victories).

Ohio defeated Temple last week to win the MAC East outright. It was their 4th win in a row and 7th in their last 8 games after starting the season 2-2. The Bobcats finished 9-3 on the season and finished MAC play with a 7-1 record. Their losses were to UConn (6-5), Tennessee (7-5), and an upset to Kent State (5-7) The Bobcats rewarded their 'backers' with an 8-4 ATS record on the season.

Ohio will be playing in just their 2nd MAC Championship game ever after losing their first opportunity to the Chippewas in 2006. They were out-gained by 233 yards and lost by 21 points in that contest. The game, however, was a lot closer than the score and stats indicate. CMU scored on 71 and 96 yard plays and were only ahead by 7 points heading into the 4th quarter.

Fever for LeFevour

Chippewa QB Dan LeFevour led CMU to a MAC Championship when he was a freshmen in 2006. He threw for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns and led CMU to an easy victory over Ohio. That was just the start of an illustrious career for LeFevour at CMU.

LeFevour became the MAC’s all-time leading passer this season and is still adding to his career numbers of 12,254 passing yards, 99 touchdowns and 2,887 rushing yards with 46 touchdowns. He looks to add to his college resume by winning his 3rd career MAC Championship.

For the 2009 season alone, he has passed for 2,788 yards with 25 touchdowns. He is also their leading rusher with 652 yards rushing (238 yards more than their leading running back) and 14 touchdowns.

Bobcats Injury Situation

Ohio quarterback Theo Scott injured his ankle in the Bobcats last game against Temple and was spotted on the sideline using crutches. He is questionable for the MAC Title game and if he can’t go, it will be a huge blow for the Bobcats.

Scott has had breakout performances in the last two weeks, completing 67% for 462 yards and totaling 8 touchdowns. His back-up, freshmen Tyler Tettleton, has 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in just 20 pass attempts this season.

Along with Scott; WR Lavonn Brazill and S Patrick Tufua are starters that are questionable for the game on Friday. They join four other starters – from the beginning of the season – that aren’t available for the MAC title game.

Trends

Ohio is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 MAC games. They are also 19-6-2 ATS in their last 27 games following a S.U. win. Central Michigan is 25-7-2 ATS in their last 34 conference games, 25-8-2 ATS in their last 35 games as a favorite, and 39-15-3 ATS in their last 57 games overall.

The Bobcats have finished ‘over’ their last 4 games as an underdog. The Chippewas are 5-1 ‘over’ in their last 6 Friday games.

Head to head: The favorite is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings. CMU is 3-0 ATS in their last three meetings, winning by an average margin of 17 PPG.

Weather

Weather is not a factor as the game is played indoors at Ford Field in Detroit. It can be seen on ESPN2 at 7 PM.


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