The Daily Kent Stater Pick ’ems

The top brass of the sports staff make some random guesses on the Flashes’ remaining nine games.

Kent State vs. Miami

Where: Kent

When: Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

Tom Gallick, sports editor: Miami was, along with Coastal Carolina, one of the two guaranteed wins for the Flashes I had circled at the beginning of the season. Even with the loss of Eugene Jarvis and a rotating cast at quarterback, I see the Flashes pulling this one out. Mike Haywood hasn’t had time to turn this faltering program around, and Ben Roethlisberger ain’t walking through that door. Fun fact: Miami lost its first two games of the season by a combined score of 90-0.

• Projected result: Kent State wins, 28-14.

Josh Johnston, assistant sports editor: Poor Miami. The RedHawks’ nonconference schedule is easily the toughest in the MAC (They’ve already been flattened by Kentucky and Boise State, and after Kent State, they face Cincinnati and Northwestern). On the other hand, after playing near-elite teams early, Kent State might seem like a walk in the park.

• Projected result: The Flashes win 20-10 in ESPN’s Pillow Fight of the Week.

Randy Ziemnik, TV2 news director: This game is about as do or die as it gets for Kent State. If Miami leaves Dix Stadium with a win, Kent State’s season will officially be over. The RedHawks are rebuilding and need time. With that being said, Miami quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh is very underrated and will be looking to avenge last season’s 54-21 loss down in Oxford. The Flashes should win this one easy, but if they don’t, expect all hell to break lose at Dix Stadium.

• Projected result: Kent State wins, 34-10.

Kent State at Baylor

Where: Waco, Texas

When: Oct. 3, 7 p.m.

Gallick:Baylor has been one of the most improved teams in the country the last few years, but they’ve not yet reached a point where they can topple Big 12 powerhouses like Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. This year, led by impressive sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin, the Bears have a shot to do serious damage in the conference. That means the Flashes have no chance at Baylor.

• Projected result: Bears take it, 42-7.

Johnston: Baylor traditionally lives in the basement of the Big 12. That being said, I firmly believe Art Briles is moving the Bears upstairs (well, maybe just to the first floor). I also believe a bad Big 12 team is equivalent to at least a dominant MAC team (excluding Colorado).

• Projected result: Bears win in Waco, 38-3.

Ziemnik: Baylor coach Art Briles is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. He built Houston into a respectable mid-major team and is well on his way to making Baylor respectable. When it comes down to it, the Bears are flat out bigger, faster and stronger than Kent State. It will take a minor miracle for the Flashes to come out of Waco with a win, but stranger things have happened.

• Projected result: Baylor wins, 52-10.

Kent State vs. Bowling Green

Where: Kent

When: Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m.

Gallick: Bowling Green opened the season with some impressive play in the pre-conference schedule. I mean, who saw the Falcons keeping it close with Missouri in Columbia? That’s bad news for the Flashes. I’d like to think the Flashes will keep it close in the centennial Homecoming celebration, but there’s no way Falcons’ QB Tyler Sheehan doesn’t carve Kent State like he did last year.

• Projected result: Falcons take down the Flashes, 35-13.

Johnston: Bowling Green must enjoy playing at Dix Stadium. Since the field was built in 1969, the Falcons have gone 15-4 there. History aside, Bowling Green is passing for more than 300 yards a game, while Kent State has given up around 170 yards a game against second-rate quarterbacks. Tyler Sheehan, prepare to feast.

• Projected result: Falcons spoil homecoming week, 31-13.

Ziemnik: Bowling Green has always been known for its wide-open passing offense. But that all changes when the Falcons play Kent State. Bowling Green ditches the passing attack and runs wild on the Flashes’ defense. In the last two meetings, Bowling Green has rushed for 458 yards against the Flashes. If Bowling Green’s new coach Dave Clawson takes a page out of former coach Gregg Brandon’s playbook, Kent State may be in some trouble.

• Projected result: Bowling Green wins, 24-10.

Kent State at Eastern Michigan

Where: Ypsilanti, Mich.

When: Oct. 17, 4 p.m.

Gallick: Eastern Michigan, along with, let’s face it, Kent State, has traditionally been the punching bag of the Mid-American Conference. What’s changed for the Eagles? Head coach Ron English. The man comes from a winning tradition up at Michigan, does not accept poor performances and generally just looks like one mean dude. He led the Eagles to a near upset at Northwestern and should help them give the Flashes all they can take.

• Projected Result: Flashes win a close one, 28-21 in overtime.

Johnston: I initially picked Northern Illinois to be the dark horse of the MAC West. But that was before the English invasion. Coach Ron English has the Eagles working harder than any team in the MAC, and it’s shown so far with a close road loss to Northwestern and a sort of close loss to Michigan. Maybe Kent State’s coaches will learn a thing or two in Ypsilanti.

• Projected result: Eagles come from behind to win 21-14 after English gives his team a death stare at halftime.

Ziemnik: Now that everybody’s favorite lovable loser Jeff Genyk is no longer coaching in Ypsilanti, hope springs eternal on the Eastern Michigan campus. But let’s face it, Eastern Michigan is in the same boat as Miami: They both have new coaches, and both are rebuilding. Kent State has an advantage in every aspect of the game and should roll over coach Ron English and his Eagles. Eastern Michigan will turn things around, but just not this year. Genyk forever!

• Projected result: Kent State wins 34-14.

Kent State at Ohio

Where: Athens

When: Oct. 24, 2 p.m.

Gallick: The Bobcats are one of the least consistent teams in the MAC, making this game hard to call. Last year the Flashes gave one away to Ohio in Kent. Will the Bobcats return the favor in Athens? Ohio usually has the talent to finish higher than they do in the MAC. This year maybe they’ll finally break through. Don’t bet on it, but they should top the Flashes.

• Projected result: Bobcats keep it close, but win it 21-14.

Johnston: Ohio has talent and experience with QB Boo Jackson. Hopefully by this week, Kent State will have stopped playing Russian roulette with the man under center. The Bobcats have underperformed in the MAC the last few years. I don’t see that changing this season either.

• Projected result: Flashes’ offense finally clicks to win 27-20.

Ziemnik: You never bet against a man with ties to Parma, Ohio, my hometown and where Ohio coach Frank Solich went to high school, but I must. For whatever reason, Kent State and Ohio are always in tight games, but the Bobcats just seem to pull it off in the end. Ohio quarterback Theo Scott is having a solid year and the rest of his team has looked pretty good in non-conference play. But you’ve got to think the Flashes will pull one out against Ohio eventually, right?

• Projected result: Kent State finally wins a close one against Ohio, 24-21.

Kent State vs. Western Michigan

Where: Kent

When: Oct. 31, 2 p.m.

Gallick: Senior quarterback Tim Hiller challenges Sheehan and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour for the title of best signal caller in the conference. Will he lead the Broncos to a MAC championship? Nah. Will his arm and the Western Michigan wide receivers wreak havoc on the Flashes’ defensive secondary all game long? Of course.

• Projected Result: Western runs away with it in a 45-14 blowout.

Johnston: We all saw in Boston what a good passing offense can do against Kent State. The Broncos have a good passing offense. This one could get ugly. Kent State is sandwiched between Buffalo and Michigan State on the Broncos’ schedule though. Maybe Western Michigan forgets about the Flashes?

• Projected result: Broncos air it out for the win, 43-14.

Ziemnik: Western Michigan’s Bill Cubit is easily one of the best coaches in the Mid-American Conference. His teams are always prepared to play smashmouth football and tough defense. It also doesn’t hurt to have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Tim Hiller. The MAC West is clearly the better of the conference’s two divisions, and it will show in this game.

• Projected Result: Broncos in a laugher, 34-10.

Kent State at Akron

Where: Akron

When: Nov. 7, 3:30 p.m.

Gallick: It will be a close game as always, but Akron is going to pull away in the rivals’ first match-up at the Zips’ new home. If the Flashes couldn’t beat the Zips at home with quarterback Julian Edelman, how are they going to spoil Akron’s inaugural season at Infocision Stadium? Face it, the Flashes have a long history of losing big games to Akron whether they’re more talented or not.

• Projected result: Akron squeaks by again with a 27-21 win.

Johnston: Akron QB Chris Jacquemain is out for the season after violating team policy, so it’s anyone’s guess how the Zips will play this week. I don’t think Kent State has forgotten last year’s double-overtime heartbreaker just yet though.

• Projected result: Flashes take the Wagon Wheel, 31-27.

Ziemnik: Akron coach J.D. Brookhart is on the hot seat and needs to win this year with his fancy new stadium and high expectations. The Zips’ receiver Deryn Bowser has a chance to play on Sundays, but besides that, Akron and Kent State’s talent is fairly comparable.

• Projected Result: Kent State takes home the Wagon Wheel, 14-9.

Kent State at Temple

Where: Philadelphia

When: Nov. 21, 1 p.m.

Gallick: Temple lost to Villanova. I’ll repeat that. Temple lost to Villanova.

• Projected result: Kent State runs away with it 35-14.

Johnston: Last year was a shootout with Julian Edelman and Eugene Jarvis running and passing all over the Owls. Oh wait. they’re both gone.

• Projected result: Temple takes an ugly one, 13-6.

Ziemnik: I will take a page from my good friend Tom Gallick’s playbook. Temple lost to Villanova. I’ll repeat, Temple lost to Villanova.

• Projected Result: Kent State wins big, 26-3. ? ?

Kent State vs. Buffalo

Where: Kent

When: Nov. 27, 2 p.m.

Gallick: Buffalo will be looking for revenge after falling to the Flashes after they had already clinched a spot in the MAC Championship. Something tells me the Bulls are going to have more motivation going into this game. Also, Turner Gill may be the best coach in the MAC and leads a surprising amount of talent at a program that used to be the dregs of Division I.

• Projected result: Buffalo gets revenge, 24-14.

Johnston: Kent State won a meaningless game against Buffalo to end last season. Still, the Bulls couldn’t have been too happy about that. I doubt Buffalo will be prepping for a MAC championship at this point either. I hear vengeance is sweet this time of the year.

• Projected result: Bulls take it, 24-13.

Ziemnik: The Flashes, with nothing to play for, went up to Buffalo last November and beat the eventual MAC champs, 24-21. Buffalo lost a lot of players from last year’s team, including quarterback Drew Willy, but trust me – coach Turner Gill will have his gang ready, and be well on his way to preparing for his next job at a BCS school.

• Projected Result: Bulls get revenge, 23-10.