Week 7 Preview: Eastern Michigan vs. Kent State
Eastern Michigan's looking for its first back-to-back win of the year with Kent State coming to town.
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After Eastern Michigan pulled through on its must-win performance against divisional foe Ball State, this weekend’s matchup is primed up to be a shouldn’t-lose situation. Kent State, which only started playing football in 1969, has won fewer than 40% of its games all-time. Right now with a new coach and without any returning starters on offense, the Flashes are 1-5 overall.
EMU, historically, has been able to look at Kent State as an equal in this conference. Other side of the division, but Kent is right outside of a major city and the football side of things have made people wonder if both programs, respectively, would be better off just going all-in for basketball instead.
Obviously, that’s just not the case anymore, but for all of the efforts both programs have put in over the last decade to improve the football by their schools and for the Mid-American Conference, it’s clear that they’re both still far from being real threats, nationally, in football. EMU went 9-4 last year, but that doesn’t mean much for how this year has gone. Same can be said for Kent State, which has won its division twice since 2012 but looks like it’ll be contending for 5th place in the MAC East this year.
EMU needed last week’s win to avoid an 0-2 divisional record stay alive in its chase to win the MAC West crown. Mathematically it’s easier to survive cross-divisional losses, but EMU really, really can’t afford to lose a MAC game against this version of Kent State. Easy wins don’t always come your way in MAC competition, but this ought to be one of the rare ones EMU gets to pick up.
Kent State SP+ Rank: 123
EMU SP+ Rank: 113
Sean Lewis really was Kent State’s best coach ever. He’s the first since Don James in the early 1970’s to bring two 7-wins, or better, seasons to Kent State. Even Dick Crum, after his success at Miami OH (3 MAC titles) and North Carolina (1980 ACC title, 4-2 in bowls), went 2-20 in his second and third seasons at Kent. The world has changed a lot since 1990, and Kent State’s made it to the MAC title twice since then, but only much more recently.
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