Enter the final week of the 2017 regular season in the Mid-American Conference for Central, Eastern and Western Michigan. While none of the trio are in the hunt to represent the division in the conference title game played at Ford Field, they could have a big say in who does this week.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
RECAP: Central Michigan (7-4, 5-2 MAC) rolled to a fourth consecutive victory last week against Kent State, a 42-23 win over the Golden Flashes. During their winning streak, they have scored at least 35 points in every game. They also eclipsed 400+ yards of total offense for the third time during this victory-laden stretch.
UP NEXT: CMU now welcomes in Northern Illinois (8-3, 6-1 MAC) in what should be a really fascinating game. NIU has been one of the more dominant teams in the league this year and still have a chance to win the West Division, but they need help from another Michigan school to accomplish that feat. Central owns the 16-15 advantage all-time over NIU, including three straight wins overall against the Huskies.
The Chippewas could theoretically finish in a three-way tie atop the division by the end of the week. However, they would not earn a trip to Detroit in such a scenario due to tiebreaker rules.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Quarterback Shane Morris tossed two more touchdown passes last week against Kent State, giving him 23 on the season. The former Michigan grad transfer now has multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games and five of seven conference games played thus far.
KICKOFF: Friday, November 24 | Noon ET on CBS Sports Network
EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
RECAP: Eastern Michigan (4-7, 2-5 MAC) squeaked out a 27-24 win last week on the road against cross-division foe Miami. They once again found success on the ground, rushing for 185 yards as a team. Through their first five games, EMU averaged just over 74 yards rushing per game. That has more than double to just over 152 yards rushing per game over their last six games played.
UP NEXT: EMU has almost no shot to make a bowl game — even at 5-7, they carry one of the lower APR scores among FBS programs in the entire country, let alone the MAC. But they can very much end the year on a high note with a win at home against Bowling Green (2-9, 2-5 MAC), who holds the second-worst scoring defense in the conference. Eastern Michigan will also look to make it two in a row over BGSU for the first time since the late 1980’s.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Maxx Crosby has been a nightmare for opposing offenses all season long. Crosby has three sacks in each of his last two games played, he leads the team with 11 sacks (good for top five nationally) and 15 tackles for loss. The 11 sacks currently tie a single-season school record.
KICKOFF: Tuesday, November 21 | 7 p.m. ET on ESPN3
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
RECAP: Western Michigan (6-5, 4-3 MAC) narrowly pulled out a big road win last week against Northern Illinois, which would have created quite a conundrum in the West Division tiebreaker scenarios. Amazingly, the 35-31 loss to the Huskies was the first time since Week 5 that WMU did not reach at least 200 yards rushing in a game. Conversely, the 211 passing yards from Reece Goddard were the most for the Broncos since Week 7.
UP NEXT: Western poses perhaps their toughest challenge of the entire season when they take the trip down to Toledo (9-2, 6-1 MAC). A win for the Rockets or an NIU loss puts Toledo into the MAC Championship Game. The Broncos are given the great privilege of trying to slow down an offense that averages close to 40 PPG and better than 500 yards per game.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior linebacker Robert Spillane has been a tackling machine all season long for Western Michigan. Spillane recorded nine tackles last week against Northern Illinois, the sixth game in which he had at least eight tackles, giving him 78 on the season to lead WMU and put him top-15 in the league.
KICKOFF: Friday, November 24 | 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPNU