Few people, if any, would be willing to bet against Northern Illinois to win the MAC West (and maybe even the entire conference), but if most had to choose a runner up it would be either Ball State or Toledo.
Both teams are experienced, deep and could challenge the Huskies for the division. In fact, Northern Illinois will play these two teams in back-to-back weeks in the last third of the regular season. If the Huskies were to lose one or both of those games, it would mean that this Rockets-Cardinals matchup could carry enormous weight into deciding the division winner.
This is the second conference game for each of these teams, but might be the most impactful game either squad will play in the regular season.
Jockeying for position to overtake the Huskies this early in the season, don’t be surprised if this one turns into a shootout as Toledo’s defense didn't hold a single opponent to single digits in 2012 and Ball State has allowed at least 20 points in 26 consecutive games.