2016 MAC Preview

Posted on August 31, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2016 MAC Preview

August 31, 2016

PrezRo
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You want diversity? You want a contrast in styles? You want a fascinating mix of superstar offensive talents mixed in with just enough solid defensive teams to keep things interesting? Well the MAC is all about that this year!

The conference always boasts the haves and have-nots, with a gaping disparity between the elite and not-so-elite, yet this time around, the conference should be a bit more even. The coaching is strong, there’s plenty of star power at quarterback, and the division races are as unpredictable as they’ve been in several years.

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Last year Bowling Green didn’t field a defense and still won a MAC championship by outbombing everyone. Head coach Dino Babers is now in Syracuse and quarterback Matt Johnson is gone, but the offense should still be dangerous enough to contend.

Contrast the Falcons with Akron, the breakthrough team of last year that dominated on defense. Kent State had absolutely no offense whatsoever, ruining a fantastic campaign for a phenomenal defense. Now the Zips have to rebuild and the Golden Flashes have to hope they have some way to move the ball to keep up with the other high-powered stars in the division.

The other day I heard the ‘MAC East is the kids’ table.’

They may have taken the championship last season, but the league’s four best teams are in the West – PERIOD. So I agree.

Western Michigan is about to be devastating. Quarterback Zach Terrell leads a potentially unstoppable offense that should be an automatic 30-point-per-game machine, while the defense gets seven starters back and should be good enough to get by.

AP Poll

Northern Illinois will have a healthy quarterback this season – something it didn’t field late last year when the team was ravaged by key injuries – and now the offense is back to its normal high level. It’ll have to be considering Toledo isn’t going anywhere despite the loss of head coach Matt Campbell to Iowa State. The rushing tandem of Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson should be as productive as any in America.

Central Michigan has the high-rising quarterback in the NFL Draft world in Cooper Rush, and the defense that finished 16th in the nation welcomes back eight starters – this might be the most complete team in the MAC.

Ball State should be among the league’s most improved teams with Mike Neu taking over a veteran squad, while Eastern Michigan will try to keep the program afloat as the sixth-best team – by far – in a six-team division.

Besides the championship game, of course, we believe the MAC Football Game Of The Year will be Toledo at Northern Illinois (in Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field aka U.S. Cellular Field) Nov. 9. As good as Toledo has been over the last several years, why hasn’t it been able to break through and become the star of the MAC? NIU has won six straight in the series.

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Here is our overall MAC Predictions….

EAST

WEST

1. Ohio

2. Bowling Green

3. Buffalo

4. Akron

5. Kent State

6. Miami University

1. Western Michigan

2. Northern Illinois

3. Toledo

4. Central Michigan

5. Ball State

6. Eastern Michigan

Western Michigan should be the star of the West, and it gets both Toledo and Northern Illinois at home making the showdown between the Rockets and Huskies in Chicago all but an elimination game.

As we have stated, the MAC West is the toughest to predict as the battle should come down to Western Michigan against Northern Illinois, and the battle will be decided October 8… winner of this contest should win the West. And since the Broncos nor the Huskies play Ohio, who should win the East… whew – should be an exciting game in Detroit December 2.

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