OK let’s be honest…without Jordan Lynch the MAC just doesn’t seem as exciting. I sure hope someone takes over the mantle left by Lynch (doubtful). What you are sure to see this year is a team pushing to be included in the big boys (more on that in a bit) as this happens every season (think Northern Illinois the last two years). Here are the predictions.
- Bowling Green Falcons (8-0 conference, 11-1 overall) – I believe this is the team that will replace Northern Illinois at the top of the MAC-tion heap. Yes they may have lost their head coach Dave Clawson to Wake Forest, but they do get Dino Babers to replace him, basically bringing his Mike Leach Offense-on-Speed to the MAC. Expect the Falcons to be shooting for at least 50 a game with only the game at Wisconsin as a probable loss.
- Buffalo Bulls (6-2 conference, 8-4 overall) – Many believe that without Khalil Mack that the Bulls will drop like a stone in the standings. Let me throw out a Lee Corso “Not so fast my friend.” They should have enough on defense and still have Joe Licata throwing the ball. Plus a pretty easy schedule (even by MAC standards) should help them go bowling for a second straight season.
- Ohio Bobcats (5-3 conference, 7-5 overall) – Funny that a team like this, with a solid head coach (Frank Solich), and a team with a lot of depth would shit the bed…not in non-conference play but inside the conference. It’s a team that should have won at least a few league titles in the past 20 years and have done everything they could to blow it. Replacing a bunch of offensive cogs this year means they aren’t a favourite for a division title but they should put a scare in a few of the better MAC teams and go bowling yet again. Steady as she goes.
- Akron Zips (4-4 conference, 5-7 overall) – All signs point to Terry Bowden putting his Zips back in a bowl since, um, when exactly? (2005 Motor City Bowl…thanks Lindy’s). And they are the second best team in the MAC East for sure. However, their schedule, by MAC-tion standards is not easy. Other than their standard FCS matchup, they have a brutal non-conference sked including Penn State, Pitt, and Marshall. Yikes. Unless they can pull out a conference game or two that they underdog in, they will be home again for the holidays.
- Miami-OH Redhawks (2-6 conference, 3-9 overall) – OK so pretty much nothing could be worse than last year’s Redhawks season. A big fat goose egg in the win column. Amazing for a team that, three years earlier, were the MAC champs. What a massive fall down the MAC slip n’ slide. All Chuck Martin does is win games. He won’t his first year in Oxford but don’t be surprised if the Redhawks are relevant once again next season.
- Kent State Golden Flashes (1-7 conference, 2-10 overall) – More like Flashes in the Pan. Am I right? Hello? Is this mic on? It’s amazing that this team went undefeated in the MAC only TWO seasons ago. And chances are they will drop to the bottom of the standings again, where they have pretty much stood for the better part of the last 40 years. Even though Darrell Hazell has completely shit the bed at Purdue, I am sure they miss him in Kent.
- Massachusetts Minutemen (1-7 conference, 1-11 overall) – Remember what I said about UAB a few days ago? Scratch that. This is the team I would move back to FCS. They have been the drizzling shits since they moved up to FBS. I don’t remember a team that has been this bad after their transition up. I mean they don’t have to be Boise State but come on. And this is their second-last season in the MAC so unless something happens you might just see that drop back to FCS for a program that has completely lost its way.
- Toledo Rockets (7-1 conference, 9-3 overall) – I think I may get some shit over putting the Rockets at the top of the MAC West. Hear me out though. They have the Ball State game at home and they get NIU after the Huskies have to face Ball State and before they face Ohio. The two biggest games of their year they should win. Only a game against Bowling Green should trip up this outfit as they go back to the MAC title game.
- Ball State Cardinals (6-2 conference, 9-3 overall) – The Ball State Fighting Lettermans are always a team to watch out for and the chic pick to win the MAC. I don’t see how they can get through the MAC West and then somehow beat BGSU for the MAC championship. So I will make it easy and say they won’t get to the title game at all. Still be bowling though.
- Northern Illinois Huskies (6-2 conference, 10-2 overall) – Speaking of taking shit, this one would probably rile up a few people if people actually read my entire posts. Don’t get me wrong, the Huskies are still probably the most talented team in the MAC West. However, their schedule doesn’t help. You know what else doesn’t help? Losing a bona fide Heisman contender, that’s what. No matter what you say, losing Jordan Lynch is a MASSIVE loss for this team that cannot be overcome…this year at least.
- Central Michigan Chippewas (4-4 conference, 5-7 overall) – They’re not good, but they’re not bad. Just hopelessly stuck in the middle. Dan Enos has not had that Butch Jones or Brian Kelly magic with the Chips in his four years in Mount Pleasant. Don’t expect this season to be any different. Just enough to be considered not the worst team in the MAC; not enough to go bowling despite playing two of the worst Power Five teams in Kansas and Purdue.
- Western Michigan Broncos (2-6 conference, 4-8 overall) – They are giving super-young head coach P.J. Fleck a long leash to get the Broncos back to the promised land. But if the recruiting class shows anything (the class was considered the best in MAC history by many), it’s that many still believe that the past few years were an aberration and that the Broncos are still one of the better MAC schools. Expect anywhere from two to four more wins than last year from this squad which will make next season very interesting.
- Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-8 conference, 1-11 overall) – Thank the lord the Eagles always schedule an FCS foe. Then at least they will be the favourite in one game every season (notice how I didn’t say they’d have a sure win every season). I, along with many others, thought Ron English was about to do the impossible with EMU. Then he acted like a dick (I guess) and he is no longer the head man. That goes to Chris Creighton who may live to regret leaving a perennial winner at Drake for this outfit from Ypsilanti. Good luck Chris; you are going to need it.
After the war of attrition that will be the MAC West Division, I see Bowling Green walking into Detroit and blowing out whoever the MAC West sends to the title game. Saying that, the MAC Championship seems to be a haven for upset victories, which destroys the conference any chance of getting some sweet bowl-game pay divvied out among the members. But seriously, the Falcons are that good and should…SHOULD…win the conference this season.