After this week ends, not only will we hopefully know who the next president is, but WE WILL have every college football conference in play.
The MAC is back as of Wednesday and I for one am excited that our weekdays that had no football now will have football going forward. I felt it important to come on and break this conference down as a whole. Who will win it, sleepers to keep an eye on and the flat out worst of the worst. As most of us know, the conference is separated between the East and West. It will be a race with 6 huge games for each team. The championship will take place December 18th.
Last season the RedHawks of Miami Ohio won it all and the last five champions have been five different teams. As usual, the conference this year is just as topsy turvy. Let's get into it.
Buffalo: This is my pick to win it all. They will represent the East in my opinion in the championship game. HC Lance Leipold has made this team a perennial team to watch yearly in the MAC. He's done it through good QB play and for the most part a great defense. This year they welcome back junior QB Kyle VanTrease who is off a terrific season after he took over last year. This offense figures to be really balanced, welcoming back a great WR group headlined by Antonio Nunn and the league's best back in Jaret Paterson. Putting up points should be easy but the key to the success is the defense, off a great season of their own and welcome back seven starters. The Bulls were also really good against the number in 2019 in conference covering 6 of their 8 games. We're going to know a lot about this team early with games against Northern Illinois, a game they should win and a huge matchup in Week two with the other best team in the East, Miami Ohio.
Miami Ohio: Obviously anytime a team wins the league the year before you have to give them some love. Chuck Martin has worked hard for years to build a culture at Miami and he's done a great job. They have some major holes to fill and I get the feeling they will be a tough out but things won't shake out like they did last season. They won five games in conference by 7 points or less. A lot may not shake out that way this year. They have a good offensive line coming back with a good run game. Defensively, they will be strong and I get the feeling it's gonna be the usual with this group. They will be in a lot of close games in the 20's that I just think they may shake out differently than they did last season.
Toledo: HC Jason Candle has done massive things at Toledo by having an elite offense that scores a ton of points and a lackluster defense that's never been good. They generally outscore teams. It's what they do. This year in a season full of weird, things could be changing. They welcome back seven starters on defense and have new co defensive coordinators to right the ship. It will take some time, but it may all come together when it matters most with two of their last three against up and comers Ball State and CMU. In 2019, the QB position was mess for the Rockets, after both Mitchell Guadagni was injured, as well as Eli Peters. Peters is back this year with perhaps the best RB groups in the league. Bryant Koback may be the best running back in the MAC. They will move the ball… it's never been a problem. I'm high on this team defensively as the season goes on, but it may never come and that could be their undoing.
Ball State: I'm really high on this team. I love what I saw last year in Drew Plitt at QB. This offense led the league in scoring at 35 a game and welcome back everyone. RB Caleb Huntley is back after averaging 106 yards a game last season. Also back are three of their four best WR's from last year. The issue like Toledo won't be on offense. Defensively they have no room but to go up but there's some reason for optimism with a lot coming back. Keep an eye on CB Antonio Phillips, one of the best DB's in the league. They have to get better on that side of the ball. The six game schedule doesn't help them though with the toughest games on the road. Something tells me Plitt is the best QB this league has and will win them a couple games they shouldn't. Solid QB play will vault them into the top 2 in the West.
Sleeper - Central Michigan: How can I not involve Jim McElwain's group? They surprisingly made it all the way to the MAC Title game last year subsequently losing to champion Miami Ohio. Things will come with a bit of concern this year though. QB David Moore is still waiting for approval to play after he was suspended due to a banned substance. First year QB Daniel Richardson will get the nod without Moore and they do bring back a good offense led by one of the strongest WR corps in the league. They frankly need Moore though and I think they get him. But, it may take a bit. The defense has to be one of the most underrated groups in the league with a good defensive line and an All MAC LB in Troy Brown. The Chippewas were also a great bet last season going 8-5 against the number. Schedule wise they do get Ohio and Ball State at home which will help.
Kent State was among the best teams in the country ATS in 2019 going 9-4 ATS.
Ohio loses QB Nathan Rourke, but welcome in his younger brother Kurtis to run the offense.
Northern Illinois had just 14 passing TD's last season. Former Cal QB Ross Bowers will man the controls after a decent 2019.
MAC EAST (BMOC Predicted Order of Finish)
2. Miami Ohio
4. Bowling Green
5. Kent State
MAC WEST (BMOC Predicted Order of Finish)
1. Ball State
3. Central Michigan
4. Northern Illinois
5. Western Michigan
6. Eastern Michigan
Buffalo beat Ball State in the Championship
FUTURES I GRABBED AT BARSTOOL SPORTSBOOK
Ball State 9/1