CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017 Season Predictions: What Will Happen In The MAC
Predicting everything that’ll happen this season in the MAC Conference.
What Will Happen? 5 MAC Predictions
1. The Best MAC Ever?
Everything always looks rosy and wonderful in the summer. It’s always easy to look at teams and find the good, because that’s what everyone is hoping for – good teams, good players, good play, great football.
But, really, this might be the best the MAC has been in a long, long time from top to bottom.
There isn’t the killer like last year’s Western Michigan, but there are whole bunch of really solid, really entertaining teams with a lot to get excited about.
Miami University and Eastern Michigan were woeful for a long, long time, and now they’re each coming off a bowl appearance.
Recent superstars Bowling Green – if the offense gets going again – and Northern Illinois – if a quarterback can stay healthy – look like they’ll be terrific, Ball State has hope under second-year coach Mike Neu, and Akron and Ohio are still as well coached – by Terry Bowden and Frank Solich, respectively – as any Group of Five program.
How strong is the league? Buffalo, in most normal years, would probably be pushing for six wins, thanks to a good-looking group of rising defenders and a dangerous – and tall – QB in Tyree Jackson. But where will the wins come from?
The same goes for Eastern Michigan, the stunner of 2016. This isn’t going to be the same miserable old EMU we all knew and loved, but again, who’s it going to beat without a slew of big upsets?
The league is just too strong, but …
2. Once Again, The West Is The Best
It’s been a problem for the last few years, and this season, it’s going to be an issue for Eastern Michigan and Ball State. Stick those two in the East, and they’re in the mix for a bowl game, but in the West, good luck fighting through Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan.
Any of those four could win an East that will field yet another decent Ohio team, a resurgent Bowling Green, and a fun Miami team with Gus Ragland at quarterback, but without a killer team to take the division.
It’ll probably be Ohio again representing the division in the MAC title game, but the division is just begging for a star. The West has them, which is why …
3. Central Michigan Needs To Trade Divisions
The Chippewas are coming off a nice season that hit a few rough patches, but also saw a stunning win at Oklahoma State – and yes, Oklahoma State, Central Michigan did beat you – and a bowl appearance. But this year’s version is going to be a whole lot better.
QB Cooper Rush is gone but former Michigan super-recruit Shane Morris takes over an offense that gets just about everyone back. The defense is loaded with experience and upside, too.
Can the Chips beat Kansas, Syracuse and/or Boston College on the road? They might be just good enough to pull off two of those three, and they’ll at least win one, but also having to go on the road to face Ohio and Western Michigan in MAC play is a problem.
It’s a good enough team to finish third in the West, but it would’ve probably been the favorite in the East.
4. Toledo Isn’t The New Western Michigan, But …
It might just be close.
Western Michigan starts out the season at USC and Michigan State, so with a new coaching staff and a slew of new key parts, Western Michigan won’t be Western Michigan again. However, it’s still going to be dangerous enough to repeat as MAC champs. Fortunately for Toledo, the showdown for – likely – the West and the even the conference title is at home in the least game of the regular season.
The Rockets return QB Logan Woodside – who led the nation in touchdown passes last year – and enough offensive firepower to keep the fun going, but the defense needs to show up at Nevada against its new high-powered passing offense, has to take down Tulsa at home in a certain shootout, and to be this year’s Western Michigan, it has to shock Miami – the Florida version – on the road.
However, the conference slate isn’t all that bad for a team good enough to think New Year’s Six Bowl, even with road games at Central Michigan, Ohio and Bowling Green.
5. The MAC Championship Game Will Be …
Toledo over Ohio.
Really, again – to be snarky about it – it’ll be November 24th when Western Michigan goes to Toledo, but Ohio is way overdue to finally get over the hump and win one of these conference title things under Frank Solich, and it’ll put up a good fight when it gets back to Detroit.
But the Rockets should have the MAC’s power team this year. There’s too much talent offensively, too much upside defensively, and too much potential for a program that – like Ohio – is more than ready to finally take down a conference championship.
Where will everyone end up? For all of the MAC Bowl Projections?