CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017: MAC Rankings
The 2017 CFN Preview ranking of all the MAC teams.
Where do the MAC teams rank going into the season? This is NOT a ranking of how the teams are projected or predicted to finish. This is a ranking of how good they all appear to be going into the fall.
Preview 2017: MAC Rankings
12. Kent State
The Golden Flash defense had better be outstanding since the offense will still be a problem. The corners are the stars, and the D line should be okay, but the quarterback situation is up in the air and there just isn’t enough on the O line or at receiver to make a big jump from a down year.
The Bulls should be a whole lot better than this, but they should’ve been a whole lot better last year, too. Khalil Hodge isn’t Khalil Mack, but he’ll help lead one of the league’s best linebacking corps. Tyree Jackson is a 6-7 quarterback with tremendous upside, and the O line is experienced enough to be a plus. Now the wins have to start coming.
The Zips have to surprise defensively like they did two years ago. They’ve got the linebackers in Ulysses Gilbert and Brian Bell, but they might not be enough. Thomas Woodson is a veteran quarterback who’ll get the blocking and time to work. His weapons have to produce when they get their chances.
9. Eastern Michigan
No, Eastern Michigan isn’t going to go back to being Eastern Michigan. There’s enough holdover talent from last year’s shocking team to shoot for another bowl game, but the secondary is going to be a problem, the lines are just okay, and the offensive stars might not be there. The kicking game has the potential to win a game or two, Brogan Roback is a strong quarterback, and more than anything else, the program now knows it can actually win college football games.
8. Ball State
This is a good, rising team that’ll go as far as RB James Gilbert can carry it. The backfield is talented enough to keep up with just about everyone if the blocking is adequate. The receiving corps needs more playmakers, and the secondary has to find something that works.
7. Bowling Green
The Falcons won’t be back to their MAC championship-level selves of a few years ago, but they won’t be nearly as awful as they were last season. There should be more pop on offense, while the linebacking corps might be just good enough to save the D. Punter Joe Davidson will be a difference-maker.
6. Miami University
Do you believe in the second half of the 2016 season RedHawks, or the first half of the season RedHawks. Of course, QB Gus Ragland was a part of that second half, but is the rest of the team in place to keep the momentum going? The back seven should be fine – especially the secondary – but the running game and O line might not be good enough to take the East.
5. Northern Illinois
Don’t be shocked if Northern Illinois is back to being Northern Illinois again. The offensive line is the best in the league, and the secondary might be just a shade behind Western Michigan’s. If the running backs are up to past snuff, and a quarterback can stay healthy enough to rely on, things should be back to normal.
4. Central Michigan
This might be way too low if Michigan transfer Shane Morris can rise up and be as good or better than longtime starting quarterback Cooper Rush. The skill players are outstanding and the secondary should be good enough, but is the star power there to go along with the experience? With a few breaks, this could be your 2017 MAC Champion.
Once again, the Bobcats should be the star of the East with a rock-solid team across the board. There might be any one special area other than the kicking game – it’ll be the best in the MAC. Head coach Frank Solich will have his team in the conference title hunt again, and this time around, he just might have the one to get over the hump and win a title.
2. Western Michigan
P.J. Fleck took his boat rowing to Minnesota, but the Broncos aren’t likely to fall off too far. They’re not going to be 12-0 regular season good, but they have the league’s top running backs, one of the top offensive lines, and the best secondary. Everything else should fill in around that.
The Rockets have been hovering around MAC greatness for a long, long time, but haven’t been able to get over the hump. This should be the year it gets done with the league’s best quarterback in Logan Woodside, an unstoppable offense – no one’s stopping this passing game – and a few decent stars on defense to keep that side from being a massive problem.