MAC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

MAC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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MAC 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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MAC WEST

The 2019 early rankings, depth chart lookaheads, and projections for the MAC.


6. Ball State Cardinals

There’s a slight problem. QB Riley Neal has transferred to Vanderbilt, and RB James Gilbert is off to Kansas State. Drew Plitt got in enough work to not come in cold at quarterback – if he gets the gig – and there are a few other options to take over for Gilbert. Most of the top receivers are back, and all five starters return up front. The real plus is on defense with the top seven tacklers returning, starting with entire linebacking corps and secondary. Now the experience has to turn into production.

Final 2018 Record: 4-8 (3-5)
2018 MAC West Finish: 5
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 11
Biggest Issue To Fix: Run Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Backfield

5. Eastern Michigan Eagles

There’s a whole lot of rebooting to do from last year’s bowl team, starting with a defense that loses eight of the top 11 tacklers including star DE Maxx Crosby, who’s taking off to the NFL. Mike Glass will get the first look at the quarterback job, and he has the receivers in place to make the passing game go. However, the ground game loses most of the key parts, including the interior of the offensive line.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
2018 MAC West Finish: T2
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 7
Biggest Issue To Fix: Run Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Linebacker

4. Central Michigan Chippewas

Jim McElwain inherits an interesting mix of players. The woeful passing game should get a boost from Tennessee/Houston transfer Quinten Dormady to go along with all the experienced returning receivers. There’s enough back up front and in the backfield to hope for a bit more from the running game. The defense is another story, needing to replace LB Malik Fountain and eight of the top 12 tacklers. Losing corners Sean Bunting and Xavier Crawford early to the NFL isn’t a plus.

Final 2018 Record: 1-11 (0-8)
2018 MAC West Finish: 6
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 8
Biggest Issue To Fix: Passing Efficiency
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Cornerback

3. Toledo Rockets

The quarterback situation is deep and experienced, but the receiving corps needs a whole lot of work with Diontae Johnson leaving early for the NFL. The top three targets are gone, but all of the key running backs return – now they need the offensive line to come through with a big year. The issue is on the defensive side with five of the top seven tacklers done. The pass rush loses Tuzar Skipper, but the linebacking corps takes the biggest hit.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
2018 MAC West Finish: T2
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 4
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Quarterback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line

2. Northern Illinois Huskies

Former NIU star running back Thomas Hammock should be able to crank up the running game as the new head coach. He gets QB Marcus Childers along with top backs Tre Harbison and Marcus Jones. The top two receivers are gone, and the line has to replace three starters, but the O should be fine.

Sutton Smith took off early to the NFL – the pass rush will be an early issue – but the interior is good and the linebackers are great. The corner situation is a bit sketchy, too. In all, eight of the top ten tacklers are back.

Final 2018 Record: 8-6 (6-2)
2018 MAC West Finish: 1
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 1
Biggest Issue To Fix: Passing Efficiency
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive End

1. Western Michigan Broncos

The experience is there for this to all come together make a big push for the MAC title under head man Tim Lester. The quarterback situation is terrific when Jon Wassink comes back healthy from a foot injury. Jamauri Bogan is gone, but LeVante Bellamy and the running backs are good, and the receivers should be terrific. Now the line has to find a few replacements.

The defense should be even stronger with the top eight and 13 of the top 14 tacklers returning. The linebackers should be terrific, but reinforcements are needed up front.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
2018 MAC West Finish: T2
2018 Prespring MAC Conference Ranking: 5
Biggest Issue To Fix: Punting Game
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Line

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