College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: MAC Spring Version 2022

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: MAC Spring Version 2022

College Football Features

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: MAC Spring Version 2022

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MAC college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.


It’s the MAC. It’s the conference where worst-to-first is the norm, with 2020 winless Northern Illinois winning the MAC championship in 2021, everyone can beat anyone else, and Toledo will end up somewhere in the middle of it all.

It’s about as settled as the league has been in a long time with the strength still in the West, Buffalo about to be better in the East, and with Akron and Bowling Green still questionable.

Again, though, it’s the MAC. The Zips or Falcons could end up in Detroit in January playing for the title.

The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

1
Miami University RedHawks

2020: 2-1 2019: 8-6 2018: 6-6

Loaded on offense, needs work on defense. The transfer portal is helping the cause on the defensive side – especially in the secondary – but the offense gets almost all of the parts back starting with veteran QB Brett Gabbert working behind a veteran line.

The schedule starts tough but the conference slate isn’t all that bad. The team should be good enough to push for the MAC title helped by having most of the tough league games at home.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Miami University Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Miami University 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Miami University 2022 Schedule

2
Northern Illinois Huskies

2020: 0-6 2019: 5-7 2018: 8-6

From zero to MAC champion, Northern Illinois was one of the national pleasant surprises of the 2021 season. Now there’s no excuse not to keep it all going with a great group of skill parts around a veteran offensive line. The defense is extremely young – it’s loaded with sophomores – but there’s decent experience and depth.

The MAC road games at Western Michigan, Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Ball State will make the conference run a fight, and after Eastern Illinois, three of the non-conference games are sneaky-tough – at Tulsa, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky. There won’t be eight regular season wins like last year, but it’ll be another good season.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Northern Illinois Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 4-8
Northern Illinois 2021 Final Record: 9-5
Northern Illinois 2022 Schedule

3
Central Michigan Chippewas

2020: 3-3 2019: 8-6 2018: 1-11

The Chippewas aren’t just losing some key parts, they’re losing a few strong NFL talents – the production of O linemen Bernhard Raimann and Luke Goedeke won’t quickly be replaced. However, the backfield is good, the defensive front seven should be strong, and this should be another winning season under Jim McElwain.

Going to Oklahoma State and Penn State will be a problem in September, but some of the big MAC games – Ball State, Western Michigan – are at home. Going to Northern Illinois and Toledo will be the real tests.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Central Michigan Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Central Michigan 2021 Final Record: 9-4
Central Michigan 2022 Schedule

4
Toledo Rockets

2020: 4-2 2019: 6-6 2018: 7-6

Toledo is stuck in the land of the perpetually okay. It hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been able to come up with quite enough under Jason Candle over the last few years. This season’s team has holes on the offensive front, a few receivers have to emerge, and the backfield has to settle in with a few new parts. The D has to replace five starters with the secondary the biggest concern.

There are trips to Ohio State and San Diego State in non-conference play, and all four MAC road games will be difficult, but it should all add up to another good year. Actually, another okay year.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 Toledo Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 7-5
Toledo 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Toledo 2022 Schedule

5
Kent State Golden Flashes

2020: 3-1 2019: 7-6 2018: 5-7

Can the FlashFast style of offense keep it all going without the main man? QB Dustin Crum is gone, but most of the other parts return including a veteran O line. The defense might have been optional throughout the last few seasons, but at least this version is loaded with experience.

It’s going to be a brutal start with road trips to Georgia, Oklahoma, and Washington in September, and five of the first seven games are on the road. The wins in the MAC should pile up, but it might come down to a big finishing kick to get bowl eligible.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Kent State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Kent State 2021 Final Record: 7-7
Kent State 2022 Schedule

6
Western Michigan Broncos

2020: 4-2 2019: 7-6 2018: 7-6

Few teams in the MAC have as many big changes to overcome. The Bronco offense is all but starting over at the skill spots – losing QB Kaleb Eleby and WR Skyy Moore hurts – and the defensive front is all but starting over. However, the linebackers are good and interior of the offensive line will be fine.

September is a problem with at Michigan State, at Ball State, Pitt, and at San Jose State to kick things off. However, the rest of the slate – all MAC games – isn’t awful outside of a run of three road games in four dates.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 Western Michigan Prediction, Spring Football Version: 7-5
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Western Michigan 2021 Final Record: 8-5
Western Michigan 2022 Schedule

7
Ball State Cardinals

2020: 7-1 2019: 5-7 2018: 4-8

It wasn’t the season the program was hoping for coming off a 2020 MAC Championship, but it was still a bowl campaign. This year’s team has more than enough veterans returning to keep it going as long as the skill parts rise up fast. The D has to replace some key playmakers and tacklers, but it’ll be good up front.

Unlike most of the other MAC teams, there’s only one almost-certain non-conference loss with a trip to Tennessee to kick things off. The conference slate has road games at Central Michigan, Kent State, Toledo, and Miami University – that’s not going to be easy.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Ball State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 7-5
Ball State 2021 Final Record: 6-7
Ball State 2022 Schedule

8
Eastern Michigan Eagles

2020: 2-4 2019: 6-7 2018: 7-6

Once again, Eastern Michigan will be a tough out each and every week. It needs the offensive backfield to be sharp with a few replacements, but the offensive line and receiving corps will be okay. The defensive front is the team’s biggest area of rebuild, but the linebackers should be strong.

A trip to Arizona State is the only game against Power Five teams, but there’s also a trip to Louisiana. On the plus side, there are a whole lot of winnable home games to go along with a few tough MAC road dates. There’s enough there to come up with a winning season.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Eastern Michigan Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Eastern Michigan 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Eastern Michigan 2022 Schedule

9
Ohio Bobcats

2020: 2-1 2019: 7-6 2018: 9-4

After a stunningly disastrous season, Ohio needs to crank it back up despite losing seven starters off the offense, but the defense is solid starting with a decent group of linebackers and veteran corners.

Going to Penn State and Iowa State early will be tough, and road games at Western Michigan, Miami University, and Ball State won’t be easy, but this should be a rebound year to some extend with a push for six wins and a bowl.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Ohio Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Ohio 2021 Final Record: 3-9
Ohio 2022 Schedule

10
Buffalo Bulls

2020: 6-1 2019: 8-5 2018: 10-4

Maurice Linguist’s team is undergoing an overhaul after a disappointing year. Big in the transfer portal, the Bulls are getting a slew of decent defensive backs and are starting to round out the offensive line. The D should be a bit ahead of the O.

There are way too many road games – seven in the first ten – but most of them are more than manageable. Again, there’s a lot that needs changing and plenty to work on, but there’s enough in place to push for a winning season. It helps to have Holy Cross, UMass, and Akron on the slate.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 3-9
2022 Buffalo Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 7-5
Buffalo 2021 Final Record: 4-8
Buffalo 2022 Schedule

11
Bowling Green Falcons

2020: 0-5 2019: 3-9 2018: 3-9

Is this finally the year Scot Loeffler can get the offense and the team going? He’s got the veterans in place to start doing more, QB Matt McDonald should be decent, and the defense returns most of the top tacklers. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of easy wins to on the slate.

The Akron game is on the road, so other than a home date against Eastern Kentucky, it’s going to take something special to improve on last year’s four-win total. There will be a few upsets along the way, but it’s going to be a grind.

Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 Bowling Green Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 2-10
Bowling Green 2021 Final Record: 4-8
Bowling Green 2022 Schedule

12
Akron Zips

2020: 1-5 2019: 0-12 2018: 4-8

New head coach Joe Moorhead should get the offense going right away. It’s going to be a really, really young team – especially on the offensive line, but the idea is for the program to grow. Getting RB Cam Wiley from Minnesota is a good part to work around.

The Zips have won just three games over the last three years, and they should get there this season. It helps with a few winnable home games, but mostly the improvement from last year should be enough to be more competitive.

Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 Akron Prediction, Spring Football Version: 3-9
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 1-11
Akron 2021 Final Record: 2-10
Akron 2022 Schedule

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

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