Are you ready for another season of MAC-tion? The MAC is usually one of the most fun conferences to watch season after season. This year they’ve got several teams that are pretty evenly matched and could lead to great games. With so many teams rated closely to one another, making our MAC football predictions was not easy. We call for an end to Northern Illinois dominance.
2016 Predicted Records and Standings for MAC Football:
|RANK||MAC EAST||W||L||CONF W||CONF L|
|40||Bowling Green Falcons||9||3||7||1|
|110||Miami (OH) RedHawks||3||9||2||6|
|109||Kent State Flashes||2||10||0||8|
|RANK||MAC WEST||W||L||CONF W||CONF L|
|73||Central Michigan Chippewas||8||4||6||2|
|66||Western Michigan Broncos||8||4||6||2|
|79||Northern Illinois Huskies||7||5||5||3|
|119||Eastern Michigan Eagles||3||9||1||7|
|116||Ball State Cardinals||2||10||1||7|
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MAC EAST PREVIEW
1. Bowling Green Falcons – Dino Babers is gone but Mike Jinks has come aboard and is familiar with the system the Falcons have been running on offense. He will need to break in a new QB but having a senior to do so should help. The Falcons are defending MAC Champs and should be back in the hunt again this year.
2. Ohio Bobcats – The Bobcats return a dozen starters, split equally on both sides of the ball. The Bobcats will be MAC title contenders this year but the schedule will make it tough for them to win the division and advance. If Bowling Green slides, the Bobcats will be ready to pounce and take the MAC East.
3. Buffalo Bulls – The Bulls have nearly an entire new starting crew on offense while the defense brings most starts back. Look for the Bulls to challenge teams this year but aren’t ready to contend for the MAC title this season.
4. Akron Zips – Terry Bowden has turned the program around. Eight wins last year was a breakthrough for the Zips. A lot of the starters from that team are gone though and that leaves a lot of questions. Thomas Woodson is back at QB which can help adjust but the entire offensive line is new. The Zips will need to pull some upsets to get back to a bowl game this year.
5. Miami RedHawks – The RedHawks return a slew of starters including 4 of 5 on the O-Line along with their QB. The depth of talent still isn’t there though. The schedule is going to be a challenge so improving upon last year’s 3-9 record will be difficult.
6. Kent State Golden Flashes – The Golden Flashes return 17 starters from a 3-9 team in 2015. Coach Pay Haynes is in a make or break season. If he can’t turn 17 returning starters into a bowl team, he’s probably out. QB play will be crucial. The offense simply has to get better. They were shut out 3 times last season and also had a 3 point game and two 7 point games. It’s hard to win not scoring in double digits.
MAC WEST PREVIEW
1. Toledo Rockets – Jason Candle is the new head coach and should keep a steady hand on the Rockets. The offense will feature a new QB but a lot of experience around him. Toledo should still be able to dominate the line of scrimmage and makes them our pick to win the MAC East.
2. Central Michigan Chippewas – With 14 starters back, the Chippewas like their chances. With Cooper Rush, they’ve got a QB that can win them games which you can’t say for most of the MAC. The defense should be bolstered by the return of Joe Ostman to the D-line. If they can pull the upset at Toledo, they could be in the MAC Championship.
3. Western Michigan Broncos – After back to back eight win season, expectations are high heading to 2016. The Broncos schedule features two games on the road at Big Ten foes. Do they treat them as make or break for the season? If they stay focused, they’re a team that will be in the hunt in the MAC West.
4. Northern Illinois Huskies – Northern Illinois headed into the off-season with three straight losses. Injuries at QB led to much of that as they started a walk-on freshman in the MAC Championship. The schedule is manageable and could propel them back into MAC contention. Questions though on defense we think hold them back this season.
5. Eastern Michigan Eagles – With a 3-21 record the past two seasons, bringing back 15 starters isn’t generating a lot of excitement for Eastern Michigan football. Giving up 42 points a game in 2015, the focus starts there. Coming off a 1-11 season, they should expect to see an improvement in the record but not much. They’ll have to focus on not having to score in the mid-40’s to win.
6. Ball State Cardinals – The defense returns nine starters but a scheme change keeps the questions on that side of the ball. They’ve got to improve the 5+ rushing yards per carry and 70% completion rate that was allowed last year. Mike Neu is ready for the challenge. His offense should be steady but it’s gonna be a year of transition for the Cardinals.
2016 MAC Football Championship Game
Bowling Green vs. Toledo
2016 MAC Football Champions
Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview.