Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MAC Predictions

As another year of MAC football descends upon us, and players are sweating through 2-a-days, it is time for this blog's picks for the MAC this season.  I actually sent these in to Bull Run a couple weeks ago, but this is my opportunity to expound on what I was thinking.  And, in December, I'll look back and see how stupid this all was.


1.  Temple

I predicted Temple would be a MAC power when they joined the conference, and that is how it has happened.  They might have won the East if Pierce had stayed healthy and the OU game had been in Philly.  Pierce is back behind a very strong line and the defense is very solid.  I don't think Golden is long for the MAC, and a MAC title might be his ticket out.  If you are looking for a weakness, Temple is not strong at QB, which is the wrong place to have a weakness.

2.  Kent

This is the year Kent makes a bowl game.  They have a really strong defense led by Brian Lainhart and Cobriani Mixon and that will be a huge advantage.  Eugene Jarvis is back, and he can control a game, and I think their QB Spencer Keith is a sleeper.  Finally, OU and Temple have to come to Kent.  Overall, I think Kent finally breaks through this year and at least qualifies for a bowl game.

3.  OU

OU could also win the East, though I am picking them third.  They have a strong defense, but lost a lot on the other side of the ball, and I think that will hamper their ability to score enough to beat teams with defenses like Temple and Kent.  They are not strong up-front on offense, and that will make the adjustment of their new QB difficult.

4.  BG

BG will be in a rebuilding mode.  While people are focusing on replacing Sheehan and Barnes, the more significance is replacing most of the defensive starters.  This team is young and I am afraid will give up lots and lots of points and put pressure on the offense and its young QB.  Also, the offensive line is question mark.  Enough of this should come around that I think BG should be able to beat 3 teams in the East.  (Obviously, much more anlaysis of the Falcons is coming).

5.  Buffalo

Buffalo is much like BG.  They might be even worse off at QB, and they have some serious talent to replace at WR, and they are not very strong up front on either side of the ball.  Because of these things, and a new coach and what appear to be some pretty poor special teams, I think Buffalo will finish behind BG, but it would not surprise me to see them get one step up.

6.  Miami

Miami is on the way back, but it is a long way.  There is no indication they will be able to run the ball at all, which puts pressure on the rest of their offensive game and their defense probably still has a long way to go.  The depths that Shane Montgomery took this program are shocking.  I believe that Haywood will bring them around, but it will take a little while longer.

7.  Akron

Akron also had a pretty quick fall.  They have a new coach and new schemes, and I think that's why they are likely to finish here.  They will be easy to pass on, which is pretty deadly in today's college football.  Patrick Nicely will be their starting QB--he was a one-time BG commit.  He is still young, and I expect this team to struggle.  They also have a brutal cross-over schedule with the West.


1.  WMU

I know this is an upset, but I really like WMU.  Yes, they lost Hiller and West, but they have some real talent at other skill positions.  They are a lot like BG in that they win, but don't win the big ones, and this year, I think they have a shot at being good enough to win a slightly down West.

2.  NIU

NIU is really good and could easily win the conference, and I believe will surely make a bowl game.  Kill was a great hire, and he will deliver consistent winners in DeKalb.  They will feature their usual bone-crushing running attack with two quality backs, and will be really tough to beat.  They will need to beat Temple to really compete, and that will be a challenge.

3.  UT

On the offensive side of the ball, I think UT will be much better.  They will gain some experience and stability at QB, and have a very strong line.  They will certainly be able to establish the run and build off it for the pass.  They'd be picked hire except that their defense looks to be pretty putrid, which means they will have to run up some serious points to compete.

4.  CMU

Huge graduation losses and a new coach mean that this is a re-trenching year in Mt. Pleasant.  Still, the winning tradition carries them this far in the West.

5.  Ball State

Lots of guys back from a young and bad team.  I'm not sure that the new guys are better and I am not sure they ended up with the right coach after the Hoke departure.  They are the sexy pick to compete in the West, but I don't see them making that much progress.  They do have MiQuale Lewis, which is a very nice asset but will only be average on the defensive side of the ball.

6.  EMU

What can you say?  I honestly think they will be as bad as they were the year before, and some services have them listed as the worst team in the FBS in the worst gameday environment.  What was English thinking?  I drive by a billboard for season tickets every day that says "Calling all Nacho Lovers."  That says it all.

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