MAC East Preview

BOWLING GREEN FAVORITES IN THE EAST DIVISION OF THE MID-AMERICAN DESPITE COACHING LOSS

After Bowling Green won the MAC last year, highlighted by a dominant 47-27 rout of Northern Illinois in the title tilt…the team lost head coach Dave Clawson to Wake Forest. The safest bet in college football coaching is that doing well in the MAC will launch you to a major conference!

Bowling Green will have to transition quickly to the new style taught by Dino Babers. But, having an experienced star quarterback throwing passes should keep them way ahead of the rest of the pack in what’s still a disappointingly soft division (and conference for that matter). Falcons signal caller Matt Johnson is the ONLY quarterback in the MAC who returns as a starter for an offense that ranked in the top 75 nationally last season.

Let’s see how the whole division stacks up as we re-ignite our summer series of college football conference previews. Returning starter information is from the respected Athlon publication.

Mid American Conference “East”

Bowling Green
2013 Record: 10-4
2013 Rankings: 29 on offense, 10 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Dino Babers
Notebook: There are definitely concerns about a lack of experience on both sides of the ball once you get past the QB position. But, there’s just nobody knocking on the door behind Bowling Green based on known information. There could be some surprises, or surges forward from mediocre quarterbacks. For now, the Falcons are set to keep flying high. Will they fly high enough to give Ohio State a scare in Columbus on September 13?

Ohio
2013 Record: 7-6
2013 Rankings: 83 on offense, 67 on defense
Returning Starters: 3 on offense, 7 on defense
Head Coach: Frank Solich
Notebook: Solich is a known quantity…which keeps the Bobcats from being a cellar-dweller, but also keeps them from ever reaching greatness. You can see the offense was ravaged by graduation. Quarterback is going to be a big question mark. It’s a telling remark on the rest of the East that many pundits are still picking Ohio to finish second in the division. Tough to start the season with three road games when you’re this inexperienced! Ohio opens at Kent State, at Kentucky, and at Marshall. Handicappers will know more after that stretch.

Akron
2013 Record: 5-7
2013 Rankings: 106 on offense, 59 on defense
Returning Starters: 6 on offense, 4 on defense
Head Coach: Terry Bowden
Notebook: Kyle Pohl is back at quarterback, but you can see that the offense was horrible last season. Assume a step forward on that side of the ball with experience…but that will likely be matched by a step backward on defense where only four starters return. Road games at Penn State and Pittsburgh will provide September litmus tests. Handicappers who can get a good early read on the MAC can profit all through October and November. Vegas oddsmakers HATE this conference!

Buffalo
2013 Record: 8-5
2013 Rankings: 77 on offense, 49 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 4 on defense
Head Coach: Jeff Quinn
Notebook: Similar situation here with experience at quarterback on a mediocre offense. At least Joe Licata and company made a run at the top 75 nationally. Another defense hurt by graduation. We generally like what we’ve seen from Coach Quinn by MAC standards. A potential darkhorse in the MAC, with a chance to make a statement with a September home game against Baylor. No better test for that young defense.

Kent State
2013 Record: 4-8
2013 Rankings: 88 on offense, 70 on defense
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 6 on defense
Head Coach: Paul Haynes
Notebook: Coach Haynes struggled through much of his rookie season at Kent. But, the team did close well with a 44-13 season finale blowout of Ohio. Was that a sign of things to come? May not be with so little talent back! We’ll learn a lot more about Haynes here. Some MAC experiments turn out to be duds. With relatively unimpressive talent distribution across the league, coaching plays a huge role in success and failure in this group.

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Miami-Ohio
2013 Record: 0-12
2013 Rankings: 122 on offense, 113 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 7 on defense
Head Coach: Chuck Martin
Notebook: Miami was truly horrible last year. They couldn’t win a game despite playing in a bad conference. Coach Martin was the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame before coming here, which means the team should at least improve dramatically on that side of the ball. Look for better tempo, and better production. If you see the offense working, start looking for Overs in Miami games. If not, they’re still a fade. Stunning how far this program has fallen recently.

Massachusetts
2013 Record: 1-11
2013 Rankings: 120 on offense, 98 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Mark Whipple
Notebook: The Minutemen would have been the laughingstock of the MAC, but they beat Miami of Ohio 17-10. Not much room for optimism given the talent on hand. Opening with four straight opponents from major conferences (Boston College, Colorado, Vanderbilt, Penn State) could lead to some early injuries too.

The “West” division of the MAC has better teams, so we’ll have more promising things to discuss tomorrow. Don’t forget that you should spend EVERY SUMMER NIGHT building your bankrolls for the coming football season with BIG, JUICY WINNERS in BASEBALL! Purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about baseball or early-bird football, call the office during normal business hours this week at 1-800-323-4453.

Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule over the next several days…

Wednesday: College Football…Mid-American “East” Preview
Thursday: College Football…Mid-American “West” Preview
Friday: MLB Series Preview…(either St. Louis/Milwaukee, Detroit/KC, or NYY/Baltimore)
Saturday: College Football…Sun Belt Preview
Sunday: College Football…Independents Preview (including Notre Dame)
Monday: NL Review at the All-Star Break
Tuesday: AL Review at the All-Star Break

We switch to major conferences next week, starting with the ACC (Wed-Thu) and the Big 10 (Sat-Sun).

As you prepare for 2014 football, GO GET THE MONEY every night in baseball with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK®!

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Aug

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