2013 MId-American Conference Top 5 Teams Rundown!
As the clock ticks passing the minutes and seconds by, moving us closer to kick-off of the 2013 College Football season, we find ourselves at the preview of one of our favorite conferences in all of College Football, The MAC! The MAC conference has been underrated for far too long and the level of football they play is on par with every other non-major and as we found out last year, they might be from top to bottom the best. This season the conference is looking at building off of the momentum of NIU’s appearance in a BCS game last year and while their performance is nothing to write home about, it was a sign of where the conference is heading. We are a little disappointed with the preseason love the MAC is getting from most of the preseason magazines and websites but don’t worry MAC fans, we are here to bring the MAC some love! In ranking this conference we see five, that’s right five teams that could be competitive to win the MAC title for 2013 and that means that this conference has depth! Not only do those six teams have a shot at the title, look for an upset against a major conference team by each of the six and while Vegas might not have it as a big upset the national media will pick it up that way. So without further delay let’s get to the Top 5 teams that our crack team have come up with…Here’s the MAC 2013 Preseason Rundown!!!
1. Ohio Bobcats 10-2
The 2012 season for the Bobcats was set up to be a special one until a series of injuries took the wind out of their perfect season sails. It was a season that had everyone looking at them to be the BCS busters after an opening day victory at Penn State and an 8-0 starting record, this year we don’t see the upset in week one as they face Louisville but from there, we see them running off 8 wins and putting them in familiar territory as we approach November and games with the two other teams who will be battling for the East title in, Bowling Green and Kent State. This year we expect a different result and see them winning at least one of those two, providing them the opportunity to play for a MAC title. Ohio brings back 11 starters from last year and while the majority of those returners are on offense, we like the way the schedule will provide enough time for the defense to come together before their toughest conference games. On offense, they are led by QB Tettleton, RB Blankenship and an offensive line featuring three seniors, while on defense the don’t have the same in-game experience, they do have talent in every section. Coach Solich and his coordinators have built a program that is ready to prove that they are the best in the MAC East after a disappointment last year.
2. Northern Illinois 9-3
Northern Illinois and their QB Jordan Lynch took advantage of a very strong MAC Conference last year, closed the season out, got lucky a couple of times and turned that into an appearance in the Orange Bowl. This was the conference’s first appearance in a BCS game and rightfully it was Northern Illinois, the Huskies had just come off two straight 11 win seasons and put together the whole package taking it down to the last play of the MAC Title game to make it to Florida. The problem with all of this, was once they made it to the Orange Bowl, they met a very hungry Florida St team, that if things would’ve fallen in FSU’s direction could’ve easily met up with Alabama in the Championship game. This years campaign, as last years, will come down to the leadership of Lynch and some playmakers on defense. Their major weakness is the left side of the offensive line but if they come together, the season will rest on back to back games with Toledo and Ball St. We are going to take the Huskies to the MAC Title, were they will lose to Ohio. Take note, we here at the Rundown, aren’t saying they are a lock. Watch out for Toledo and Ball State and read below!
3. Ball State Cardinals 9-3
Every now and then, you have to look for a team that was so close all year the year before and are finally ready to make a special run. We feel that this is the year for Ball State! Last year Ball State had a ton of question marks and most thought that a schedule would get the best of them, after a 3-3 start, which featured losses to Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State, it also featured wins against South Florida and Indiana. From there the Cardinals went on a six game win streak before stubbing their toe in the bowl game against UCF. This year, Ball State features an amazing 14 returning starters but are going to have to replace 4 of their offensive linemen and all of their linebackers on defense. The plus side, double digit senior starters throughout the team and with the leadership intact on offense, Ball State is set up for a schedule where their toughest out of conference game is Virginia on the road and in conference Toledo and Kent St at home with NIU on the road. If the pieces that are new this season can get comfortable by week five look for Ball State to have a chance on November 13th at Northern Illinois to play for a MAC West Championship.
4. Bowling Green Falcons 8-4
Bowling Green was hot down the stretch in 2012, they were riding a six game winning streak when they met Kent State at home with a chance to play in the MAC Championship hanging above them. As history shows us, the lost to Kent State was painful but the season for Bowling Green was still a huge move in the right direction for Dave Clawson, who is now entering his 5th year as coach for the Falcons. Bowling Green fans hope that the momentum built last season will carry over to Bowling Greens opening game of 2013, when they face Tulsa at home. This game could blow-up our other conference predictions and is a complete trap game for Tulsa. We like Bowling Green but not in that upset, we do like them beating Kent State the next week on the road to establish an early position in the MAC. THe schedule is not set up for a six game streak with games against an improved Indiana team, Mississippi State on the road, home against Toledo and Ohio before two easy finishers. If they had Ball State’s schedule we would call for them to be looking at an undefeated season but with the tough games spread out and a hard enough out of conference line-up, unlike most of the publications out there, we don’t see Bowling Green playing for the MAC title but we do see them bowling in December.
5. Toledo Rockets 7-5
The Rockets are going to be explosive of offense in the 2013 season, ok that was an easy one. In joking aside, Toledo is returning all conference playmakers led by a senior QB in Owens but will have to score and score often with a defense that is only returning two starters and have no time to adjust playing Florida and Missouri right out of the gates. Last year, Toledo won eight in a row sandwiched between an opening day loss against Arizona in OT and losing to Ball State on Nov. 6th by a touchdown. Things in Toledo are moving in the right direction on offense but a defense that was one of the worst in the MAC last year is going to hold Toledo back this year from making it to the title game in 2013. The Rockets are going to be fun to watch and the offense will keep them in most of their games but we look for a step back in the win column albeit a small step.