2013 Futures – MAC Conference Season Preview
The Mid-American Conference is one of the best “mid-major” football conferences in the nation. Northern Illinois from the MAC went to a BCS bowl last year, and this conference has a history of pulling off upsets against the major conference schools.
While many conferences have seen all sorts of changes in the past year or two, the MAC has stayed almost entirely the same. UMass was added before last season, and the conference now has 13 teams overall. Which teams will be in contention for the top spot in the MAC this year?
Let’s take a closer look at the 2013-2014 Mid-American Conference. All odds listed are from BetOnline.
The Betting Favorite:
Northern Illinois (+150)
Northern Illinois has been the best team in the league for the past few years, and they return the best player in the league, so it should come as no surprise that they are a significant favorite in the MAC in 2013. Jordan Lynch is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate by many because of his amazing skills at the quarterback position. Lynch is arguably the best running quarterback in all of football. Jimmie Ward is the leader of a very strong secondary for Northern Illinois. Opposing teams are going to have to beat this team on the ground rather than through the air. They play at both Iowa and Purdue in non-conference play, so the Huskies should be ready by the time conference rivals come along.
Bowling Green (+400)
Bowling Green has nine returning starters back on both offense and defense, so this is a team that could make a big jump in the MAC standings. Matt Schilz is a very good senior quarterback for this Falcons team, and his three years of starting experience make him a great guy to have at the helm. Bowling Green stunned everyone by allowing just 16.8 points per game last year, and it really is the defense that leads this team. The Falcons avoid Northern Illinois, which is a major scheduling advantage this year. If the offense can get some consistency, Bowling Green could be a nice value pick at +400.
Frank Solich has done a great job turning this Bobcats team into a perennial contender in the MAC. Ohio looked like the best team in the conference early in the year last season, but injuries got the best of the team. The 2013 Ohio Bobcats start the season with an amazing trio of talent on the offensive side. Tyler Tettleton, Beau Blankenship, and Donte Foster are all game changing players at their positions. All of them are seniors and they are ready to help Ohio do some huge things for this program. Tettleton is a great dual-threat quarterback. Blankenship is a versatile back who can be a real workhorse. Foster is one of the best receivers in the MAC. The question mark is the defense. There is plenty of talent here, but a lot of their key players are prone to injuries. The Bobcats don’t want to have to outscore everyone. This team has a high ceiling.
Ball State (+600)
Can Ball State figure out a way to stop someone? Ball State has transformed themselves into a team that can pile up the points as fast as anyone in the MAC, but to take that next step they’ll have to play a little better defense. Ball State allowed opponents to gain 6,000 yards last year. Looking for positive news? Keith Wenning is as good as any quarterback in the MAC. Wenning can air it out with the best of them, and he has plenty of weapons to throw it to on this roster. This team is improving, but without a proven defense I can’t pick them in a relatively deep conference.
Kent State (+800)
Kent State may have been the biggest surprise in college football last year. The Golden Flashes were consistently a 5-7 type of team and last year they were within an eyelash of a BCS bowl game. Darrell Hazell did an amazing job with this team, but he is now at Purdue. Luckily, Dri Archer is still at Kent State. Archer is the best play maker in the conference, and he is a real threat to take it to the house each time he touches the ball. Trayion Durham is a great runner as well, and Kent State should be running the ball early and often this year. The quarterback spot is a major question mark. Kent State’s defensive front seven is great, but the secondary isn’t good. Last year’s season was magical. It’s hard to imagine this team duplicating that feat.
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Conferences Odds & Previews
- 2013 SEC Conference
- 2013 ACC Conference
- 2013 Big 12 Conference
- 2013 Pac Twelve Conference
- 2013 Big Ten Conference
- 2013 Sun Belt Conference
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- 2013 MAC Conference
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