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MAC PREVIEW: 10 THINGS TO KNOW

1. Last year’s MAC title sport broke a streak of familiarity. This yr can provide variety, too. Northern Illinois had represented the MAC West in six instantly conference championship video games, however, failed to even go to a bowl closing season. Bowling Green had represented the East in three straight title games and also did not visit a bowl. With those out of the way, Western Michigan ended up preserving an undefeated everyday season with the aid of beating Ohio to visit the Cotton Bowl. Both the Broncos (who lost coach P.J. Fleck) and Bobcats have a chance to make a return experience to Ford Field, but it is hard to assume both going lower back to retain a trend of rematches, in particular given the possible energy of Toledo and Miami (Ohio) thing 1 thing 2 printables

2. The goal for each Northern  Illinois and Bowling Green need to surely be getting lower back to a bowl game. After prevailing 57 video games in five seasons under three coaches from 2010-14, the Huskies showed signs and symptoms of a decline in Rod Carey’s 1/3 season in 2015 despite the fact that they still won their department, as they slipped to 8-6. That slide endured final year to 5-7, with a disastrous 1-6 start to the season before a past due-season restoration. The harm-plagued Huskies played 4 quarterbacks, and even though they nonetheless ended up 5th inside the MAC in yards in step with play, they’d a poor turnover margin for the primary time seeing that 2007, when they went 2-10. The QB battle wishes to be settled, but the Huskies do have stable options to update RB Joel Bouagnon

in Jordan Huff and Virginia transfer Tre Harbison. A hard nonconference schedule

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– offering Boston College at domestic and Nebraska and San Diego State on the street — ought to lead to some other slow start, however, it might be sudden to look the Huskies omit bowl season again. Bowling Green faces a harder project in Mike Jinks’ 2nd season. The Falcons fell from 10-4 to four-eight, with a prolific offense collapsing to eleventh inside the MAC in yards in line with play. The QBs grew to become the ball over too frequently, and the desire is that James Morgan will become more efficient as a sophomore, especially with a strong receiving corps returning. The Falcons won 3 in a row after a 1-eight start remaining season, but they draw Toledo and NIU from the MAC West and play nonconference avenue games against Michigan State, Northwestern and Middle Tennessee, so it will be hard to make a complete recuperation to the postseason, although there’s tangible development.

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Three. Sustained fulfillment has eluded Akron, which hasn’t performed in the MAC title game when you consider that 2005 and has had one winning report (8-five in 2015) in the beyond eleven seasons. The application has shown signs and symptoms of existence below Terry Bowden, however remaining yr’s Zips had been blown out four instances past due in the season before falling brief of bowl eligibility with a 9-3 loss to Ohio. Akron has the roster to get to the postseason, but it may not have the agenda. The Zips play Penn State, Iowa State and a terrific Troy crew in nonconference play, and they play MAC West heavyweights Western Michigan and Toledo (plus Bowling Green and Miami in the East) on the road. Last 12 months, they had been held again through a mediocre going for walks game — which can get better with a veteran line returning — or even worse run protection. The big question is the fitness of senior QB Thomas Woodson, who’s scuffling with again from shoulder surgery. A healthful Woodson offers Akron a chance within the MAC East race, but Miami and Ohio have extra favorable schedules.

4. Frank Solich has guided Ohio to 4 MAC identify video games

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, and although he hasn’t surely won one — closing yr’s 5-point loss to Western Michigan prevented the Bobcats from triumphing their first conference identify in view that 1968 — he has grown to become Ohio into a model of consistency. That’s an extremely good feat, for the reason that Ohio did not play in a bowl game between 1969-2005. There’s no motive to expect something but another MAC East contender from Ohio. Ohio won’t recruit the great skills or depth, however, the Bobcats are normally nicely-coached and reliable in developing expertise. This yr’s group has depth at going for walks lower back with A.J. Ouellette again from damage to enroll in Dorian Brown, and it will be a number of the MAC’s pinnacle defenses once more after main the league in yards consistent with play allowed. With its hardest conference games (Toledo, Miami) at domestic and winnable nonconference games towards Power Five warring parties (at Purdue, Kansas), some other seven- or eight-win season is a lock.

Five. Miami (Ohio) pulled off one of the strangest seasons conceivable final yr. After 3 unsightly seasons, underneath instruct Chuck Martin, the RedHawks started out ultimate yr zero-6, making it appear like any other disaster. Instead, a younger roster, with the assist of QB Gus Ragland, started clicking and remarkably pulled off six instantly wins to get to a bowl recreation for the first time considering 2010. The RedHawks did it with the help of a time table that failed to include West heavyweights Toledo and Western Michigan, however, it was through an impressive turnaround, capped by means of a one-factor bowl loss to Mississippi State. Now, Martin has his complete backfield back, headlined by Ragland, who threw 17 TDs and only one INT upon getting into the lineup to begin the win streak within the middle of the season after improving from a torn ACL. The RedHawks go back their pinnacle rushers, three in their top four receivers and 6 in their top seven tacklers, and once again they do now not play Western Michigan, Toledo, and Northern Illinois. Ohio is the most secure group within the MAC East, however, if the Miami we noticed in the 2d 1/2 of the remaining season suggests up once more, the RedHawks are the team best prepared to win the department.

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All-MAC Team PREVIEW THINGS KNOW

PREVIEW

QB: Logan Woodside, Toledo
RB: Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
RB: James Gilbert, Ball State
WR: Cody Thompson, Toledo
WR: Corey Willis, Central Michigan
TE: Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
OL: Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
OL: Max Scharping, Northern Illinois
OL: John Keeney, Western Michigan
OL: Jake Pruehs, Ohio
OL: James O’Hagan, Buffalo

DE: Jon Ostman, Central Michigan
DE: Jeremiah Harris, Eastern Michigan
DT: Cleon Aloise, Ohio
DT: Jon Cunningham, Kent State
LB: Ulysses Gilbert, Akron
LB: Quentin Poling, Ohio
LB: Malik Fountain, Central Michigan
CB: Heath Harding, Miami (Ohio)
CB: Amari Coleman, Central Michigan
S: Javon Hagan, Ohio
S: Jamari Bozeman, Bowling Green

K: Louis Zervos, Ohio
P: Joe Davidson, Bowling Green
AP: Darius Phillips, Western Michigan