The Mid-American Conference has been for years breeding grounds for rising head coaches. Miami of Ohio was once referred to as the “Cradle of Coaches” for producing incredible future stars such as Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Paul Brown, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, and more than a dozen additional coaches that achieved fame and championships elsewhere.
In recent years, the MAC has sent multiple head coaches to power five conferences, such as: Dave Clawson to Wake Forest; Dave Doeren to North Carolina St.; Dino Babers to Syracuse; Matt Campbell to Iowa St.; and Darrell Hazzell to Purdue.
There is a reason for the coaching promotions. MAC teams have a storied history of beating Power Conference teams, especially their big brothers of the Big Ten. In the last four seasons alone, MAC teams have 16 wins over Power 5 teams, 11 of those 16 against current Big Ten members.
The MAC is the only league with a change in membership this year, as Massachusetts has left and become an independent school. That makes the league balanced again with six teams in both divisions.
The West had the most exciting race among any divisions in FBS football last year, as Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Toledo tied for the division flag with 6-2 conference marks. NIU won the tiebreaker and fell to East Division champ Bowling Green in the MAC title game.
Babers has left BGU for Syracuse, but new coach Mike Jinks comes in and promises to keep the wide-open up-tempo offense that allowed the Falcons to average better than 42 points and almost 550 total yards per game. Jinks comes from a similar style at Texas Tech.
Frank Solich begins his 12th season at Ohio U, and the Bobcats should contend in the East with BGU. The Bobcats have been bowl eligible for seven consecutive seasons, and they should make it eight this year.
The West should be another interesting affair this season, as last year’s quartet of co-champions should compete again, and another co-championship is highly likely. The top three quarterbacks in the league belong to Central Michigan (Cooper Rush), Northern Illinois (Drew Hare), and Western Michigan (Zach Terrell). Brogan Roback at Eastern Michigan might be as good as this group, but playing for the Eagles can be hazardous to a QB’s health.
The MAC Media believe the East Division is a toss-up, while the West Division is rather cut and dry.
Official MAC Media Preseason Poll
|MAC East Division|
|MAC West Division|
The PiRate Ratings agree closely with the media to start the season.
Initial PiRate Ratings for the Mid-American Conference
The PiRate Ratings are best used just to look forward to the next week game schedule. These ratings cannot really be used to predict won-loss records, so with that caveat, here are the projected won-loss records based on the ratings alone.
|Mid-American Conference Projected Standings|
|Bowling Green||6-2||8-5||Idaho Potato|
|Western Michigan||7-1||10-3 *||Miami Beach|
|Central Michigan||6-2||8-4||[Boca Raton] ^|
|* WMU wins MAC Title|
|^ CMU’s bowl is at-large|
Next Preview: Thursday, August 18–Mountain West Conference