The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 14, 2021

Mid-American Conference Preview

There wasn’t much MACtion in the Mid-American Conference in 2020.  Covid limited MAC play to a minimum number of games with two teams playing just three games, one other playing four times, one team playing eight games, and the rest playing five to seven times.

In the end, two teams emerged as the clear cut best in the league–Buffalo in the East and Ball State in the West.  Ball St. defeated the 5-0 Bulls in the MAC Championship Game, and then both teams won their bowl games, Buffalo over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl, and Ball St. over San Jose St. in the Arizona Bowl.

Buffalo faced a minor rebuild on the offensive end with four new starters needed to replace the best receiving corps in the league, but the Bulls were hit with a very late blow in the Spring.  Coach Lance Leipold had been a candidate for multiple Power 5 coaching gigs in December, but he came up short on all of them.  Then, after Kansas fired Les Miles, Leipold was offered and accepted the job in Lawrence.  Former Dallas Cowboys secondary coach and Michigan co-defensive coordinator Maurice “Mo” Linguist has developed a reputation for being an incredible recruiter, and he should bring some fine talent to The Queen City.

There’s an additional irony to the MAC East, as co-favorite Ohio U had a late head coaching change.  Legendary coach Frank Solich stepped down due to health concerns, and offensive coordinator Tim Albin takes over.  Albin has not been a head coach since 1999, but that Northwestern Oklahoma State team finished 13-0 and won the NAIA football championship.

Kent State and Miami of Ohio have the same head coaches they had last year.  Fans of Kent State are excited about Coach Sean Lewis’s up-tempo offense.  In their abbreviated season, The Golden Flashes averaged almost 50 points per game and more than 600 total yards per game.  Miami’s season ended after playing just three games, but the Redhawks penned the lone loss on the conference champs, topping Ball State by a touchdown. 

Akron and Bowling Green bring up the rear in the East.  Akron won the head-to-head matchup last year, but the two teams combined to go 1-10, both giving up more than 40 points per game.

The race in the MAC West should be one of the most competitive races of any FBS division.  A case could be made for five of the six teams to earn a piece of the first place this year, and only Northern Illinois figures not to challenge for supremacy.

Defending champs Ball State returns the bulk of its starting 22 players from last year, but the Cardinals won four of their five regular season games by seven points or less.  Rarely does a team repeat that feat from year to year.  Usually, if the team isn’t vastly better, they lose a couple of the types of games they won the year before.

Central Michigan and Toledo figure to be much improved in 2021.  Both schools return almost their entire starting lineups on both sides of the ball.  Keep an eye out for these very experienced and talented squads in September games against Power 5 opponents.  CMU plays Missouri, while Toledo takes on Notre Dame.  

Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan return a majority of their 2020 starters but with every player getting a free extra year, having 16 returning starters is almost below average.

Northern Illinois, once the best Group of 5 program in America, has fallen on hard times.  The Huskies went 0-6 last year and figure to be underdogs in almost every game against FBS competition this year.

Here is how the MAC media voted in the preseason poll:

2021 MAC Football Preseason Poll

(First Place Votes in Parentheses)

East Division

1. Kent State (11) – 112 points

2. Ohio (2) – 96 points

3. Miami (5) – 94 points

4. Buffalo (4) – 93 points

5. Akron – 39 points

6. Bowling Green – 28 points

West Division

1. Ball State (11) – 114 points

2. Toledo (7) – 104 points

3. Western Michigan (4) – 103 points

4. Central Michigan – 68 points

5. Eastern Michigan – 44 points

6. Northern Illinois – 29 points

MAC Football Championship Game Winner: Ball State (7), Toledo (5), Kent State (4), Western Michigan (3), Buffalo (2), Miami (1)

The preseason PiRate Ratings differ somewhat.

Mid-American Conference
East Division

TeamPiRateMeanBiasAverage
Miami (Ohio)101.999.298.199.7
Buffalo98.597.597.998.0
Ohio92.294.494.093.5
Kent St.91.393.490.591.7
Akron81.879.678.179.8
Bowling Green71.672.168.870.8

West Division

Team
PiRateMeanBiasAverage
Central Michigan100.599.199.599.7
Ball St.98.498.395.597.4
Toledo97.596.795.896.7
Eastern Michigan93.191.289.891.4
Western Michigan91.291.690.191.0
Northern Illinois89.387.086.187.5

MAC Averages92.391.790.491.4

The PiRate Ratings are not designed to pick seasonal won-loss records, but we use them any way to make predictions just for fun.

MAC EastConf.Overall
Miami (Ohio)6-28-5*
Buffalo5-37-5
Ohio5-37-5
Kent St.4-45-7
Akron1-72-10
Bowling Green0-81-11

MAC WestConf.Overall
Central Michigan6-28-5
Toledo6-29-3
Ball St.6-28-4
Eastern Michigan5-38-4
Western Michigan2-63-9
Northern Illinois2-63-9
* Miami (Ohio) picked to win MAC Championship Game

August 16, 2013

2013 Mid-American Conference Football Preview

2013 Mid-American Conference Preview

 

The MAC achieved special status last season, with two schools challenging for a BCS Bowl bid.  Kent State moved into prime position to grab that bowl with an 11-1 regular season that brought the Golden Flashes into the top 20 and just inside the parameters needed to steal a bid.

 

At the same time, Northern Illinois won 11 games in a row after an opening one-point loss at Iowa, and the Huskies moved into the top 20 as well.

 

In the MAC Championship Game, NIU bested Kent State in one of the most exciting conference championship games of all time.  The game went to double overtime, before the Huskies emerged victorious.  They earned an Orange Bowl bid to face Florida State, where they showed they really did not belong in a BCS Bowl.

 

Now, both of the two powers from 2012 must replace successful coaches who received nice pay increases to move to the big time.  Former NIU coach Dave Doeren now calls the shots at North Carolina St., while Kent State’s Darrell Hazell is the new man at Purdue.

 

2013 looks to be a typical year for the MAC, not one where one team should make a run toward a BCS Bowl bid, but one where as many as six teams could find themselves in a bowl at the end of the year.

 

This is one league that experiences no additions or departures.

 

Pre-season PiRate Ratings

 

Mid-American Conference  
East Division  
Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

 
Bowling Green

0-0

0-0

98.7

100.3

99.8

 
Buffalo

0-0

0-0

92.8

95.2

93.2

 
Ohio

0-0

0-0

91.9

97.8

93.4

 
Kent St.

0-0

0-0

89.5

93.8

90.1

 
Miami (O)

0-0

0-0

83.5

85.1

82.9

 
Akron

0-0

0-0

80.8

89.3

80.2

 
Massachusetts

0-0

0-0

70.6

81.1

70.2

 
     

 

 

 

 
West Division
Team

Conf.

Overall

PiRate

Mean

Bias

 
Toledo

0-0

0-0

98.6

98.3

99.2

 
Northern Illinois

0-0

0-0

97.8

97.0

99.6

 
Ball St.

0-0

0-0

97.1

99.3

98.3

 
Western Michigan

0-0

0-0

85.2

86.7

86.5

 
Central Michigan

0-0

0-0

84.4

89.9

84.6

 
Eastern Michigan

0-0

0-0

79.5

83.6

79.2

 
     

 

 

 

 
League Averages    

88.5

92.1

89.0

 

 

Official Pre-season Media Poll

 
MAC-East      

Pos

Team

Votes

1st Place

 

1

Ohio

164

15

 

2

Bowling Green

154

8

 

3

Kent St.

119

1

 

4

Buffalo

101

1

 

5

Miami (O)

78

0

 

6

Akron

53

0

 

7

Massachusetts

29

0

 
         
MAC-West      

Pos

Team

Votes

1st Place

 

1

Northern Illinois

138

16

 

2

Toledo

122

5

 

3

Ball St.

108

3

 

4

Central Michigan

67

1

 

5

Western Michigan

61

0

 

6

Eastern Michigan

29

0

 
         
MAC Championship Game Winner    

1

Northern Illinois

14

   

2

Toledo

3

   

3

Ohio

3

   

4

Bowling Green

2

   

5

Ball St.

2

   

6

Central Michigan

1

   

 

 

The Mid-American Conference does not announce a preseason All-MAC team.  In lieu, here are key players for each team:

 

MAC East

Akron: Cody Grice—DL, Malachi Freeman—DB, Jawon Chisholm—RB, Jerron Dillard—WR

 

Bowling Green: Matt Schilz—QB, Chris Gallon and Shaun Joplin—WR, Dominic Flewellyn—OL, Gabe Martin—LB

 

Buffalo: Branden Oliver—RB, Alex Neutz—WR, Khalil Mack—LB, Colby Way—DL, Najja Johnson—DB

 

Kent St.: Dri Archer and Trayion Durham—RB, Pat McShane—OL, Luke Wollet—DB, Roosevelt Nix—DL, Anthony Melchiori—P

 

Massachusetts: Mike Wegzyn—QB, Rob Blanchflower—TE, Colter Johnson—P

 

Miami (O): Dawan Scott—WR, Steve Marck—TE, Chris Wade—LB, Brison Burris and Dayonne Nunley—DB

 

Ohio: Tyler Tettleton—QB, Beau Blankenship—RB, Donte Foster—WR, John Prior—OL, Keith Moore—LB, Travis Carrie—DB

 

MAC West

Ball St.: Keith Wenning—QB, Jahwan Edwards—RB, Willie Snead and Jamill Smith—WR, Zane Fakes—TE, Jordan Hansel—OL, Jonathan Newsome and Nathan Ollie—DL, Eric Patterson and Jeffery Garrett—DB

 

Central Michigan: Zurlon Tipton—RB, Titus Davis—WR, Nick Beamish—OL, Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton—LB

 

Eastern Michigan: Tyler Benz—QB, Bronson Hill—RB, Campbell Allison—OL, Donald Coleman—DB

 

Northern Illinois: Jordan Lynch—QB, Tommylee Lewis—WR, Tyler Loos, Jared Volk, Aidan Conlon, Andrew Ness, and Ryan Brown—OL, Jimmie Ward—DB, Jamaal Bass—LB, Mathew Sims—K

 

Toledo: Terrance Owens—QB, David Fluellen—RB, Bernard Reedy and Alzono Russell—WR, Greg Mancz—OL, Cheatham Norrils—DB, Trent Voss–LB (Reedy in return game)

 

Western Michigan: Tyler Van Tubbergen—QB, Jaime Wilson—WR, Johnnie Simon—LB/DB hybrid, Justin Currie—DB, Desmond Bozeman–LB

 

PiRate Ratings Summary

 

About Grades

93-100         A+

86-92           A

79-85           A-

72-78           B+

65-71           B

58-64           B-

51-57           C+

44-50           C

37-43           C-

30-36           D

0-29             F

 

About Predictions

Predictions are based on the PiRate Ratings with home field advantage factored in.  The PiRate Ratings use different home field advantages for every game, since the opponent factors into the equation.

 

EAST DIVISION

Team

Bowling Green Falcons

               
Head Coach

Dave Clawson

               
Colors

Orange and Brown

               
City

Bowling Green, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

6-2

Overall

8-5

               
Grades              
Run Offense

61

Pass Offense

72

Run Defense

63

Pass Defense

58

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.7

Mean

100.3

Bias

99.8

               
Rankings              
PiRate

63

Mean

61

Bias

60

               
Prediction              
Conference

8-0

Overall

11-2 (win MAC title game)

 

 

Team

Buffalo Bulls

               
Head Coach

Jeff Quinn

               
Colors

Royal Blue and White

               
City

Buffalo

               
2012 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

57

Pass Offense

62

Run Defense

58

Pass Defense

54

               
Ratings              
PiRate

92.8

Mean

95.2

Bias

93.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

85

Mean

82

Bias

86

               
Prediction              
Conference

5-3

Overall

7-5

 

 

Team

Ohio Bobcats

               
Head Coach

Frank Solich

               
Colors

Hunter Green and White

               
City

Athens, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

63

Pass Offense

67

Run Defense

52

Pass Defense

46

               
Ratings              
PiRate

91.9

Mean

97.8

Bias

93.4

               
Rankings              
PiRate

88

Mean

67

Bias

85

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

9-3

 

 

Team

Kent St. Golden Flashes

               
Head Coach

Paul Haynes

               
Colors

Blue and Gold

               
City

Kent, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

11-3

               
Grades              
Run Offense

75

Pass Offense

44

Run Defense

62

Pass Defense

44

               
Ratings              
PiRate

89.5

Mean

93.8

Bias

90.1

               
Rankings              
PiRate

94

Mean

88

Bias

94

               
Prediction              
Conference

4-4

Overall

6-6

 

 

Team

Miami (O) Redhawks

               
Head Coach

Don Treadwell

               
Colors

Red and White

               
City

Oxford, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

36

Pass Offense

64

Run Defense

41

Pass Defense

48

               
Ratings              
PiRate

83.5

Mean

85.1

Bias

82.9

               
Rankings              
PiRate

111

Mean

116

Bias

112

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

3-9

 

 

Team

Akron Zips

               
Head Coach

Terry Bowden

               
Colors

 

               
City

Akron, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

0-8

Overall

1-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

37

Pass Offense

59

Run Defense

38

Pass Defense

45

               
Ratings              
PiRate

80.8

Mean

89.3

Bias

80.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

116

Mean

104

Bias

117

               
Prediction              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

 

 

Team

Massachusetts Minutemen

               
Head Coach

Charley Molnar

               
Colors

Maroon and White

               
City

Amherst, MA

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

1-11

               
Grades              
Run Offense

27

Pass Offense

40

Run Defense

35

Pass Defense

38

               
Ratings              
PiRate

70.6

Mean

81.1

Bias

70.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

124

Mean

122

Bias

123

               
Prediction              
Conference

0-8

Overall

0-12

 

 

WEST DIVISION

Team

Toledo Rockets

               
Head Coach

Matt Campbell

               
Colors

Midnight Blue & Gold

               
City

Toledo, OH

               
2012 Record              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

62

Pass Offense

77

Run Defense

60

Pass Defense

54

               
Ratings              
PiRate

98.6

Mean

98.3

Bias

99.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

65

Mean

65

Bias

64

               
Prediction              
Conference

6-2

Overall

8-4

 

 

Team

Northern Illinois Huskies

               
Head Coach

Rod Carey

               
Colors

Red and Black

               
City

DeKalb, IL

               
2012 Record              
Conference

8-0 (won MAC title game)

Overall

12-2

               
Grades              
Run Offense

71

Pass Offense

65

Run Defense

66

Pass Defense

52

               
Ratings              
PiRate

97.8

Mean

97.0

Bias

99.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

70

Mean

74

Bias

61

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

9-4 (lose MAC title game)

 

 

Team

Ball St. Cardinals

               
Head Coach

Pete Lembo

               
Colors

Cardinal, Black, and White

               
City

Muncie, IN

               
2012 Record              
Conference

6-2

Overall

9-4

               
Grades              
Run Offense

64

Pass Offense

78

Run Defense

50

Pass Defense

54

               
Ratings              
PiRate

97.1

Mean

99.3

Bias

98.3

               
Rankings              
PiRate

73

Mean

63

Bias

69

               
Prediction              
Conference

7-1

Overall

10-2

 

 

Team

Western Michigan Broncos

               
Head Coach

P. J. Fleck

               
Colors

Brown & Gold (also Black & Silver)

               
City

Kalamazoo, MI

               
2012 Record              
Conference

2-6

Overall

4-8

               
Grades              
Run Offense

38

Pass Offense

69

Run Defense

39

Pass Defense

49

               
Ratings              
PiRate

85.2

Mean

86.7

Bias

86.5

               
Rankings              
PiRate

107

Mean

110

Bias

101

               
Prediction              
Conference

3-5

Overall

4-8

 

 

Team

Central Michigan Chippewas

               
Head Coach

Dan Enos

               
Colors

Maroon and Gold

               
City

Mt. Pleasant, MI

               
2012 Record              
Conference

4-4

Overall

7-6

               
Grades              
Run Offense

53

Pass Offense

57

Run Defense

40

Pass Defense

46

               
Ratings              
PiRate

84.4

Mean

89.9

Bias

84.6

               
Rankings              
PiRate

109

Mean

102

Bias

109

               
Prediction              
Conference

2-6

Overall

3-9

 

 

Team

Eastern Michigan Eagles

               
Head Coach

Ron English

               
Colors

Dark Green and White

               
City

Ypsilanti, MI

               
2012 Record              
Conference

1-7

Overall

2-10

               
Grades              
Run Offense

58

Pass Offense

35

Run Defense

39

Pass Defense

48

               
Ratings              
PiRate

79.5

Mean

83.6

Bias

79.2

               
Rankings              
PiRate

119

Mean

118

Bias

120

               
Prediction              
Conference

0-8

Overall

1-11

 

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