The biggest football conference in FBS with 13 memebers, the Mid-American Conference nonetheless commonly ranks among the lowest in conference prestige. Those who dismiss MAC teams are missing out on some exciting players. The cynic would say that they’re good only because of a low level of competition, but that’s an issue for another article.

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West Division

1) Northern Illinois
The Huskies lose the MAC’s leading rusher in Chad Spann, but still have best-in-MAC QB Chandler Harnish and a stable of receivers. Jasmin Hopkins will be the new RB, but has a very tough O-line to run behind. The defense has some questions as it loses 6 starters, though it has stars in DT Nabal Jefferson and FS Tommy Davis.

2) Toledo
What could be the best offense in the country is led by WR Eric Page wh0 had over 1,100 receiving yards. They have 2 RBs who have had 1,000 yeard seasons in the past. There is some uncertainty at QB, but the O-line is massive and will protect the passer. The defense is solid in all aspects with 9 returning starters.

3) Western Michigan
QB Alex Carder is one of the best in the MAC and has a top target in WR Jordan White. The offense will rely heavily on the pass and if they can’t find a RB and/or O-line starters, then the offense might struggle. The defense ranked towards the bottom of the MAC, but has stars in DT Drew Nowak and sacking DE Paul Hazel to help improvement.

4) Central Michigan
The offense really missed Dan LaFevour at QB last season as Ryan Radcliff was inconsistent. OT Jake Olson leads a solid line that will help RB Paris Cotton and top WR Cody Wilson produce. The defense has nothing that jumps out, but LB Mike Petrucci and SS Jahleel Addae are cornerstones for improvement.

5) Ball State
Pete Lembo arrives from the FCS to take over at coach and has issues to deal with on offense. Keith Weening seems to be the QB and there are some receivers who have potential, but the O-line is filled with vets to help out. RB Ryan Williams will enjoy that. The pass and run defenses was less then ideal and the front seven is undersized, including 6′ 195 lb Aaron Morris.

6) Eastern Michigan
The good news is that the Eagles were ranked 2nd in MAC rushing, bad news is their leading rusher was their QB Alex Gillett. The returning receivers lack experience and the projected O-line features 2 freshmen starters. The defense was among the worst in the nation, managing only 10 sacks and will rely on transfer players to fill in at several positions.

East Division

1) Miami
 Before anything else, they must settle on a QB and also a RB. However, Nick Harwell leads a strong group of receivers and a decent O-line will help. On defense, the linebackers are incredibly deep, including stars Evan Harris and Jerrell Wedge. The DTs are deep too, but their is concern one the ends. The secondary will help carry the load in this talented defense.

2) Ohio
In a departure from the norm, the star on offense is the O-line, including talented tackles Joe Flading and AJ Strum. There will be a committee approach to the RBs and WRs, but the talent is there. Sophmore QB Tyler Tettleton has a tenuous grip on the job. Only 2 starters return on defense, but the new starters are mostly upperclassmen who have some experience.

3) Temple
New coach Steve Addazio brings a spread offense from Florida. However, there are several vying for the QB job but will have WR Rod Streater and TE Evan Rodriguez as options. A talented RB duo will have to contend with an O-line that returns only C John Palumbo. The Owls lose talent on defense, but with solid additions to fill in the gaps.

4) Kent State
The Golden Flashes also have a new coach in Darrell Hazell and he must first fix an unproductive running game. QB Spencer Keith has good options at WR and talent on the line to succeed. The defense took a step forward last season, but 6 starters do not return, though DT Roosevelt Nix, LB Luke Batton and CB Josh Pleasant are good places to start rebuilding.

5) Bowling Green
QB Matt Schilz and WR Kamar Jorden will be the combo that carries the offense. They will need to since the running game ranked last in YPG, though a solid O-line will help get it going. DE Kevin Moore and S Keith Morgan are the only seniors projected to start, so there will be growing pains.

6) Buffalo
Having only won 2 games last season, there’s alot of room for improvement. The running game never got going will lead to more pressure on the passing game. The O-line battled injuries and QB Jerry Davis had as many TDs as INTs. There are nice players on defense, but the unit as a whole managed just 16 sacks and the secondary must be rebuilt.

7) Akron
The Zips only managed one win and the returning starters must step it up, including QB Patrick Nicely who had only one game over 200 yards passing, though all 5 returning O-line starters are vets. There is potential on defense, but several players will have to have big seasons in order for the unit to be productive.