On Thursday, the Examiner Visionary Store of the Future used its astronomical powers to boldly predict the upcoming MAC West season. Today, the focus shifts to the MAC East. If you feel that Peter Schinkai is just a little out of touch with the spirit world, feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MAC West has the best teams, but the best talent is in the East.
Hands down, the best coach in the MAC is Ohio’s Frank Solich. He might not have the flash of some of his colleagues, but he makes sure the Bobcats are always ready to play and capable of winning. Then there is Roosevelt Nix, who came into Kent State two years ago as a beast and has only gotten better with time. Personally, he reminds me of a young Jason Babin, a force on the pass rush that just man-handles offensive linemen. With two more years before he graduates, it’s scary to think of what this wrecking ball can do.
Ohio will have the division title wrapped up on November 1.
It’s not just that the Bobcats have the best talent in the division, it’s that they might also have the easiest schedule. Somehow, Ohio avoided having to play Toledo, Northern Illinois or Western Michigan in crossover games. That’s the best three teams in the MAC West. They also open up conference play at UMass and then home versus Buffalo and Akron. A 3-0 start heading into a bye week will be enough to carry the Bobcats to a division title.
Bowling Green and Kent State are the X-factors in the MAC East.
We’ve been pretty rough on the Falcons this week, saying that they’ve really underachieved under Dave Clawson. Here’s the flip-side to that argument though. Bowling Green does have plenty of talent and potential. If things click this year, then BGSU could be the sleeper in the MAC East.
Kent State is simply an enigma. Besides Nix, is this team good? If you looked at the first half of 2011, you’d say no. But the Golden Flashes really seemed to gel late in the year, rallying around their coach and putting together a great finish. If that’s the KSU team we should expect this season, then Cleveland will be talking about a bowl game, and they won’t be discussing Ohio State.
Once the shine wears off, UMass will find out how far it still has to go.
Up until now, everything about the Minutemen has been a feel-good story. Reality is going to set in quickly though. Massachusetts opens up with three BCS teams and will have to avoid injuries as much as blow out losses. From there, the MAC schedule doesn’t get any nicer with road games against Miami, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. If this team wins a game in 2012, it will likely be on the season’s final day at home against Central Michigan.
Akron will surprise some teams and get close to .500.
No, the Zips will not go bowling in the first year of the Terry Bowden era, but they’ll make some noise and look much better than 2011. The schedule starts pretty soft and with a late-season stretch against Central Michigan, Kent State and UMass, Akron could get the momentum going for a strong 2013 recruiting class.
To read our MAC West predictions, click here.