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2023 Mid-American Conference Football Preview

Updated: Aug 13, 2023




Predicted Order of Finish


East Division


1. Ohio- fifth year senior Kurtis Rourke (3,257 yards, 25 TD’s) returns from a torn ACL at the end of last season and the defense is stout at linebacker with seniors Keye Thompson and Bryce Houston, the D-line returns just one starter in senior DE Vonnie Watkins and kicker Nathanial Vakos (22/27) transferred to Wisconsin OVER/UNDER Total Wins 7.5


2. Miami Ohio- fifth year junior QB Brett Gabbert (45 career TD’s) returns after playing in just 4 games in 2022 while on defense the Redhawks are loaded with 7 starters back including junior DE Corey Suttle (team high 6 sacks last year), WR’s have talent but are unproven and schedule includes 4 September road games OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


3. Buffalo- the Bulls return senior QB Cole Snyder (3,030 yards, 18 TD’s) as well as a pair of All-MAC performers on defense in senior LB Shaun Dolac and senior S Marcus Fuqua, Snyder will be without his top 2 targets from last year and there is a lack of depth and experience behind Dolac at linebacker OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


4. Akron- senior QB DJ Irons made big strides in HC Joe Moorhead’s first season and will have top target junior WR and former LSU transfer Alex Adams back after catching 63 passes and 9 TD’s last year, All-MAC LB Bubba Arslanian left the program in the offseason and the defensive line is made up entirely of newcomers OVER/UNDER Total Wins 3.5


5. Bowling Green- the Falcons snatched QB Connor Bazelak, a former 2-year starter at Missouri and Indiana, in the offseason and the backfield gets sophomore RB Terion Stewart back after taking 2022 off due to personal issues, the defense which allowed 419.6 yards per game (102nd nationally) returns just 4 starters OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5


6. Kent State- linebacker is the biggest strength for the Golden Flashes with 3 senior returning starters, new HC Kenni Burns, who has no heading coaching experience, was left with ZERO returning starters on offense and must face Central Florida, Arkansas, and Fresno State on the road before the calendar turns to October OVER/UNDER Total Wins 2.5



West Division


1. Toledo- the defending MAC Champions return 16 starters and a handful of All-MAC performers on both sides of the ball, the Rockets lose 3 starters on the D-line and senior QB Dequan Finn needs to improve on limiting turnovers after throwing 12 INT’s last year including 4 in 7-point loss at Buffalo OVER/UNDER Total Wins 8.5


2. Central Michigan- the Chippewas have solid O-line on offense while on defense 9 starters are back from last year including 2-time All-MAC senior DL Robi Stuart, projected starting QB Jase Bauer showed ability with his legs but must improve as passer which won’t be easy given the lack of playmakers at wide receiver OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5


3. Northern Illinois- senior QB Rocky Lombardi, who led the Huskies to a MAC title in 2021, returns after missing 8 games due to injury and the defensive front is loaded with 2 All-MAC DT’s in junior Devonte O’Malley and senior James Ester, September slate includes road games at BC and Nebraska as well as Toledo to open MAC play OVER/UNDER Total Wins 6.5


4. Eastern Michigan- second team All-MAC senior RB Samson Evans returns on offense and on defense the secondary returns 4 starters after leading the MAC with 12 INT’s in 2022, last year’s starting QB Taylor Powell must be replaced and the Eagles travel to Central Michigan, NIU, Toledo, and Buffalo in MAC play OVER/UNDER Total Wins 7.5


5. Ball State- junior transfer RB Marquez Cooper rushed for 1,331 yards and 13 TD’s at Kent State last season while on defense the entire front 7 returns led by senior LB Clayton Coll (110 tackles, 7 TFL), the Cardinals must replace their QB/top 2 WR from last year and open with back-to-back road games against SEC schools OVER/UNDER Total Wins 5.5


6. Western Michigan- the offensive line returns everyone and should improve from the 42 sacks allowed in 2022 while on defense coordinator Lou Esposito was retained by the new staff after finishing 49th in points allowed last season (24.1), the Broncos lack playmakers at RB and WR and just 2 starters return on defense OVER/UNDER Total Wins 4.5



Buy- Central Michigan- Jim McElwain, who has won/shared 4 division titles in his last 5 full seasons as HC, rights the ship following last year’s 4-8 setback


Miami Ohio- with a healthy Gabbert and an elite defense the Redhawks have their sights set on a return trip to Detroit


Sell- None


Best Bet- Central Michigan- OVER total wins


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