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MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Early Rankings
Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Posted Feb 19, 2011

2011 MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Early Rankings For All The MAC Teams

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Early Rankings - MAC

Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
East   Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami Univ. | Ohio | Temple
West  Ball State | Central Mich | Eastern Mich | Northern Illinois | Toledo | West Michigan

2011 MAC Pre-Spring Preview
- MAC Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 


1. Miami University

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 37
2010 Record: 10-4
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 93
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 1-11
2009 Final Ranking: 114
2008 Final Ranking: 117

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell inherits a loaded team from Mike Haywood. The defending MAC champs have no excuse to not keep the fun going with nine starters back on both sides of the ball. There should be a fun quarterback situation with Zac Dysert returning to battle with Austin Boucher, and the winner of the gig (it'll be Dysert) will get to work behind one of the MAC's best lines. The entire defensive front four is back, and the sophomores of last year should be fabulous juniors now that they have a year of experience.

2. Temple

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 51
2010 Record: 8-4
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 77
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2009 Final Ranking: 60
2008 Final Ranking: 86

One program's trash ... Steve Addzio was close to becoming the Florida head football coach after Urban Meyer's first retirement, and now he's the Temple head man. Al Golden left with some decent players intact, led by the running back combination of Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown working behind a line with four returning starters. The early exit of DT Muhammed Wilkerson to the NFL is a problem, but the bigger problem could be the loss of linebackers Elijah Joseph and Amara Kamara.

3. Ohio

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 52
2010 Record: 8-5
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 81
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2009 Final Ranking: 41
2008 Final Ranking: 95 

The final 2011 record will be far, far better than this. Eight starters are back on offense, but Phil Bates has to go from being a runner to an accurate passer who can move the ball through the air. Four starters are back on defense, but the linebacking corps should be among the best in the MAC. The problem early on will be the front four that needs retooling, and a secondary that loses three key starters.

4. Kent State

2010 CFN Score: 82
2010 Record: 5-7
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 90
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2009 Final Ranking: 87
2008 Final Ranking: 96

New head coach Darrell Hazell knows Ohio and he should recruit well, but for 2011 he has to generate some semblance of offense with nine starters back. Spencer Keith is a good-looking young quarterbacks, and Tyshon Goode is a dangerous receivers. The entire offensive line returns intact, while pass rushing terror Roosevelt Nix is back to star on the defensive front.
5. Bowling Green

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 112
2010 Record: 7-7-1
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 114
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 65
2008 Final Ranking: 84

2010 was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and it has to show this season with seven starters returning on both sides of the ball. The rushing attack was the worst in the nation, so losing Willie Geter shouldn't hurt. Getting good quarterback play should be easier with Matt Schilz or Trent Hurley getting Kamar Jorden to throw to. The defensive ends are gone, but the secondary returns intact.

6. Buffalo

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 117
2010 Record: 2-10
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 9-3
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Ranking: 81
2008 Final Ranking: 52

Jeff Quinn's team got worse as the season went on, especially on offense. The Bulls have to find a steady running back and needs production out of one of the young quarterbacks. The defense is a bigger problem losing seven starters. You don't get better by losing FS Davonte Shannon and the entire secondary.

7. Akron

2010 CFN Ranking: 118
2010 Record: 1-11
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 109
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 102
2008 Final Ranking: 88

Rob Ianello's first season was a disaster, and he doesn't have enough top players returning to hope for a Miami University-like turnaround. The offense has to start scoring, but two starters, including left tackle Corey Woods, are gone off the offensive front, while a new running back has to emerge. The defense loses LB Mike Thomas but welcomes back tackling machine Brian Wagner in the middle.

1. Northern Illinois 

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 25
2010 Record: 11-3
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 76
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2009 Final Ranking: 68
2008 Final Ranking: 74

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren has a ton of work to do with a defense that loses seven starters, including end Jake Coffman and linebacker Alex Kube. However, NIU should have a devastating offense with nine returning starters including QB Chandler Harnish, who might be the preseason MAC player of the year, and all five starters up front. Good luck, though, quickly replacing RB Chad Spann.

2. Toledo

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 68
2010 Record: 8-5
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 92
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Ranking: 91
2008 Final Ranking: 107

Toledo wasn't good at much of anything in 2010 other than winning. This year's team, though, should be a true challenger for the MAC title with 19 starters returning including WR Eric Page and all the skill players. A few good starters are gone off the offensive line, and LB Archie Donald is done from the defense, but the bowl team from last year is loaded.

3. Western Michigan

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 77
2010 Record: 6-6
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 98
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2009 Final Ranking: 94
2008 Final Ranking: 50
2008 Final Score: 10.42

This is probably way, way too low. The Broncos were a fringe bowl team last year, and now they get back nine starters on defense and QB Alex Carder for the offense. The one big concern is the interior of the offensive line that needs a wholesale change. The entire defensive front seven returns intact.

4. Central Michigan

2010 CFN Score: 102
2010 Record: 3-9
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 96
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2009 Final Ranking: 12
2008 Final Ranking: 56

After a clunker of a first year, head coach Dan Enos has to hope QB Ryan Radcliff can get more help from the running game. The offense should be better, and while the defense loses tackling machines Matt Berning and Nick Bellore at linebacker, and top tackle Sean Murnane up front, it has the potential to be good enough to win with.  

5. Ball State

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 109
2010 Record: 2-10
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 103
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 116
2008 Final Ranking: 18

Former Elon head man Pete Lembo will try to make the Cardinals decent, and he has the veterans to do it with eight starters back on both sides of the ball. True sophomore-to-be Keith Wenning has the time logged in to be ready, but he needs help from some new stars with RB MiQuale Lewis and WR Daniel Ifft gone. the defense has to replace DE Robert Eddins, but the back seven has the potential to be excellent.
6. Eastern Michigan

2010 CFN Final Ranking: 116
2010 Record: 2-10
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 120
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 0-12
2009 Final Ranking: 119
2008 Final Ranking: 113

Alright, Ron English. Can you be a miracle worker and make Eastern Michigan football decent? The offense has to replace several starters, with the biggest losses on the offensive line, but QB Alex Gillett should be one of the MAC's top playmakers. The defense gets eight starters back including most of the front seven. It can't be any worse, and the experience should translate into production.