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2011 MAC Preview - Unit Rankings
Miami LB Jerrell Wedge
Miami LB Jerrell Wedge
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2011


2011 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - MAC Unit Rankings


Preview 2011

MAC Unit Rankings



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EAST
- 2011 Akron Preview | 2011 Bowling Green Preview
- 2011 Buffalo Preview | 2011 Kent State Preview
- 2011 Miami Univ. Preview | 2011 Ohio Preview
- 2011 Temple Preview

WEST
- 2011 Ball State Preview | 2011 Central Michigan Preview
- 2011 Eastern Michigan Preview | 2011 Northern Illinois Preview
- 2011 Toledo Preview | 2011 Western Michigan Preview
 
- 2011 MAC Preview | 2011 MAC Unit Rankings
- 2011 CFN All-MAC Team & Top 30 Players | 2011 MAC Schedules & Picks
- 2011 CFN All-MAC West Team & Top 30 Players
- 2011 MAC East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish | 2011 MAC Thoughts
- 2011 MAC West Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish | 2010 MAC Preview

MAC East Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Miami University
2. Temple
3. Ohio
4. Kent State
5. Bowling Green
6. Akron
7. Buffalo

MAC West Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Northern Illinois
2. Western Michigan
3. Toledo
4. Central Michigan
5. Ball State
6. Eastern Michigan

Offenses

1. Northern Illinois
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada isn’t going to change things around too much. He knows the program having cut his teeth as an assistant during the Joe Novak days working with the offensive backfield, and he has a whale of a talent base to play around with. There will be some no-huddle and the overall tempo and pace will be quickened, but there’s not need to tinker much with an attack that finished seven in the nation in rushing and first in the MAC in yards, points, passing efficiency, and sacks allowed. MAC Player of the Year Chad Spann is gone, but there are more than enough good running backs to work with. QB Chandler Harnish might be the best player in the MAC if he can stay healthy, and he gets all his top weapons back to work with. Best of all, the line will be the best in the league by a ten-mile-wide margin with all five starters back and at least three sure-thing all-stars in tackle Trevor Olson, center Scott Wedige, and guard Joe Pawlak.

2. Western Michigan
3. Toledo
4. Temple
5. Miami University
6. Central Michigan
7. Ohio
8. Ball State
9. Bowling Green
10. Kent State
11. Buffalo
12. Akron
13. Eastern Michigan

Quarterbacks

1. Northern Illinois
Can the quarterbacks handle the new no-huddle style? With one of the MAC’s best veterans returning and with promising depth, the Huskie passers should be just fine with a little tinkering and a little bit of time, and while there should be more passing than under Jerry Kill, the MAC’s most efficient attack should once again shine. Chandler Harnish might be the best player in the conference, and now he’ll have more of the workload on his shoulders than before. The less running, the better, but he’s too good to keep under wraps. It’ll be vital to get him off the field as soon as possible in blowouts, and the more work Jordan Lynch can get, the better.

2. Western Michigan
3. Miami University
4. Central Michigan
5. Toledo
6. Bowling Green
7. Temple
8. Akron
9. Kent State
10. Ball State
11. Ohio
12. Eastern Michigan
13. Buffalo

Running Backs

1. Temple
Myron Myles would start for most MAC teams, while Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown are a talented 1-2 punch that should combine for well over 1,500 yards. Pierce has MAC Player of the Year potential, while Brown is an all-star who was on the All-MAC second team last year. There might not be too much running from the quarterbacks – unless Clinton Granger decides to take off whenever he’s in the lineup – but the backs will take care of everything as long as they can stay healthy.

2. Northern Illinois
3. Toledo
4. Western Michigan
5. Ball State
6. Central Michigan
7. Kent State
8. Ohio
9. Buffalo
10. Eastern Michigan
11. Miami University
12. Akron
13. Bowling Green

Receivers

1. Western Michigan
This was going to be a veteran receiving corps as is, and then came a nice break with Jordan White getting a sixth year to add to the slew of returning playmakers. Second-leading receiver Juan Nunez is gone, but everyone else of note is back including the main tight ends. Getting White back is a huge boost, but Ansel Ponder, Robert Arnheim, and the return of Chleb Ravenell loads up the corps. Throw in the experienced tight ends, and WMU is loaded.

2. Bowling Green
3. Toledo
4. Miami University
5. Northern Illinois
6. Ohio
7. Kent State
8. Temple
9. Buffalo
10. Central Michigan
11. Ball State
12. Akron
13. Eastern Michigan

Offensive Lines

1. Northern Illinois
The NIU offensive front was terrific last year allowing a mere 13 sacks while paving the way for the nation’s seventh-best ground game. With all five starters returning, look out. There’s all-star talent across the board, Big Ten size, and the experience to expect this group to dominate on a weekly basis. Put Trevor Olson and Scott Wedige on the First Team All-MAC team now, and Pawlak and Otis won’t be far behind. Logan Pegram is a talent, too. The problem is the second team that needs to hit the weights to get bigger and has to mature. There’s nothing to count on among the twos right away.

2. Ohio
3. Toledo
4. Temple
5. Central Michigan
6. Ball State
7. Western Michigan
8. Miami University
9. Kent State
10. Buffalo
11. Akron
12. Bowling Green
13. Eastern Michigan

Defenses

1. Miami University
The defense was the reason MU won the 2010 MAC Championship. Out of the blue, the defensive front was phenomenal at getting into the backfield and was strong against the run, and the production should continue with everyone returning on the line and Jerrell Wedge leading a terrific linebacking corps. The secondary is ridiculously small at corner, but very fast, while the safeties are experienced and productive. This might not be the most physical D in the MAC, but Pete Rekstis will have this group flying around. With all the experience returning, if there’s a slide, it’ll be on the coaches.

2. Kent State
3. Ohio
4. Temple
5. Northern Illinois
6. Western Michigan
7. Toledo
8. Central Michigan
9. Ball State
10. Akron
11. Buffalo
12. Bowling Green
13. Eastern Michigan

Defensive Lines

1. Kent State
As long as Roosevelt Nix is being Roosevelt Nix again, and if Ishmaa’ily Kitchen and Dana Brown can form a rock on the nose, the line should be among the best in the MAC. Can the new coaching staff get the same production out of the line? After finishing fourth in the nation against the run, third in tackles for loss, and eighth in sacks, and with almost everyone back, there’s reason to be fired up for a defensive front that helped the Golden Flashes finish third in the nation in tackles for loss and eighth in sacks.

2. Temple
3. Miami University
4. Ohio
5. Northern Illinois
6. Toledo
7. Western Michigan
8. Central Michigan
9. Ball State
10. Buffalo
11. Akron
12. Bowling Green
13. Eastern Michigan

Linebackers

1. Miami University
MU has a fantastic recent tradition of linebackers, and while this might not be as good a corps as ones from a few years ago, the players and veterans are in place to be very, very good. The line is strong enough to allow the linebackers to motor free, and the stats should come. Jerrell Wedge and Evan Harris are all-star talents who’ll put up big numbers, and Kennedy is a playmaker who can produce as well as anyone in the MAC. There are options, there’s depth, and there’s plenty of upside for what should be one of the league’s best linebacking corps.

2. Ohio
3. Akron
4. Temple
5. Northern Illinois
6. Western Michigan
7. Toledo
8. Ball State
9. Buffalo
10. Bowling Green
11. Central Michigan
12. Kent State
13. Eastern Michigan

Secondaries

1. Northern Illinois
Compared to the front seven the Huskie secondary has things in place. There will be some changes and there are some missing pieces that need to be filled from a pass defense that allowed just 208 yards and was 33rd in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Last year’s secondary was full of talent and playmakers, and while all the key parts aren’t gone, there’s work to do. Safety Tommy Davis is just now growing into the job and has all-star potential if he can come up with a few picks. Demetrius Stone has the JUCO experience and now he should know what he’s doing as one of the team’s top tacklers.

2. Central Michigan
3. Miami University
4. Toledo
5. Western Michigan
6. Ball State
7. Kent State
8. Ohio
9. Eastern Michigan
10. Temple
11. Bowling Green
12. Buffalo
13. Akron

Special Teams

1. Ohio
The special teams should be fantastic with one of the best all-around kicking games in America, strong coverage teams that allowed just 6.6 yards per punt return and 18.6 yards per kickoff try, and dangerous returners who’ll be among the best in the MAC. Ohio should have a huge advantage here on a weekly basis. PK Matt Weller is an all-star, but the punting game needs to get better.

2. Kent State
3. Western Michigan
4. Ball State
5. Temple
6. Miami University
7. Northern Illinois
8. Bowling Green
9. Eastern Michigan
10. Akron
11. Toledo
12. Central Michigan
13. Buffalo
 
EAST
- 2011 Akron Preview | 2011 Bowling Green Preview
- 2011 Buffalo Preview | 2011 Kent State Preview
- 2011 Miami Univ. Preview | 2011 Ohio Preview
- 2011 Temple Preview

WEST
- 2011 Ball State Preview | 2011 Central Michigan Preview
- 2011 Eastern Michigan Preview | 2011 Northern Illinois Preview
- 2011 Toledo Preview | 2011 Western Michigan Preview
 
- 2011 MAC Preview | 2011 MAC Unit Rankings
- 2011 CFN All-MAC Team & Top 30 Players | 2011 MAC Schedules & Picks
- 2011 CFN All-MAC West Team & Top 30 Players
- 2011 MAC East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish | 2011 MAC Thoughts
- 2011 MAC West Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish | 2010 MAC Preview