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2011 Preview - CFN Thoughts On The MAC
Central Michigan QB Ryan Radcliff
Central Michigan QB Ryan Radcliff
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2011


Preview 2011 - The CFNers give their thoughts on the upcoming MAC season.


Preview 2011

MAC Thoughts


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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

By Pete Fiutak   

- I love the MAC. I'm unabashed about it, and I realize that I can't get people on my bandwagon, but I'm a fan. There might be a several clunker games, but it's a thrilling ride almost every year.

- Miami beating Northern Illinois in the MAC title game has to go down as one of the biggest shockers in conference championship history. It's not 2003 Kansas State over Oklahoma, but it's just as big at the MAC level.

- 2008 Buffalo over Ball State is also on the list.

- The sleeper, Miami-from-left-field pick - Bowling Green. The offense should be flying again, the two big East games against Temple and Ohio are at home, and the defense should be just improved enough to get by one of the brutal dates against the West powers on the slate.

- The West is far, far better than the East. Toledo, Western Michigan, and Northern Illinois are better than anyone in the other division, and Central Michigan would probably finish in the top three on the other side.

- I tried, MAC, I tried. I'm on a few of the preseason watch list committees and I pushed hard for Western Michigan's Alex Carder and Central Michigan's Ryan Radcliff to be on the early lists. They'll each be among the statistical superstars of 2011.

- Throw in Miami's Zac Dysert or Austin Boucher, Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish, Toledo's Austin Dantin, Eastern Michigan's Alex Gillett, and Bowling Green's Matt Schilz are all going to put up huge numbers.

- At the Big Ten media days, Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray's eyes lit up when he talked about watching tape of Chandler Harnish. 

- Bowling Green Kamar Jorden and Western Michigan's Jordan White will each catch over 100 passes.

- Ohio's Noah Keller, Bowling Green's Dwayne Woods, Buffalo's Khalil Mack, and Miami's Jerrell Wedge are all linebackers worth the price of admission, but the stars are on the defensive front. Kent State's Roosevelt Nix and Temple's Adrian Robinson are among the best pass rushers in America.

- Steve Addazio will take what Al Golden started and be a Point B to C coach for Temple.

- It would be nice, though, if Bernard Pierce could stay health for an entire season.

- Ohio should be sneaky-good. The talent level, at least at the top, is as good as anyone in the conference, but the quarterback situation has to be steady.

- The pressure is on for a slew of coaches who struggled mightily in their first few seasons. Eastern Michigan's Ron English, Buffalo's Jeff Quinn, Central Michigan's Dan Enos, and Akron's Rob Ianello all need to show something and all need to prove that their respective programs are headed in the right direction.

- Kent State will get blown out at Alabama because the offense isn't going to move the ball a lick, but don't be shocked if the Golden Flash D holds up well for about 20 minutes.

- Eastern Michigan came up with two interceptions. Two. That's hard to do.

- The Bowling Green running game was all-timer bad. Not only was it last in the nation, averaging 62.83 yards per game, but it was almost 16 yards per game worse than the nation's 119th-ranked running game, San Jose State's. Fortunately, the Falcons start the season against Idaho, who finished 95th in the nation in run defense, Morgan State, and Wyoming, who finished 109th against the run.

- However, October 1st, Bowling Green goes to West Virginia, who finished second in the nation in run defense.

- The West battles between Toledo, Western Michigan, and Northern Illinois, and the East fights between Temple, Miami, and Ohio will be worth paying attention to. Really.

By Richard Cirminiello

If you can watch just one MAC athlete this fall, make it Kent State DE Roosevelt Nix. The 6-0, 240-pound sophomore is a non-stop, cat-quick wrecking ball, who was almost impossible to contain in his debut.

Toledo WR Eric Page is a Big Ten talent playing against MAC competition. Passed over by bigger programs coming out of local Springfield (OH) High School, he flashes All-American potential as a receiver and a kick returner.

Rather quietly, the MAC is once again stacked with quality wide receivers, a bunch of whom are going to play at the next level. Page, Western Michigan’s Jordan White, Central Michigan’s Cody Wilson and Bowling Green Kamar Jorden, in particular, will threaten the 100-catch mark.

Temple QB Chester Stewart is facing a unique situation as he enters his senior year. Although he’s already getting considerable attention from NFL scouts, he first needs to shake the neck-and-neck challenge of former walk-on Mike Gerardi.

Sure, Al Golden will be missed on the Temple sidelines, but Steve Addazio will wind up being a great fit at the University. He coached in a ton of big games at Florida the past six years, and sports a no-nonsense, blue-collar persona that’ll sell well in Philly.

Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish leads a handful of MAC players deserving of more national recognition. A dual-threat, with all of the desired intangibles, he’ll be doubly dangerous in the Huskies’ new no-huddle attack.

Former Michigan State assistant Don Treadwell might have an instant winner at Miami. The successor to Mike Haywood is a capable workhorse out of the backfield away from copping a MAC crown in his debut.

Under Frank Solich, Ohio has had a knack for piecing together effective, fundamentally-sound defensive units. So, even after losing nine starters, the Bobcats should figure things out before too long. It’s going to help to get back LB Noah Keller, and break the seal on DE Kyle Kozak, an Indiana transfer.

By Matt Zemek

Rewind to a sleepy late-morning kickoff the day after Thanksgiving in 2010. While most college football fans were watching West Virginia get Dave Wannstedt fired at Pittsburgh, Kent State quietly upset Ohio to deny the Bobcats the Mid-American Conference East Division title. Playing for a coach (Doug Martin) who was on his way out the door, the Golden Flashes stymied an Ohio offense that paid dearly for its lack of a consistent passing attack.

As a new season dawns, Kent State has some optimism that it can crack the top tier in the MAC East. As for Ohio, the Bobcats – who have done quite well under head coach Frank Solich – will try to throw the ball well enough to not only regain the East, but claim an elusive conference championship. (A bowl win would be gravy, but it’s the MAC that matters.) Temple and Miami University will both take the field without the coaches who made those two programs so formidable in 2010. Kent State and Ohio are the schools with more to gain – and lose – than anyone else in the MAC East this year.

When looking at the MAC East through the prism of programs, Kent State and Ohio command attention… not because they’re superior (they aren’t), but because the Golden Flashes and Bobcats could travel in so many different directions this fall. The MAC East’s fun quotient will rise because Kent and Ohio could be train wrecks or ascendant success stories; such uncertainty creates a football season high in intrigue. In terms of individual people, there’s no more fascinating story in the MAC East than Temple head coach Steve Addazio. Who knows what to expect in Philadelphia following the Owls’ “Golden Years”? Will Addazio be exposed as the man who couldn’t hack it at one of college football’s powerhouse programs (Florida), or will he find that life in the MAC can be quite comfortable? That is by far the most interesting question swirling around the MAC in the weeks before the start of the season. We’ll see how Addazio chooses to answer it.

The MAC West is a lot less complicated than the East. Northern Illinois and Toledo will duel for the division crown. NIU has Chandler Harnish, and Toledo doesn’t. On the other hand, Toledo returns 17 starters and will host its main adversary. Jerry Kill is gone from DeKalb, Illinois, but Harnish has expressed more than a little satisfaction with the transition to new head coach Dave Doeren. Yes, Toledo gets NIU at home this season, but then again, the Huskies blasted the Rockets by a large margin in last season’s (de facto) West title bout. The East will be compelling because of its clutter and chaos; the Mid-American West will be worth following due to the consequential confrontation between its two unquestioned powers.

Will anyone from the MAC’s great, yawning underclass - other than Kent State – strike fear into any of last year’s upper-tier programs? Doubtful.

Northern Illinois was one fourth-down-and-forever stop from winning the MAC last season. The Huskies will harness the power of Harnish and reach the promised land in 2011, beating Ohio in Detroit on the first Friday of December.

Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

- Northern Illinois probably has the conference's best offensive line. That usually works out well, so consider the Huskies my favorite in the MAC West.

- Miami quarterback Zac Dysert was impressive when he took over the starting job as a freshman last season. Now a sophomore, he will be the conference's most prolific quarterback; which will make for a nice story after he suffered a lacerated spleen on a terrifying hit late last season vs. Bowling Green.

- Brady Hoke's first game as the Michigan head coach will be against intra-state rival Western Michigan. Don't be surprised if the Broncos give the Wolverines a scare.

- Your MAC champ will be Temple. Steve Addazio will get the job done.
 
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