2012 Pre-Preseason Rankings - MAC
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
Posted Jan 17, 2012

The too early look at how good the MAC teams should be in 2012.

CFN 2012 First Look Rankings


2011 CFN Pre-Preseason First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20  

2011 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

- CFN 2011 FINAL Rankings

It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back, where does everyone stand before Signing Day and spring ball? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2012 based on how good they appear to be at the moment.
MAC East

1. Ohio (10-4)

After a terrific season with an appearance in the MAC title game, Ohio has a lot to be excited about with QB Tyler Tettleton back as one of the league's top playmakers. Receivers LaVon Brazill and Riley Dunlop are gone, as are the starting tackles, but the interior of the line is back. The defense won't have linebacker Noah Keller to work around, but the entre secondary and three starters on the line are back.

2. Kent State (5-7)

Darrell Hazell's first season was solid, and 2012 could be sensational with one of the MAC's best defenses getting back pass rushing terror Roosevelt Nix and a slew of good players. However, five starters are gone from the D. The offense gets the backfield back including QB Spencer Keith, and Tyshon Goode could be among the MAC's top targets. Four starters are back up front.

3. Temple (9-4)

Head coach Steve Addazio was able to come up with one of the best years in school history, but he has work to do in 2012 with four starters gone from the offensive line and star running back Bernard Pierce taking off early for the NFL. It'll be up to the smallish Matt Brown to carry the rushing load, while QB Chris Coyer has to build off his strong bowl performance and be a steady leader. The defensive interior is back, but ends Adrian Robinson and Morkeith Brown are gone. Tahir Whitehead and four starters from the back seven are done.

4. Miami University (4-9)

Can the RedHawks rebound back into 2010 form? The offense that couldn't run a lick has to find a back, and the line that was so awful has to be better with four starters returning. Zac Dysert is a talented quarterback, and he gets back top target Nick Harwell. The defense loses linebacker Jerrell Wedge, but eight starters return to a group that allowed just 364 yards per game.

5. Buffalo (3-9)

The Bulls fell off the map defensively last year, but it should be a bit better with fight starters back including great-looking pass rusher Khalil Mack and active end Colby Way. The offense needs more consistency and punch, and it'll start with finding a new starting quarterback – likely Alex Zordich – to take over. RB Branden Oliver should have a huge year working behind a line that gets four starters back.

6. Akron (1-11)

One of the nation's worst programs over the last few years under Rob Ianello, now it'll be up to Terry Bowden to try to change things around with QB Patrick Nicely leading a veteran offense that'll be more mature in the backfield. However, four starters are gone from the O line. The defense gets tackling machine linebacker Brian Wagner back, but both defensive tackles have to be replaced.

7. Massachusetts (5-6)

After a painful second half collapse losing four of the final five games, UMass is starting over with Charley Molner taking over as the new head coach. The new MAC member loses top running back Jonathan Hernandez, and finding a steady starting quarterback is a must after Kellen Pagel struggled. Perry McIntyre is a good pass rushing linebacker to work around, but there's work to do up front and in a secondary that wasn't strong enough.

MAC West

1. Western Michigan (7-6)

QB Alex Carder is back to lead the high-powered offense, but after six years, top target Jordan White is finally done. Four starters are back on the line, and all the top running backs return to potentially balance out the attack a bit more. The defense that finished 12rh in the MAC won't have two starters up front, but it gets back six starters in the back seven only losing corner Aaron Winchester.

2. Northern Illinois (11-3)

The defending MAC champion has to show it can reload and not need to rebuild. The Huskies lose star quarterback Chandler Harnish and top running back Jasmin Hopkins, but the biggest hit comes up front with four starters gone. Top target Perez Ashford and most of the receiving corps returns. The defense has to do some retooling at linebacker, but the entire secondary returns and three starters are back up front.

3. Toledo (9-4)

New head coach Matt Campbell has some key replacements to make. Star receiver and returner Eric Page left early for the NFL, and top running back Adonis Thomas is done. Three starters are gone from the O line, but the quarterback combination of Terrance Owens and Austin Dantin return. The defense that was hit-or-miss loses three starters up front and three in the secondary. Dan Molls is a good middle linebacker, and he's going to have to do it all.

4. Ball State (6-6)

First-year head coach Pete Lembo got no defense whatsoever and his team died down the stretch losing three of the last four, but six wins for Ball State is always a success. Four of the wins were bad, though, including the season opener against Indiana, but there was a quality win over Ohio. Winning close games is what it's all about, but for good and bad, five of the six victories came by a touchdown or less.

5. Bowling Green (5-7)

Will Bowling Green actually have a strong defense for once? After starting a slew of underclassmen last year, and with ten starters returning, it can't be anything but stronger. The passing attack gets QB Matt Schilz back with two years of experience, but the top targets are gone. Four starters are back on a line that did a great job in pass protection.

6. Central Michigan (3-9)

The Dan Enos era isn't exactly rocking and rolling with two straight awful seasons. This might be the payoff with QB Ryan Radcliff leading a veteran attack that gets everyone back up front and returns most of the top targets. The defense might have been among the worst in the MAC, but the entire line returns and most of the secondary is back. Linebackers Mike Petrucci and Armond Staten will be missed.

7. Eastern Michigan (6-6)

After the breakout/breakthrough 2011, head coach Ron English is hoping for even more from an offense that struggled to score but ran well. QB Alex Gillett is among the MAC's best dual-threat playmakers, and all the top backs return to work behind a line that gets back four starters. The defense loses two starters up front and both starting safeties.