2013 MAC Preview - East Team Breakdown
Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton
Preview 2013 - CFN MAC Team By Team Quick Looks and Predicted Finish
MAC East Team By Team
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Predicted MAC Championship: Toledo over Bowling Green
Note: Predictions based on team talent and
1. Bowling Green
2013 CFN Prediction: 9-3
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 7-1
Offense: There's no excuse for the league's 11th-best offense to not be far, far better with ten starters returning and plenty of options to fill in the gaps for the one open spot at right tackle. Quarterback Matt Schilz is going into his fourth year as the starter, and while he knows what he's doing, he needs to be more efficient and has to cut down on the interceptions. The line should be among the best in the MAC, but the developed depth is a bit thin since all the returning starters started every game last season. The receiving corps has potential and upside, but now Chris Gallon and Shaun Joplin have to start doing more. The biggest key is the running game without Anthon Samuel, who had All-MAC potential but left school to be with his family in Florida.
Defense: The bad news is that MAC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Jones is gone at defensive tackle, and heart-and-soul linebacker Dwayne Woods is done after a fantastic career. The good news is that everyone else on the MAC's No. 1 defense returns with great depth, lots of options and enough youth to expect growth for 2014 as well. Gabe Martin and Paul Swan lead a great group of athletic linebackers that can get all over the field while BooBoo Gates and all the defensive backs return including more than enough options to play around with nickel and dime packages. There's no replacing Jones, but Bryan Thomas and Charlie Walker should be able to generate pressure from the ends. However, size is a major factor up front – there will be problems with the more physical lines.
2013 CFN Prediction: 8-4
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 6-2
Offense: Veteran offensive coordinator Tim Albin might have his best attack yet. The Bobcats had a nice running game and some good pop with the MAC's fourth-best offense in yards and scoring, but now the experience is in place and the talent is there to be dominant at times. For this team, consistency is a must, and the veterans should provide it. Tyler Tettleton is an ultra-efficient, scrappy quarterback who pushed the ball down the field well, and he has a good No. 1 target in Donte Foster to work with. Running back Beau Blankenship put up huge numbers, and he should be able to do even more behind a strong line that gets back enough starting experience to build on a good 2012.
Defense: It's not going to be a brick wall, but the defense should be able to hold serve more often than not. The key will be to find a few disruptive forces. A couple of dangerous pass rushers would be nice, and more interceptions from the corners is a must, but there will be times when the D has to hold on for dear life in shootouts. Everyone can tackle and this is a sound group, but steady defenders have to fill in the gaps around middle linebacker Keith Moore and strong safety Josh Kristoff.
2013 CFN Prediction: 5-7
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 4-4
Offense: Injuries should be one of the only big concerns for offensive coordinator Alex Wood's attack. The right side of the line needs to find replacements, but that's not that big a problem; everyone else is back. The Bulls have a running quarterback in Alex Zordich and a passer in Joe Licata, and each has enough experience to produce. Branden Oliver, if he can stay healthy, can be one of the nation's most productive statistical backs, and he'll get room to move behind a big, veteran line. Alex Neutz is a true No. 1 receiver, and now he has more help around him with Devon Hughes and Cordero Dixon two emerging targets to take some of the heat off.
Defense: The defense turned into something fantastic under coordinator Lou Tepper, finishing second in the MAC and 37th in the nation allowing just 364 yards per game. The pass rush is phenomenal with all-star linebacker Khalil Mack a dominant force in the backfield and end Colby Way a bruiser who works his way to big plays. The entire two-deep is back in the secondary helped by two terrific corners in Najja Johnson and Cortney Lester who combined for nine of the team's 13 picks. Depth is an issue up front and finding a nose guard to replace Wyatt Cahill and end Steven Means could be tough, but overall this should be one of the league's top three defenses. Now this group has to start taking the ball away after coming up with just three recovered fumbles on the year.
T3. Kent State
2013 CFN Prediction: 6-6
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 4-4
Offense: It took a few years, but the old regime got the running game going with Dri Archer and Trayion Durham combining for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brian Rock's attack isn't going to change the formula, but he will move Archer out to wide receiver where he'll take less wear-and-tear and also be used even more as a jack-of-all-trades playmaker. The line has to come up with some big replacements for a few all-stars, but there's a good base in the middle to build around in center Phil Huff and guard Anthony Pruitt. The return of Tyshon Goode from an injury and the addition of Archer could make a night-and-day difference for the receiving corps, but someone has to get them the ball. David Fisher and Colin Reardon are dual-threat options, but the offense needs a passer who can occasionally stretch the field.
Defense: Overall, this is an undersized athletic D that needs to rely on a rotation to keep everyone alive and kicking. Brian George goes from coaching the line to handling the entire defense, and he has to get a little bit creative. The secondary in the 4-2-5 has to replace four starters, while the linebacking corps has to find a new leader with the 143 tackles of Luke Batton gone. The line should be decent around Roosevelt Nix, but there's little bulk. The pass defense has to somehow get much, much tighter after struggling throughout last season, but the pass rush should be solid and the takeaways need to continue to come after creating 38.
2013 CFN Prediction: 4-8
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 4-4
Offense: The RedHawk offense didn't explode like it should've, but there's hope for a little bit of an improvement with a good starting 11 helped by veteran Austin Boucher stepping in at quarterback for Zac Dysert. Dawon Scott is one of the MAC's top targets, and Jamire Westbrook is a good running back who'd put up nice numbers if he ever got the ball. The offense is all about the short-range passing game, and it should thrive if the line can improve in pass protection. Once a center is found, the starting five should be fine, but there's no depth whatsoever.
Defense: There's lots and lots of work to do. Defensive coordinator Jay Peterson has to come up with a pass rush, stronger play against the run, and more playmakers who can take the ball away. This was the second-worst run defense in the nation that came up with just two fumble recoveries and was ripped apart for close to 2,900 rushing yards and 35 scores. There's experience returning among the starters with the not-that-bad secondary the deepest area on the team, but it needs help from a pass rush that was non-existent for large stretches. The front four is full of linebacker-sized defenders and could use bulk against the run, meaning the linebacking corps has to do way too much.
2013 CFN Prediction: 2-10
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 1-7
Offense: The offense wasn't timely, it didn't do enough with the running game, and it wasn't efficient enough, but it also wasn't the problem averaging a solid 427 yards and 26 points per game. Quarterback Dalton Williams is gone along with No. 1 receiver Marquelo Smith, but there's a good group of pass catchers coming back with almost all the other major contributors coming back. The running back situation should help out the emerging passing game with Jawon Chisholm and Conor Hundley providing a decent tandem that needs the ball more. The line struggled for the ground game but wasn't awful in pass protection. It's a good-sized front five with promise, but the right side needs new starters.
Defense: The defense welcomes back seven starters, but not enough playmakers after struggling way too much to come up with big plays and takeaways. The secondary came up with a mere five picks while the D fell on just eight fumbles. The lack of a steady pass rush resulted in way too many deep passes, and the defensive line didn't do enough to hold up against the run. Finding a pass rusher to replace J.D. Griggs – who came up with six of the team's 16 sacks – is Job One, while the linebacking corps needs tough run stoppers to replace the team's top tacklers, Kurt Mangum and Troy Gilmer. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to play around with and depth shouldn't be a problem – now the coaching staff has to find a solid starting 11.
2013 CFN Prediction: 1-11
2013 CFN MAC Prediction: 0-8
Offense: Things might continue to get worse before they get any better. But how could the offense take another step back after finishing dead last in college football in scoring and passing efficiency? Nothing worked on a regular basis, starting with a line that was shaky throughout the season and now could be even worse with some key losses and an uncertain starting five. The skill players need room to work, but they also need to make things happen when given the chance. A No. 1 receiver has to emerge, the thin running back situation has to be more effective and the quarterback pecking order has to be settled.
Defense: The starting 11 should be fine with a good base of talent to work around, starting in the secondary with a nice corner tandem of Trey Dudley-Giles and Randall Jette. Throw in a decent-looking starting linebacking corps, especially on the outside, and all of a sudden the defense that was ripped to shreds on a regular basis has potential. The pass rush has to be better and the line needs to strengthen up against the run, especially in the interior, but the results should improve. However, there's no developed depth whatsoever and there might be several steps taken back before making any leap forward.