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2014 College Football Preview: MAC
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 7/25/2014  at  5:03:00 AM
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To get you prepared for the upcoming college football season, we continue our run of all FBS conference previews over the next several weeks. For complete coverage, download your copy of the 2014 StatFox Edge Football Preview. Next up is the MAC, which retained all 13 of its members from last season.

Here is the BetDSI Sportsbook breakdown of odds for the first week of the college football season:

Odds to Win MAC

(For the latest Odds, connect to Sportsbook.com)
13-to-10: Bowling Green
11-to-4: Toledo
11-to-4: Northern Illinois
18-to-1: Kent State
18-to-1: Ball State
28-to-1: Buffalo
28-to-1: Ohio
28-to-1: Akron
35-to-1: Central Michigan
45-to-1: Western Michigan
80-to-1: Miami (OH)
110-to-1: Massachusetts
110-to-1: Eastern Michigan

BOWLING GREEN FALCONS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 10-4 (8-1 in MAC)
ATS Record: 10-4 (71%)
Over/Under: 4-9-1
Points Scored: 34.8 PPG (28th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 15.9 PPG (5th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 7
Defense: Starters Returning: 6
New Head Coach: Dino Babers
The Falcons will play fast and furious under new head man Dino Babers, which suits QB Matt Johnson (3,467 pass yds, 25 TD, 7 INT; 5 rush TD) just fine. Same goes for star RB Travis Greene (1,594 rush yds, 5.7 YPC, 11 TD), who will continue to get in excess of 20 touches per game. The receiving corps is deep, led by WR Ronnie Moore (547 rec yds, 7 TD). The tough BGSU defense (15.9 PPG, 5th in FBS) returns only FS Ryland Ward (81 tackles, 2 INT, 2 FR) to the secondary. The front seven has plenty of experience though, led by OLB D.J. Lynch (85 tackles) and DT Taylor Royster (3.5 sacks).

TOLEDO ROCKETS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 7-5 (5-3 in MAC)
ATS Record: 7-5 (58%)
Over/Under: 5-7
Points Scored: 33.0 PPG (39th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 28.6 PPG (T-74th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 7
Defense: Starters Returning: 9
The Rockets will continue to run a spread offense with new starting QB Logan Woodside (21-of-41, 240 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT). Toledo’s receiving corps is solid with WRs Alonzo Russell (728 rec yds, 6 TD) and Dwight Macon (214 rec yds, 3 TD), and its ground game uses a bruising O-Line to create holes for star RB Kareem Hunt (866 rush yds, 6.3 YPC, 6 TD). The defense is stacked with returnees, including LBs Junior Sylvestre (118 tackles, 5 sacks) and Chase Murdock (109 tackles, 4 sacks) and CB Cheatham Norrils.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 4-8 (3-5 in Conference USA)
ATS Record: 4-8 (33%)
Over/Under: 2-10
Points Scored: 19.2 PPG (112th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 26.3 PPG (61st in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 6
Defense: Starters Returning: 6
The Bulldogs went from 51.5 PPG in 2012 to 19.2 PPG last year, and are still unsure if QB Ryan Higgins (6.1 YPA, 6 TD, 13 INT) or Iowa transfer QB Cody Sokol will start. LSU transfer WR Paul Turner will stretch the field while WR Trent Taylor (260 rec yds) works underneath. RB Kenneth Dixon (917 rush yds, 6.1 YPC, 4 TD) is confident his knees are healthy. New DC Manny Diaz’s 4-3 defense will lean on Illinois transfer OLB Houston Bates (3.5 sacks, 11 TFL), LB Mitch Villemez (69 tackles, 3 FF) and CB Adairius Barnes (4 INT).

KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 4-8 (3-5 in MAC)
ATS Record: 4-8 (33%)
Over/Under: 5-7
Points Scored: 20.8 PPG (105th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 26.9 PPG (68th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 7
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
The Flashes dipped from 11 victories in 2012 to four wins last year, but they expect much more from QB Colin Reardon (6.2 YPA, 12 TD, 9 INT) in his sophomore season. He’ll once again rely mostly on WR Chris Humphrey (613 rec yds) and TE Casey Pierce (364 rec yds, 5 TD), but the key to this offense is the legs of RB Trayion Durham (913 total yds, 6 TD). The D-Line is thin, but the back seven is stacked with LB Matt Dellinger (78 tackles), LB-turned-safety Jordan Italiano (77 tackles) and star CB Malcom Pennell (3 INT).

BALL STATE CARDINALS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 9-4 (6-2 in Conference USA)
ATS Record: 10-3 (77%)
Over/Under: 4-9
Points Scored: 31.8 PPG (49th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 17.8 PPG (8th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 5
Defense: Starters Returning: 4
Four returning starters are O-Linemen, which will help QBs Andrew McNulty (5-for-6, 36 yds, 1 INT) and JUCO Josh Greer. A starting QB is TBD. WR Carlos Harris (553 rec yds, 4 TD) is UNT’s only proven wideout, but the ground game of RBs Antoinne Jimmerson (446 rush yds, 7 TD) and Reggie Pegram (338 rush yds, 6 TD) will carry the offense. An excellent Mean Green defense (17.8 PPG, 8th in FBS) lost all but one of its starting front seven, LB Derek Akunne (90 tackles, 4 PD). But the secondary is nearly intact, including CB Kenny Buyers (78 tackles, 3 INT) and S Lairamie Lee (74 tackles, 3 INT).

BUFFALO BULLS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 8-5 (6-2 in MAC)
ATS Record: 8-5 (62%)
Over/Under: 9-4
Points Scored: 30.3 PPG (54th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 24.4 PPG (T-40th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 6
Defense: Starters Returning: 4
The Bulls don’t have a ton of returnees, but QB Joe Licata (7.0 YPA, 24 TD, 8 INT) comes back to lead an offense that has nobody with more than 200 receiving yards last year. Branden Oliver’s departure thrusts RB Anthone Taylor (399 rush yds, 4.9 YPC, 3 TD) into the featured back role. Khalil Mack is gone from a defense that held visitors to 13.2 PPG, but Buffalo has quality defenders left in NG Kristjan Sokoli (2.5 sacks), LBs Adam Redden (4.5 sacks, 65 tackles) and Lee Skinner (79 tackles) and CB Cortney Lester (3 INT).

OHIO BOBCATS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 7-6 (4-4 in MAC)
ATS Record: 6-7 (46%)
Over/Under: 4-9
Points Scored: 27.4 PPG (73rd in FBS)
Points Allowed: 27.5 PPG (72nd in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 3
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
Ohio lost a boatload of offense, including Tyler Tettleton, who will likely be replaced by dual-threat QB Derrius Vick (21-of-45, 277 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT). He’ll frequently target WR Chase Cochran (689 rec yds, 4 TD). Top RB Daz Patterson (5.6 YPC) can fly, but is only 5-foot-7, 185 pounds. Ohio’s front seven is fierce, led by DE Tarell Basham (7.5 sacks) and LB Ben Russell (88 tackles), but the secondary needs to overcome the loss of two starters.

AKRON ZIPS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 5-7 (4-4 in MAC)
ATS Record: 6-6 (50%)
Over/Under: 4-8
Points Scored: 20.2 PPG (109th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 28.6 PPG (T-74th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 8
Defense: Starters Returning: 5
The Zips scored just 20.2 PPG (109th in FBS) and lost three O-Linemen, but have key skill players back in QB Kyle Pohl (6.1 YPA, 14 TD, 10 INT), RB Jawon Chisholm (1,079 total yds, 9 TD) and WRs Zach D’Orazio (567 rec yds, 4 TD) and Franshon Bickley (407 rec yds). The defense lost a good chunk, especially up front, but former Ohio State recruit DE Se’Von Pittman could be special. Plenty of hitters remain though, with LBs Jatavis Brown (107 tackles) and Justin March (80 tackles, 3 INT) and S Johnny Robinson (37 tackles).

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 1-11 (1-7 in Conference USA)
ATS Record: 4-8 (33%)
Over/Under: 4-8
Points Scored: 9.8 PPG (T-124th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 37.0 PPG (112th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 11
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
FIU returns all offensive starters, but that might not be a good thing considering the team scored an FBS-low 9.8 PPG with three shutouts. QB Alex McGough appears to be the best fit for Ron Turner’s pro-style offense, but he doesn’t have polished receivers to throw to. RB Lamarq Caldwell (547 rush yds, 3.8 YPC) will get the most touches on offense. The Panthers also struggled defensively in 2013 (37.0 PPG), and the front seven has several areas of concern. FS Justin Halley (3 INT) leads an adequate secondary.

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 2-10 (1-7 in Conference USA)
ATS Record: 2-10 (17%)
Over/Under: 6-6
Points Scored: 21.8 PPG (102nd in FBS)
Points Allowed: 39.3 PPG (117th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 9
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
QB Jameill Showers (6.7 YPA, 11 TD, 4 INT) will miss top wideout Jordan Leslie who left for BYU, making WR Ian Hamilton (354 rec yds) and TE Eric Tomlinson (304 rec yds) his top targets. RB Aaron Jones (625 rush yds, 4 TD) rumbles behind a beefed-up offensive line. The weak 4-2-5 Miners defense needs DE Roy Robertson-Harris (3.5 sacks), LB Anthony Puente (61 tackles), CB Adrian James (3 PD) and S Dashone Smith (70 tackles) to all step up.

MIAMI-OHIO REDHAWKS


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 0-12 (0-8 in MAC)
ATS Record: 3-9 (25%)
Over/Under: 4-7-1
Points Scored: 9.8 PPG (T-124th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 35.7 PPG (107th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 8
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
New Head Coach: Chuck Martin
The RedHawks hired Notre Dame OC Chuck Martin as head coach to inject life into a putrid offense (9.8 PPG, 2nd-worst in FBS). Former Irish players -- QB Andrew Hendrix (6.2 YPC, 1 TD, 2 INT career) and TE Alex Welch -- will help, as will WR Dawan Scott (301 rec yds). RB Spencer Treadwell (163 rush yds, 3.1 YPC) is a weak top back. The defense is nothing special despite the presence of LB Kent Kern (98 tackles) and CB Heath Harding (54 tackles).

MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 1-11 (1-7 in MAC)
ATS Record: 5-7 (42%)
Over/Under: 3-9
Points Scored: 11.7 PPG (123rd in FBS)
Points Allowed: 33.0 PPG (98th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 7
Defense: Starters Returning: 5
New Head Coach: Mark Whipple
After a 1-11 season that included 6.7 PPG away from home, Mark Whipple hopes to turn the program around. He runs a complex offense, but Marshall transfer QB Blake Frohnapfel (8.6 YPA, 5 TD, 2 INT career) is a quick learner, and has Penn State transfer WR Alex Kenney (197 rec yds career) and WR Marken Michel (229 rec yds in ‘12) back in the program. RB Jamal Wilson (368 rush yds) is the top back. The decent defense, led by stud LB Stanley Andre (111 tackles), will switch to a 3-4 under new DC Tom Masella.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES


2013 Statistics:
SU Record: 1-11 (1-7 in Conference USA)
ATS Record: 3-9 (25%)
Over/Under: 7-5
Points Scored: 17.1 PPG (119th in FBS)
Points Allowed: 41.9 PPG (119th in FBS)
Odds to Win 2015 BCS National Championship: 100/1 (Field)

2014 Preview:
Offense: Starters Returning: 8
Defense: Starters Returning: 7
QB Nick Mullens (6.4 YPA, 13 TD, 14 INT) reunites with high-school coach and new OC Chip Lindsey from Auburn this season. Mullens’ supporting cast is decent with WR Tyre’oune Holmes (410 rec yds) and RB Jalen Richard (318 rush yds). The defense gets a boost with the returns of three key players who missed most of 2013 in S Jacorius Cotton (41 tackles in 2012), LB Alan Howze (66 tackles in 2012) and DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches (6 TFL in 2012).

All 2014 College Football Previews:

American Athletic Conference
Conference USA
MAC
Mountain West - July 30
Sun Belt - August 1
ACC - August 6
Big 12 - August 8
Big Ten - August 13
Pac-12 - August 15
SEC - August 20
Independents - August 22
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