2018 MAC Projections on the Hour Glass
The Mid American Conference may not be the best Group of Five league, but the Mid West league could put up a dang good argument for it. From Western Michigan playing in a big bowl game two years ago, to big time quarterbacks heading into the NFL and more, the league has shown it has talent, quarterbacks and quality coaches.
2018 should be no different for the MAC as the league has plenty of story lines and intrigue.
Last year the league sent six teams to post season play and this year should be just as good, but we will get to that in a bit.
There is a talent separation:
Talent on talent there is a gap in the league at the top and the rest of the league. Western Michigan and Toledo have separated themselves from the rest of the league by a nice margin.
Both schools are at least 13 points better than the rest of the league on a three year talent eval, but that doesn't mean you discredit teams like Central Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Ohio and others. You have to look at more than the talent in this league, when projecting winners as we do in all leagues.
A significant gap in coaching:
Frank Solich is now the face of the league as far as coaches are concerned and he is poised to do big things at Ohio and Vegas thinks so too, setting the Bobcats win total at 8.5 in 2018.
Jason Candle has made Toledo a consistent winner, and two other coaches in Central Michigan's John Bonamego and Rod Carey of Northern Illinois are above our average coaching stamp value of 3.75 in 2018. Don't sleep on Tim Lester at Western Michigan either, as he is in year two of his campaign after taking over for PJ Fleck.
Quarterback play is going to be fun in this league:
Football is always more fun when you have some gunslingers in your league and this year the MAC has those guys. Six quarterbacks in this league are above our average quarterback line set at 8.5 for 2018, with Nathan Rourke of Ohio leading the way. The all MAC second team from a year ago has serious talent and could play on the next level.
Gus Ragland of Miami of Ohio very well could save Chuck Martin's job in 2018, and Jon Wassink of Western Michigan should rebound nicely after breaking a collar bone that ended his 2017 season prematurely.
Conference projections and post season:
Western Michigan hosts Syracuse in week one, so don't surprised if the Broncos upset the Cuse, which we have them projected to do. Central Michigan hosts Kansas in week two, and again look for an MAC win over a Power Five program.
We have five teams bowling in 2018 out of the MAC with one or two more with a chance to punch their post season card.
Look for Western Michigan to return to the top of the MAC in 2018, and beating Ohio twice to win the conference championship.