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2013 MAC
College Football
Season Preview


Please note: Our conference reports analyze what the Congrove Computer Rankings preseason forecast predicts. Team power ratings change weekly during the season to reflect the actual results of the games. For projecting results, 3 points are added to the home team.

During the 2012 season, from beginning to end, including bowl games:
Overall, 8 teams gained 10 or more "power points". Mississippi led the gainers at 15.16, followed by Arizona State at 14.24.
In the MAC, Akron gained the most at 7.50.
Overall, 18 teams gained 5.00 - 9.99 points.
Overall, 35 teams gained less than 5 points.
Overall, 32 teams fell less than 5 points.
Overall, 23 teams fell 5.00-9.99 points.
Overall, 8 teams fell 10 power points or more. Southern Miss fell the most at 17.55, followed by Auburn at 14.14.
In the MAC, Eastern Michigan fell the most at 12.89.
Overall, the average change of teams in 2012 was a loss of 0.19 points.
In the MAC, the average change of teams in 2012 was a loss of 1.68 points.

2013 Conference Preview
2013 PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH
MAC East
  Team Over-All
W-L
Conf.
W-L
Nat'l
Rank
Power
Rating
Sched.
Rank
1. Kent State 10-2 8-0 21 76.23 81
2. Bowling Green 10-2 7-1 22 76.20 100
3. Ohio 9-3 6-2 38 70.62 102
4. Buffalo 6-6 4-4 72 65.19 85
5. Miami 3-9 2-6 100 59.12 80
6. Akron 2-10 1-7 114 53.02 60
7. Massachusetts 1-11 0-8 124 42.89 65
MAC West
  Team Over-All
W-L
Conf.
W-L
Nat'l
Rank
Power
Rating
Sched.
Rank
1. *-Central Michigan 9-3 6-2 39 69.93 111
2. *-Toledo 8-4 6-2 51 72.50 87
3. *-Northern Illinois 8-4 5-3 52 70.60 121
4. *-Ball State 8-4 5-3 53 68.66 105
5. Western Michigan 3-9 2-6 104 57.14 72
6. Eastern Michigan 1-11 0-8 119 52.93 61
*-Tie-breakers: Central Michigan beats Toledo; Northern Illinois beats Ball State.

Championship: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 in Detroit at 8:00pm on ESPN-2
CMU VS. Kent State

Conference Champ
Kent State
Title Game Result: Kent State over Central Michigan by 6.32

Also See:
MAC Media Media Poll

Preview

The MAC was one of the few conference untouched by realignment in the past year, and coaching changes aren't expected to have much impact either.

Dave Doeren has moved on to N.C. State after leading Northern Illinois to a second straight MAC title, and Darrell Hazell left runner-up Kent State to take the reigns at Purdue.

Rod Carey replaces Doeren and the Huskies still get picked to go 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference for a mark that would leave them just one game out of first.

Paul Haynes takes over the Golden Flashes who are projected to go 10-2 overall and undefeated in the conference while claiming the MAC East title. Furthermore, the Congrove Computer Rankings say Kent State ultimately downs Central Michigan in the championship game at Detroit for the school's first MAC crown since 1972 and only its second in history.

Both divisions are top-heavy as less than 6 power points separate Kent State, Bowling Green and Ohio in the east, while fewer than 4 points separate Central Michigan, Toledo, Northern Illinois and Ball State in the west.

The Golden Flashes are 3.03-point favorites at home over the Falcons in the second week of the season in a game the computer scores as the eventual tie-breaker for the top spot in the east. The Chippewas get a scant 0.43-point home advantage over the Rockets on September 21 for the west division tie-breaker.

As usual, the better MAC programs should be competitive in multiple games against foes from college football's more traditional power conferences. For example, Bowling Green is a 0.02-point dog at Mississippi State, Central Michigan is a 2.73-point favorite at N.C. State, and Kent State is just a 0.38-point underdog at Penn State (the computer predicted Ohio's win at Penn State a year ago).

All four of Ball State's forecasted losses are by less than 5 points (at North Texas by 0.04, home vs. Toledo by 0.84, home vs. Kent State by 4.57, and at NIU by 4.94. But the Cardinals are also favored by just 1.94 at Virginia and 1.73 at home over Central Michigan.

Buffalo sits firmly in the middle of the east pack with a forecasted .500 record overall and in-conference. Akron and UMass bring up the rear with the Minutemen over 10 power points below every team in the league.

UMass is a mere 8.5-point favorite over FCS member Maine for its only given win. The team will play its home games this year at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, while an 8,000-seat upgrade is underway at the on-campus McGuirk Stadium.

Western Michigan follows the four west division front-runners while Eastern Michigan is poised to grab the cellar for the fifth time in the last six years.

Western Michigan fired Bill Cubit after last season's 29-23 loss at home to Eastern Michigan on November 17, though the decision was reportedly made the Thursday before the game. It was EMU's first conference win of the year in the MAC and only its second of the season.

32-year old P.J. Fleck became the youngest head coach in the FBS when he was named as Cubit's replacement. Fleck is a Greg Schiano disciple who put in two years at Rutgers, followed by a season with the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs where Schiano was hired last year.

As for the other two new head coaches in the MAC - Paul Haynes was a standout defensive back with the Golden Flashes from 1987-1992. He spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas after serving as an assistant with the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2005-2011. He also has NFL experience as a quality control coach for Jacksonville. Meanwhile, NIU's Rod Carey was the offensive line coach under Doeren and led the Huskies in their historic 31-10 Orange Bowl loss to Florida State.





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