2023 MAC Football Schedules and Outlook

April 6, 2023 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

After capturing the 2022-23 Bowl Season Challenge, the Mid-American Conference looks forward to the 2023-24 campaign. Today, we present the college football schedule of each team, along with useful tidbits of information from new coaches to "games to watch".

Four different teams have won the championship over the last four seasons and no team has participated in the title game more than once in that same span. Toledo is looking to be the first repeat champs since Northern Illinois in 2011 and 2012. The Rockets, along with the entire conference, are listed at +100000 to pull off a shocking national championship run, but you can find the odds for every team.

The MAC was 4-2 (.667) a year ago in the bowl season with wins by Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and Buffalo to go along with losses by Miami and Bowling Green.

The Eagles (9-4, 5-3) tied Toledo as west division co-champions, but the Rockets advanced to the conference title game by virtue of a 27-24 win at EMU on October 29. Eastern Michigan rebounded to close the campaign on a 4-game winning streak, including its first bowl victory since 1987 and just its second all-time (2-4). Both wins have come at the expense of San Jose State as the Eagles defeated the Spartans 41-27 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 36 years after a 30-27 victory in the 1987 California Bowl.

Toledo (9-5, 5-3) limped into the MAC title game on the heels of losses to Bowling Green and Western Michigan, but defeated Ohio 17-7 for the championship championship and edged Liberty 21-19 in the Boca Raton Bowl to snap a 4-bowl losing streak and improve its overall bowl record to 11-9.

Ohio (10-4, 7-1) lost at Kent State in its conference opener, then reeled off 7 straight wins before losing the MAC title game to Toledo. It dropped the Bobcats to 0-5 in MAC Championship games (began 1997) and once again kept them from claiming their first MAC crown since 1968. On the positive side, a 30-27 win in overtime over Wyoming in the Arizona Bowl was Ohio's 4th straight bowl victory as the school improved to 6-8 all-time in bowl games.

Meanwhile, Buffalo (7-6, 5-3) picked up a 23-21 bowl victory over Georgia Southern in the Camellia Bowl for its third bowl win in-a-row and improved the Bulls' all-time bowl record to 3-3.

Bowling Green (6-7, 5-3) made its first bowl trip since 2015, but a 24-19 loss to New Mexico State in the Quick Lane Bowl gave the Falcons a sub-.500 finish for the 7th straight season.

Miami (6-7, 4-4) opened the bowl the bowl season with a 24-20 loss to UAB in the Bahamas Bowl.

2023 NFL Draft

The Mid-American Conference boasts at least a dozen solid 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Edge rushers are a great value and one of the top MAC players to watch is Bowling Green defensive end Karl Brooks who had 10 sacks last season, and 17 over the last two seasons.

Still, it's possible that no MAC player will be selected prior to the 4th or 5th rounds.

Edge rushers seems to be a dime-a-dozen in this year's draft. The field is not only loaded on quantity, but also in quality, with players like Alabama's Will Anderson, Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson, and Clemson's Miles Murphy leading the brigade.

Another DE/Edge rusher from the MAC is Central Michigan's Thomas Incoom who posted 84 tackles (47 solo) in his 25-game career with 27.0 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.

Eastern Michigan's Jose Ramirez and Toledo's Jamal Hines are also competing to be drafted at the same position.

New Head Coaches

(See Coaching Changes).

Kent State on December 14 officially named Minnesota RB coach Kenni Burns as head coach. That job opened up on December 6 when Sean Lewis announced he was leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado. He was 24-31 in 5 seasons as the head coach of the Golden Flashes.

Western Michigan announced Lance Taylor as Tim Lester's replacement as head coach on December 8. Taylor spent the 2022 season as the Cardinals' offensive coordinator after spending three years in charge of the running game at Notre Dame. Lester had a respectable 6-year mark of 37-32, including 26-20 in MAC games. The victories include the school's second bowl win in history which just occurred last season, a 52-24 rout of Nevada in the Quick Lane Bowl. From 1996-99, the school sports hall-of-fame member (inducted 2011) passed for 11,299 yards and 89 touchdowns while setting 17 school records. This was his second trip back to his Alma mater as a coach, having held the QB coach responsibilities in 2005-06. He replaced P.J. Fleck who made the jump from the MAC to the Big Ten when it was announced on January 6, 2017 that Fleck was hired to replace Tracy Claeys at Minnesota.

2023 Season

As usual, each MAC school will play 8 conference games, including five vs. divisional opponents and 3 games against programs in the opposite division (crossover games).

Ohio will be the first MAC team to take the field in 2023 when the Bobcats visit San Diego State on August 26. The only previous meeting produced a 27-0 rout for Ohio in the 2018 Frisco Bowl. The "week zero" matchup is one of just seven planned nationally involving FBS programs.

The eleven other member schools will open during the extended Labor Day weekend slate with Western Michigan and Kent State facing decidedly different foes on Thursday, August 31. The Broncos will stay home and host FCS member St. Francis (PA) while the Golden Flashes journey to Orlando to face UCF.

Two more teams open the next day as Miami heads to Hard Rock Stadium in south Florida to face that other Miami school, while Eastern Michigan hosts FCS and HBCU member Howard.

Seven of the other eight schools will hit the road for their openers on Saturday, September 2. The lone home game on that day features Ohio hosting FCS member Long Island University (LIU), while Bowling Green heads to Liberty and Akron visits Temple. Meanwhile, five of Saturday's eight openers have MAC schools visiting P5 programs - Ball State at Kentucky, Central Michigan at Michigan State, Northern Illinois at Boston College, Toledo at Illinois, and Buffalo at Wisconsin.

The MAC will release an updated schedule later this spring with game times and television for the first three weeks of the regular season and its midweek MACtion schedule. All remaining game times and television will be announced 12 days prior to the scheduled game. Games will air on ESPN platforms (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN+/ESPN3) and CBS Sports Network.

The 27th MAC Football Championship game will be held on Saturday, December 2nd and will mark the 20th straight MAC title game to be played at Ford Field in Detroit.

9/2 at Temple
9/9 Morgan State (FCS)
9/16 at Kentucky
9/23 at Indiana
9/30 *Buffalo
10/7 *Northern Illinois
10/14 *at Central Michigan
10/21 *at Bowling Green
11/1 *Kent State
11/8 *at Miami (O)
11/14 *at Eastern Michigan
11/24 *Ohio

9/2 at Kentucky
9/9 at Georgia
9/16 Indiana State (FCS)
9/23 Georgia Southern
9/30 *at Western Michigan
10/7 *at Eastern Michigan
10/14 *Toledo
10/21 *Central Michigan
11/1 *at Bowling Green
11/7 * at Northern Illinois
11/18 *Kent State
11/25 *Miami (O)

9/2 at Liberty
9/9 Eastern Illinois (FCS)
9/16 at Michigan
9/23 *Ohio
9/30 at Georgia Tech
10/7 *at Miami (O)
10/14 *at Buffalo
10/21 *Akron
11/1 *Ball State
11/8 *at Kent State
11/14 *Toledo
11/21 *at Western Michigan

9/2 at Wisconsin
9/9 Fordham (FCS)
9/16 Liberty
9/23 at Louisiana
9/30 *at Akron
10/7 *Central Michigan
10/14 *Bowling Green
10/21 *at Kent State
10/31 *at Toledo
11/7 *Ohio
11/15 *at Miami (O)
11/21 *Eastern Michigan

9/2 at Michigan State
9/9 New Hampshire (FCS)
9/16 at Notre Dame
9/23 at South Alabama
9/30 *Eastern Michigan
10/7 *at Buffalo
10/14 *Akron
10/21 *at Ball State
10/31 *Northern Illinois
11/7 *at Western Michigan
11/15 *at Ohio
11/24 *Toledo

9/1 Howard (FCS)
9/9 at Minnesota
9/16 UMass
9/23 at Jacksonville State
9/30 *at Central Michigan
10/7 *Ball State
10/14 *Kent State
10/21 *at Northern Illinois
10/28 *Western Michigan
11/8 *at Toledo
11/14 *Akron
11/21 *at Buffalo

8/31 at UCF
9/9 at Arkansas
9/16 Central Connecticut State (FCS)
9/23 at Fresno State
9/30 *Miami (O)
10/7 *at Ohio
10/14 *at Eastern Michigan
10/21 *Buffalo
11/1 *at Akron
11/8 *Bowling Green
11/18 *at Ball State
11/25 *Northern Illinois

9/1 at Miami (Fla.)
9/9 at UMass
9/16 at Cincinnati
9/23 Delaware State (FCS)
9/30 *at Kent State
10/7 *Bowling Green
10/14 *at Western Michigan
10/21 *Toledo
10/28 *at Ohio
11/8 *Akron
11/15 *Buffalo
11/25 *at Ball State

9/2 at Boston College
9/9 Southern Illinois (FCS)
9/16 at Nebraska
9/23 Tulsa
9/30 *at Toledo
10/7 *at Akron
10/14 *Ohio
10/21 *Eastern Michigan
10/31 *at Central Michigan
11/7 *Ball State
11/14 *Western Michigan
11/25 *at Kent State

8/26 at San Diego State
9/2 LIU (FCS)
9/9 at Florida Atlantic
9/16 Iowa State
9/23 *at Bowling Green
10/7 *Kent State
10/14 *at Northern Illinois
10/21 *Western Michigan
10/28 *Miami (O)
11/7 *at Buffalo
11/15 *Central Michigan
11/24 *at Akron

9/2 at Illinois
9/9 Texas Southern (FCS)
9/16 San Jose State
9/23 *Western Michigan
9/30 *Northern Illinois
10/7 at UMass
10/14 *at Ball State
10/21 *at Miami (O)
10/31 *Buffalo
11/8 *Eastern Michigan
11/14 *at Bowling Green
11/24 *at Central Michigan

8/31 St. Francis, Pa. (FCS)
9/9 at Syracuse
9/16 at Iowa
9/23 *at Toledo
9/30 *Ball State
10/7 at Mississippi State
10/14 *Miami (O)
10/21 *at Ohio
10/28 *at Eastern Michigan
11/7 *Central Michigan
11/14 *at Northern Illinois
11/21 *Bowling Green