2012 Mid-American Conference Football Preview
The Mid-American Conference remains basically intact from last season as opposed to the numerous changes that have taken place at some of the other conferences in Division IA football. The Temple Owls have departed for the Big East and in their place from the D-IAA Colonial Athletic Association is the Massachusetts Minutemen. Other than that, the other 11 teams remain the same.
The following is a look at the top contenders to win the both the MAC East and West Divisions this season and possibly meet in the conference title game at the end of the regular season.
Ohio was the top team in the East last season, but the Kent State Golden Flashes are primed to make a move to the top of the division in 2012. Darrell Hazell enters his second season as head coach and has to be encouraged by his team’s 4-1 run at the end of last year to finish 5-7overall. He also has to be encouraged with Temple’s move to Big East to go along with the 18 starters he returns from last season’s squad. This should provide enough talent and experience to fend off the rest of teams in the division to earn a spot in the conference title game.
The next team to watch in the East is the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, who have to hope they are do for an uptick on the roller-coaster ride they have been on for the past few seasons. Miami hit rock-bottom in 2009 with an overall record of 1-11, but bounced-back the following season with a 10-4 campaign. It was back down the hill in 2011 with a 4-8 finish, but Don Treadwell, another first-year coach, was able to keep his team competitive week-in and week-out with four losses by seven points or less. The Redhawks return eight starters on offense and will have seven back on defense, which should set the stage for them to once again remain highly competitive in conference play. The whole trick this season is to win some of those close games.
The Northern Illinois Huskies won the Mid-American Conference last season with a 23-20 victory over Ohio in the conference title game after rolling through the West Division with a 7-1 record in conference play. They capped-off their season with an impressive 38-20 romp over Arkansas State in last season’s GoDaddy.com Bowl to finish 11-3. It will be somewhat of a rebuilding process on offense this season with just six starters back from last year, but the reason that the Huskies have to be considered favorites to win the MAC is a defense that remains basically intact with almost every starter back.
The Western Michigan Broncos closed-out last season with a 3-1 record in its final four games to work their way into the Little Caesars Bowl, where they lost to Purdue 37-32. They return 15 starters from last year’s seven-win squad and have every reason in the world to believe they can add another three or four wins to that total this year. One of the main reasons for such optimism is the return of quarterback Alex Carder, who threw for 3,873 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2011 while completing 65.7 percent of his passes. If the Broncos can tighten-up a defense that finished the year ranked 76th in the nation in total points allowed, they should able to hold their own with the best that the MAC has to offer.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.