Northern Illinois Leads MAC Pack
A BCS repeat is a stretch, but as long as Northern Illinois can keep quarterback Jordan Lynch upright, the Huskies are the best bet to win the conference for a third consecutive season.
First-year coach Rod Carey is described as an innovator, and he’ll be challenged to stack the Xs in his favor. Lynch is one of six starters back on offense, but there are questions around him at skill positions.
The biggest worry in DeKalb is overtaxing Lynch while his supporting cast settles in. Carey is making it clear the BCS run isn’t a factor and the slate is clean heading to Kinnick Stadium to play Iowa on Aug. 31.
If NIU can steal that game, the BCS drum will be banging.
Ball State has to wait until Nov. 13 for its date with the Huskies. Entering the season, the Cardinals are a serious threat to NIU’s reign in the West Division, with Toledo a team to watch.
Ball State running back Jawhan Edwards is coach Pete Lembo’s top talent, but the defense was routinely torched for 462.4 yards per game — 6.11 per play — in 2012. Even in a points-driven league, Ball State can’t get by without vast improvement defensively.
That issue is the greatest hurdle for Toledo, which had the 109th-ranked defense last season — seven spots behind Ball State. The Rockets should live up to their name when they have the ball. Lynch notwithstanding, no MAC team has better top-to-bottom playmakers.
This is not a repeat — Frank Solich’s solid Ohio team has a great chance to claim the East’s spot in the MAC title game in Detroit.
The Bobcats, who steamrolled Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl, feature quarterback Tyler Tettleton, one of the best in the conference.
|OFFENSE – FIRST TEAM||OFFENSE – SECOND TEAM|
|QB||Jordan Lynch||Sr.||Northern Illinois||QB||Tyler Tettleton||Sr.||Ohio|
|RB||Dri Archer||Sr.||Kent State||RB||Branden Oliver||Sr.||Buffalo|
|RB||David Fluellen||Sr.||Toledo||RB||Jahwan Edwards||Jr.||Ball State|
|WR||Nick Harwell||Sr.||Miami (Ohio)||WR||Titus Davis||Jr.||Central Michigan|
|WR||Bernard Reedy||Sr.||Toledo||WR||Willie Snead||Jr.||Ball State|
|TE||Zane Fakes||Sr.||Ball State||TE||Alex Bayer||Sr.||Bowling Green|
|C||Zac Kerin||Sr.||Toledo||C||Lucas Powell||So.||Ohio|
|OL||Jordan Hansel||Sr.||Ball State||OL||Dominic Flewellyn||Sr.||Bowling Green|
|OL||Tyler Loos||Jr.||Northern Illinois||OL||Jared Volk||Sr.||Northern Illinois|
|OL||Matt Krempel||Sr.||Northern Illinois||OL||John Prior||Sr.||Ohio|
|OL||Greg Mancz||Jr.||Toledo||OL||Anthony Dima||Sr.||Massachusetts|
|AP||Dri Archer||Sr.||Kent State||AP||Jamill Smith||Jr.||Ball State|
|K||Mathew Sims||Sr.||Northern Illinois||K||Jeremiah Detmer||Jr.||Toledo|
|DEFENSE – FIRST TEAM||DEFENSE – SECOND TEAM|
|DL||Roosevelt Nix||Sr.||Kent State||DL||Christian Smith||Sr.||Toledo|
|DL||Nathan Ollie||Sr.||Ball State||DL||Joe Windsor||Sr.||Northern Illinois|
|DL||Ted Ouellet||Sr.||Bowling Green||DL||Colby Way||Sr.||Buffalo|
|DL||Jonathan Newsome||Sr.||Ball State||DL||Jayrone Elliott||Sr.||Toledo|
|LB||C.J. Malauulu||Sr.||Kent State||LB||Chris Wade||Sr.||Miami (Ohio)|
|LB||Gabe Martin||Jr.||Bowling Green||LB||Desmond Bozeman||Sr.||Western Michigan|
|LB||Khalil Mack||Sr.||Buffalo||LB||Lee Skinner||Jr.||Buffalo|
|DB||Dayonne Nunley||Sr.||Miami (Ohio)||DB||Jimmie Ward||Jr.||Northern Illinois|
|DB||Jimmy Ward||Sr.||Northern Illinois||DB||Cheatham Norris||Jr.||Toledo|
|DB||Johnnie Simon||Sr.||Western Michigan||DB||Najja Johnson||Sr.||Buffalo|
|DB||BooBoo Gates||Sr.||Northern Illinois||DB||Darius Polk||Sr.||Kent State|
|P||Brian Schmiedebusch||Sr.||Bowling Green||P||Anthony Melchiori||So.||Kent State|