Belt Loops: The MAC could have two ranked teams by November

Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Belt Loops is our roundup of Mid-American Conference news from around the wonderful world wide web.

φ NIU and Ohio are projected to crack the Top-25 by NovemberThe MAC was disrespected in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, but that won't be the case for long. USA Today's Paul Myberg thinks that both the Northern Illinois Huskies and Ohio Bobcats will crack the Top-25 by November. He makes a compelling case too. He even thinks the Huskies could be contenders for another BCS berth this season. For now though, let's focus on seeing a MAC school get in the Top-25. Then we can talk about BCS bowls.

φ Northern Illinois needs more than an undefeated season to get back to the BCS — Speaking of the Huskies, after a fantastic season but somewhat disappointing performance in the Orange Bowl last year, BCS voters might be tougher on them this season. Though NIU benefits from a very easy schedule, and could very well wind up undefeated (if they get past some tough games against Toledo and Kent State) heading into bowl season. But going undefeated might not be enough. Blowing out the majority of their competition, while also going undefeated could certainly help though.

φ The MAC isn't buying the "Big 5's" threats — Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher talked at length about the future of the MAC and college football at MAC Media day. One topic brought up was how the "Big 5" power conferences keep threatening to break away, mostly due to this idea that mid-major conferences can't afford to pay student athletes. Not the case says Steinbrecher. The real issue is that the "Big 5" can't agree on a method, and due to the unequal voting process, the mid-majors don't have enough of a voice in the issue.

φ Dave Clawson is a class act — In an age where what student-athletes provide on the field is often more important than what they get out of their time with a school, Bowling Green State head coach Dave Clawson might be in rare air. The Falcons are without their starting running back from the past two seasons, Anthon Samuel, who left the team this spring. Samuel, who has a wife and kid in his native Florida, is trying to play at Florida International and Clawson is 100 percent in support of it. It's nice to see that in the MAC we support our student-athletes in life decisions, unlike in the B1G.

φ P.J. Fleck continues to be awesome — Seriously, I don't know how you can not love this guy. He's just a great person. He's not just corny, it turns out the "Row the boat" slogan has a deep, painful meaning, and it's even more brilliant when you realize that. P.J. Fleck is P.J. Fleck, which is something you have to respect. He's not trying to ride off his past success at NIU, or worrying about making friends. He's focused on building a culture. It's working so far.

φ Western Michigan commit Kenneth Rawls offers some insight into P.J. Flecks recruiting magic — More Fleck news, this time focusing on the ridiculously good job he's doing on the recruiting trail. Fleck has landed more recruits at this point than any other school, and by a decent amount. It seems every day Fleck reels in another 3 star guy. Kenneth Rawls, one of those recruits says it's Fleck's honesty that is the key.

φ The Akron Zips might not win a lot of games, but they'll certainly look big in them — Terry Bowden has been hard at work bringing in transfers from around the country. One area the ol' ball coach has been successful at landing promising transfers at is on the line. Both defensive and offensive line. A pair of giant offensive lineman from Florida State and a 6-foot-7-inch defensive end have the Zips looking mighty formidable in pads. Then of course there is the 6-foot-7 punter. Yes, that's right, Akron has a punter taller than most forwards in the MAC.

φ Jordan Lynch and Dri Archer are two of the Top 50 College Football Players in 2013 — The Big Lead took a look at the Top 50 returning college football players this season and two MAC guys actually made the list. Forgetting Khalil Mack is certainly an oversight, but still it's nice to see MAC weapons like Lynch and Archer getting some much deserved national attention. Hint: They're near the bottom (baby steps folks).

Send any news tips or neat tweets to @HustleBelt or FanShot them. You're also welcome to write a FanPost if you have a cool opinion on something that affects the MAC.

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