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MAC Odds on a National Championship in 2016-17 Season

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Can Western Michigan go all the way?

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Last season's Mid-American Conference season was fairly well predicted, but don't expect 2016 to be a rerun. The Bowling Green Falcons defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies in the 2015 conference final 34-14 at Ford Field. BG was the MAC-elite all year long, 10-4 overall and 7-1 within the conference. The Falcons are the top dogs no longer though. The new season will bring an opportunity for new blood to take over.

BG starting quarterback Matt Johnson recently signed a rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, so there will be new leadership for the Falcons offense. Meanwhile, over 30 other conference players signed rookie deals after going undrafted, while six marquee names were selected from throughout the conference as well. So regardless of which team you cheer for, everybody now is back in the running it seems heading into the new season. Early college football championship odds for Western Michigan represent the conference's best shot in 2016, listed at +2500 amongst the field to win it all.

The Broncos haven't won a conference title since 1988, but are coming off a Popeye's Bahamas Bowl victory last season with a 45-31 win over Middle Tennessee. The team's rushing game between Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan has been prolific to say the least. Last season, Bogan put up 1,051 yards on 162 carries gave him a conference-best 6.5 yards per carry. He also finished second in the MAC with 16 rushing touchdowns.

They'll both return along with QB Zach Terrell, who finished third last season in the MAC with 3,510 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. The hands down best passer across the board was Matt Johnson, with his departure though, the door is wide open for the next best arm to take over. Terrell, by all accounts, seems to fit the billing. While he'll be without veteran wide out Daniel Braverman, the Broncos still sit above the rest in terms of skill set across the board.

Bowling Green, Toledo and Northern Illinois are also shaking up their sidelines a bit, so it wouldn't be too farfetched to expect a little instability with those teams right off the bat. Either way, watch for the Broncos to rise in the ranks early and compete for their first conference title in a very...very...long time.