USA Today decided to predict the record of every division one team for the 2017 season. I was impressed with the graphic of their tweet.
When I clicked on the link, however, I was sadly disappointed. I first looked at the Big Ten standings. It wasn’t for any other reason than they were before the MAC when I was scrolling down. I noticed that it was basically a rehash of last season, with MSU and OSU given a few extra wins. It was a very vanilla forecast. Since the Big Ten gets as much attention as it does, I was less than optimistic that the MAC would get any special treatment or interesting picks.
Bowling Green was ranked above Miami for second place in the East. Hot fire! Then I looked over to the West, and saw Northern Illinois, who still doesn’t have a quarterback sitting in second place, and it all started to make sense.
For the most part, they gave some of the teams that have been having recent success some extra wins, and knocked WMU and EMU, among others, back to earth.
I cover 2 conferences at SB Nation, so I fully grasp the difficulty of trying to know what each team has coming back, and how that places them in the grand scheme of things, especially this early.
The list looks like they looked at the records from last season, and a few seasons prior, and used that to predict the future. It’s really not a horrible way to do things, but it doesn’t take into account some of the more important story lines going into 2017.
Miami won 6 games in a row to finish the regular season. I expect them to be much better than 6-6. Northern Illinois doesn’t have the QB situation figured out, and while they could be vastly improved, it’s also possible they will have another down year. And I can’t say enough how impressed I was with HOW Eastern Michigan won their games last season. I am more inclined to believe they will be better than last season than significantly worse.
I am always happy when the MAC is included in the national discussion, but I was less than happy with the picks. Maybe they know more than I do, or are extremely lucky, and their predictions will do better than mine. Luckily for us, we get to watch the games and find out. The season keeps getting closer and closer.