About two months removed from the usual kickoff dates, the Mid-American Conference is a week away from restarting its fall season in earnest on Wed., Nov. 4, with a slate of six games in three broadcast windows across the ESPN family of networks.
The coaches poll, revealed on Wednesday, had the Toledo Rockets and Miami RedHawks slated to win their respective divisions, while Thursday’s media poll selected the Central Michigan Chippewas and Buffalo Bulls.
2019’s preseason polls saw both coaches and media in agreement that Ohio and Toledo would make the MAC title game.
Sporting a new-look, conference-only schedule, prognosticating the MAC is finding itself to be a difficult task. This year is especially tough, given how close the division races have been in recent years, with eight different winners over both divisions over the last four years.
2016 was the famous BCS-buster Western Michigan team going to the wire with Ohio. 2017 saw Toledo and Akron face off in Detroit, while 2018 had an instant classic between NIU and Buffalo, and 2019 was a slugfest with Miami and Central Michigan.
The last time the MAC had repeat division champions face off was in 2015, when NIU and BGSU met for the third time in a row.
Here are the 2020 polls in their full context:
- Miami (six first-place votes): 64 total points
- Buffalo (4): 58 points
- Ohio (1): 48 points
- Kent State: 42 points
- Bowling Green: 23 points
- Akron (1): 17 points
- Toledo (4): 54 points
- Western Michigan (2): 53 points
- Central Michigan (5): 52 points
- Ball State (1): 50 points
- Eastern Michigan: 22 points
- NIU: 21 points
Coaches do not vote on favorites to win the conference due to conflic-of-interest considerations.
- Buffalo (19 first place votes): 135 points
- Miami (3): 107 points
- Ohio (1): 101 points
- Kent State (1): 85 points
- Bowling Green: 50 points
- Akron: 26 points
- Central Michigan (10): 119 points
- Toledo (7): 118 points
- Ball State (3): 93 points
- Western Michigan (3) 89 points
- Eastern Michigan: 46 points
- NIU: 39 points
Media’s overwhelming favorite to win the MAC championship is the Buffalo Bulls, who return their dominant rushing duo of Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks from last season, as well as one of the MAC’s toughest defenses. The Bulls earned 14 votes from media members for the MAC title claim. Defending MAC West champion CMU garnered the second-most votes, with four votes, while Toledo (3), Ball State (2) and Kent State (1) also garnered consideration. Notably, Miami, the defending MAC East champion, received no MAC title votes.
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