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Northern Illinois favored to win 2022 MAC title in MAC Football Preseason Media Poll

The defending champion Huskies were selected for the MAC West, while the Miami RedHawks ran away with the MAC East in media polling.

NCAA Football: Cure Bowl-Northern Illinois at Coastal Carolina Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Mid-American Conference announced their media preseason poll from Cleveland, Ohio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday morning, with the assembled media selecting the Northern Illinois Huskies of the MAC West division as the favorite to win the MAC title in 2022.

The Huskies are top dog after a season which saw them go from winless in the COVID-shortened 2020 MAC season to division and conference champions, finishing with a 9-5 record in 2021, including a 6-2 MAC mark, edging out CMU on tiebreaker to go to Ford Field. In doing so, they became the first FBS team to ever accomplish the feat.

The Miami RedHawks are the preseason favorite to win the MAC East division and face off against NIU in Detroit, Michigan. Miami was the only team from the MAC East to garner any championship votes, with the other three schools receiving at least one vote all hailing from the MAC West division.

The Huskies are favored to win the MAC West— but only just, edging out the Toledo Rockets by just two total points and two first-place votes. Central Michigan is the other school expected to make noise in the division, just 10 points removed from the top of the table. WMU, EMU and Ball State round out the division.

In the East, media seem certain Miami will advance, with the RedHawks picking up 20 of the 24 first-place votes, with Kent State, last season’s divisional winner, the only serious upset candidate. The Flashes collected three first place votes. Bowling Green collected one first-place vote despite being fifth in the division standings. Buffalo and Ohio are projected to finish third and fourth in the East, respectively, while first-year Akron coach Joe Moorhead has a lot of work ahead, with just 28 total points.

The MAC season kicks off officially on Thursday, Sept. 1, and concludes with the 2022 MAC Football Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 12 p.m. ET, in a game scheduled for coverage on ESPN.

East Division (first place votes)

  • Miami (20): 139 points
  • Kent State (3): 116
  • Buffalo: 78
  • Ohio: 72
  • Bowling Green (1): 71
  • Akron: 28

West Division

  • Northern Illinois (11): 122 Points
  • Toledo (9): 120 Points
  • Central Michigan (4): 112 Points
  • Western Michigan: 56 Points
  • Eastern Michigan: 52 Points
  • Ball State: 42 Points

MAC Football Champion Votes:

  • Northern Illinois (9)
  • Toledo (6)
  • Miami (5)
  • Central Michigan (4)