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MAC Football 2014 Season Projections

MAC stalwarts Northern Illinois make up a top tier of schools in the conference that are expected to stand out, according to several media sources. Would a model that simulates games 50,000 provide a more accurate prediction of the upcoming MAC season?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 college football season set to begin next week, now seems like just as good a time as any to take a peek at the plethora of different places on the internets that seem to think they can predict the upcoming season (I'll leave out the fact that I’ve got a few predictions of my own).

Today we’ll be taking a look at a model developed by’s Paul Bessire, which simulates upcoming games, some 50,000 times. Here’s Bessire’s sober assessment of the MAC this season:

Rank Team Wins Losses Bowl Rank Team Wins Losses Bowl
1 Bowling Green 8.4 3.2 Boca Raton 1 Toledo 8.8 3.2 Potato
2 Buffalo 7.2 4.8 Armed Forces 2 N. Illinois 8.3 3.7
3 Akron 6.1 5.9 3 Ball State 8.1 3.9 GoDaddy
4 Ohio 5.8 6.2 4 Central Michigan 7.6 4.4 Camellia
5 Kent State 5.1 6.9 5 Western Michigan 4.5 7.5
6 Miami (OH) 2.9 9.1 6 Eastern Michigan 3.5 8.5
7 Umass 1.9 10.1

Looking at Paul Bessire’s projections, several items stand out. For instance, Athlon sports shares his view of Toledo as the team to beat in the West division ahead of MAC powerhouse Northern Illinois. On the other hand, the folks at Athlon are not buying a Chippewa renaissance. While Bowling Green is not surprising as the East division winner, Athlon is a bit more bullish on Ohio than Bessire.

Over at, Jerry Palm is drinkin’ the same Chippewa kool aide, as he predicts they will appear in the Armed Forces Bowl. It is also notable that several panelists for have the Bobcats finishing no lower than 3rd in the East, with one panelist predicting that they win the division.

A more interesting contrast with Bessire’s projections may be the results of a poll that eight MAC bloggers took part in during MAC media days, which predicted Akron would finish second in the East. The bloggers seem to be unfazed by the departure of Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, as they have the Huskies finishing first in the west. Oddly enough, that is the only place where Bessire’s projections differ from the bloggers as far as the west is concerned.