The Ohio Bobcats and the Northern Illinois Huskies have been selected to win the East and West Divisions respectfully in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Poll. The poll was announced at the league's annual Football Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit and was determined by members of the league's media members. Northern Illinois was also selected to win the 2013 Marathon MAC Football Championship.
In the East Division, Ohio was selected with 164 total points followed by second-place Bowling Green with 154 points. In the West Division, it was a narrow margin as only 30 points separated the top three spots with Northern Illinois gathering 138 points, followed by second-place Toledo with 122 points and third-place Ball State with 108 points.
This obviously reflects on the competitive nature of the MAC. In the last four years the conference has witnessed five different programs compete in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game and ten of the 13 football programs have appeared in a bowl game in that span.
Ohio garnered 15 first-place votes en route to the favorite spot in the East Division. The Bobcats return 49 letter winners and 16 starters from last year's 9-4 team that earned an invitation to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. Ohio won its second consecutive bowl game with a 45-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Ohio head coach Frank Solich will see the Bobcats return senior starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 2,844 yards and 18 touchdowns, and senior starting running back Beau Blankenship, who rushed for 1,604 yards and 16 scores, to lead the Ohio offense.
Bowling Green was picked second in the East Division and earned eight first place votes and totaled 154 total points, while Kent State had one first place vote and 119 points for third place. Buffalo was picked fourth, followed by Miami, Akron and UMass.
Northern Illinois racked up 16 first-place votes in the West Division to propel the Huskies to first place with 138 points. Northern Illinois welcomes back 55 letter winners and 16 starters from last year's team that went 12-2 overall, 8-0 in conference play, and won its second consecutive Marathon MAC Football Championship and first-ever BCS Bowl appearance with an invitation to the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. First-year head coach Rod Carey has senior starting quarterback Jordan Lynch, who rushed for 1,815 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns and threw for 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns to lead the offensive attack.
Toledo was picked second in the West Division and earned five first place votes and totaled 122 points.
Ball State was selected third and also garnered three first place votes and 108 points. Central Michigan was picked fourth, followed by Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
The 2013 season kicks off on Thursday, August 29 with four non-conference games.
The 2013 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is Friday, December 6 at 8:00 pm from Ford Field in Detroit.
The complete poll follows:
Team (First Place Votes) Points
MAC East Division
1. Ohio (15) 164
2. Bowling Green (8) 154
3. Kent State (1) 119
4. Buffalo (1) 101
5. Miami 78
6. Akron 53
7. UMass 29
MAC West Division
1. Northern Illinois (16) 138
2. Toledo (5) 122
3. Ball State (3) 108
4. Central Michigan (1) 67
5. Western Michigan 61
6. Eastern Michigan 29
2013 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner: Northern Illinois 14; Toledo 3; Ohio 3; Bowling Green 2; Ball State 2; Central Michigan 1.