MAC East: The Art Briles Coaching Tree Gains a Branch

Published on 23-Aug-2014 by Chips 10

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

Share this article

MAC East: The Art Briles Coaching Tree Gains a Branch

Indeed, Bowling Green is the defending MAC champion and it's no surprise to see the Falcons are an overwhelming favorite to win the Eastern Division again.

Even though there's a new coach in Dino Babers. Actually, especially because Babers is the new coach. With what he's learned as an assistant at Baylor and with the Falcons' top-of-the-conference talent, this could be quite a season.

Matt Johnson returns at quarterback for the defending champions, who defeated Northern Illinois in the title game but lost their bowl game to Pitt, 30-27.

Ohio may be the closest team to Bowling Green, but they lost to the Falxons 49-0 last year and finished 7-6. Daz'mond Patterson will be a key runner for the Bobcats who must replace Tyler Tettleton at quarterback.

Akron and Buffalo are in the middle of the pack, as both teams are projected to finish over .500. The Zips won their final three games of 2013, and behind returning quarterback Kyle Pohl, Terry Bowden's squad almost found a way to own the Big House for a day.

The Bulls are coming off a respectable 8-5 season but lost three of their last four games, including their bowl game. The Bulls cannot replace All-American linebacker Khalil Mack ...

But quarterback Joe Licata will try to lead the Buffalo offense as they have a realistic chance to return to another bowl game.

It's a long season for Kent State already. The sudden and untimely death of starting center Jason Bitsko has understandably left a void in much more than the offensive line.

The Golden Flashes will be forced to contend with that loss before the thought of improving on last year's 4-8 record re-enters the players' consciousness. Colin Reardon returns at quarterback for Kent State, which fell from 11 wins in 2012 to just four last year.

Way down at the bottom of the league are Massachusetts and Miami of Ohio. UMass has won only one game in each of the past two seasons, with their lone victory last year coming against Miami. Mark Whipple is back to coach the Minutemen and while his defense is improving, the offense has a long way to go. Miami was 0-12 last year, and the Red Hawks will struggle again this season.

Well, the Atlantic 10 isn't FBS, but based on their performance to date, neither are the Minutemen.

Miami has a new coach in Chuck Martin, who came over from Nôtre Dame, but the rebuilding job could take years for this squad. However, they'll be fashion showpieces -- or fashion tragedies -- in the interim.

Look for Bowling Green to be playing on December 5 in the MAC championship game at Ford Field in Detroit against the one of the western squad. The Falcons would like nothing better than to add another title to their trophy case.