MAC East: The Art Briles Coaching Tree Gains a Branch
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.
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.
But quarterback Joe Licata will try to lead the Buffalo offense as they have a realistic chance to return to another bowl game.
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.