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2010 MAC Conference - East Division
Odds - Analysis - Team Previews
Members of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East division look poised for a strong 2010 season. Last year Temple and Ohio tied for the #1 spot in the standings, but Ohio won the head to head matchup tiebreaker. Both of those teams will be strong this year, along with Kent State, and Buffalo.
Let's closely examine the teams in the MAC East division and their prospects for the 2010 season!
Temple Owls - HC Al Golden has resuscitated this program. Last year he led them to a 9-4 finish and a loss to UCLA in the EagleBank Bowl. Before he arrived their last Bowl game was in 1979. Golden gets back 9 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters from last year's team. Chester Stewart takes over at QB for Vaughn Charlton who has been moved to TE. This will work out well for the Owls because Charlton didn't fare well last year and Stewart appears to have superior skills at the position. The WRs will undergo tremendous improvement thanks to Charlton. Bernard Pierce is a huge asset at RB for Temple. He rushed for 1,407 yards as a freshman.
The offensive line is the best of the Golden era, despite losing 2nd Team All-MAC member Devin Tyler. The defensive line was very strong in '09, but has lost its top NT and DE. The DL should still be among the top in the MAC. 1st Team All-MAC member Elijah Joseph is back to lead a strong group of LBs. Temple gets to play Central Michigan at home and they also host Ohio. The Owls have a huge shot to win the MAC and post their first double digit wins season in school history.
Ohio Bobcats - Last year should be considered a mild success for this team that finished 9-5 with a loss in the Little Caesars Bowl. They return 12 total starters and lose most of their offensive producers. QB Phil Jackson will have to step up and lead the team in his first year as a starter. Junior RB Kenny Ashley will provide plenty of help. The 5-8 230 runner has 1,000 yard potential. With 39 career starts between them, the offensive line will be a bright spot for the Bobcats. The defensive line has the potential to be the best in the MAC. The secondary could falter a bit compared to 2009 with the loss of a few starters. Ohio has a decent schedule. They will travel to play Temple and Kent State to end the year. If they can stay in contention until their game with Temple they may have a shot at winning the MAC.
Kent State Golden Flashes - 15 starters are back from last year's 5-7 team. The Golden Flashes haven't played a Bowl game since 1972. That could change this year. They are led by senior Rb Eugene Jarvis. He was granted a sixth year after suffering an injury early in the 2009 season. He needs just 564 yards to become Kent State's all time leading rusher. He has a solid offensive line to run behind. QB Spencer Keith is a sophomore, but he is in his second year as the starter. Keith wasn't quite a gunslinger last year, but he did have just over 2,000 yards and 14 TDs. Look for marked improvement this year. Defense is a bright spot for the Golden Flashes. They have a decent defensive line, but they really shine at LB and DB. They have arguably the best LBs and DBs in the MAC this year. Kent State will serve as cannon fodder for teams like Boston College and Penn State, but they have a legit chance at posting their first winning season since 1987.
Buffalo Bulls - This team pulled off a huge upset to down Ball State as 15 point underdogs back in 2008, but 2009 wasn't so kind. They ended up 5-7. The Bulls bring back 6 offensive starters and 8 defense starters. New HC Jeff Quinn is an offensive mastermind and the top protege of Notre Dame HC Brian Kelly. The offense will change from a strong rushing front to the spread. Quinn will likely run a nasty and fast paced offense like his mentor. He has several top notch running backs so it will be interesting to see how he utilizes them. The defense is solid. We think Buffalo will surprise a lot of people in 2010 and they are a solid sleeper pick to win the MAC.
Miami Redhawks - This team brings back 10 offensive starters and 8 defensive starters after finishing an abysmal 1-11 last year. QB Zac Dysert will be much improved and he is our pick as the best QB in the MAC. He passed for 2,611 yards as a freshman. They need vast improvement from the defense and running game. The Redhawks will get a preview of what the rest of the season will be like when they travel to face Florida in the first game of the year. When a decent to good team returns 17 starters, as Miami Ohio does this year, a handicapper needs to take note. In this instance, it's still worth taking note as Miami figures to be improved, but don't look for miracles. This team has lost 10 games or more 3 out of the last 4 years.
Akron Zips - This team ended up 3-9 last year and 13 starters are back from that team. Rob Ianello takes over as HC after a stint with Notre Dame. With many new schemes to learn its hard to imagine this team topping last years win total of 3. But look for a steady improvement as the year rolls on. Also look for Akron to be a force in the very near future as Ianello works his recruiting magic with the Zips. A big upset against one of the better teams in the MAC is a big possibility, especially in the 2nd half of the season as the Zips look to put the rest of the league on notice.
Bowling Green Falcons - With only 8 combined starters back, it's hard to imagine this team improving n its 7-6 record from 2009. They must replace QB Tyler Sheehan who passed for over 4,000 yards last year. They will rely heavily on new faces this year so expect a rebuilding season.
The Mid American Conference East division is very competitive this year. Temple, Kent State, Ohio, and Buffalo all have a chance to make some noise. We will go with Buffalo to upset the applecart in Quinn's first year as HC. Temple will also be very solid.
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