Conference Breakdown: MAC

5 things to know about the MAC

Biggest game: NIU at WMU, Oct. 8

Player to always watch: WMU WR Corey Davis, who might be a first-rounder, against MAC defenses? Okay!

Team nobody wants to play: It's always NIU, because no matter what, they're right back in the conference title game.

Coach who really needs wins: Paul Haynes, Kent State (again). Hey, maybe Darrell Hazell could just come back from Purdue? Sure!

Don't be surprised if ... CMU wrecks everything.

Bill Connelly's Power Rankings

Tier 1

Western Michigan

WMU is rising. Is this the year to finally clear the NIU hurdle?

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Toledo

Death, taxes, and the Rockets falling just short of a MAC title shot. What about 2016?

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Tier 2

Northern Illinois

Wanna bet against NIU winning the West for the seventh year in a row?

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Bowling Green

How do the Falcons follow up on their best season ever? Read on:

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Central Michigan

CMU's rebuild is already ahead of schedule. Here comes another run at the division crown.

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Ohio

At 71 years old, Frank Solich should have Ohio contending in the MAC again.

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Tier 3

Akron

Terry Bowden brought the Zips back to life, but now's the hard part.

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Kent State

KSU has the defense for a conference title. Now about that whole "scoring points" thing...

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Buffalo

One of the greatest-ever D3 coaches improved Buffalo in Year 0. Now for Year 1.

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Ball State

This roller coaster might go up now! Might not!

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Miami (Ohio)

The RedHawks survived a nasty youth movement and now have a good bowl shot.

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Tier 4

Eastern Michigan

If a new coach pulls a big turnaround, it's usually by year three. Hey, it's EMU's year three.

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Tier 5