The MAC is a historic football league based in the midwest. These schools have been playing exciting football in the shadow of the Big Ten for decades. That does not mean the schools are subpar by any means. This league has extraordinary parody and has been home to great players and crazy games. 9 of the schools are from Michigan and Ohio, which continues to support the fact that football means everything in those 2 states. It is also home to one of the best party college towns in America. Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University is a lot of fun and is amazing for Halloween.

One of the more recent traditions is centered around what we as fans call MACtion. This is a label for the entire league, but it really takes the Nation by storm in November. The conference made a spectacular decision to play games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This gives the league a national audience for their games on the ESPN family of networks over 4 weeks. It is a major win for brand awareness as well as recruiting for the league as a whole.

The 2021 season was very exciting from start to finish. The MAC saw 8 of the 12 in the conference accept a bowl invitation. That level of winning and competing at the highest level is evidence supporting the talent and parody. Yes, these schools do play Power 5 programs, so an undefeated season is rare, but put on the game tape and you’ll see quality. One of the coolest things that Ohio State, Michigan and many other Big 10 programs do is schedule 1 MAC team every year. In the economics of college athletics, these games are not just a financial necessity, but a measuring stick for the teams development

Kent State and Miami battled for the MAC East Title in 2021, with the Flashes coming out on top. The MAC West saw every team win at least 6 games and qualify for a bowl. Northern Illinois survived the gauntlet to face the Flashes in the championship game and subsequently took the crown.

This league is home to a Top 5 Offense in yards per game and 2 of the 5 best rushing attacks based on yards per game in the Nation (Kent State & Northern Illinois). In addition, Western Michigan finished 12th in the Nation in yards per game with 467.7 and Central Michigan was 23rd with 444.5. The Chippewas are also home to the nation’s leading rusher in 2021 and he returns for an encore. The Toledo Rockets were the highest scoring team in the MAC and 27th in the Nation with 33.4 points per game. Kent State wasn’t far behind the Rockets, finishing 31st in the country with 33 points per game.

Normal group think usually views mid major conferences as schools and players who aren’t elite. This is 100% false when it comes to the MAC. Here are some players and coaches who have called the MAC home.

  • Big Ben Roethlisberger (Miami-OH)
  • Antonio Brown (Central Michigan)
  • Julian Edelman (Kent State)
  • Greg Jennings (Western Michigan)
  • Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
  • Michael Turner (Northern Illinois)
  • Joe Staley (Central Michigan)
  • James Harrison (Kent State)
  • Jason Taylor (Akron)
  • Antonio Gates (Kent State)
  • TJ Lang (Eastern Michigan)
  • Khalil Mack (Buffalo)
  • Jason Babin (Western Michigan)
  • Josh Cribbs (Kent State)
  • Lance Moore (Toledo)
  • Cullen Jenkins (Central Michigan)
  • Eric Fisher (Central Michigan)
  • Jimmy Ward (Northern Illinois)
  • Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan)
  • Dontae Johnson (Toledo)
  • Kareem Hunt (Toledo)
  • Kenny Golladay (Northern Illinois)
  • Nick Saban (Kent State player and assistant coach)
  • Gary Pinkel (Played at Kent State, was Missouri HC)
  • Jack Lambert (Kent State)
  • Urban Meyer (was Head Coach at Bowling Green)
  • Dave Doeren (was Head Coach at Northern Illinois, currently HC at NC State)
  • Matt Campbell (was Head Coach at Toledo, currently HC at Iowa State)
  • PJ Fleck (was Head Coach at Western Michigan, currently HC at Minnesota)
  • Lance Leopold (was Head Coach at Buffalo, currently HC at Kansas)


  • Akron Zips
  • Ball State Cardinals
  • Bowling Green Falcons
  • Buffalo Bulls
  • Central Michigan Chippewas
  • Eastern Michigan Eagles
  • Kent State Flashes
  • Miami (OH) Redhawks
  • Northern Illinois Huskies
  • Ohio Bobcats
  • Toledo Rockets
  • Western Michigan Broncos


  • RB Lew Nichols – Central Michigan: This is a no-brainer….. he was the Nation’s Leading Rusher in 2021 with 1,848. Can’t wait to see what he does in his Sophomore campaign
  • Honorable Mention: QB Dequan Finn (Toledo) He accounted for 2,500 total yards and 27 TD’s in 2021, a year under his belt and a loaded arsenal will allow this Rocket to launch.
  • Honorable Mention: QB Brett Gabbert (Miami OH) Veteran leader with 41 career touchdown passes and over 5,400 yards. If he can build trust with some of the younger players, he could have a special season.



  • They return the Nation’s leading rusher Lew Nichols and his 1,848 rushing yards
  • The Chippewas did finish 7th in the MAC in rushing yards per game though, so there is room to improve
  • They also returning starting QB Daniel Richardson, who threw for 2,633 yards and 24 Touchdowns last season
  • This Jim McElwain offense was 3rd in the conference with 444.5 yards per game. They also scored 32.3 points per game, which was 4th in the MAC
  • The defense also showed up on game day, allowing 394.6 yards a game, which was 5th in the league
  • They were better at keeping teams off the scoreboard, allowing 26.2 points per game.
  • They have their sights set on Toledo and a conference title, can they stay focused for the entire season and put it all together in 2022?


  • The Flashes were 31st in the Nation in 2022 scoring 33 points per game (2nd in MAC)
  • They finished with the 5th best offense in the Nation based on yards per game with 493.4
  • They are not shying away from BIG Power 5 programs in 2022. They open at Washington, travel to Norman to play the Sooners in week 2 and head to Athens to face the defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. If they are healthy after that gauntlet, they can challenge for the MAC Crown
  • The Flashes need to replace QB Dustin Crum, who threw for 3,238 yards in 2021
  • Leading WR Dante Cephas and his 82 rec, 1,240 yards and 9 TD’s returns
  • The ground game was the 3rd best in the Nation based on yards per game with 248.7, Northern Illinois was just behind them at 241.5
  • They should be able to keep that going with RB Marquez Cooper and his 1,205 yards and 11 TD’s returning
  • They key for this program is to vastly improve their defense
  • Kent State was second to last in yards allowed with 467 yards a game as well as giving up 35 points a game
  • If Kent State wants to return to the MAC Championship Game and potentially win it, they must stop opposing offenses


  • The Rockets were 4th in the conference for yards per game with 435
  • Led the MAC in points per game with 33.4
  • QB Dequan Finn returns, along with his 2,067 passing yards, 18 TD passes as well as 501 yards rushing and 9 TDs
  • They do need to replace 2021 leading rusher Bryant Koback and his 1,400 rushing yards and 15 TD’s
  • The Rockets also had the best defense in points allowed per game in the league with 21 per game. They were 2nd in the league in yards allowed per game, allowing 342 yards
  • This program is in a great spot to win the conference, it is time to put it all together and launch the Rockets


  • The Cardinals offense only averaged 337 yards per game, which was 11th in the MAC
  • They scored 24 points per game, which was 9th in the conference
  • Ball State will be replacing QB Drew Plitt, but RB Carson Steel returns along with with his 891 rushing yards and 6 TD’s
  • The Defense was the rock of the team in 2021, 6th best in yards allowed per game with 415 and 4th best in points allowed per game with 26.5
  • If Ball State wants to return to a bowl, they need their offense to develop more consistency. They have a very good defense, so if they can compliment that side of the ball with more scoring, they are bowl game bound again.


  • Central Michigan at Toledo (Week 5) MUST WATCH
  • Northern Illinois at Ball State (Week 5)
  • Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan (Week 6)
  • Toledo at Northern Illinois (Week 6)
  • Kent State at Toledo (Week 7)
  • Miami (OH) at Bowling Green (Week 7)
  • Bowling Green at Central Michigan (Week 8)
  • Northern Illinois at Ohio (Week 8)
  • Toledo at Eastern Michigan (Week 9)
  • Ball State at Kent State (Tuesday, November 1st)
  • Central Michigan at Northern Illinois (Wednesday, November 2nd)
  • Ohio at Miami, OH (Week 11 Tuesday, November 8th)
  • Eastern Michigan at Akron (Week 11 Tuesday, November 8th)
  • Kent State at Bowling Green (Week 11 Wednesday, November 9th)
  • Western Michigan at Central Michigan (Week 12 Wednesday, November 16th)
  • Eastern Michigan at Kent State (Week 12 November, November 16th)
  • Akron at Buffalo (Week 12 Saturday, November 19th)
  • Ball State at Miami, OH (Week 13 Tuesday, November 22nd)
  • Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan (Week 13 Friday, November 25th)
  • Toledo at Western Michigan (Week 13 Friday, November 25th)

BEST STADIUM IN THE CONFERENCE: The Glass Bowl on the University of Toledo campus


  • The MAC East will be a battle between the Miami Redhawks and Kent State, but the Flashes lethal offense gives them the edge
  • The MAC West could be captured by any of the 6 programs. When looking at the QB situations, i do not trust Rocky Lombardi at Northern Illinois. That brings me to the realistic race between Central Michigan and Toledo. Both schools have great offenses, but the Rockets have a defense and that is the difference
  • MAC Title Game: Bring your shades for Flashes vs Rockets

This is going to be another wild season of MAC Football and every game will determine who lifts the trophy.

Don’t forget to tune into The Irrational Confidence Podcast (@IRConfidencePod on Twitter)all year long. You can subscribe on any podcast platform and the Spinnable Sports YouTube page. We drop 2 episodes a week during the season and currently are releasing our Preseason Top 25 five schools at a time.


Host of The Irrational Confidence Podcast and Contributor to Spinnable Sports #CollegeFootball #NFL #MLB #NBA #NHL #EPL #UCL On Twitter @SS_2FRESH

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