2012 MAC West Projections

Now just 18 days from the beginning of college football, its time to unveil the 2012 MAC-West Conference projections! On Thursday, August 30 at 7:00 PM ET, on ESPN3, the West Division teams kick off with a conference game, the Eastern Michigan Eagles travel to Muncie to take on the Ball State Cardinals.

On Saturday, the Western Michigan Broncos travel to Champaign-Urbana at noon (ESPNU), looking to avenge last year’s close loss. Northern Illinois Huskies will host the Iowa Hawkeyes at 3:30 PM EST on ESPNU from Soldier Field in Chicago. At 7:00 PM EST, the Central Michigan Chippawas will look to improve from a dreadful 2011 season as they open with FCS Southeast Missouri State Redhawks. In the nightcap, the Toledo Rockets travel to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats (10:30 PM EST on ESPNU).

Projected

Team

Overall

Conference

1

Western Michigan

(10-2)

(8-0)

2t

Northern Illinois

(7-5)

(5-3)

2t

Toledo

(6-6)

(5-3)

4

Ball State

(4-8)

(4-4)

5

Eastern Michigan

(5-7)

(3-5)

6

Central Michigan

(3-9)

(2-6)

Meet the favorites . . .

(1) Western Michigan Broncos

Having a veteran quarterback often makes the difference between a good and a great time. Two-year starter Alex Carder returns for his senior season, with his sights on a MAC West Title. Last year, the Broncos went 1-3 against BCS teams in the regular season, beating Connecticut, but falling to Michigan and Illinois. They again play three BCS teams in the regular season – Illinois, Minnesota, and Connecticut. WMU does not play Bowling Green, Miami, or Ohio out of the East. They also have Toledo and Northern Illinois at home. Look for the Broncos to capitalize on their schedule, coming very close, if not topping, double digit wins.

(2) Northern Illinois Huskies

The Huskies probably overachieved under first year coach Dave Doeren. But Jerry Kill left the program in great shape, especially with QB Chandler Harnish and WR Nathan Palmer. But both Harnish and Palmer have departed for the NFL, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, respectively. Still, the Huskies have plenty of experience returning. For the most part, the non-conference schedule is favorable, with games against Tennessee-Martin, at Army, and Kansas. Still, they will likely be 2-2 heading into conference play, in the best-case scenario. Hosting Toledo helps, but a road game against Western Michigan likely means their streak of MAC West titles ends.

(3) Toledo Rockets

The Rockets have both quarterbacks returning, but Terrance Owens is projected to be the starter. Toledo loses WR/KR Eric Page and RBs Adonis Thomas and Morgan Williams. The loss of Page, alone, is huge. The non-conference schedule will produce, likely, only one win (at Arizona, at Wyoming, Coastal Carolina, and Cincinnati). The traditional near Thanksgiving matchup with Bowling Green has been moved up – the game will be played on Saturday, September 15th. Toledo has to travel to Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this year, likely putting them third in the pecking order.

To see other projections for FBS conferences, click here.

What are your thoughts on the Mid-American Conference West projections? Tweet to us @BVTSB.

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