I have not done much study on this conference this year. The college season is upon us and I got a late start accumulating the magazines and taking a serious look at the websites devoted to the college game. Therefore I will not predict the standings for the entire league but will highlight a handful of the top dogs.
Temple: This team was booted from the Big East a while back and found a home in the Mid American Conference. It looks like they will be competitive here or at least as long as Al Golden is at the helm. They return a decent number of starters on both offense and defense and should be able to edge out the Bobcats to take the number one slot in the MAC East. The non conference slate is brutal. The Owls open with last years IAA champ Villanova and following up with Connecticut and Penn State. They also meet West Point which is possibly the only winnable non conference game. Despite having an over all losing record at Temple (who doesn't?), it will probably not be long before Al Golden has some money thrown his way and moves on.
Ohio: Frank Solich does a commendable job at this small school. Remember a few years back when he was run off at Nebraska after some decent seasons. The Huskers have not found real success since but that is changing fast with Coach Bo in charge there. Another story perhaps, but suffice to say that Solich could have continued to be successful at a higher level than the MAC, but he appears to be happy here. Barring a meltdown, the Bobcats have a good chance of 3-1 in non conference play with the only sure loss coming from the Buckeyes. If Temple falters in conference play, then look for Ohio to move into the top spot in the east.
Northern Illinois: This team should take the top spot in the MAC West hands down. They are probably the best team in conference and should scare a good BCS team. Jerry Kill is an exceptional coach and will possibly (but not likely) have this team in the top 20 before it is all said and done. They do return some key starters on offense and return most of the defense. Their non conference slate is fairly tough (for a MAC school), but it is not without question that they will finish at worst 2-2. It is entirely possible that they could run the table in non conference play. I would look for them to lose no more than perhaps one, two at most in conference play and wind up at the top of the heap in the MAC West.
Central Michigan: This school is supposed to have a down year but I look for them to be number two in the West and perhaps even sneak into the top spot. Dan Lefevour is gone and there is a new coaching staff in place. This alone should signal an off year. I think that this squad will surprise a few people just to show them that Lefevour alone a team does not make. They probably will end up no better than 2-2 in non conference play and perhaps as low as 1-3, but should still be able to stay a step ahead of a good most of their MAC opponents except Temple and Northern Illinois. The do not meet Ohio this year but could possibly also have some trouble with Western Michigan and Toledo.
Above are the teams I chose to feature in the MAC this season. It was a toss up whether I would go with Toledo or Central Michigan for the second spot in the MAC West. If Big Tom Amstutz was still the HC of Toledo I would have gone with the Rockets. I am just not sure if Tim Beckman is the man for the job in NW Ohio. Time will tell.