Ohio Bobcats picked to win MAC

Ohio Bobcats picked to win MAC
Ohio Bobcats picked to win MAC

The Ohio Bobcats and the Toledo Rockets have been selected to win the East and West Divisions respectfully in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Poll.  The poll was announced at the league's annual Football Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit and was determined by members of the league's media contingent.  The Bobcats also were selected to win the 2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship.

In the East Division, Ohio was selected with 119 total points followed by second-place Bowling Green with 91 points.  In the West Division it was a narrow margin as only eight points separated the top three spots with Toledo gathering 87 points, followed by second-place Northern Illinois with 83 points and third-place Western Michigan with 79 points.

This obviously reflects on the competitive nature of the MAC.  In the last four years the conference has witnessed six different programs compete in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game and ten of the 13 football programs have appeared in a bowl game in that span.

Ohio garnered all 17 first-place votes en route to a clear favorite of the poll in the East Division.  The Bobcats return 49 letter winners and 15 starters from last year's 10-4 team that won the MAC East Division Title and went on to defeat Utah State, 24-23, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  Ohio won its first bowl game in program history and will return starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 3,286 yards and 28 touchdowns.

The Bobcats were followed by Bowling Green (91) and Miami (84), who were separated by only seven points for second and third respectively in the preseason ranking. Kent State was picked fourth, followed by Buffalo, Akron and UMass.

Toledo racked up seven first place votes in the West Division to propel the Rockets to first place with 87 points.  Toledo welcomes back 48 letter winners and 12 starters from last year's team that went 9-4 overall, 7-1 in conference play, and defeated Air Force, 42-41, in the Military Bowl.  First-year Head Coach Matt Campbell spent the last three seasons as the Rockets Offensive Coordinator and he'll return quarterback-tandem Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens to lead his Rockets potent offensive attack.

Northern Illinois was picked second in the West Division and earned five first place votes and totaled 83 points.  Western Michigan was selected third and also garnered four first place votes and 79 points.

Ball State was picked fourth, followed by Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

The 2012 season kicks off on Thursday, August 30 with five games, including four non-conference games and one conference game between Ball State and Eastern Michigan.

The 2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is Friday, November 30 at 7:00 pm from Ford Field in Detroit.

The complete poll follows:

Team (First Place Votes)        Points

MAC East Division

1.      Ohio (17)                   119
2.      Bowling Green           91
3.      Miami                         84
4.      Kent State                76
5.      Buffalo                      52
6.      Akron                        31
7.      UMass                        23
MAC West Division
1.      Toledo (7)                  87
2.      Northern Illinois (5)   83
3.      Western Michigan (4) 79
4.      Ball State                   42
5.      Eastern Michigan       34
6.      Central Michigan (1)  32

2012 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner:  Ohio 5; Toledo 3; Northern Illinois 1; Western Michigan 1 and Central Michigan 1.  Note:  Several voters did not select a winner for the MAC Championship.