College Football 2023: MAC
It is early in the month of August 2023 and, as always at this time of year, excitement is building for the coming Football season. That includes NFL and College Football. Most every sports bettor is quite familiar with the NFL as it is certainly the most popular among sports betting markets. Additionally, when it comes to College Football, many sports bettors are quite familiar with the Power 5 Conferences.
The “Power 5” Conferences include the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. Those major conferences in College Football along with the 32 teams in the NFL dominate the attention of most everyone this time of year and heading into the football season. That said, my focus heading into the new season is covering the “other 6” which is the “Group of 5” Conferences as well as the small group of Independents.
These less popular teams which comprise the “other” conferences absolutely deserve some attention and yet many sports bettors are the least familiar with these smaller conferences. That is even with the best value often being found where others just do not focus the attention. That said, I feel there is value in at least giving a “quick hitter” preview at these teams heading into the 2023 season.
MAC (East listed first then West):
Akron – Should be respectable on offense including getting some solid QB play but this team looks very weak on defense. They will likely be battling to stay out the basement in the MAC East and I will be looking for overs involving the Zips.
Bowling Green – This is basically a middle of the pack type of team. Nothing stands out to be with this team on either side of the ball. By MAC standards, they are decent on defense and decent on offense and their best spots to play on or to fade will likely to come down to situational aspects.
Buffalo – The Bulls are heading the right direction but just not quite there yet. They could surprise based on the respectable talent level they do have. But unless things really jell for this team, they are likely to have a season similar to last year.
Kent State – If this was basketball I would have more positives to express about the Golden Flashes. But in football, this team is just bad bad bad and has trouble to recruit strong players here. It will be another tough season at Kent State.
Miami (Ohio) – If the QB play is solid (could have a healthy Gabbert back), the Redhawks could challenge for the East Division. But the defense, young last year, will have to show that the experience from last year has paid off. That plus the health on the offensive side of the ball will key things in Miami, Ohio.
Ohio University – The Bobcats should challenge for the East Division title. Quite a balanced team but my concern on offense is the offensive line. However, other than that, I really like this Ohio U team and if the line jells on offense, the Cats are going to be very tough to beat. Solid on both sides of the ball and well-coached.
Ball State – Hard to gauge this Cardinals team. But like coach Neu and if the QB transfer Hatcher pans out, this Cards team could be dangerous. Still a middle of the pack finish is the likely ceiling in Ball State this season.
Central Michigan – The Chippewas look better on defense than offense so maybe looking for some unders here. They need to get the QB position pushing out solid production. Head coach McElwain needs to make sure he is getting more out of this offense this season.
Eastern Michigan – The Eagles are a hard-fighting team. I like what their long-tenured coach, Creighton, has put together here. These players give strong effort for him. That goes a long way with a team and I like Eastern Michigan as a scrappy team that way. Not the most talented team but a tough team that could challenge in the West Division for sure.
Northern Illinois – If QB Lombardi is healthy, this team could be tough this season but I am not a fan of coach Hammond and certainly was not shocked by the disappointing 3-9 campaign last season. The Huskies were fortunate, to say the least, in 2021. Look for 2023 to be better than 2022, but only slightly unless Northern Illinois gets stellar QB play which I doubt based on health concerns.
Toledo – The best team in the MAC and I really like their defense too. Their offense might seem unspectacular at times but, based on points scored, Toledo still ranked as one of the best last season. The Rockets should finish as the top of the MAC West and I will look for line value situations to play on this team.
Western Michigan – They hired former Louisville offensive coordinator Taylor to lead the way in Western Michigan. The Broncos will have some growing pains. They lost some key players in the trenches on defense and overall this is a rebuilding period for Western Michigan and this season will be a challenge. The future looks bright but the key word there is future!