Mid-American Media Days 2013: Full Schedule, Live Stream, TV Info, Expectations
The 2013 Mid-American Conference Media Days kicks off Tuesday at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
Last season, Northern Illinois and Kent State won the West and East divisions, respectively.
The Huskies went 12-2, beating Kent State in a thriller for the MAC title before eventually falling to No. 12 Florida State in the Orange Bowl. They finished ranked No. 22 in the nation.
Kent State went 11-3, falling to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
So, what's in store for the MAC in 2013-14? Will Northern Illinois and Kent State continue to be the top programs in the conference or will there be changes?
Here's a look at the schedule for the 2013 MAC Media Days, complete with a breakdown of some of the most noteworthy programs this offseason.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
When: Tuesday, July 23
Live Stream: ESPN3 (10 a.m. ET)
Not only is last season's starting quarterback, Spencer Keith, gone for Kent State, but the Golden Flashes also return just two starters on the offensive line. On top of that, they return only five starters on defense, with three of the top four tacklers from last season (linebacker Luke Batton, defensive back Sidney Saulter, linebacker C.J. Malauulu) gone.
That's going to make it mighty difficult for Kent State to repeat its performance from last season.
Of course, having Dri Archer and Trayion Durham on your side helps. The duo combined for 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground last season. Archer also added 39 receptions for 561 yards and four touchdowns.
Ball State has experienced somewhat of a rebirth under second-year coach Pete Lembo, posting just its third winning campaign in the last decade last season (9-4, 6-2 MAC).
Ball State's offense figures to continue to grow after scoring 33.6 points per game last season. Seven offensive starters return, including quarterback Keith Wenning, running back Jahwan Edwards, tight end Zane Fakes and the team's top three receivers in Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, Connor Ryan.
Defense is the program's biggest concern, considering the Cardinals allowed 32.0 points per game last season (93d in the nation). It doesn't help that they lost their top two linebackers from last season, Travis Freeman and Tony Martin.
The good news is that the two-time defending MAC champions still have dual-threat sensation Jordan Lynch, who ranked fourth in the country in total offense with 353.8 yards per game last season.
So, there's that.
On the other hand, while the Huskies have eight offensive starters returning, they lost Martel Moore, who was by far the team's best receiver in 2012. Moore snagged 75 catches for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns (Tommylee Lewis was second with 48 catches for 539 yards and five touchdowns). That could cause them to struggle to win a third straight MAC title.
Who will win the MAC in 2013?
Toledo has a much better program than it had just four years ago. The Rockets went 9-4 (6-2 MAC) last season, losing to Ball State and Northern Illinois in the regular season but playing both tough.
It helped to have an offense that averaged 31.5 points per game (44th in the nation). The Rockets return nine starters on offense, including running back David Fluellen (1,498 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012) and receiver Bernard Reedy (89 catches for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns).
But, like Ball State, defense figures to be Toledo's biggest worry this season. The Rockets return only four defensive starters and no longer have linebacker Dan Molls, who led the team with 166 tackles last season. They also lost safety Jermaine Robinson, who led the team with four interceptions in 2012.
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