Return of the MAC! Everybody’s favorite conference is back and we’re gonna be running through the MAC so everyone is ready for mid-week action. I’m also gonna go through the Mountain West and pick a winner I like there. There’s no time to waste, let’s get into the action.
Catch up on my CFB Preview Series here:
Part One: Heisman Preview
Part Two: Overall CFB Landscape
Part Three: Sun Belt & C-USA Preview
There is nothing like the MAC. They make us wait a few weeks for mid-week MACtion but the anticipation makes it feel so much better once it comes (pause). The MAC is usually the most wide-open conference in college football because there is rarely a team good enough to dominate week in and week out. HOWEVA, I think this year might be different…
Win Total Under
Western Michigan u6.5 wins (-155)- This offense is going to be rough. WMU loses their QB and top-three receivers from last season that led an exciting pass offense that carried their team last year. It’s very possible WMU could have six wins going into the final week of the season against our Toledo Rockets. If that is the case, WMU will have nothing to play for and Toledo could still be playing for the division. At 6 wins, WMU would already be bowl-eligible and lacking motivation there so this schedule could be positive for both of our win totals.
To Win the Conference
Toledo +380- I normally don’t like backing favorites in the MAC but this year is different. I think the Rockets are the real deal. Last year, Toledo ranked FIRST in all of college football in EPA/rush and they return 4/5 guys from that OL as well as their dual-threat QB.
The Rockets are the best MAC team I can remember over the last 3-4 years. Last year they were a really good team but just couldn’t close out games where they were big favorites. They nearly beat Notre Dame and ended up only losing by 3. With all of their close losses to bad teams last year, they are due for some positive regression. Toledo has 15 starters returning this year including QB Dequan Finn who could be electric this year after an exciting freshman season.
Ohio +1600- I like this Ohio team and really like their QB Kurtis Rourke. I wanted to bet their win total over but their lack of experience on offense worries me. I think this is a low-floor, high-ceiling team. They could flop and only win 5 games or they could make everything click and use their experienced defense to win big games in the MAC East. With no Northern Illinois or Toledo, the MAC East is definitely the weaker division so if you want to take a flier on any longshot to win the conference it should be from this division.
No one, sadly.
Once again… no one, sadly.
The Mountain West is an interesting conference. There are a handful of really above-average teams (Boise, Fresno, Air Force, Utah State, SDSU) and then everyone else kind of sucks. A lot of CFB fans never even watch most of these teams all year because of their west-coast late-night kick-off times but I think it’s actually one of the more fun conferences to watch. The skill level is definitely higher than say the MAC but the level of shithousery is still almost as high.
Win Total Over
None. These teams are all bad.
Win Total Under
New Mexico u2.5 wins (-120)- This team big time stinks. Last year they had a more experienced offense and still managed to finish dead last in FBS in EPA/pass and EPA/rush, a nearly impossible task. This year they return only 3 starters to that offense and will have to start from scratch again with a new QB and a new OL. They have a gimme game against Maine Week One and then a game later in the season they should win against New Mexico State, although they do have to go on the road and NMSU is off a bye. Apart from those two, their other non-con games are against LSU and UTEP so we can probably mark those as losses.
So this bet is basically that they will go winless in the conference. I like this because the Lobos miss out on playing Hawaii which would be their best chance at a win in the conference. Then their other winnable conference games against UNLV and Colorado State are on the road. In my opinion, their only chance is at an upset is at home against Wyoming and I’ll back the Pokes to still get it done there.
Wyoming u5 wins (-135)- Wyoming was a deceptive 7-6 last year. They made a bowl game and were able to win it but they were only 2-6 in the conference. They managed to become bowl-eligible by winning four games out of conference. This year that schedule is much tougher with Illinois, BYU, Tulsa, and San Jose State out of conference. Those are four really tough games and then they end their season @ Colorado State, home against Boise State, and @ Fresno State. Those are three losses for me. I think five wins is the absolute ceiling for this team so I’ll take this number and hope they drop below it.
Nevada u4.5 wins (+105)- Replacing a QB like Carson Strong is really tough to do in a league like this. That is a very rare talent to come around in the MW and now the Pack has to restart with only 6 returning starters, 2 on the offensive side, and a first-year head coach. This team should struggle out of the gates and a Week One loss to New Mexico State on the road isn’t out of the cards for me. They do have a couple of gimme games on this schedule but the two conference games they have a real shot in (UNLV and Hawaii) are both road games. I think they would have to win both of those to eclipse 4.5 wins and I can’t see them taking both.
To Win the Conference
Fresno State (+250)- This has turned into a QB league with Carson Strong last year and now Jake Haener, Hank Bachmeir, and Logan Bonner. Other than Air Force who keeps running that rock, all of the top teams in the conference have a monster QB. However, I think Jake Haener is the best of the group and by a decent margin. This team returns 15 starters and also have a very favorable schedule. They are in the easier division and only draw one of the top four teams from the Mountain division. Their only real competition in the West is San Diego State who they get at home so this team is a near-lock to make the championship game in my book.
Jake Haener 100/1- Haener is the only guy in this league capable of putting up Heisman numbers. Unfortunately, no team in this conference is good enough to even sniff a playoff spot which means they won’t have a Heisman winner. Not worth a sprinkle.
That’s it for these two conferences! AAC + Independents preview is coming tomorrow and then a quick break before breaking down the Power Five. We are getting closer and closer…