The College Football News 2021 MAC preseason rankings along with a quick take on every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to finish. This is based on how good we think the Independent teams are going into the 2021 season.
2021 CFN MAC Preseason Rankings: East
1. Buffalo Bulls
Quick Take: It’s a new era of UB football under Maurice Linguist, and there’s still enough in place to at least be in the mix for the MAC Championship. The running game will still be good, the defensive back seven is among the best in the league, and overall the machine shouldn’t stop.
Buffalo Preview | Schedule
2. Kent State Golden Flashes
Quick Take: The FlashFast offense is about to be deadlier than ever. The Golden Flashes have the best quarterback in the league in Dustin Crum, the coaching staff is in a groove now, and the defense should be just a wee bit better.
Kent St Preview | Schedule
3. Miami University RedHawks
Quick Take: Defense, offensive consistency, repeat. There might not be a big-time running game, but the passing attack will be fine, the linebacking corps will be great, and the RedHawks will make a big push for the East.
MU Preview | Schedule
4. Ohio Bobcats
Quick Take: Feel more than free to put Ohio at the top of the East list – or at least shuffle it among the four best teams – with a great offensive backfield, what should be a dominant running game, and with a D that should be just good enough to hold serve.
Ohio Preview | Schedule
5. Akron Zips
Quick Take: It’s still a work in progress. Akron needs the lines to be a whole lot better, the offense has to be far more consistent, and there have to be a few things the team can rely on week after week. On the plus side, the experience is there.
Akron Preview | Schedule
6. Bowling Green Falcons
Quick Take: The offense has GOT to start working. Head coach Scot Loeffler knows how to get an O going, but it has to happen already to help overcome a defensive front that’s still going to have major issues.
BGSU Preview | Schedule
NEXT: 2021 CFN MAC Preseason Rankings: West
2021 CFN MAC Preseason Rankings: West
1. Toledo Rockets
Quick Take: Loaded, the Rockets have the best overall talent on both sides of the ball, they’ve got the experience, and they have the upside to win in a variety of ways. If they can get by Ball State on the road in the MAC opener, they should be able to roll through the slate.
Toledo Preview | Schedule
2. Ball State Cardinals
Quick Take: It wasn’t a fluke, and this year’s team will prove it. The defending MAC champions have a fantastic linebacking corps, a great receiving corps, and enough to pull off a repeat – but it won’t be easy. The MAC West is far, far stronger.
BSU Preview | Schedule
3. Western Michigan Broncos
Quick Take: The Broncos have as much talent as any offense in the MAC and the defense is rock-solid – now they have to find ways to take care of business after collapsing late over the last few years. The talent is there to win the conference title, but they had the guys last year, too.
WMU Preview | Schedule
4. Central Michigan Chippewas
Quick Take: The West hype will be around Ball State, Western Michigan and Toledo, but Central Michigan rebuild last season and might have just enough to make a surprise run to the division title. The MAC schedule doesn’t help, but Jim McElwain has the talent in place.
CMU Preview | Schedule
5. Eastern Michigan Eagles
Quick Take: The Eagles have the bad break of being in the West, but they’ve got enough defensive talent and some interesting options on offense to be a problem for the rest of the division. There are enough winnable games, though, to make a push for a bowl game.
EMU Preview | Schedule
6. Northern Illinois Huskies
Quick Take: Northern Illinois is too good of a program to keep being so bad. The defense didn’t show up in the 0-6 2020 season, but the secondary is experienced and should be terrific, and on the other side there should be more of a running game … hopefully.
NIU Preview | Schedule