Daily Kent Stater
The Falcons had the most surprising year in the Mid-American Conference in 2007, and 2008 should be even better. While quarterback Tyler Sheehan will be the offensive focus, the Falcons have a three-headed running attack led by junior Chris Bullock, who rushed for 769 yards last season, 99 against Kent State.
Miami’s non-conference schedule is pretty tough with three BCS teams on the lineup. Miami, however, will fare well in the MAC after finishing 6-6 in 2007 and making the MAC title game in Detroit. The 2007 appearance was probably a year early, considering all the talent the team has this season.
DE Junior Galette is a stud. The junior was key in Temple’s improved defense in 2007 that allowed just 165 rushing yards a game. Considering the Owls allowed 244 rushing yards per game in 2006, that is impressive, and it starts up front for the Owls.
Buffalo coach Turner Gill is back and so is the growing Buffalo football program. Gill made national headlines by making the Buffalo Bulls relevant in the college football world. Again, I’ll say it: He made the Bulls, who won four MAC games in four seasons before 2007, relevant in college football.
OU coach Frank Solich has a rebuilding job, and it starts at quarterback. With Brad Bower gone, the Bobcats will turn to former Cal transfer Theo Scott, who nearly won the Kent State game for his team by leading the offense to 15 points in the fourth quarter. Behind him is Boo Jackson, a junior college transfer who threw for 4,620 yards in two years.
The Zips return two of their top three tacklers in DB Andre Jones and LB Kevin Grant, which should help the defense. Akron seems as if it’s going backward in the J.D. Brookhart era. Still, this team received a first place vote in the MAC preseason polls, so I guess Brookhart’s mother is in the MAC Media Association.
Every team had two players who played the part of “football player” at the MAC Media Day, except the second Ball State player. He was the MAC’s only All-American, senior punter Chris Miller. With a 45.4 punting yard average, Miller is arguably the most dangerous defensive weapon BSU has on the roster.
Central is beginning to claim the same title that Marshall once held in the MAC: powerhouse. Marshall won six straight MAC east titles. If people believe Butch Jones isn’t keeping up with predecessor Brian Kelley’s recruiting, they’d be wrong. The only question is, how long will Jones stay in the MAC?
This team has 11 returning starters on D. If there was any season that a team in the west would need all of its defensive starters back, it’s this one. BSU can score 30-plus points against anyone, as can Central. Eastern has a returning starter at quarterback, and Toledo has a lot of young talent.
Eastern has a talented QB in Andy Schmitt, but a local student reporter at Eastern said Schmitt can’t stay healthy long enough to make an impact on the MAC standings. I would have to agree, looking at his injury history. Thank you, Eastern Echo sports reporter.
Tom Amstutz is the most amazing coach in the history of college football for all the wrong reasons. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel once got fired for betting in a March Madness pool, yet Amstutz remains the coach after a player-gambling scandal? Amstutz needs more than a 6-6 season to stay at Toledo.
The Huskies had a down year in 2007, and I feel they have nowhere to go but up. Former coach Joe Novak will be missed. In fact, the only thing that fans will miss more is the knowledge that Novak will produce another 1,000-yard runner. Justin Anderson followed Garrett Wolfe well, rushing for 1,298 yards.
Contact sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected]