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MAC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018

Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan Chippewas Football

Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan Chippewas Football

It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.

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In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2018, Athlon asked coaches in the MAC to talk anonymously about their opponents.

Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.

MAC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018


"They’re young and talented but this will be a tough year for them losing a lot of guys."

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"[Defensive coordinator] Chuck Amato leaving hurts a lot because the team’s identity has been talented defense."

"They were a mess on offense last season, not really sure what their long term plan is there."

Ball State

"Injuries created a totally different team by the time conference play started. You could see on film what they wanted to do and what they couldn’t pull off once everyone went down."

Ball State: college football picks against the spread

"They probably didn’t have enough to begin with, after [injuries] they were totally exposed."

"On defense they have to get better on explosive plays. Experience will help them."

Bowling Green

"This could be the season they make a big jump; they’re starting to show that heavy Texas influence [from their coaching staff] on offense."

College Football Rankings: Bowling Green

"They can move the ball on offense, they’re talented at the outside with their receivers." 

"The trick is to get a large number of system guys who can score, and they’ve been recruiting towards that."

Related: College Football's Top 25 Breakout QBs for 2018


"Probably a breakout team last season if they keep the quarterback [Tyree Jackson] healthy."

College Football Rankings: Buffalo

"They have a legit P5 level receiver in the [Anthony] Johnson kid. He’s a playmaker and if they use him right they can make defenses in the league give up something to cover him."

"Lance Leipold has done a great job restarting that program from nothing."

Related: College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers for 2018

Central Michigan

"What stood out last season was a really physical, mean defense. They could get after it against the pass with some speed up front and really smart play in the secondary."

College Football Rankings: Central Michigan

"Most of those guys will be gone, and it’s doubtful they can maintain that level of play this year."

"They’ve got a great running back [Johnathan Ward] and the new QB [Tony Poljan] is really versatile. They could be interesting on offense."

Eastern Michigan 

"Chris Creighton is doing one of the best jobs we’ve ever seen in FBS, but it’s such a hard to place to create talented signing classes year after year."

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"They went on that big losing streak [six in a row] but they weren’t getting blown out, which tells you they’re getting closer."

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"They can run the ball, the defense is showing marginal gains. It’s not impossible that they have a breakout year soon."

Related: College Football Top 130 Team Rankings for 2018

Kent State

"Another total rebuild for that program."

College Football Rankings: Kent State

"Expect to see them try to replicate Dino Babers’ Bowling Green offense, but that won’t show up this season."

"Sean Lewis recruited well for Kent, now he’ll have to do it two more times and try to develop those guys."

"It’s a hard task at that job, always has been. He should blow it all up and find fresh identities."

Miami (Ohio)

"Chuck Martin is a good coach and program builder but it hasn’t showed up in the record books. He knows he’s got a big year ahead to prove himself."

College Football Rankings: Miami (OHIO)

"They have depth on offense, the running back [Kenny Young] doesn’t impress you on film but he can grind yards."

"The defense could be Martin’s best ever at Miami, especially up front."

Northern Illinois

"The injury bug has really killed them on offense."

College Football Rankings: NIU

"They’ve got a defense that can play above the talent level you associate with this conference - hard, fast, playmaker kind of kids who change the pace of a game. They can knock you on your ass."

"If they can put that with a healthy season at quarterback they’re a conference champion contender for sure."

Related: College Football 2018 All-America Team


"A team that could easily win the division this year if they get more of the same kind of play from the quarterback position [Nathan Rourke] and with Frank Solich’s consistency."They’re a different team than most of what you see in this conference - they’re always going to be at the least solid and usually much better."

College Football Rankings: Ohio

"He’s created consistency you don’t get in the MAC."

Related: MAC Football Predictions for 2018


"The most raw talent among their starters and 2’s than any team in the conference."

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"They’re probably the favorite again this year. How they replace [QB Logan] Woodside will determine if they can win another conference championship."

"They lose some up front [on defense], but they’ve got reserves who play with as much size and speed. The depth jumps out at you. Jason Candle will be a hot coaching name if they hit 10 wins or more."

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2018

Western Michigan

"If it’s possible they’re probably under-hyped because it’s still been one season since they replaced P.J. [Fleck]."

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"They’re as talented as Toledo but they cycled out a lot of those guys from the Cotton Bowl run now."

"Tim Lester has done a really good job keeping the roster intact after Fleck and recruiting as well as he did."

"They won’t win 12, but they’re going to be dangerous."

Podcast: Athlon's Editors Talk Anonymous Coach Scouting