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March MACtion 2020: Let's figure out the best team of the 2010s
2016 Western Michigan! 2015 Bowling Green! 2010 Miami! Some teams that never made it to Detroit! Your favorite team might've lost to somebody in here!
You tell me.
Was NIU’s Orange Bowl team better than Western Michigan’s Cotton Bowl team? Could the 2010 MAC champions beat one of the Matt Campbell-led Rockets that missed the championships? Would the Keith Wenning-quarterbacked Ball State teams win a championship if it played in a different year? What was the best team to never make it to Detroit in this time?
Today is (well, it was supposed to be) Selection Sunday, and I wanted to celebrate by making a MAC football-centric tournament to look back at some of the best teams and players of the past decade. So now, you and I are going to figure that out.
Here’s what we’re working with:
WHICH TEAMS WERE CONSIDERED
For teams to be eligible for March MACtion 2020, they had to win eight games and/or reach the MAC championship game. Just setting the bar gave me 43 teams to fill a field of 32, so that worked out great! Naturally, the one team that this newsletter focuses on the most is the only MAC program to not have a single team on this bracket. Here’s a grid of all the eligible MAC teams:
There was no science in figuring out how teams would be seeded. I used my own notes that include teams’ S&P+ ranks from each season, how teams performed from the stats available at bcftoys.com, records, accolades, roster talent, and ultimately my own judgment. I also made sure that I stayed away from rematches of games that already happened.
My original plan was to start this today and have it run through the actual Final Four, but with the state of American lifestyle during the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve decided to speed the process up. Here’s the schedule:
Round One (Round of 32): Today (Sunday) thru Tuesday midnight (EST)
Round Two (16): Wednesday thru Thursday
Round Three (8): Friday thru Saturday
Round four (4): Sunday thru Monday
Championship: Tuesday thru Wednesday
You don’t have have to subscribe to vote, but subscribing will give you emailed updates on the madness, which is way better than accidentally missing things on Twitter. You can also vote as much as you’d like.
If you enjoy this, please come back and vote again as the madness continues, and share it with your friends that might enjoy this too!
MARCH MACTION 2020: ROUND ONE
1 vs. 32: 2016 WMU Broncos (13-1, 8-0) vs. 2014 BGSU Falcons (8-6, 5-3)
Western Michigan’s 2016 season where the Broncos ran the table and only lost by eight to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl is this bracket’s top overall seed. In the first round, WMU takes on Dino Babers’ first Bowling Green team. Babers inherited a team that won the MAC on great defense, then kept things going by switching the attention to racking up points on offense. In year one at BG, the Falcons went through an obvious adjustment period (that and QB Matt Johnson's hip injury) but thankfully 5-3 in league play was good enough to win the East crown that year. BG made it to Detroit, but NIU put up a 51-burger that night, which is still a MAC Championship record.
2016 WMU Broncos (13-1, 8-0)
MAC Champions (won 29-23 over Ohio)
All-MAC players (12): QB Zach Terrell, RB Jarvion Franklin, WR Corey Davis (Offensive Player of the Year), TE Donnie Ernsberger, OL Chukwuma Okorafor, OL John Keenoy, OL Taylor Moton, LB Asantay Brown, LB Robert Spillane, CB/KR/PR Darius Phillips (Special Teams Player of the Year), DB Keion Adams, DB Justin Ferguson
Coach of the Year: P.J. Fleck
More wins: 22-21 at Northwestern, 34-10 at Illinois, 49-31 vs. Georgia Southern, 55-35 vs. Toledo, 45-30 vs. NIU
Only loss: 24-16 vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (Cotton Bowl)
2014 BGSU Falcons (8-6, 5-3)
MAC East Champions (lost 51-17 to NIU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (7): WR Roger Lewis, OL Alex Huettel, DL Bryan Thomas, LB Gabe Martin, DB Nick Johnson, K Tyler Tate, KR Ryan Burbrink
Key wins: 33-28 vs. South Alabama (Camellia Bowl), 45-42 vs. Indiana, 31-13 at Ohio, 36-35 vs. Buffalo
Losses: 59-31 at Western Kentucky, 68-17 at No. 19 Wisconsin, 26-14 vs. WMU, 27-20 at Toledo, 41-24 vs. Ball State
9 vs. 24: 2012 Ball State Cardinals (9-4, 6-2) vs. 2011 Ohio Bobcats (10-4, 6-2)
In 2011, Ohio lost in Peden to Ball State 23-20. In 2012, Ball State failed to defend the Scheu 52-27 against Ohio. Ball State was in a very good place under Pete Lembo, but never could get past NIU’s dominance. Frank Solich’s Bobcats of 2011 lost at Rutgers, and lost three MAC games by a combined seven points, including NIU in the title game.
Also, I don’t know if this will ever be useful information but get this. Ohio placekicker Matt Wells won the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Award, and was Second Team All-MAC.
2012 Ball State Cardinals (9-4, 6-2)
Tied with Toledo for second in MAC West
All-MAC players (13): QB Keith Wenning, RB Jahwan Edwards, WR Willie Snead, WR/KR/PR Jamill Smith, TE Zane Fakes, OL Austin Holtz, OL Jordan Hansel, OL Cam Lowry, DL Jonathon Newsome, DL Nate Ollie, LB Travis Freeman, DB Eric Patterson, K Steven Schott
Key wins: 34-27 at No. 23 Toledo, 41-39 at Indiana, 52-27 vs. Ohio, 41-30 at CMU
Losses: 52-27 at No. 12 Clemson, 45-43 at Kent State, 35-23 vs. NIU, 38-17 vs. UCF (Beef O’Brady’s Bowl)
2011 Ohio Bobcats (10-4, 6-2)
MAC East Champions (lost 23-20 to NIU in Championship)
All-MAC players (11): QB Tyler Tettleton, RB/KR Donte Harden, WR Lavon Brazill, OL A.J. Strum, OL Joe Flading, OL Eric Herman, K Matt Weller (Special Teams Player of the Year), DL Tremayne Scott, LB Noah Keller, DB Travis Carrie
Key wins: 24-23 vs. Utah State (Potato Bowl) 44-7 vs. Marshall, 17-10 vs. Kent State, 35-31 vs. Temple
Losses: 38-26 at Rutgers, 38-37 at Buffalo, 23-20 vs. Ball State
8 vs. 25: 2012 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-3, 8-0) vs. 2014 WMU Broncos (8-5, 6-2)
Kent State hasn’t been the same since this year, but it’s still worth the nostalgia. Dri Archer was an All-American kick returner and his speed at every position on offense is what separated this team from the competition. P.J. Fleck’s second season at WMU finally saw big results and the program was clearly turning a corner. It helps when Jarvion Franklin ran all over Power 5 competition in his first games with the Broncos.
2012 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-3, 8-0)
MAC East Champions (lost 44-37 [2OT] to NIU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (9): RB/KR Dri Archer (Special Teams Player of the Year), RB Trayion Durham, OL Josh Kline, OL Brian Winters, DL Roosevelt Nix, DL Jake Dooley, LB Luke Batton, LB C.J. Malauulu, DB Luke Wollet
MAC Coach of the Year: Darrell Hazell
Key wins: 35-23 at No. 18 Rutgers, 31-17 at Army, 45-43 vs. Ball State, 28-6 vs. Ohio, 31-24 at BGSU
Losses: 47-14 at Kentucky, 17-13 vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy.com Bowl)
2014 WMU Broncos (8-5, 6-2)
Third in MAC West
All-MAC players (11): QB Zach Terrell, RB Jarvion Franklin (Offensive Player, Freshman of the Year), WR Corey Davis, WR Daniel Braverman, OL Willie Beavers, OL James Kristof, DB Donald Celiscar, DB Ronald Zamort, DB Justin Currie, P J. Schroeder, KR Darius Phillips
Coach of the Year: P.J. Fleck
Key wins: 26-14 at BGSU, 42-21 vs. Ohio, 32-20 at CMU, 42-38 at Ball State,
Losses: 43-34 at Purdue, 35-17 at Virginia Tech, 20-19 [OT] vs. Toledo, 31-21 vs. NIU, 38-24 vs. Air Force (Potato Bowl)
16 vs. 17: 2014 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 7-1) vs. 2018 Buffalo Bulls (10-4, 7-1)
The 2014 Rockets were a three-point loss to NIU from making it to Detroit. To make things worse, Toledo played most of that rivalry game with Dwight Macon, a wide receiver, as its quarterback. The Bulls took a 29-10 lead over NIU in the MAC Championship game in 2018, then the Huskies pulled off another crazy comeback that’ll be hard to forget. This Bulls squad was full of NFL hopefuls: Tyree Jackson, Anthony Johnson, Khalil Hodge, K.J. Osborn, etc.
2014 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 7-1)
Missed MAC title game via tiebreaker w/ NIU
All-MAC players (11): RB Kareem Hunt, WR Corey Jones, WR Alonzo Russell, OL Greg Mancz (Vern Smith Award), OL Josh Hendershot, OL Jeff Myers, DL Orion Jones, DL Treyvon Hester, LB Junior Sylvestre, DB Jordan Haden, K Jeremiah Detmer
Key wins: 27-20 vs. BGSU, 42-28 vs. CMU, 20-19 [OT] at WMU, 63-44 vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy Bowl)
Losses: 49-24 vs. No. 24 Missouri, 58-34 at Cincinnati, 37-30 at Iowa State, 27-24 at NIU
2018 Buffalo Bulls (10-4, 7-1)
MAC East Champions (lost 30-29 to NIU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (11): QB Tyree Jackson (Offensive Player of the Year), RB Jaret Patterson (Freshman of the Year), WR Anthony Johnson, WR/PR K.J. Osborn, TE Tyler Mabry, OL James O’Hagan, OL Evin Ksiezarczyk, DE Chuck Harris, LB Khalil Hodge, DB Cameron Lewis
MAC Coach of the Year: Lance Leipold
Key wins: 36-29 at Temple, 35-28 vs. EMU, 42-13 at Rutgers, 31-17 at Toledo, 51-42 vs. Miami, 44-14 at BGSU
Losses: 42-13 vs. Army, 52-17 at Ohio, 42-32 vs. Troy (Dollar General Bowl)
2 vs. 31: 2012 NIU Huskies (12-2, 8-0) vs. 2016 Ohio Bobcats (8-6, 6-2)
This wasn’t Jordan Lynch’s near-Heisman year, but it was the first time he received All-American honors (second team by AP). The Huskies lost by one point at Soldier Field to a respectable Iowa squad, then went undefeated until it met Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Ohio took a rocky road to get to Detroit, but took WMU’s best team in school history to the wire and lost by just six points. The Bobcats losses in MAC play were only to directional Michigan schools, they swept the competition in the East.
2012 NIU Huskies (12-2, 8-0)
MAC Champions (won 44-37 [2OT] over Kent State)
All-MAC players (7): QB Jordan Lynch (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), WR Martel Moore, OL Tyler Loos, DL Sean Progar, DL Alan Baxter, LB Tyrone Clark, S Jimmie Ward
Key wins: 30-23 vs. Kansas, 55-24 vs. CMU, 35-23 at Ball State, 31-24 vs. Toledo
Losses: 18-17 vs. Iowa (at Soldier Field), 31-10 vs. No. 13 Florida State (Orange Bowl)
Finished No. 22 in the AP Poll, No. 24 in Coaches
2016 Ohio Bobcats (8-6, 6-2)
MAC East Champions (lost 29-23 vs. No. 13 WMU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (10): WR Sebastian Smith, OL Jake Pruehs, OL Troy Watson, DE Tarell Basham (Defensive Player of the Year), DL Casey Sayles, LB Blair Brown, LB Quentin Poling, DB Javon Hagan (Freshman of the Year), K Louis Zervos, P Michael Farkas
Key wins: 31-26 at Toledo, 37-21 at Kansas, 17-7 at Miami
Losses: 56-54 [3OT] vs. Texas State, 28-19 at No. 15 Tennessee, 27-20 vs. EMU, 27-20 at CMU, 28-23 vs. Troy (Dollar General Bowl)
10 vs. 23: 2018 Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 6-2) vs. 2019 Miami RedHawks (8-6, 6-2)
The 2018 Bobcats were heavy favorites to win the MAC East, beat the eventual MAC East champs by a lot, but lost to NIU and Miami to miss out on the title game (again). QB Nathan Rourke was running Solich’s speed option offense very well, and the Bobcats became one of the nation’s leaders in scoring (40.1 points per game). Miami won the MAC in 2019 in large part because of its defensive standards and beat Ohio for the second year in a row.
2018 Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 6-2)
Tied for second in MAC East w/ Miami
All-MAC players (8): QB Nathan Rourke, RB A.J. Ouellette, WR Papi White, OL Joe Anderson, OL Joe Lowery, OL Durrell Wood, LB Evan Croutch, DB Javon Hagan, P Michael Farkas
Key wins: 27-0 vs. San Diego State (Frisco Bowl), 59-14 at WMU, 52-17 vs. Buffalo, 52-14 vs. Ball State, 58-42 vs. UMass, 49-28 vs. Akron
Losses: 45-31 vs. Virginia (at Vanderbilt, because of the hurricane), 34-30 at Cincinnati, 24-21 at NIU, 30-28 at Miami
2019 Miami RedHawks (8-6, 6-2)
MAC Champions (won 26-21 over CMU)
All-MAC players (9): OL Tommy Doyle, OL Danny Godlevske, DL Doug Costin, DL Kameron Butler, LB Myles Reid, CB Emmanuel Rugamba, K Sam Sloman, P Kyle Kramer, PR Maurice Thomas
MAC Freshman of the Year: QB Brett Gabbert
Key wins: 34-20 vs. Buffalo, 24-21 at Ohio, 23-16 at Kent State, 27-24 vs. NIU
Losses: 38-14 at No. 20 Iowa, 35-13 at Cincinnati, 76-5 at No. 6 Ohio State, 38-16 at WMU, 41-27 at Ball State, 27-17 vs. UL-Lafayette (LendingTree Bowl)
7 vs. 26: 2013 NIU Huskies (12-2, 8-0) vs. 2019 Buffalo Bulls (8-5, 5-3)
Rod Carey’s first season as NIU’s head coach vs. Lance Leipold’s fifth at Buffalo. NIU’s been built up to be a great team after coming off an Orange Bowl season, wheras the Bulls are coming off of a great season, but fell to Carey’s final NIU team in comeback fashion. In 2013, Jordan Lynch scored 48 touchdowns (passing and running) to set a MAC (since broken by BG’s Matt Johnson) and school record, and finished third place in the Heisman voting.
2013 NIU Huskies (12-2, 8-0)
MAC West Champions (lost 47-27 to BGSU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players: QB Jordan Lynch (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), WR Da’Ron Brown, Tommylee Lewis, OL Tyler Loos, OL Jared Volk, DL Ken Bishop, DL Joe Windsor, LB Jamaal Bass, S Jimmie Ward, DB Dechane Durante
MAC Coach of the Year: Rod Carey
Key wins: 30-27 at Iowa, 55-24 at Purdue, 48-27 vs. Ball State, 35-17 at Toledo, 38-24 at Kent State
Other loss: 21-14 vs. Utah State (Poinsettia Bowl
2019 Buffalo Bulls (8-5, 5-3)
Third in MAC East
All-MAC players (11): RB Jaret Patterson, WR Antonio Nunn, OL Evin Ksiezarczyk, OL Kayode Awosika, OL Paul Nosworthy, DL Taylor Riggins, DL Malcolm Koonce, DL Ledarius Mack, DL Chibueze Onwuka, DB Joey Banks, DB Tyrone Hill
Key wins: 38-22 vs. Temple, 43-20 vs. CMU, 43-14 at EMU, 49-30 vs. Toledo, 31-9 vs. Charlotte (Bahamas Bowl)
Losses: 45-13 at No. 15 Penn State, 35-17 at Liberty, 34-20 at Miami, 21-20 [OT] vs. Ohio, 30-27 at Kent State
15 vs. 18: 2015 WMU Broncos (8-5, 6-2) vs. 2011 Temple Owls (9-4, 5-3)
The 2015 Broncos was stuck in that four-team tie in the MAC West, and ended up watching NIU play in Detroit that December. WMU played two top-5 teams in non-conference play (#5 Michigan State at home, #1 Ohio State in Columbus), grinded through a tough MAC season with Ohio, NIU, and Toledo on the road, plus home games against a good CMU and insanely tough Bowling Green. Still, WMU had obvious talent and lost to very good teams. Also, Jarvion Franklin played hurt this season, and his workload dropped from 306 rush attempts the year before to 153. The good news is that there was another Freshman of the Year player in that same position group waiting for his chance.
The Owls left the MAC on a high note, but fell just shy of a MAC Championship appearance. This defense held Akron to 3 points, Maryland to 7, Ball State and Buffalo to nothing, and Penn State to 14 (albeit in a losing effort).
2015 WMU Broncos (8-5, 6-2)
MAC West Co-champs (tied w/ three)
All-MAC players (10): QB Zach Terrell, RB Jamauri Bogan (Freshman of the Year), WR Corey Davis, WR Daniel Braverman, OL Willie Beavers, OL Taylor Moton, DB/KR Darius Phillips, DB Asantay Brown, DB Ronald Zamort, K Andrew Haldeman
Key wins: 35-30 at No. 24 Toledo, 41-39 vs. CMU, 49-14 at Ohio, 45-31 vs. Middle Tennessee (Bahamas Bowl)
Losses: 37-24 vs. No. 5 Michigan State, 43-17 at Georgia Southern, 38-12 at No. 1 Ohio State, 41-27 vs. BGSU, 27-19 at NIU
2011 Temple Owls (9-4, 5-3)
Second in MAC East
All-MAC players (10): RB Bernard Pierce, RB Matt Brown, TE Evan Rodriguez, OL Pat Boyle, OL Wayne Tribue, DL Adrian Robinson, DL Morkeith Brown, LB Tahir Whitehead, DB Kevin Kroboth, P Brandon McManus
Key wins: 38-7 at Maryland, 42-0 at Ball State, 34-16 vs. Kent State, 37-15 vs. Wyoming (New Mexico Bowl)
Losses: 14-10 vs. Penn State, 36-13 vs. Toledo, 13-10 at BGSU, 35-31 at Ohio
3 vs. 30: 2015 BGSU Falcons (10-4, 7-1) vs. 2012 Ohio (9-4, 4-4)
This is when things got very Falcon Fast at Bowling Green. The team was sixth nationally in scoring, fourth in yards per game, and QB Matt Johnson seemed to be OK after his hip injury because he broke Ben Roethlisberger’s league record for passing yards in a season. This team lost too many games, but the highs of this team could not be overlooked and deserved a very high seed here, in my opinion.
After kicking the season off with a big upset at Penn State (24-14), Ohio went on to start the year 7-0 and earned a No. 23 ranking in the AP poll. With the hype and after a bye week, Ohio ended up losing its next game at rivaled Miami (23-20), then lost three of four in November, but at least dominated in the bowl game.
2015 BGSU Falcons (10-4, 7-1)
MAC Champions (won 34-14 over NIU)
All-MAC players (11): QB Matt Johnson (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), RB Travis Greene, WR Roger Lewis, WR Gehrig Dieter, WR Ronnie Moore, OL Alex Huettel, OL Jacob Bennett, LB Austin Valdez, LB Trent Greene, P Joe Davidson, PR Ryan Burbrink
Key wins: 48-27 at Maryland, 35-28 at Purdue, 41-27 at WMU, 62-38 vs. UMass, 48-0 at Kent State
Losses: 59-30 at No. 25 Tennessee, 44-41 vs. Memphis, 44-28 vs. Toledo, 58-27 vs. Georgia Southern (GoDaddy Bowl)
2012 Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 4-4)
Third in MAC East
All-MAC players (6): RB Beau Blankenship, OL Skyler Allen, OL Eric Herman, DL Neal Huynh, LB Alphonso Lewis, K Matt Weller
Key wins: 24-14 at Penn State, 27-24 at Marshall, 45-14 vs. UL-Monroe (Independence Bowl), 38-31 vs. Buffalo
Losses: 23-20 at Miami, 24-14 vs. BGSU, 52-27 at Ball State, 28-6 at No. 25 Kent State
11 vs. 22: 2011 NIU Huskies (11-3, 7-1) vs. 2017 Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 5-3)
If Frank Solich walked away from the 2011 MAC title game with the ability to build a team over six years for a rematch, would the Bobcats win this time? Ohio maybe should’ve won the first time around, but what if this game were re-played with Chandler Harnish and Nathan Rourke as the quarterbacks?
2011 NIU Huskies (11-3, 7-1)
MAC Champions (won 23-20 over Ohio)
All-MAC players (9): QB Chandler Harnish (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), RB Jasmin Hopkins, WR Perez Ashford, WR Nate Palmer, OL Scott Wedige, OL Trevor Olson, DL Sean Progar, S Jimmie Ward, K Mathew Sims
More wins: 63-60 at Toledo, 41-38 vs. Ball State, 45-14 at BGSU, 51-22 vs. WMU, 18-12 vs. EMU, 47-30 vs. Kent State, 38-20 vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy Bowl)
Losses: 45-42 at Kansas, 49-7 vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (Soldier Field), 48-41 at CMU
2017 Ohio Bobcats (9-4, 5-3)
Second in MAC East
All-MAC players (10): QB Nathan Rourke, RB A.J. Ouellette, WR/PR Papi White, OL Jake Pruehs, OL Joe Lowery, OL Joe Anderson, LB Chad Moore, DB Javon Hagan, DB Bradd Ellis, K Louie Zervos
Key wins: 38-10 vs. Toledo, 41-6 vs. UAB (Bahamas Bowl), 42-30 vs. Kansas, 27-20[2OT] at EMU, 45-28 vs. Miami,
Losses: 44-21 at Purdue, 26-23 vs. CMU, 37-34 at Akron, 31-24 at Buffalo
6 vs. 27: 2017 Toledo Rockets (11-3, 7-1) vs. 2019 CMU Chippewas (8-6, 6-2)
Toledo QB Logan Woodside threw many, many deep passes this year to his threats at wideout, and ended up setting the school career passing record at 10,514 yards. The Rockets lost to Ohio in the season, and was lucky to avoid the Bobcats again in Detroit with Akron sneaking away with the East division title. CMU turned things around from one win to eight with Jim McElwain as the new coach.
2017 Toledo Rockets (11-3, 7-1)
MAC Champions (won 45-28 over Akron)
All-MAC players (9): QB Logan Woodside (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), RB Terry Swanson, WR/PR/KR Diontae Johnson, OL Elijah Nkansah, OL Brant Weiss, DL Ola Adeniyi, K Jameson Vest
MAC Coach of the Year: Jason Candle
More wins: 48-21 vs. Akron (regular season), 37-17 vs. NIU, 30-10 at CMU, 20-15 vs. EMU, 37-10 vs. WMU
Losses: 52-30 at No. 14 Miami-FL, 38-10 at Ohio, 34-0 vs. Appalachian State (Dollar General Bowl)
2019 CMU Chippewas (8-6, 6-2)
MAC West Champions (lost 26-21 to Miami in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (8): RB Jonathan Ward, WR/PR Kalil Pimpleton, WR JaCorey Sullivan, TE Tony Poljan, DL Robi Stuart, DL Sean Adesanya, LB Troy Brown, LB Michael Oliver
Coach of the Year: Jim McElwain
Key wins: 42-16 vs. EMU, 48-10 vs. NIU, 45-44 at Ball State, 49-7 vs. Toledo
Losses: 61-0 at No. 17 Wisconsin, 17-12 at Miami-FL, 31-15 at WMU, 43-20 at Buffalo, 48-11 vs. San Diego State (New Mexico Bowl)
14 vs. 19: 2011 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 7-1) vs. 2014 NIU Huskies (11-3, 7-1)
Believe me, I know that these seeds should be the other way around, but at this point in making this bracket I got lazy and that point is now. There’s no going back on this. If you don’t like that the championship-winning team is the one more lowly seeded, do something about it with your ballot(s). This Toledo team though had an incredible season, and was involved in two of the highest-scoring MAC games ever against NIU (60-63) and WMU (66-63).
2011 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 7-1)
Missed MAC title game via tiebreaker w/ NIU
All-MAC players (6): RB Adonis Thomas, WR/PR/KR Eric Page, OL Mike VanDerMeulen, OL Zac Kerin, DL T.J. Fatinikun, DB Desmond Marrow
Key wins: 36-13 at Temple, 54-16 vs. EMU, 66-63 vs. WMU, 45-28 at Ball State, 42-41 vs. Air Force (Military Bowl)
Losses: 27-22 at No. 15 Ohio State, 40-15 vs. No. 4 Boise State, 33-30 [OT] at Syracuse, 63-60 vs. NIU
2014 NIU Huskies (11-3, 7-1)
MAC Champions (51-17 over BGSU)
All-MAC players (10): RB Cameron Stingily, WR Da’Ron Brown, OL Andrew Ness, OL Tyler Loos, DL Perez Ford, DL Jason Meehan, LB Boomer Mays, LB Rasheen Lemon, DB Paris Logan, DB Dechane Durante
More wins: 27-24 vs. Toledo, 21-14 at Ohio, 31-21 at WMU, 23-15 at Northwestern
Losses: 52-14 at Arkansas, 34-17 vs. CMU, 52-23 vs. Marshall (Boca Raton Bowl)
4 vs. 29: 2013 BGSU Falcons (10-4, 7-1) vs. 2015 NIU Huskies (8-6, 6-2)
The 2013 Falcon defense was incredible. It held opponents to seven points or fewer in seven contests. After Falcon Punching its way through the East title, BG smacked NIU, the highest-rated mid-major in the BCS standings, 47-27 in the MAC championship. Hey speaking of NIU losing in the MAC championship, the 2015 version of this program has entered the chat!
2013 BGSU Falcons (10-4, 7-1)
MAC Champions (47-27 over NIU)
All-MAC players (10): RB Travis Greene, TE Alex Bayer, OL Chief Kekuewa, OL Alex Huettel, OL Dominic Flewellyn, DL Ted Ouellet, LB D.J. Lynch, LB Gabe Martin, DB BooBoo Gates, PR Ryan Burbrink
More wins: 49-0 vs. Ohio, 24-7 vs. Buffalo, 31-14 vs. Akron
Losses: 42-10 at Indiana, 21-20 at Mississippi State, 28-25 vs. Toledo, 30-27 vs. Pitt
2015 NIU Huskies (8-6, 6-2)
MAC West Champions (lost 34-14 to BGSU in MAC Championship)
All-MAC players (11): RB Joel Bouagnon, WR Kenny Golladay, OL Andrew Ness, OL Aidan Conlon, OL Levon Myers, DL Perez Ford, LB Boomer Mays, DB Shawun Lurry, DB Marlon Moore, KR Aregeros Turner (Special Teams Player of the Year), K Christian Hagan
Key wins: 32-27 vs. No. 20 Toledo, 27-19 vs. Western Michigan, 41-30 at Buffalo
Losses: 20-13 at No. 1 Ohio State, 17-14 at Boston College, 29-19 at CMU, 26-21 vs. Ohio, , 55-7 vs. Boise State (Poinsettia Bowl)
12 vs. 21: 2013 Ball State Cardinals (10-3, 7-1) vs. 2010 Miami RedHawks (10-4, 7-1)
Ball State was perfect in MAC play until the Bronze Stalk rivalry came around. The Cardinals played in one of the more unforgettable weeknight MACtion games of the decade, but lost to a very strong NIU team on the road. Miami’s worst-to-first season. In 2009, Miami went 1-11 with under the first-year coach Michael Haywood, but shocked the midwest with a turnaround season and a big comeback win over No. 23 NIU in the MAC Championship.
2013 Ball State Cardinals (10-3, 7-1)
Second in MAC West
All-MAC players (13): QB Keith Wenning, RB Jahwan Edwards, WR Willie Snead, WR Jordan Williams, WR/KR/PR Jamill Smith, TE Zane Fakes, OL Jacob Richard, OL Jordan Hansel, DL Jonathan Newsome, DL Nate Ollie, LB Ben Ingle, DB Jeff Garrett, K Scott Secor
Key wins: 31-24 vs. Toledo, 44-24 vs. CMU, 48-27 at Virginia, 42-24 at Akron
Losses: 34-27 at North Texas, 48-27 at No. 20 NIU, 23-20 vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy Bowl)
2010 Miami RedHawks (10-4, 7-1)
MAC Champions (won 26-21 over No. 23 NIU)
All-MAC players (8): QB Zac Dysert, WR Armand Robinson, WR Nick Harwell, OL Brandon Brooks, OL Bob Gulley, DL Austin Brown, K Trevor Cook, P Zac Murphy
MAC Coach of the Year: Michael Haywood
Key Wins: 35-21 vs. Middle Tennessee (GoDaddy.com Bowl), 27-21 vs. Kent State, 23-3 vs. Temple
Losses: 34-12 at No. 3 Florida, 51-14 at No. 24 Missouri, 45-3 at Cincinnati, 34-13 at Ohio
5 vs. 28: 2010 NIU Huskies (11-3, 8-0) vs. 2018 NIU Huskies (8-6, 6-2)
Sorry NIU fans, I’m going to make you pick.
The good news is that in the next round, you get to face Toledo, so pick wisely.
2010 NIU Huskies (11-3, 8-0)
MAC West Champions (lost 26-21 to Miami in Championship)
All-MAC players (13): QB Chandler Harnish, RB Chad Spann (Vern Smith Award, Offensive Player of the Year), WR Landon Cox, TE Jason Schepler, OL Scott Wedige, OL Trevor Olson, OL Joe Pawlak, DL Jake Coffman, DL Sean Progar, LB Devon Butler, LB Alex Kube, DB Chris Smith, KR Tommy Davis
Key wins: 34-23 at Minnesota, 65-30 vs. Toledo, 40-17 vs. Fresno State (Humanitarian Bowl), 31-17 vs. Temple, 28-21 at WMU
Losses: 27-10 at Iowa State, 28-22 at Illinois
Ranked No. 24 in AP Poll entering MAC Championship, finished unranked.
2018 NIU Huskies (8-6, 6-2)
MAC Champions (30-29 over Buffalo)
All-MAC players (9): RB Tre Harbison, OL Max Scharping, OL Luke Shively, DE Sutton Smith, LB Antonio Jones-Davis
More wins: 38-15 vs. Toledo, 26-23 [OT] at EMU, 24-21 vs. Ohio, 7-6 at BYU
Losses: 33-7 at Iowa, 17-6 vs. Utah, 37-19 at Florida State, 13-7 vs. Miami, 28-21 at WMU, 37-13 vs. UAB (Boca Raton Bowl)
13 vs. 20: 2015 Toledo Rockets (10-2, 6-2) vs. 2016 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 6-2)
Sorry Rocket fans, I’m making you pick too.
The good news is that in the next round, you get to face NIU, so pick wisely.
2015 Toledo Rockets (10-2, 6-2)
MAC West Co-champs (tied w/ three)
All-MAC players (10): RB Kareem Hunt, RB Terry Swanson, WR Alonzo Russell, OL Storm Norton, DL Orion Jones, DL Allen Covington, DL Trent Voss, DB Cheatham Norrils, DB DeJuan Rogers, PR Corey Jones
Coach of the Year: Matt Campbell
Key wins: 16-12 at No. 18 Arkansas, 30-23 [OT] vs. Iowa State, 37-7 vs. Arkansas State, 28-23 at CMU, 44-28 at BGSU, 32-17 vs. No. 24 Temple (Boca Raton Bowl)
Losses: 32-27 vs. NIU, 35-30 vs. WMU
2016 Toledo Rockets (9-4, 6-2)
Second in MAC West
All-MAC players (12): QB Logan Woodside, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Cody Thompson, WR Jon’Vea Johnson, TE Michael Roberts, OL Storm Norton, OL Mike Ebert, DL Treyvon Hester, DL John Stepec, LB, Ja’Wuan Woodley, DB Dejuan Rogers, PR Corey Jones
Key wins: 31-10 at Arkansas State, 52-17 vs. Fresno State, 35-20 vs. EMU, 48-17 at Akron, 31-24 vs. NIU
Losses: 55-53 at BYU, 31-26 vs. Ohio, 55-35 at No. 14 WMU, 31-28 vs. Appalachian State (Camellia Bowl)
Let’s pour one out for the eligible teams that didn’t make the cut: 2010 Ohio, 2010 Temple, 2010 Toledo, 2012 BGSU, 2012 Toledo, 2013 Buffalo, 2015 Akron, 2015 Ohio, 2017 Akron, 2017 CMU, and 2017 NIU.