- College football is more fun when you’re sweating midweek MAC games.
- Traditional players such as Ohio and Northern Illinois will be at the top again.
- But Eastern Michigan was better than its record showed last year and could be a serious contender in 2018.
If you’re not going to sweat a MAC future during midweek games in November, what’s the point of all this?
Here are the 2018 odds to win the Mid-American Conference if you’re so inclined to take a shot:
2018 MAC Championship odds
I knew the entire offseason that if the price was right, I was going to get down on some Ypsilanti futures. Eastern Michigan finished 2017 with 1.4 2nd Order Wins, meaning they were 1.4 wins better than their 5-7 record based on advanced stats. That’s one of the 10 highest in the country. Eastern Michigan is due for some positive regression.
If there was a way to lose, EMU found it last year. The Eagles lost three games in overtime and had a last-second, failed two-point conversion against Army. Eastern Michigan had eight games decided by 25 total points. I had money on the Eagles weekly, and it always ended with plenty of nail biting.
For 2018, we focus on the Eastern Michigan rushing attack, which should be the strength of the offense with Shaq Vann and Ian Eriksen. The loss of Brogan Roback at quarterback may hurt, but having every offensive linemen return will propel this running attack. Graduate transfer quarterback Tyler Wiegers comes from Iowa, where he couldn’t get playing time thanks to Nate Stanley. The defense is 14th in returning production and should be stout against the deep threat.
When handicapping MAC West football, you start with Northern Illinois and Toledo. They are the conference favorites for a reason, but both teams have serious issues at defensive line and linebacker (where the EMU rush can attack). They also depend on the passing game, where the strength of the EMU defense will keep them in the game.
Eastern Michigan’s schedule is beyond fantastic, with Toledo being the only game in which the Eagles should be more than a field goal underdog. EMU draws the worst teams from the East (Akron, Kent State) and has a road game at Ball State. Toledo visits its toughest opponents, while Northern Illinois draws Ohio from the East. There is also a nice scheduling advantage for EMU catching Northern Illinois fresh off the Florida State trip, as injuries catch up with the Huskies yearly.
EMU has almost won more games in the last two years (12) than it did in the previous seven (15). Coach Chris Creighton has the Eagles on the right track, so don’t be afraid to take a shot.
The pick: Eastern Michigan +1800