Mid-American Conference Reveals 2014 Football Preseason Poll
July 23, 2014
DETROIT - The Mid-American Conference announced its 2014 Football Preseason Poll on Wednesday in conjunction with the annual MAC Media Day, with UMass selected to take seventh place in the East Division. Massachusetts opens the campaign on Saturday, Aug. 30 against Boston College at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
The Minutemen return seven starters on offense, including quarterback A.J. Doyle, running back Jamal Wilson, center Matt Sparks and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe. The defense brings back six starters, which includes linebacker Stanley Andre as well as defensive backs Joe Colton, Trey Dudley-Giles and Randall Jette.
Also making his return to the University of Massachusetts is head coach Mark Whipple, who enters his seventh season with the program overall and first since leading the team for six seasons from 1998-2003. Three prominent alumni of the program have joined Whipple on the sidelines in Liam Coen (2005-08), Marcel Shipp (1997-2000) and Charles Walker (2003-07). Coen will coach the quarterbacks while Shipp will guide the running backs and Walker will work with the outside linebackers.
After facing Colorado at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 6 and taking to the road for contests at Vanderbilt (Sept. 13) and Penn State (Sept. 20), the Minutemen make their return to McGurik Stadium in Amherst, Mass., against Bowling Green.
The complete release from the Mid-American Conference is included below.
MAC ANNOUNCES 2014 FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL
For Immediate Release--Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Detroit, Mich. - The Bowling Green Falcons and the Toledo Rockets have been selected to win the East and West Divisions respectfully in the 2014 Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Poll. The poll was announced at the league's annual Football Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit and was determined by members of the league's media members. Bowling Green was also selected to win the 2014 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game.
In the East Division, Bowling Green was selected with 144 total points followed by second-place Akron with 114 points. In the West Division, it was a narrow margin as only four points separated the top two spots with Toledo gathering 114 points, followed by second-place Northern Illinois with 110 points.
This obviously reflects on the competitive nature of the MAC. In the last five years the conference has witnessed six different programs compete in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game and in just the last three years 10 different MAC football programs have appeared in a bowl game.
Bowling Green garnered 18 first-place votes en route to the favorite spot in the East Division. The Falcons return 48 letter winners and 16 starters from last year's 10-4 team that won the MAC Championship for the first time since 1992 and earned an invitation to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Bowling Green new head football coach Dino Babers will look for junior quarterback Matt Johnson to lead the Falcons as last year he threw for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns, while junior running back Travis Greene rushed for 1,594 yards and 11 scores.
Akron was picked second in the East Division and earned three first-place votes and totaled 114 total points, while the Ohio Bobcats ranked third with 107 total points. Buffalo finished fourth with 87 points, followed by Kent State, Miami and UMass
Toledo racked up 11 first-place votes in the West Division to propel the Rockets to first place with 114 points. Toledo welcomes back 45 letter winners and 17 starters from last year's team that went 7-5 overall, 5-3 in Conference play. The Rockets offense will be paced by four returning starters on the offensive line, including senior Greg Mancz, while the defense returns 10 starters. Defensively, Toledo will feature senior linebacker Junior Sylvestre, who added 118 tackles and five sacks last season, along with sophomore defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, who collected 39 tackles and three sacks in 2013.
Northern Illinois was picked second in the West Division and earned eight first place votes and totaled 110 total points. Ball State was selected third with 82 points, while Central Michigan garnered 67 points, including two first place votes. Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan rounded out the West Division.
The 2014 season kicks off on Thursday, August 28 with three non-conference games.
The 2014 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is Friday, December 5 at 7:00 pm from Ford Field in Detroit.
The complete poll follows:
2014 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner: Bowling Green 11; Toledo 6; Central Michigan 2; Northern Illinois 1; Akron 1.