2010 Non-BCS Conference Profiles: Mid-American Conference

Bleacher ReportContributor IJuly 20, 2010

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Bernard Pierce #30 of the Temple Owls carries the ball during a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 19, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

This is eighth in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the Mid-American Conference.

Conference: Mid-American Conference (MAC)

Active Since: 1946

Current Member Schools: Akron Zips, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, Kent State Golden Flashes, Miami RedHawks, Ohio Bobcats, Ball State Cardinals, Central Michigan Chippewas, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Northern Illinois Huskies, Toledo Rockets, Western Michigan Broncos, Temple Owls. (13 Schools Total)

Bowl Affiliations: Humanitarian Bowl, Little Caesars Bowl, GMAC Bowl. (Three)

2009 Results:
Conference Champion – Central Michigan Chippewas
Conference Runner-up – Ohio Bobcats
Overall Bowl Record: 1-4
AP All-Americans: Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes (3rd Team Selection)

2010 Outlook: For a non-BCS conference, the Mid-American Conference was lucky these past few years to have a star with such national attention in quarterback Dan LeFevour. But the former Central Michigan star is gone to the NFL, leaving the 13-team conference without a face and a historically open conference as unpredictable as ever.

No one team seems destined to top either of the conference’s two divisions, but if there is one major player, it would have to be Northern Illinois. Led by explosive running back Chad Spann and defensive end Jake Coffman, the Huskies are poised to continue their success in the conference, as they return a large portion of their starters from a 2009 squad that went 7-6.

Temple, a surprise contender in the conference last season, also return a large portion of their skill positions and have a veteran presence that could prove very useful in a young and transitioning conference. Running back Bernard Pierce, who led the conference in rushing as a freshman, will be back to buoy the offense while new quarterback Chester Stewart gets settled into the system.

Ohio, explosive and experienced all around the field and Kent State, a team with a wealth of offensive options, can also both make big noise in the large conference, and could make it a year worth remembering for this mid-major group which has served as target practice for BCS conference schools as of late.

2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Temple RB Bernard Pierce, Northern Illinois RB Chad Spann

BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Northern Illinois (10-2, 8-0)
Conference Runner-up – Temple (9-3, 6-2)
Heisman Finalists: None