Return of the MAC: Previewing the MAC’s Opening Week

beatitdownb · January 13, 2023

By: Brandon Vieyra (@beatitdownb)

The time has finally come! This week we’ll get to see the long-awaited re-debut of the CFSL’s Mid-American Conference. In seasons past, some may remember the MAC as more of a catch-all for the players that didn’t find homes with some of the power schools of the league. However, this new-look MAC has an insane amount of talent. The coaches and game plans are known. The rosters are close to being finalized. The MAC is beginning to take shape and favorites have begun to emerge. Here is a preview of the opening week of MACtion.

Toledo vs. Kent State

The last time these teams matched up was back on September 10, 2021. Kent State notched an impressive win in that game, 45-20. However, now over two seasons later, that score doesn’t mean a thing. We’ve got two teams with brand new, completely different rosters facing up in a matchup that could truly go either way.

The Rockets will have 22 freshmen making their CFSL debut. The Golden Flashes will have 25. On paper, both teams look fairly balanced when it comes to talent. With such evenly-matched teams, this game will likely come down to coaching. Thankfully for both teams, they both have veteran interim head coaches. Both Toledo’s Devan Davis and Kent State’s Dustin Hall got their start in the MAC before getting the opportunity to lead bigger schools. Expect this game to come down to the wire.

Predictions From Around the League

Vennom56-31 Toledo
Syrok24-17 Kent State
Ware24-21 Toledo

Our opening week we will do our best to establish our game plan early and often. We are going to do our best to prove we belong in this league. Starting out with a win would be huge for us! A lot of people don’t expect us to do much so that would be very nice for us!

Devan Davis, Interim HC Toledo

I can’t give anything away but we hope to prove that the MAC is more than just 2 teams. In a single word, growth. Winning breeds that and I think we have a team set up for success in the long run.

Dustin Hall, Interim HC Kent State

Northern Illinois vs. Ohio

The Ohio Bobcats have 19 players on their roster. Four of the 19 are not freshmen. The Bobcats have three elite players, all of which are on the offensive side of the ball. Expect this offense led by Freshman QB Del Toro to be red hot. Toro will have talented help with Elite HB Tank Lionheart and Elite TE Perry Pushkaryov.

The Huskies will have 23 debuting freshmen. NIU is another team with a large amount of raw talent just itching to make a splash in the league. What this team may seemingly lack in talent, they make up for in depth. This is one of the larger rosters in the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies have players ready to step in at any moment to ensure that the train keeps on chugging forward. Look for veteran defensive end Drew Brandt to continue his reign of terror on opposing QBs. He will be joined by freshman five-star linebacker Garrett Evans for a formidable duo.

This game makes us think of the hold cliche: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? Ohio will likely have one of the best offenses in the MAC, but they face off against one of the better defenses. This game will be decided when the Bobcats have the ball.

Predictions From Around the League

smittytj24041-34 Ohio
Clutch45-42 Ohio
AssuredFame42-28 Ohio

Expect NIU to come out to play. We don’t plan to roll over, we don’t plan on giving up. These kids are going out there to win. This is just the start but winning as a team will be a huge morale boost to all of these players, whether they be new or transfers.

Andrew Brandt, Head Coach NIU

I think there’s more to Ohio than meets the eye, we’ve got some high caliber talent but we don’t exactly jump off the page with blue chip recruits like a P2 school would. However, I think you can expect to see a very competent team of high-level athletes prepared to do their job and win for one another. Honestly, a win would mean everything to me, not for myself, but for my guys. We’ve got a lot of young talent here and to secure a win in these guys’ first game would be nothing short of incredible. I love my boys, win or lose, but ultimately I want to win for them.

Kyler Smith, Head Coach Ohio

Eastern Michigan vs. Bowling Green

Lastly, the matchup between what many believe will be the two most dominant forces within the conference. Between first-year head coaches Brandon Vieyra and Justin Duke, these two have put together a combined 22 Elite talents, and 13 five-star players. Both schools have been fueling their rivalry in league chat, and are beyond ready to duke it out in what could be a potential game of the week.

One of the most exciting things to watch for in this game is the debut of two talented quarterbacks, Ludwig Freidman and Leisa Pink. Both elite-level talents will come out slinging in an Air Raid offense and both have multiple Elite targets. It’s hard to predict this game, as both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, but look for it to be a high-scoring shootout.

Predictions From Around the League

JGates31-21 EMU
ColeMantell55-45 EMU
Jbayse165-54 BGSU

Fully expect us to come out wearing our hearts on our sleeves, and putting our blood, sweat, and tears into every single second of this game. The first game is always the hardest, there’s no film to look back on, and we’ve been given a serious test in our first matchup. Once we can push past the opening nerves, we will execute our game plan from start to finish and try and come out with a win. Leaving with a win in Bowling Green would be huge, we’d have the momentum to carry with us moving forward, and it’d truly boost the morale in the locker room knowing that we can start our season with a win over what may be the toughest competition we’ll see this season.

Brandon Vieyra, Head Coach Eastern Michigan

Expect us to come out firing from the first whistle. We have a monstrous task in front of us playing what I believe to be one of the best teams in the MAC. We’re going to come out and prove we belong and make the P2 schools take note that this isn’t the little brother conference that many people try and make it out to be. Starting out with a win makes you feel like all the hard work you’ve put in has paid off. When you start with a quality opponent as we do it means even more. It validates that what you’re doing is working and that all those players who put their lives in your hands are being taken care of.

Justin Duke, Head Coach Bowling Green

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