Just three more conferences to go. This week we head to the nation's heartland where we examine the 2012 MAC season. Here's a link to last year's MAC post.
First here are the 2012 MAC standings.
And here are the 2012 MAC SDPI standings. The standings are sorted by
division by total SDPI with ranking for each category (out of 13 teams) in
If you enjoyed lame puns, you could call 2012 'The Return of the MAC'. The league sent an amazing seven teams to bowl games, had four teams visit the AP top 25, and had its first BCS bowl participant.
So Who Was Better Than Their Record Showed?
The Western Michigan Broncos lost three conference games by less than a touchdown and committed 22 turnovers leading to an in-conference worst -12 turnover margin. These factors prevented the Broncos from being one of the league's Magnificent Seven bowl teams despite solid peripherals. That got the head coach fired despite four winning campaigns and three bowl appearances in eight seasons.
So Who Was Worse Than Their Record Showed?
Kent State played in their first bowl game since being captained by The Dawgfather in 1972. The Golden Flashes were perfect in conference play (until the MAC Championship Game), but they only ranked sixth in SDPI. The Golden Flashes won the two close conference games they played, had a +9 in-conference turnover margin, and scored five non-offensive touchdowns to power their special season.
Best Offense: Northern Illinois 1.67
Jordan Lynch did a fine Chandler Harnish impression, throwing for over 3000 yards and adding over 1800 on the ground. The team gained over 400 yards in each conference game, and twice topped the 600 yard mark.
Worst Offense: Massachusetts -1.71
The Minutemen began their first season in the MAC by gaining nearly 1000 yards in their first two games, but averaged just 252 yards per game in their final six.
Best Defense: Bowling Green 2.55
The Falcons boasted one of the stouter mid-major defenses in the country, and perhaps the best the MAC has ever seen. The Falcons held three league foes under 200 yards of offense, and five under 300.
Worst Defense: Eastern Michigan -1.17
Unlike the Falcons, the Eagles were a sieve on defense, holding just one conference opponent under 400 yards of offense.
In 2012, MAC teams won eight games against teams from BCS conferences. Some of the wins were not all that impressive (league champ Northern Illinois held off a bad Kansas team by just a touchdown at home), but when looking at how the league had performed against big-boy conference foes in the past few seasons, the record was impressive nonetheless.