The poll was announced at the league’s annual MAC Football Media Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and was determined by members of the league’s media. Toledo was also selected to win the 2017 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game.
In the East . . .
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In the West Division, Toledo was selected first in the Division and led the entire poll with 142 total points. Following the Rockets, defending West Champion Western Michigan finished second with 107 points, while the NIU Huskies were third with 89 points. Eastern Michigan ranked fourth with 74 points, followed by Central Michigan and Ball State.
The results again reflected the competitive nature of MAC football. In the last six years, the Conference has witnessed five different programs compete in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game and every football program has received an invitation to a bowl game.
Ohio garnered 11 first-place votes in the East Division. The Bobcats return 39 letter-winners and 17 starters from last year’s 8-6 team that won the MAC East Division, dropped a narrow 29-23 decision to Western Michigan in the 2016 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game and suffered a 31-29 setback to Troy in the 2016 Dollar General Bowl.
Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich is in his 13th year in leading the Ohio football program and is the third-winningest coach in MAC history with 88 career wins. Solich and his Bobcats are searching for Ohio’s first MAC football championship since 1968. The Bobcats will have offensive threats from running backs A.J. Ouellette and Papi White, while defensively linebackers Quentin Poling, Chad Moore and last year’s Freshman of the Year, safety Javon Hagan will lead the Ohio defense.
Toledo racked up 22 first-place votes in the West Division to launch the Rockets to first place with a league-best 142 total points. Toledo welcomes back 44 letter-winners and 15 starters from last year’s team that went 9-4 overall, finished second in the MAC West and suffered a 31-28 loss to Appalachian State in the 2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.
Second-year head coach Jason Candle and his Rockets are seeking the program’s first MAC football championship since 2004. Candle will look to his offense to lead the Rockets as senior quarterback Logan Woodside threw for 4,129 yards and 45 touchdowns last season.
His targets will be wide receivers Cody Thompson (1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Jon’Vea Johnson (773 yards and 10 touchdowns). Defensively, Toledo linebacker Ja’Wuan Woodley and defensive end Olasunkanmi Adeniyi will lead the Rockets.
The 2017 season kicks off on Thursday, August 31 with three games as Central Michigan hosts Rhode Island (7:00 pm on ESPN3), Toledo welcomes Elon (7:00 pm on ESPN3) and Buffalo travels to Minnesota (7:00 pm on Big Ten Network). The 2017 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game is Saturday, December 2 (time and television TBA) from Ford Field in Detroit.
The complete poll follows:
Team (First Place Votes) Points
MAC East Division
- Ohio (11) 131
3. Bowling Green (1) 88
- Akron 79
6. Kent State 36
MAC West Division
- Toledo (22) 142
- Western Michigan (1) 107
- Northern Illinois (1) 89
- Eastern Michigan 74
- Central Michigan 62
- Ball State 30
2017 MAC Championship Game Winner: Toledo (21); Western Michigan (1); Bowling Green (1); Miami (1).