The Mid American Conference, affectionately known as "The Mighty MAC," has produced some outstanding quarterback talent. So it’s no surprise that preseason favorite Bowling Green sports the league’s best QB.
Junior Omar Jacobs threw for more than 4,000 yards, 41 TDs and just four interceptions. Plus, he can run. If Jacobs comes anywhere close to those stats this year, he’ll be compared to past MAC dandies Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Chad Pennington (Jets) and Byron Leftwich (Jaguars).
A quick league update: Marshall, which groomed Pennington, Leftwich and wide receiver Randy Moss (Vikings, Raiders) for the NFL, is out and Temple from the Big East is in. The Owls won’t be an "official" MAC member until 2007, but will be considered an affiliate both this season and in 2006.
Most schools schedule non-conference games in September as a measuring tool toward getting their guys prepared for their respective leagues. To be honest, the MAC really has little chance gaining enough support for landing a major bowl. So nonleague results may not hurt this league in terms of national championship consideration.
In recent years teams like Toledo, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and, of course, Miami of Ohio usually played well against the rival Big Ten and Big East — the two major conferences gutty enough to schedule MAC teams on a consistent basis.
Normally the MAC feeds on nonconference opponents during September like pariah, but not so last year. In fact, Bowling Green was the only member with that eclipsed the .500 mark outside the league. The other 12 teams combined were a brutal 6-24 ATS. Worse, the six East teams were a woeful 1-14.
Temple will play four MAC teams this season and six next in preparation for full membership.
The Owls were overmatched in the Big East, but the football program is on stronger footing here and should prosper. Right now, though, we’re just concerned with betting opportunities and advantages.
Bowling Green seems the only team to trust outside the league, particularly as a double-digit dog. Last year’s opener at Oklahoma (a respectable 16-point loss) was a tipoff into what became a solid "cover" season for the Falcons.