CLEVELAND, Ohio — Predicting parity.
The Mid-American Conference recently released the 2021 preseason football poll, as selected by a media panel of 22.
Over half of the conference received at least one first place vote, with Ball State and Kent State getting 11 apiece to lead the West and East Divisions respectively.
Ball State — the defending MAC champion after a 38-28 win over Buffalo in the 2020 championship game — took half of the first place votes in the West Division and finished with a total of 114 points, 10 ahead of Toledo, which had seven votes for first and ended up second.
Western Michigan claimed the other-4 first place votes in the west and was third with 103 points, just one behind the Rockets.
Central Michigan (68), Eastern Michigan (44) and Northern Illinois (29) rounded out the poll in the West Division.
In the East, Kent State’s 11 first place votes led to 112 points. Ohio picked up two first place votes and ended with 96 points, two ahead of Miami and three ahead of Buffalo. The RedHawks had five first place votes, while the defending MAC East champion Buffalo claimed four first place votes.
Akron (39) and Bowling Green (28) rounded out the poll for the East Division.
The Bobcats were 2-1 in the a COVID-19 shortened season last fall, defeating Akron 24-10, and Bowing Green 52-10 inside Peden Stadium.
This is the MAC’s 75th anniversary season, and the 25th MAC championship game will be held at Detroit’s Ford Field on Dec. 4.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.