Courtesy of the Mid-American Conference
DETROIT, Mich. -- The Temple Owls and the Northern Illinois Huskies have been selected to win their respective divisions in the 2010 Mid-American Conference Football Preseason Poll. The poll was announced at the league's annual Football Media Preview at Ford Field in Detroit and was determined by 20 members of the league's media contingent. The Owls also received 11 votes to win the 2010 Marathon MAC Football Championship.
Temple garnered 17 first-place votes en route to the top of the poll in the MAC East Division. The Owls return 56 letter winners and 16 starters from last year's 9-4 team that finished 7-1 in the MAC (East Division Co-Champions) and earned a bid to the EagleBank Bowl. Leading the way on offense for fifth-year Head Coach Al Golden is sophomore All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Bernard Pierce at running back. Pierce, the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year, led the conference with 1,361 yards rushing while rewriting the school records books in several categories, including rushing touchdowns with 16.
Temple also has three All-MAC offensive linemen in junior center John Palumbo, senior right guard Colin Madison and senior right tackle Darius Morris. The defense returns five All-MAC selections from 2009 including the MAC Defensive Player of the Year, senior defensive end Adrian Robinson. Robinson racked up 13 sacks last year and is joined by returning All-MAC players junior tackle Muhammad Wilkerson, senior linebackers Elijah Joseph and Amara Kamara and senior safety Jaiquawn Jarrett. All-MAC kick returner James Nixon is back on special teams with kicker Brandon McManus and punter Jeff Wathne.
The Owls were followed by Ohio, who received three first place votes in the East Division preseason predictions. Kent State was picked third, followed by Bowling Green, Miami, Buffalo and Akron.
Northern Illinois racked up 15 first-place votes in the MAC West Division. The Huskies welcome back 49 letter winners and 17 starters from last year's team that went 7-6, 5-3 in the MAC and made a bowl appearance in the International Bowl. Third-year Head Coach Jerry Kill returns first-team All-MAC running back senior Chad Spann, who rushed for 1,038 yards and led the MAC with 19 rushing touchdowns last year.
Huskies' junior QB Chandler Harnish is back and senior WR Landon Cox led the team last season with 45 catches for 535 and four TD. The offensive line returns three players with veteran experience in juniors Trevor Olson, Joe Pawlak and Adam Kiel. The 2009 MAC leader in total defense returns senior All-MAC defensive end Jake Coffman, senior LB Alex Kube, junior safety Tracy Wilson and sophomore DE Sean Progar. All-MAC punt return specialist Tommy Davis and punter Josh Wilber are back on special teams.
Defending MAC Champion Central Michigan was picked second in the West Division and earned three first place votes. Western Michigan was selected third and also garnered two first place votes. Toledo was fourth, while Ball State and Eastern Michigan round out the predictions in the MAC West.
The 2010 season kicks off on Thursday, September 2 with five teams playing non-conference opponents. The first MAC game of the year takes place September 9 when Central Michigan travels to Temple. The Marathon MAC Championship Game is Friday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. from Ford Field in Detroit. The complete poll follows.
Team (First Place Votes) Points
1. Temple (17) 137
2. Ohio (3) 116
3. Kent State 94
4. Bowling Green 74
5. Miami 53
6. Buffalo 48
7. Akron 38
1. Northern Illinois (15) 115
2. Central Michigan (3) 83
3. Western Michigan (2) 77
4. Toledo 75
5. Ball State 50
6. Eastern Michigan 20
2010 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner
Temple 11, Northern Illinois 5, Ohio 1 (three voters did not choose a winner for MAC Championship)