Can't wait to see these things this fall

Updated: May 15, 2007, 3:52 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The MAC
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
1. No conference had more upheaval last season than the MAC. Of the five schools that won division championships from 2003-05 (Miami repeated), only Northern Illinois had as much as a winning record. Was 2006 an aberration or a permanent shift in power? League champion Central Michigan has a new coach in Butch Jones. Will he be able to utilize quarterback Dan LeFevour well enough to keep the MAC Freshman of the Year from suffering a sophomore slump?

2. Garrett Wolfe, the NCAA rushing champ last season, has left Northern Illinois, and so has offensive coordinator John Bond. Who will replace Wolfe? Who won't? Huskies coach Joe Novak thinks he will have a tailback-by-committee. Those rarely work well. The onus is on junior Montell Clanton, sophomore Justin Anderson (111 yards in the spring game) or sophomore (and transplanted linebacker) David Bryant to make the job his own.

3. Temple has had a rough couple of decades on the football field. Shoehorning the Owls into the MAC this fall made for an unbalanced league schedule (some teams play seven games, some eight). If Toledo in the West or Miami in the East makes it to the MAC Championship Game while playing a different number of games than the other teams in their division, you won't have to be in Ohio to hear the cries of unfairness.
1. Former West Virginia receivers coach Butch Jones takes over Central Michigan, after Brian Kelly left for Cincinnati. Kelly led the Chippewas to their first MAC title since 1994 and first 10-win season since 1979. Jones vows to keep the spread offense, and quarterback Dan LeFevour might be even better after throwing for 3,031 yards and 26 touchdowns as a freshman.

2. Can Temple win in the MAC? The Owls couldn't win as an independent, with only four victories in the past four seasons. But with former Virginia defensive coordinator Al Golden entering his second season at the woebegone school, there are legitimate reasons for hope in Philadelphia. Nine starters are back on defense and eight on offense. Signing heralded quarterback Chester Stewart was Golden's first recruiting coup.

3. Will Ball State have the best passing attack in Indiana? With Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn leaving for the NFL, Cardinals quarterback Nate Davis might be the top returning college passer in the state. Ball State won three of its last four games -- the only defeat was a close loss at Michigan -- and a run at a MAC title is possible in 2007.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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