Detroit – Western Michigan was the overwhelming favorite to win the Mid-American Conference football championship in a poll released during Media Day Thursday morning at Ford Field.
Media members picked WMU to win the MAC West Division by a 144-113 margin over Toledo, receiving 19-of-26 first-place votes.
Bowling Green was picked to win the MAC East by a slim 136-134 margin over Ohio, getting two more first-place votes (12-10).
WMU was picked to win the MAC championship game – set for Dec. 2 at Ford Field – getting 19 votes, compared to two apiece by Toledo and Northern Illinois.
The Broncos, whose last MAC title came in 1988, have never won a MAC championship game since the format began in 1997, losing to Marshall in the title game in 1999 and 2000 in Huntington, W.Va. They return 13 starters from a team that finished 8-5, sharing the West Division title at 6-2, and winning their first bowl game in program history, 45-31 over Middle Tennessee in the Bahamas Bowl.
WMU is loaded on offense, especially at the skilled positions, led by three-year starting quarterback Zach Terrell, senior receiver Corey Davis and running backs Jarvion Franklin, a MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, and Jamauri Bogan, who rushed for 1,051 yards and 16 TDs, four TDs in the bowl game.
Terrell threw for 3,526 yards and 29 TDs last season, 8,567 for his career. Davis will enter the season as the FBS active leading receiver with 3,785 yards, grabbing 90 passes for 1,436 yards and 12 TDs a year ago.
Central Michigan was picked to finish fourth in the West and Eastern Michigan sixth.
Bowling Green won the MAC championship last year, finishing 10-4, including a win over Northern Illinois in the title game at Ford Field. The Falcons will have to replace MAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Matt Johnson.
MAC MEDIA POLL
1. Western Michigan (19 first-place votes), 144 points
2. Toledo (2), 113
3. Northern Illinois (3), 112
4. Central Michigan (2), 98
5. Ball State, 44
6. Eastern Michigan, 35
1. Bowling Green (12), 136
2. Ohio (10), 134
3. Akron (4), 107
4. Buffalo, 75
5. Miami, 52
6. Kent State, 42
MAC championship game winner: Western Michigan (19 votes), Toledo (2), Northern Illinois (2), Central Michigan (1), Bowling Green (1), Akron (1).