LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Detroit — Ohio was the overwhelming favorite to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and overall championship in a media poll released Tuesday morning during media day at Ford Field.

Ohio would earn its first MAC championship in 50 years if it lives up to its billing and wins the conference championship game Nov. 30 at Ford Field. It finished 9-4 (5-3 MAC) last season, owning a 5-1 MAC record before consecutive losses to Akron and Buffalo, then defeating Alabama-Birmingham, 41-6, in the Bahamas Bowl.

Toledo defeated Akron in the MAC title game last season.

Northern Illinois was picked to win the MAC West, with Toledo second and Western Michigan third. Eastern Michigan was fourth Central Michigan fifth and Ball State sixth.

Ohio received 21 of the 24 first-place votes in the East.

Ohio has eight starters returning on offense, including Nathan Rourke, who helped the Bobcats average 39.1 points by throwing for 2,203 yards and 17 TDs and running for 912 yards and 21 TDs.

MAC media poll

WEST DIVISION

1. Northern Illinois (15 first-place votes), 133 points

2. Toledo (7), 125

3. Western Michigan (1), 87

4. Eastern Michigan, 67

5. Central Michigan (1), 58

6. Ball State, 34

EAST DIVISION

1. Ohio (21), 140

2. Buffalo (1), 112

3. Miami (2), 95

4. Akron, 74

5. Bowling Green, 58

6. Kent State, 25

MAC championship game winner: Ohio (13), Toledo (5), Northern Illinois (4), Miami (1), Central Michigan (1).

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE