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MAC Media Picks Central Michigan

MAC Press Release
July 31, 2009

DETROIT – The Buffalo Bulls and the Central Michigan Chippewas have been selected to win their respective divisions in the 2009 MAC Football Preseason Poll. The poll was announced at the league’s annual Football Media Preview held at Ford Field in Detroit and is determined by 26 members of the league’s media contingent. The Chippewas also received 18 votes to win the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game.

Buffalo looks for back-to-back titles after defeating Ball State, 42-24 in last year’s Marathon MAC Championship game. The Bulls return 25 letterwinners, including 13 starters. Among those returning are running back James Starks and wideout Naaman Roosevelt. Starks has racked up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and scored a total of 17 touchdowns last season. He also caught 52 receptions for 361 yards. Roosevelt smashed school records by catching 104 balls for 1,402 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Buffalo native ranked among the top 10 receivers in the nation in both receptions and receiving yards and became the first Bull to ever catch 100 passes in a season. Senior Mike Newton and junior Davonte Shannon return on defense for the Bulls after posting very successful 2008 seasons. Newton posted 112 tackles (5.5 tfl) and picked off one pass, while Shannon racked up 125 tackles (7.5 tfl), two sacks and an interception.

The Bulls were followed by Temple in this year’s East Division preseason predictions. Akron was tabbed to finish third, while Ohio was picked to place fourth. Bowling Green, Kent State and Miami rounded out this year’s East Division selections.

The Chippewas are heavily favored to win the West Division this season and welcome back 42 letterwinners, including 18 starters. Dan LeFevour returns for his fourth season engineering the Chippewas’ offense, and he is within striking distance of MAC career records for total offense, passing yards, completions and touchdown passes. He ranks 14th in NCAA history with 11,702 yards of total offense. On the defensive side of the ball,10 starters return for the Chips, including All-MAC first team selections Nick Bellore (linebacker) and Frank Zombo (end). Bellore led the MAC and ranked fourth nationally in 2008 with 11.2 tackles per game (148 total tackles), while Zombo led the MAC in tackles for loss (15.5) and ranked second in sacks (9).

The Chippewas were followed in this year’s preseason poll by Western Michigan. Northern Illinois was tabbed to finish third, while Toledo was picked to end the season in fourth. Ball State and Eastern Michigan round out this years poll in the fifth and sixth slots, respectively.

The first conference games of the year take place on September 19 when Western Michigan hosts Miami. The regular season concludes on Friday, November 27, with five conference games scheduled. The complete poll follows.

MAC News Media Association PRESEASON POLL
  Team Points
1. Buffalo 155
2. Temple 144
3. Akron 128
4. Ohio 116
5. Bowling Green 101
6. Kent State 51
7. Miami 33

  Team Points
1. Central Michigan 154
2. Western Michigan 126
3. Northern Illinois 103
4. Toledo 71
5. Ball State 58
6. Eastern Michigan 34

Championship Game-Winner
  Team Points
1. Central Michigan 18
2. Western Michigan 4
3. Buffalo 2
3. Temple 2


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