Fantasy Preview of the MAC West
What the West Division of the Mid-American Conference lacks in College Playoff contenders is more than made up for by top-tier real and fantasy talent. Four teams finished with 6-2 intraconference records last season and, despite a 3-9 season, another squad could be on the fast track toward making a run at a conference title of their own. Finally — brace yourself — the division’s cellar-dwelling franchise could challenge for more wins than it has managed the last two seasons combined. (We tackled the East Tuesday, and you can catch up on the whole college preview here.)
Ball State Cardinals
Ball State signed an impressive total of 13 players with three-star ratings from the 2014-15 recruiting classes. A few of those recruits have already thoroughly instilled themselves into the Cardinals’ attack. With solid surrounding pieces in place, significant contributions from those youngsters could conceivably catapult Ball State toward a MAC title bid. The offense might only return 50 percent of snaps, but QB Riley Neal, RBs James Gilbert and Darian Green and WR KeVonn Mabon, who will serve as the No. 1 target, all return. Last season’s 121st-ranked total defense must provide major improvements for Ball State reach the top, but they will return ED Anthony Winbush, DI John Whitman III and 79 percent of secondary snaps.