I can't say we do a lot of Mid-American Conference news in this space – even though I am a MAC graduate – but the biggest college football win total shift at Caesars Sportsbook thus far has been on Bowling Green. Heavy action on the Over has shifted the Falcons from an open of 2.5 victories to 4.5. Both options are -115. No other school has had a shift of more than one win.
ESPN recently had a college football hot seat ranking story for head coaches, and while the site didn't delve deeply into Group of 5 conferences, it listed Bowling Green's Scot Loeffler on the hottest seat in the MAC – and that's absolutely correct as he's just 7-22 in his three seasons.
Loeffler, who also calls the plays for the Falcons, had a very embarrassing moment last season against Buffalo when he was ejected in the third quarter after two unsportsmanlike penalties on back-to-back drives. The first penalty was called on Loeffler in the middle of a defensive drive, and the second occurred during a timeout after a Buffalo touchdown. He became the first head coach ejected since a rule change in 2016. Bowling Green actually scored 28 points in the 18 minutes after Loeffler's ejection.
The Falcons finished 4-8 overall and somehow beat a good Minnesota team on the road.
Starting quarterback Matt McDonald, a former Boston College transfer, returns this season. He threw for 2,555 yards and 12 TDs with seven picks last year. McDonald's top two receivers, Tyrone Broden (35 catches, 596 yards, five TDs) and Austin Osborne (64 catches, 546 yards, two TDs), also return. BGSU was last in the MAC in total offense in 2021, though, and had just one game with more than 27 points (Buffalo).
Bowling Green probably will go 1-3 in non-conference action. The Falcons play at UCLA, vs. Eastern Kentucky (the presumed win), vs. Marshall, and at Mississippi State.
"Those first four games are extremely challenging, in my opinion," said Loeffler, a former offensive coordinator at the likes of Auburn, Virginia Tech and Boston College. "We'll learn some lessons during that time period, I'm sure, and then play as competitively as we can possibly play in the MAC."
Are there four conference wins with which to potentially go Over that 4.5 total, assuming a 1-3 non-conference mark? That likely all depends on winning the MAC opener at Akron, the perennial conference doormat with three total wins the past three seasons. Akron has a quality new head coach in former Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead.
"In this conference, games normally come down to three or four plays. We've got to be on in those three to four plays," Loeffler said. "The good thing is the guys that we recruited three years ago are older now. When they get into the process, they understand how hard it is to win and the margin to win is small."
Bowling Green was picked to finish fifth in the MAC East Division in the preseason media poll. It has the third-longest odds at Caesars to win the conference title game at +3500, ahead of Ball State (+6000), which BGSU doesn't play, and Akron (+7500). BGSU last had a winning season when Dino Babers led the Falcons to the 2015 MAC title and a 10-3 overall record. He then took the Syracuse job.
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