Miami football picked to win MAC East

The Miami RedHawks were picked to win the Mid-American Conference East Division in the preseason media poll.

Miami received 20 of 24 first-place votes to finish with 139 voting points. Kent State (116) was second, followed by Buffalo (78), Ohio (72), Bowling Green (71) and Akron.

Northern Illinois was picked to win the West Division and also win the MAC Championship. Miami was third in the voting to win the MAC Championship.

The RedHawks return 16 starters from a team that went 7-6 and won the Frisco Football Classic. Miami is led by quarterback Brett Gabbert, who was named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award. Gabbert, who passed for 2,648 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, is one of eight returning starters on offense.

Miami returns five starters on defense, including Matthew Salopek and Ryan McWood. Salopek ranked second on the team with 112 tackles and McWood is back for his seventh year after most of 2021 with an injury.

The RedHawks return every key member of its special teams units, including place-kicker Graham Nicholson, punter Dom Dzioban and return specialist Jalen Walker.

Miami opens the season Sept. 3 at Kentucky. The home opener is Sept. 10 against Robert Morris at Yager Stadium. The MAC opener is Sept. 1 at Buffalo.

EAST DIVISION (first place votes)

1. Miami (20) – 139 Points

2. Kent State (3) – 116 Points

3. Buffalo – 78 Points

4. Ohio – 72 Points

5. Bowling Green (1) – 71 Points

6. Akron – 28 Points

WEST DIVISION

1. Northern Illinois (11) – 122 Points

2. Toledo (9) – 120 Points

3. Central Michigan (4) – 112 Points

4. Western Michigan – 56 Points

5. Eastern Michigan – 52 Points

6. Ball State – 42 Points

MAC Football Champion Votes:

Northern Illinois (9), Toledo (6), Miami (5), Central Michigan (4)

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