Rockets Picked to Win MAC West Division Title
DETROIT, MI - The University of Toledo football team was picked to win the Mid-American Conference's West Division in voting performed by 21 members of the league's media contingent. The annual preseason poll was released today at the conference's 2014 football media day held at Ford Field.
The Rockets received 11 first-place votes and a total of 114 points in the annual poll. Defending MAC West champion Northern Illinois (110 points) was picked second, with Ball State (82 points) chosen third. Defending MAC Champion Bowling Green was picked to repeat as MAC East Division champion, and also was the choice to win the MAC Championship Game. UT received six votes to win the title game.
Head Coach Matt Campbell welcomes back a solid core of players for 2014. Of the 44 players in the Rockets’ 2013 offensive and defensive two-deeps, only nine were seniors. Leading the way next year will be a top-notch offensive line that returns four of five starters, as well as a defense led by first-team All-MAC linebacker Junior Sylvestre and a kicking game paced by Lou Groza Award candidate Jeremiah Detmer.
"In my six years at the University of Toledo, this is the most complete football team we've had, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint," Campbell said.
Sylvestre admitted the preseason honors were flattering, but the team doesn't look too much into preseason polls and must prove it on the field.
"It's a great feeling," Sylvestre said. "But at the end of the day, we still have to handle it during the season."
Senior offensive lineman Greg Mancz will anchor an experienced offensive line, and will look to be a leader on the offensive side of the ball. He said the Rockets need to take one game at a time and improve on some of their mistakes from last season.
“Our biggest challenge is reaching our full potential for all four quarters," Mancz said. "In prior years, we’ve done great for three and had one let down and it’s cost us on multiple occasions. So this year our goal is to play for all four quarters the whole way through.”
The Rockets open the season at home vs. New Hampshire on Aug. 30, then host SEC East Division champion Missouri on Sept. 6.
2014 MAC Media Poll
Team (First Place Votes) - Points
MAC East Division
1. Bowling Green (18) - 144
2. Akron (3) - 114
3. Ohio - 107
4. Buffalo - 87
5. Kent State - 72
6. Miami - 43
7. UMass - 23
MAC West Division
1. Toledo (11) - 114
2. Northern Illinois (8) - 110
3. Ball State - 82
4. Central Michigan (2) - 67
5. Western Michigan - 44
6. Eastern Michigan - 24
2014 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner: Bowling Green 11; Toledo 6;
Central Michigan 2; Northern Illinois 1; Akron 1.