UMass picked to finish last in MAC

Coming off a 1-11 debut season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level in 2012, perhaps it’s no surprise that UMass again has been picked to finish at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference in 2013.

The Minutemen received just 29 points in the voting by media members in attendance at MAC media day in Detroit on Tuesday, finishing seventh and last in the East Division and tying Eastern Michigan (sixth and last in the West Division) for fewest total points.

Ohio, with 15 first-place votes and 164 points, was chosen to win the East, while Northern Illinois, with 16 first-place votes and 138 points, was chosen to win the West. Northern Illinois, which returns 16 starters from the team that went to the Discover Orange Bowl after a 12-2 season that included an 8-0 conference mark, received 14 of 25 votes to win the MAC title game.

Toledo and Ohio were tied for second with three votes each to win the MAC title game.

UMass coach Charley Molnar knows his team still will be young and inexperienced in 2013, but he believes the Minutemen in Year 2 are “light years” ahead of where they were in Year 1. The only team that UMass beat in Year 1, Akron, also finished the season with a 1-11 record.

The Zips, coincidentally, were picked to finish sixth in the East, one spot ahead of the Minutemen.

The full results of the voting, with first-place votes in parentheses, are as follows:

East Division

1. Ohio (15) 164

2. Bowling Green (8) 154

3. Kent State (1) 119

4. Buffalo (1) 101

5. Miami 78

6. Akron 53

7. UMass 29

West Division

1. Northern Illinois (16) 138

2. Toledo (5) 122

3. Ball State (3) 108

4. Central Michigan (1) 67

5. Western Michigan 61

6. Eastern Michigan 29