MAC West college football offseason preview

Ball State wide receiver Justin Hall will return for his super senior season after totaling 665 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in 2020. Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire

The MAC West did its best to pack a full season's worth of MACtion and tight finishes into an abbreviated half-season. Five of Ball State's six regular-season games were decided by one score, and CMU, WMU and EMU each played four such games.

BSU won four of its five close games and earned a division title -- and an opportunity to upset Buffalo in the MAC championship, deservedly so. But with most of the division's best players coming back, we could see a repeat in the drama department. And what more could we ask for in life?

Every week through the summer, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 130 FBS teams. The previews will include 2020 breakdowns, 2021 previews and a brief history of each team in one handy chart. The series has thus far covered the Conference USA East and West, as well as the MAC East.

Jump to a team: Northern Illinois | Eastern Michigan | Western Michigan | Central Michigan | Toledo | Ball State

Northern Illinois Huskies

Though competitive at times, NIU went 0-6 in the abbreviated 2020 season. After nine winning seasons in 10 years, the Huskies have started just 5-13 under Thomas Hammock.

2021 Projections
Projected SP+ rank: 112th

Projected record: 4-8 (3-5)