2023 MAC West college football preview: Burning questions, top players

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Editor's note: This story was updated in late July to reflect the latest projections and changes to teams and rosters.

After trailing for much of the game last October 29, Toledo took its first lead on Eastern Michigan on a one-yard pass from Tucker Gleason to Lenny Kuhl with 2:09 remaining. A late interception sealed the deal, and Toledo moved to 4-1 in conference play as EMU fell to 2-3.

That two-game advantage just barely held up. EMU won out, Toledo lost two of three, and the Rockets won their first MAC West title in five years on the head-to-head tiebreaker. EMU remained the only current conference member to never reach the MAC championship, and Toledo reigned as, frankly, it more frequently should. The Rockets have some of the best facilities in the MAC and pull in the best recruiting rankings on average. That they've only played in the conference title game twice since 2004 is pretty baffling. Regardless, they got there, and they won, beating Ohio by 10.

In theory, they should win again in 2023, and EMU should once again be their primary challenger. But "should" doesn't tend to play in the MAC. This is a conference of parity, funky bounces and beautiful, beautiful nonsense, and lots of teams are plotting bounceback campaigns as we speak.

Let's preview the MAC West!

Every week through the offseason, Bill Connelly will preview another division from the Group of 5 and Power 5 exclusively for ESPN+, ultimately including all 133 FBS teams. The previews will include 2022 breakdowns, 2023 previews and burning questions for each team.