The MAC is a conference with many talented players and coaches that may not be nationally known. Each team in the conference has at least one player that can win the MAC Player of the Year award.
We already know that there won't be a repeat winner with last year's recipient, Justin Moss, having been dismissed from Buffalo in the off-season.
Here are the top candidates from each of the MAC programs, along with a prediction for who will take home the hardware.
Akron: Noah Robotham (9.9 points per game)
Robotham is coming off a solid freshman campaign and was the second leading scorer for the Zips. I think that he will be able to improve off of his rookie season. Robotham was the Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year in high school, so we know he has the talent. The biggest question about him is his health, after he tore his ACL in February.
Ball State: Bo Calhoun (9.6 ppg)
Calhoun is a three-time letter winner for the Cardinals. He was a player that elevated his play in conference play last year, averaging 11.5 points per game during MAC play. Calhoun is a veteran forward who is also a very good rebounder as shown by his three double-doubles last season. He should look to improve on last season.
Bowling Green: Zack Denny (9.2 ppg)
Zack Denny is a junior guard for the Falcons that plays both side of the ball very well. He led the team in steals, three pointers, and minutes. Denny was third in the conference in steals. Overall he is a force on both sides of the ball. I believe that this year he will raise his scoring. I do think the thing that will stop any bid before it starts is he is not a totally flashy player.
Buffalo: Lamonte Bearden (8.3 ppg)
Bearden is another sophomore who I expect to build off their first year success. He was named to the MAC All-Freshman team last year in large part because he didn't make rookie mistakes. He led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio which says a lot about his decision making. I believe that he will build off of last season's success. He will be looked upon to score more with the Bulls losing Moss and Shannon Evans which should boost his chance to win the award.
Central Michigan: Chris Fowler (16.2 ppg)
Fowler is a trusty veteran for the Chippewas who was selected to the first team All-MAC squad and was runner-up for the player of the year award last season. Fowler can put up points, but he is not only a scorer, as he averaged 6.1 assists per game. He is on the team that is favored to win the conference which should only help his chance to win.
Eastern Michigan: Raven Lee (16.7 ppg)
Lee is a red-shirt junior for the Eagles who has improved his scoring totals by almost five points per season. Lee is a player that will score and made an impact in every game he plays. I feel that any player that can put up points like Lee will have a chance to win.
Kent State: Jimmy Hall (15.9 ppg)
Last year was Hall's first at Kent after transferring in from Hofstra. He is a versatile player who had seven double-doubles last season. He topped 20 points seven times last season, and should have a very good chance at the award if he can keep putting up these types of numbers.
Miami: Eric Washington (14.5 ppg)
Eric Washington is an impressive point guard that can both pass (5.5 assists) and score (14.5 points). He surpassed the 20 point mark six different times last season while truly performing as the on-court leader for the RedHawks. That leadership earned him the team MVP last year and he will be the top player for Miami this season.
Northern Illinois: Aaric Armstead (11.1 ppg)
Armstead was the top scorer for the Huskies last season and should have no trouble repeating that feat this year. But his skill lies not just in scoring. He is a solider rebounder and can defend on ball as he averaged more than a steal per game last year. Overall, Armstead will be a solid presence for the Huskies.
Ohio: Antonio Campbell (10.0 ppg)
Campbell is Ohio's best returning offensive player and can make his presence felt on the glass, where he had 7.6 rebounds per game. He should be a bright spot for the Bobcats, who lost quite a bit of their offensive power from last year.
Toledo: Nathan Boothe (10.0 ppg)
Boothe is a strong scorer in the paint and the main post presence for the Rockets. An All-MAC honorable mention last season, and a preseason All-MAC West select, Boothe accomplishes a lot on the floor without being flashy. That steady hand should help lead Toledo to a strong season.
Western Michigan: Connor Tava (12.3 ppg)
Tava is coming off two All-MAC honorable mention campaigns and was a leader on the stat sheet for the Broncos in rebounding, field goal percentage and assists. There should be nothing holding him back from another great year.
Winner: Chris Fowler
Chris Fowler is the front-runner for the award this year and I believe all of the hype is deserved. Last year's second place finish plus the strong team that Central Michigan has this season only add to his credibility. I believe that he will improve on his gaudy scoring total last year and will run away with the award.