College

NIU Picked To Finish 2nd In MAC West

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

(CBS) Despite returning just two starters on defense and facing the task of breaking in a new head coach, expectations for Northern Illinois are still high this season.

The Huskies, who finished 11-3 last season and beat Fresno State 40-17  in the Humanitarian Bowl, were picked to finish second in the MAC West in the MAC Preseason Media Poll released Tuesday.

“Obviously, I’m excited that people have respect for our players and coaches going into the season but we won’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” new head coach Dave Doeren said in a statement. “One of the things I believe in is it’s where you finish, not where you start that matters, but we do appreciate the respect and attention people are giving our program.”

Northern Illinois returns 10 starters on offense, including quarterback Chandler Harnish, widely considered the best quarterback in the conference.

Toledo was picked to win the MAC West. The Huskies won the division last year but lost to Miami (Ohio) in the MAC Championship Game. Miami (Ohio) was picked to win the MAC East again this year.