The non-conference dust has settled and most Mid-American Conference teams have one league game in the books. With a lot of football to be played yet, we bring you the first installment of our MAC Reporter Online Power Rankings.
Several “rivalry” games were on tap last week, and those sometimes play out a little different than “other” conference games. Hence, it can be a little risky to put too much into such outcomes. At the least, rivalry results are something to be taken with a grain of salt.
Click Read More to see this week’s rankings . . .
WMU rose to the occasion on an early matchup against a good Central Michigan team playing at home before a raucus crowd last week. Congrats to Western for rowing its way into the Coaches Poll (No. 25). It would be wise, however, to not blink this week against a Northern Illinois team that may be answering a wakeup call now that MAC play is here.
2. Toledo Rockets (3-1, 0-0 MAC)
The Rockets are coming off a heart-breaking 55-53 loss at BYU. Toledo had been allowing 10 ppg through three outings, but the Cougars totally blew that up. UT better regroup for this weekend, because Eastern Michigan is 4-1 with some momentum.
3. Central Michigan Chippewas (3-2, 0-1 MAC).
Either Western Michigan is REALLY, REALLY good, or CMU laid a bit of an egg in last week’s meeting. Most people were expecting a much better game, even if they thought the Broncos had the edge. The Chippewas host Ball State, which also dropped its MAC opener (to NIU) Saturday.
4. Ohio Bobcats (3-2, 1-0 MAC)
The Bobcats early MAC schedule looks a little soft, but the East Division isn’t exactly the MAC’s power base. Ohio was locked up in a 10-7 game with Miami before adding a sack/fumble/interception TD in the last two minutes. Of course, recent Battle of the Bricks games have been pretty one-sided in Athens and very close in Oxford. Ohio hosts a struggling Bowling Green team this week.
5. Akron Zips (3-2, 1-0 MAC)
The Zips also had their hands full with a rival last week. Akron edged Kent State 31-27. It’s a little difficult to gauge the result, not only because of the rivalry involved, but because both teams used backup quarterbacks. Akron gets winless Miami this week, and the RedHawks might be forced into using a true freshman backup.
6. Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-2, 2-2 MAC)
Who’d have thunk it!!! The Eagles are on a three-game winning streak and knocked off the defending MAC champions last time out. Of course, Bowling Green hasn’t looked very “championesque” thus far, but EMU seems to be playing differently, as well. Fortunately, for the Eagles, they seem to be playing much better!
7. Ball State Cardinals (3-2, 2-2 MAC)
Given Northern Illinois’ early struggles, Ball State fans were likely optimistic about defeating NIU this year. The Huskies, however, pulled out another win over BSU, which last beat Northern in 2008. It was something of a shock given Ball State’s only loss through the first four games was to an Indiana team that knocked off No. 17 Michigan State last weekend.
8. Northern Illinois Huskies (1-4, 1-0 MAC)
The Huskies at 1-0 MAC seems normal. The Huskies at 1-4 overall seem way out of whack. Perhaps they are smelling the coffee now that MAC play is here. If anything, last week’s win will give opposing coaches more ammunition for their cautionary advice.
9. Bowling Green Falcons (1-4, 0-1 MAC)
Two points are all that stand between BG and a winless season to date. After opening with a lopsided loss at Ohio State, the Falcons edged North Dakota 27-26 in Week Two. Since then, they’ve lost three straight, including the MAC opener at home to visiting Eastern Michigan, 28-25, last Saturday. BG will have its hands full this week when it visits Ohio. The Bobcats might want a little payback for the 62-24 shellacking they took last year in Bowling Green.
10. Kent State Golden Flashes (1-4, 0-1)
You know the quarterback situation is dire when you move a running back to the QB position for your rivalry game. But wait, the new guy did well – really well!
Junior Nick Holley, who hadn’t played quarterback since high school, completed 19 of 35 for 285 yards and two TDs. He also ran 34 times for 117 yards and a score. Now that is a day’s work!
Future opponents may make some adjustments in case Holley continues the quarterback role, so it will be interesting to see where the Flashes go from here.
11. Buffalo Bulls (1-3, 0-0 MAC)
The Bulls are one of two teams getting their first taste of MAC action this week when they square off against Kent State. The only UB win thus far was against Army (23-20). Boston College made the Bulls offense look bad Saturday, so there is some ‘regrouping” to do.
12. Miami RedHawks (0-5, 0-1 MAC)
The RedHawks are the only MAC team without a win on the season. Aside from the opener at Iowa, they’ve been in winnable situations. Three of the losses were by seven points or less. Saturday’s loss to rival Ohio was 10-7 game until the last two minutes when Ohio added a defensive TD. The RedHawks have repeatedly hurt themselves with costly penalties or (lately) turnovers, and they just don’t have that kind of margin for error on a young team. If sophomore starting QB injured Billy Bahl misses time, the challenges will be even greater.