With half of the 2015 regular season in the books, it’s time for the first installment of the MAC Reporter Online weekly power rankings. Frankly, the waters are still pretty murky, with no team having played more than two conference games. Call it the “Case of the Half-Filled Resume,” but we will nonetheless reach a judgement.
Click Read More to see how teams line up this week:
Toledo moved up two spots this week in the AP poll and looks solid at the top of the MRO power rankings. Give credit to a lot of people. the Rockets are presently first among MAC teams in scoring defense. The offense, currently fifth in scoring and sixth in total offense, can probably move up a spot or two – maybe this week after Eastern Michigan comes to town. Getting Kareem Hunt healthy – and staying healthy in other key spots – will be important, and nobody knows that better than UT.
2. Bowling Green (4-2, 2-0 MAC)
The Falcons are an exciting team to watch, with a wealth of offensive talent. You could pretty much see last week’s BG v UMass shootout (62-38, Falcons’ favor) coming – two high octane offenses and defenses that are bend, bend and bend some more. Bowling Green is first in scoring offense (40.7 ppg) and 11th in scoring defense (36.3 ppg). If there is an Achilles heel to the Falcons, it’s probably on the defensive side of the ball.
3. Ohio Bobcats (5-1, 2-0 MAC)
Give credit to the ‘Cats 5-1 overall mark. Ohio’s defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last two games, deserves plenty of credit. It will be interesting to see how it holds up under some upcoming tests. There are some really good offenses coming up in the second half. The Bobcats seem to be healthier overall this year and have a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball. Whether or not they can stay near the top remains to be seen, but they look to be near the top in MAC East for sure.
4. Western Michigan (2-3, 1-0 MAC)
Coincidentally, the Broncos will be in Athens this weekend. WMU edged rival Central Michigan 41-39 last week, but will be pitting its No. 4 offense against an OU defense that ranks second in scoring defense and third in total defense. Head coach P. J. Fleck, meanwhile, indicated earlier this week that the Broncos have some things to “clean up” on defensive side. If the running game kicks in, WMU will be tough, especially as the weather gets worse.
5. Central Michigan (2-4, 1-1 MAC)
The Chippewas are only 11th in scoring offense (24.8 ppg), but quarterback Cooper Rush makes this one of the more dangerous teams to face. Given the remaining schedule, the Chippewas may have a hard time moving up the power rankings, but they could make a late push for bowl elibigility. Sometimes that has worked, and sometimes not.
6. Northern Illinois (3-3, 1-1 MAC)
The Huskies are far from out of anything. Take away a bad quarter at Central Michigan, and they would be right on track. NIU bounced back in a big way last week and its got a couple softer challenges coming up before hitting some heavies down the stretch.
7. Akron Zips (3-3, 1-1 MAC)
Akron's resume to date is very much a mixed bag. The offense had a big day last week, but such has hardly been the case on other occasions. UA is ranked ninth in scoring offense (26.0 ppg). It's third, however, in scoring defense (20.5). The remaining schedule looks favorable for moving up in the rankings, although Central Michigan comes to town Saturday.
8. Ball State Cardinals (2-4, 1-2 MAC)
The Cardinals will try to break a three-game losing streak with a non-conference game against Georgia State Saturday. Maybe BSU can regroup heading into a challeging schedule down the stretch. The Cardinals managed 41 points last Saturday at Northern Illinois and still lost by 18 points. Ball State is 10th in scoring defense (36.3 ppg) and eighth in scoring offense (28.2 ppg).
9. Buffalo Bulls (2-3, 0-1 MAC)
The Bulls put up a good fight before falling to Bowling Green on Oct. 3 and then went into a bye week. That might come handy for this week. The defense is fourth in points allowed (21.6 ppg) but is seventh in total defense (400 ypg). Few games are a given, and the Bulls will have to "bring it" every week.
10. Kent State Golden Flashes (2-4, 1-1 MAC)
Unless the Flashes can produce more offense, moving up any appreciable distance could be tough. Toledo's offense trumped the Flashes "D" last week and UMass will again give it a big test Saturday.
11. UMass Minutemen (1-4, 0-1 MAC)
All that offense and, well ...
Saturday's 62-38 loss marked the second time this year UMass has given up 62 points. The other was at Notre Dame. The Minutemen are last in scoring defense (42.2 ppg). Things might go a little bit better against Kent State's offense Saturday. Enjoy, because Toledo comes to town the following week.
12. Eastern Michigan (1-5, 0-2 MAC)
The Eagles are scoring some points, but they can't seem to appreciably stop opponents. They enter this week next to last in points allowed with a 40.7 ppg mark. They're third in scoring offense (29.7). The next three weeks are against some really physical teams with good offenses.
13. Miami RedHawks (1-5, 0-2)
The graduation of Andrew Hendrix and Quinten Rollins (who recorded two interceptions for the Green Bay Packers Sunday) took its toll as MU struggles on both sides of the ball. Quaterback play is divided between three players (all with little experience) and Miami is last in scoring offense (15.0 ppg). The RedHawks defense, meanwhile, particularly struggles against quality passing teams.
Miami plays better and home and four of the final six games are at Yager Stadium. However, the RedHawks must stop turning the ball over and start moving the chains if they want to get some wins in the second half.