There weren’t all that many “upsets” per se in last Saturday’s action. Nonetheless, it got a little weird when it came time for doing this week’s power rankings. Perhaps it provided more clarity for reading the tea leaves – or something like that. At any rate, there is a fair amount of movement in the latest rankings.
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The beat goes on for the Broncos, who rolled up at least 40 points for the fifth consecutive week. Unlike the previous outing, when even one score would have been enough, WMU needed most of their 45 against an Eastern Michigan team that put 31 on the board.
2. Toledo Rockets (6-1, 3-0 MAC)
It’s obviously important for the Rockets to avoid a stumble. Playing at home hasn’t been a guarantee of anything, but UT took care of business against Central Michigan last Saturday. The Chippewas are certainly capable enough, so the Rockets have “that one” out of the way.Toledo will stay on its new home turf this week, hosting Ohio Thursday.
3. Central Michigan Chippewas (5-3, 2-2 MAC)
CMU is hanging on at No. 3, in part, due to the fact that last week’s No’s. 3, 4 and 5 teams all lost. The Chips have Kent State at home Saturday in a battle good offense vs. good defense. CMU really should be able to handle this.
4. Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-3, 2-2 MAC)
The Eagles are soooooo close to overtaking Central right now. The two don’t meet until their final game, but there is a very fine line right now. Eastern went down to Western Michigan last week, but the Broncos knew they were facing a much improved team. EMU gets another improved team this Saturday. Miami has won two straight since the surprising return of QB Gus Ragland.
5. Akron Zips (5-3, 3-1 MAC)
The Zips bounced back from their Western Michigan debacle with a 35-25 win at Ball State. Getting Thomas Woodson back after he missed three games no doubt helped. He completed 27 of 40 for 338 yards with two TDs and no picks in his return. That’ll work! UA has Buffalo at home Saturday. Then comes the stretch run.
6. Ohio Bobcats ((4-3, 3-1 MAC)
Freshman Quinton Maxwell went the distance at quarterback last week and the “Cats held on for a 14-10 win at Kent State. A late stand by the defense saved the day after KSU recovered a late fumble at the Ohio 11. Nothing about that game bodes well for Thursday’s matchup at Toledo. It still looks like Akron and Ohio for the East title, but both have been less than spectacular (to put it mildly) at times.
7. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-6, 2-2 MAC)
The Huskies climb up a spot this week after pummeling Buffalo, 44-7. NIU is 2-2 over the last four games. One of the losses was in triple overtime. The other was by 15 points to No. 20 Western Michigan, who tacked on a late touchdown.
8. BallState Cardinals (4-4, 1-3 MAC)
The Cardinals stock is falling. They’ve won just one of the last four outings, and that was against Buffalo (31-21). Ball State led 17-7 at home last week against Akron. The Zips then scored four second half TDs (against one BSU touchdown) to grab the win.
9. Miami RedHawks (2-6, 2-2 MAC)
Chuck Martin’s crew also moves up a spot and could go further with a win Saturday at Eastern. That will be a tall order, however, as EMU is the “Surprise of the MAC” this season. The return of Gus Ragland has sparked MU’s offense, which has cut down on turnovers to help its cause. Both sides of the ball, however, combined for double digit turnovers again last week. Two BG scoring drives were largely aided by penalties. The defense was also somewhat inconsistent – playing very well at times and “disappointing” at other moments.
10. Bowling Green Falcons (1-7, 0-4 MAC)
Defense and turnovers again proved to be problems for the Falcons last week as Miami downed BGSU, 40-26. It’s a very capable team on offense, even with a freshman quarterback. But the defense needs to improve and the turnovers aren’t helping.
11. Kent State Golden Flashes (2-6, 1-3)
The Flashes were on the brink of a big upset last week when they recovered a fumble at the Ohio 11 in the closing minutes. Alas, the Bobcat defense rose to the occasion, sending KSU down to defeat, 14-10, with a “red zone stand.” It’s amazing what Nick Holley has accomplished on a week-to-week basis in spite of team’s preparing for him. He had 41 carries (159 yards) and threw 29 passes against Ohio. At this rate, he might be sore until spring ball.
12. Buffalo Bulls (1-6, 0-3 MAC)
The Bulls took it on the chin Saturday at Northern Illinois (44-7). It was 30-7 by intermission. Four interceptions didn’t help. Of course, 1 of 12 on third down conversions is another issue. The Bulls face MAC East leaders Akron (home) and Ohio (away) over the next two weeks. At least it’s not the MAC West leaders. Oh, wait a minute … UB travels to No. 20 Western Michigan Nov. 19!!!!