With a bit of help from a few of our friends from the Sidelines Sports MAC school account runners, we are presenting the second power ranking of the year.
12. Akron (12.0 average)
Akron was one fumble away from setting up a potential game-winning field goal over Central Michigan on Saturday. My, how things could have been different. DJ Irons looks pretty good on the day, and Akron made an impressive comeback against the Chippewas, in part thanks to a surprisingly stout defense in the second half (surrendering just a single offensive touchdown in the third quarter). Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and Akron will head into their week eight match-up with Kent State seeking answers and trying to bring home the coveted Wagon Wheel.
11. WMU (10.8 average)
Sitting near the bottom of any list that involves the word ranking is usually not the best, which also holds true for this list. Western Michigan had some flashes of brilliants this week, but the offense was completely stagnant in the second half. 6 turnovers didn't help the effort. Salopek looks confused at times behind a porous offensive line while the defense, tough until the fourth quarter, was finally overmatched by Kurtis Rourke and Co. Western looks to right the ship and save the season next week in Oxford against Miami (OH).
10. CMU (10.2 average)
The Chippewas were dangerously close to rounding out the bottom of these rankings, but thanks to a miscue by the Akron offense, the Chippewas sit at a slightly more respectable 2-5 rather than 1-6. Not much better, but this game could have possibly been different had Lew Nichols been playing. Marion Lukes filled in extremely well (26 carries for 160 yards, 2 touchdowns) and CMU completed their mission at InfoCision Stadium. The CMU defense shut down the Zips' rushing attack and locked up the win with a huge 4th down incompletion. The squad from Mount Pleasant look to make it two in a row when they entertain BGSU at Kelly/Shorts on Saturday.
9. NIU (7.6 average) Here come the Huskies! After thoroughly dominating Eastern Michigan 39-10, the Huskies showed a much different offensive and defensive life than we saw a week ago against Toledo. Rocky Lombardi also returned, and while his numbers weren’t stellar (11/15, 155 yards) the ground game proved they were up to the task with 287 yards and three touchdowns. The defense played their part as well, forcing two turnovers and holding EMU to less than 240 total yards as well as shutting down Samson Evans (4 carries for 4 yards). The Huskies travel to Athens and Peden Stadium to take on Ohio and keep their very distant MAC title hopes alive.
8. EMU (6.8 average)
The Eagles have been a very confusing team this year. A 3-1 mark in non-conference play, including an upset over Arizona State, but somehow sit at 1-2 in MAC play, with two blowout losses to Buffalo and Northern Illinois. What seems to be the issue? We aren’t too sure: Taylor Powell looks good, Hassan Beydoun is averaging 11.2 yards a catch, and Tanner Knue looks great as the lead WR. Samson Evans still leads a pretty good backfield, but things just seem… off. Still, sitting at 4-3, everything is within reach for EMU. They have a chance to improve on the road in Muncie against Ball State this weekend.
7. BGSU (6.4 average)
The Falcons looked dead to rights after the blowout loss to Buffalo. They proved they still had some fight left in them against now former (?) MAC East pre-season favorite Miami, thanks in heavy part due to the defensive efforts that were touted all offseason. The Falcons also can thank Ta’ron Keith and his 19-yard scamper to punch in the go-ahead touchdown. BGSU sits at 2-1 in MAC play and will need some help to get to Detroit. Let’s see what they do in the coming weeks before declaring they are back. The Falcons take on CMU this Saturday.
6. Kent State (6.2 average)
Kent State did everything right: take an early lead, scored 31 points, and silenced the home crowd… until the second half started. After a 21-0 lead, Toledo went on a 52-10 run to close out the game, and Kent State was sent home wondering “How?”. Simple answer? The defense retreated to the busses after the first 6 minutes of the game. Collin Schlee and Marquez Cooper and Dante Cephas all looked solid, but solid wasn't good enough to avoid being Toledo’s third straight opponent to lose by 20+. Kent State sits at a peculiar 1-2 in MAC play, but they can absolutely turn things around. The Flashes look to get back to their winning ways when they host Akron for the Wagon Wheel.
5. Miami (OH) (6.0 average)
Miami came out and did exactly what they didn’t want to do against BGSU: lost. With multiple opportunities to win the game, the RedHawks could not break 200 yards, Aveon Smith was just barely 50% in passing, and while the defense did their part, the offense just could not get the ball moving. Fluke loss? Not so fast. BGSU had a highly touted defense coming into the season. We know growing pains are expected when breaking in a rookie quarterback, so the benefit of the doubt is there for the RedHawks. We find out more if it was a fluke or a sign of things to come as Miami plays host to the reeling Western Michigan Broncos.
4. Ball State (5.6 average)
The Ball State Cardiacs, and no, that wasn't a typo. Those who cheer for Ball State need to consult their cardiologist before attending their next game. In the last three games, Ball State has come back from the following deficits: 17 points (NIU),10 points (CMU), and 11points (UConn). John Paddock is coming into his own, but the player who is dominating? Aside from the second-half defense, Carson Steele, the monster running back for the Cardinals has 789 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Ball State now sits at 4-3, 3-1 in MAC play, and looks to keep their hopes of getting to Detroit alive against Eastern Michigan this weekend.
3. Ohio (3.2 average)
The Bobcats have to love having Kurtis Rourke and Seih Bangura. The duo has paced this great offense and they don't look to be slowing down any time soon. Sitting at 2-1 in conference play, the Bobcats are a few small defensive adjustments away from avoiding overtime against Kent State, and possibly sitting at 3-0 with Buffalo and Toledo. Ohio, who was picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference, can still reach Detroit, as long as Tim Albin lets his star quarterback cook. The Bobcats take on NIU this weekend at home.
2. Buffalo (2.0 average)
Buffalo keeps winning and is the third MAC team to defeat UMass this season. Despite turning the ball over three times and being unable to create turnovers, Buffalo did what they needed to do to keep the MAC best four-game winning streak alive. Cole Snyder is getting more comfortable leading offense, Al Jay Henderson and Mike Washington have formed a formidable backfield, and the defense is the best scoring defense vs MAC opponents, surrendering just 19.6 points a game. The loss to Holy Cross must have been the wake-up call the Bulls needed, as they are ranked in the top 4 of nearly every category against their conference foes. Maurice Linquist seems to be the real deal at the helm. We see just how good Buffalo is against the near-point-a-minute Toledo offense this weekend.
1. Toledo (1.0 Average)
3-0 in MAC play, three straight 20+ point margin of victory, Toledo looks to be on a mission this year. Jason Candle doubling down this past off-season seems to have paid off as we inch near the midpoint of the conference slate. The defense is every bit as good as advertised, and the offense is averaging 47.3 points against conference opponents. The losses to Ohio State and San Diego State are becoming a distant memory to the Rocket Faithful. When Dequan Finn has the ball in his hands, Toledo looks nearly unstoppable. We see just how good Toledo is against fellow 3-0 conference foe Buffalo (perhaps a MACCG preview?) on the road this Saturday.
*POWER RANKINGS VOTERS*
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