That's the good news. The flip side of that coin is that the combined record of OHIO's last three opponents has been a near-perfect 2-17 (including 0-9 in the MAC), and they've won those games by a total of 16 points. Say what you will about close calls and yardage and "good showings," 2-17 is what it is.
But it's bigger than that - look at OHIO's seven games. First, we can throw out the game against Norfolk State, because a top MAC team, while not on the same level as a top SEC team, had better take down a (now 2-5) FCS opponent.
Then there's Marshall. Did the Bobcats win? Of course they did - but they had to erase a two-touchdown first quarter deficit and only managed 27 points against a team that has surrendered 27 offensive touchdowns in their other five games - heck, even Western Carolina managed 24 points and 335 yards (to OHIO's 399).
As a matter of fact, at 2-4 Marshall is the best team OHIO has played so far - which is not saying much.
EDIT: Penn State is the best team they've played. I should know better - HT to the comments.
OK, I'm dumping on the Bobcats a little here - they should actually be ranked higher - #21 Cincinnati has two wins over FCS opponents; #18 Louisville just knocked Pitt down to 2-4 - and that's the second best win on their resume; 3-4 Arkansas (yes, this Arkansas Razorbacks team) is the second best win that #16 Rutgers can claim.
My point is, the 'Cats are no longer the clear favorite here - if not for near misses against Iowa and Arizona (respectively), we're talking about Northern Illinois or Toledo in this position - their lead is that slim, folks.
I do not expect the Bobcats to truly be challenged against Miami or Eastern Michigan (even if the games are close, Ohio has the offense to win a shootout) and to be 9-0 entering their weeknight tilt with Bowling Green early next month, but I do not think they will finish 12-0. They may not even win the MAC East.
|Rank||Rank (Pv)||Team||Record||What We Learned|
|1||1||OHIO||7-0 (3-0)||Here we are again. Yes, Akron's offense is for real, but now I'm convinced that OHIO's defense is not.|
|2||2||NIU||6-1 (3-0)||Well, that was a statement. Jordan Lynch did what he does best, and they forced Buffalo to use someone else as proof that Devin Campbell isn't a fluke.|
|3||3||TOLEDO||6-1 (4-0)||I would move them up in the rankings, but NIU keeps winning - and their defense is actually capable of showing up sometimes.|
|4||4||KENT STATE||5-1 (3-0)||They took care of a one-dimensional Army offense like they should - and Dri Archer threw a touchdown pass! He's now accountable for 13 of the team's 24 touchdowns and 850 yards from scrimmage.|
|5||6||BGSU||4-3 (2-1)||It appears I was too harsh on this defense early on. I expect to see them continue to climb these rankings...assuming Matt Schilz doesn't go and mess it up.|
|6||7||BALL STATE||4-3 (2-2)||Well, the defense played better - or at least better enough - to get the win. Here we are again with all this mediocrity - perhaps it's what BSU does best.|
|7||5||MIAMI||3-4 (2-1)||Miami does not have the margin for error for Dysert to keep making Boo-Boos (ha! Get it?) That's four times in seven games they've failed to crack 14 points, and five times they’ve succeeded at giving up 35+.|
|8||8||WMU||3-4 (1-2)||They started out hot - three TD's in their first five drives - and then needed a gift just to get the game to overtime. They earned this loss.|
|9||9||CMU||2-4 (0-2)||Note to rest of MAC: CMU might be susceptible to the run if you attempt to bludgeon them to death with it the way Navy did (18 carries for 81 yards in the first quarter).|
|10||10||BUFFALO||1-5 (0-3)||Surrendering 200+ rushing yards on defense or giving up three red-zone turnovers on offense would each be a death sentence on their own - Buffalo did both.|
|11||11||AKRON||1-6 (0-3)||The offense came back to life! Fully resurrected! Hey..defense - guys? Must've had one to many shots at the after-party.|
|12||12||UMASS||0-6 (0-3)||The Minutemen made progress this week - they didn't lose!|
|13||13||EMU||0-6 (0-3)||Well, perhaps I was wrong about Tyler Benz - and Bronson Hill is an absolute monster (10 carries for 218 yards in the third quarter). Sadly, I was right about their defense - another 254 on the ground - which faces the best run offense in the country next Saturday in Army.|