Mid-Major College Football Top 10, Week 15: Northern Illinois Is the Top Dog

Jordan Lynch has led his team to a fourth-straight MAC West championship and the No. 1 ranking in the Mid-Major Top 10 poll. - Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois finally takes over the No. 1 spot after Fresno State goes down, but Ball State and Bowling Green also find themselves near the top in this week's poll.

There's a new top dog in town.

After sitting behind Fresno State at a very close No. 2 for the regular season Northern Illinois has emerged as the unanimous No. 1 in the Mid-Major College Football Top 10 poll this week. The Huskies perfect score of 70 is the first time this season that the first place votes weren't split. NIU (12-0, 8-0 MAC) wrapped up an undefeated regular season on Tuesday, beating Western Michigan 33-14. Meanwhile, Fresno State (10-1, 7-1 MWC), which had held at least a partial share of No. 1 for every week of this poll this season, fell to San Jose State State 62-52 Friday night. Even with the loss the drop in the poll isn't too severe. The Bulldogs come in as the clear-cut No. 2 this week.

Two more Mid-American Conference teams round out the top four, giving the conference a monopoly on the top half of the poll. Ball State (10-2, 7-1) bumping up one spot to No. 3 after a 55-14 win over Miami, and Bowling Green (9-3, 7-1 MAC) shooting up three spots to No. 4 after beating Buffalo (which was ranked No. 9 on this poll a week ago) 24-7 on Friday, winning the MAC East title. Buffalo (8-4, 6-2 MAC) dropped out this week, along with the lone Sun Belt representative, Louisiana-Lafayette (8-3, 5-1 Sun Belt), which fell to in-state rival UL-Monroe on Saturday.

Marshall (9-3, 7-1 C-USA) dominated then No. 3 ECU 59-28 Friday, winning the Conference-USA East and jumping up three spots to round out the top 5. The Pirates (9-3, 6-2 C-USA) fell six spots this week, landing at No. 9. C-USA West champion Rice (9-3, 7-1 C-USA) bumped up four spots this week to No. 6 after beating Tulane 17-13.

Utah State (8-4, 7-1) jumps into the Top 10 this week at No. 7 after dominating Wyoming 35-7 and earning the Mountain West Conference's Mountain division. It's the first time the Aggies have been ranked in this poll since losing star quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the year earlier this season. BYU (No. 8), ECU (No. 9) and Boise State (N0. 10) round out the Top 10.

With six of the Top 10 set to face each other this week for conference championships e're sure to see a lot of movement in next week's poll. No. 1 and No. 4 face off for the MAC Championship. No 5 and No. 6 face off for the C-USA Championship and No. 2 and No. 7 face off for the MWC Championship. Bring on the chaos.

Here's a look at the full poll this week:

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Northern Illinois 12-0 (8-0 MAC) 70 (7) 2
2 Fresno State 10-1 (7-1 MWC) 61 1
3 Ball State 10-2 (7-1 MAC) 49 4
4 Bowling Green 9-3 (7-1 MAC) 43 7
5 Marshall 9-3 (7-1 C-USA) 38 8
6 Rice 9-3 (7-1 C-USA) 27 10
7 Utah State 8-4 (7-1 MWC) 23 NR
8 BYU 8-4 22 6
9 East Carolina 9-3 (6-2 C-USA) 18 3
10 Boise State 8-4 (6-2 MWC) 17 NR
Dropped Out: Buffalo, Louisiana-Lafayette | Others Receiving Votes: Louisiana-Lafayette (10), Buffalo (3), Ohio (2), Middle Tennessee (1), North Texas (1)

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