Early "Rankings" In Coaches' Poll For Top MAC Squads

Mike Ehrmann

Sure, it's the preseason, but every single vote counts. Towards something. Let's see who got themselves some love.

"Others receiving votes."

Not exactly the most glamorous place to wind up in the college football polls. You can, especially as a team from a smaller conference like the MAC, spend your whole season wafting in and out of that gray area just outside of a national ranking.

The coaches, or the writers, or both will look at your body of work and say "yeah, you've been pretty good, but not that good, so we'll vote for you a little bit but not enough to matter." Or perhaps they'll just toss you some vote love because you're undefeated, and that's what you do for undefeated teams, even if they couldn't tell a Flash from a Falcon.

However, in the preseason, earning a few votes is a great place to be. Why is that? For the obvious reason, of course: the higher your ranking is to start the season, the better your odds are to finish the season ranked highly at the end. There are at least a few teams every year who finish ranked despite struggling, or finish very highly ranked despite an unimpressive schedule, and that is due at least in part to the fact that they started the season with some ranking, or at least some votes.

This year, the MAC snagged plenty of love. Northern Illinois leads the pack with 19 votes (which technically ranks them #38), followed by Ohio with 8 (#40), Kent State with three votes (#45) and Toledo also snagged a single vote to slide in tied for #50.

Again, it may not seem like anything now, but more votes in the preseason means these teams (especially NIU and the Bobcats) are already on voters' radars heading into the season, and are therefore more likely to get their good performances noticed and move up that much more quickly in the rankings with strong seasons. For once, the MAC has snuck in at the bottom and should be damned thrilled about it.

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