The OHIO Bobcats are now ranked - just barely. They are 25th in the newest AP poll and are breaking school records and things of that sort.
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.|