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MAC Football Power Rankings, Championship Week: Bowling Green Is Moving On Up

With the final week of the regular season in the books there's not much movement left in the power rankings, though we do have a new team near the top.

Dave Clawson's Falcons asserted their dominance over Buffalo on Friday.
Dave Clawson's Falcons asserted their dominance over Buffalo on Friday.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Rank Rank (Pv) Team Record What We Learned
1 1 NIU 12-0 (8-0) The Huskies did it. They completed the regular season undefeated. They've also steadily been improving week-by-week, which is good, because Friday they take on a Bowling Green squad which has bounced back in a big way following some earl-season losses to claim the MAC East crown. The Falcons are the only thing standing in NIU's way of claiming a third straight MAC Championship and a return trip to the BCS.
2 2 Ball State 10-2 (7-1) Sorry, BG fans, I know the Falcons won the MAC East, but I still think Ball State would have ran away with the East if the Cardinals were in that division. The fact remains the BSU is a fantastic team, that should be ranked. Sitting at 10-2, the Cardinals have an impressive resume, with the only losses coming in a competitive game with undefeated NIU and a dangerous North Texas school. I think come December, BSU fans will finally get a bowl win, because this team is damn good.
3 4 Bowling Green 9-3 (7-1) Fun Fact: With Bowling Green's 24-7 stomping of Buffalo on Black Friday, the Falcons became the first and only team in MAC Football history to win both the Eastern and Western division titles in a program's history. Damn conference realignment. BG is a very good school, and should be taken as a serious threat to NIU's BCS hopes. But I still think the inexperience of Matt Johnson puts the Falcons just below Ball State, even with the nightmarish-defense they possess.
5 3 Toledo

7-5 (5-3)

Toledo did lose to Akron, but that's not the slap in the face it would have been a season ago. The Zips were a good school this year, and without the Rockets' two best options on offense it's not hard to see how Terry Bowden's boys just edged out Toledo. However, the fact is, when healthy (and even when not) UT is still better than almost everyone in the East and were competitive with the No. 2 squad in the MAC. Five loses might not seem pretty, but not a single one of those loses were bad. Not even a Week 1 loss to a now awful Florida.
5 5 Buffalo 8-4 (6-2) The Bulls are who I thought they were. A young team, with lots of promise, but not quite ready for the next step. The Joe Licata-led offense had no answer for BG's smothering defense, but that shouldn't discount what Buffalo has accomplished this season. The Bulls are going to make some noise in whatever bowl game they go to this winter, and should make even more noise in the MAC come next year.
6 6 CMU

6-6 (5-3)

I know CMU fans hate Dan Enos, but damn, something has to be said about these late-season rallies he keeps pulling off. If Zurlon Tipton hadn't missed so much of the season, and Cooper Rush had more time to figure things out in the beginning, CMU could of had an 8-win season. Maybe that's not enough of an excuse, but it's worth considering.
7 7 Akron 5-7 (4-4) How can you not be happy for what Akron achieved this season? Even if the Zips beat your team, it's still impressive to see a school that's struggled for so long pull off such an impressive season and end it on a high note by beating a good Toledo squad at home. Here's something to think about: Akron finished this season 4-4 in the MAC. That's a non-losing season.
8 8 Kent State

4-8 (4-4) Bye-week. Nothing to see here.
9 9 Ohio

7-5 (4-4)

Well, Ohio did it. The 'Cats finally bounced back after a horrific three-game slide. Tyler Tettleton finally looked like the quarterback the ravaged Ohio's record books (HE EVEN RAN THE DAMN BALL), and Beau Blankenship looked like the old Beau. For Bobcats' fans it had to be good to see the seniors go out at home with a win and secure another winning season. But I'm still not certain it'll be enough to get Ohio into a bowl game, and I still don't think Ohio could beat Kent State or Akron right now, so no movement for Ohio this week.
10 10 EMU

2-10 (1-7)

EMU did manage to put up 279 more yards of offense this week than a week ago, but still the Eagles were dominated by CMU losing the Michigan MAC trophy for the first time in three seasons. It was a disastrous season, no other way to put it. Now the real fun begins: Let the coaching search begin!
11 11 WMU 1-11 (1-7) The first year under P.J. Fleck is officially over, and while it was rocky on the field, now we get to see the real reason he was brought in: His ability to recruit and hopefully change a program's culture. But for this season, WMU is the third-worst team in the MAC.
12 12 UMass

1-11 (1-7)

Well, Charley Molnar will be back next season, and considering the youth on the team, it could be a similar situation to Akron's this season. The Minutemen could surprise. But this year, they just weren't competitive.
13 13 Miami 0-12 (0-8) BREATH MIAMI FANS! You made it through alive. Sure the RedHawks were miserable this season, but it's over. And, your team did get better as the season went on, even with injuries mounting. Yes, your school was the worst in the MAC this year, but in hockey, you own. So, slip on your Sperrys and cheer up.