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Roberts Poll Update: Week 9

Our super-computer helps make sense of a shifting Mid-American Conference.

Central Michigan v Boston College Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The deeper we get into the MAC play, the more we learn. Or maybe get more confused. If we apply a bit of math, we can see that the Mid-American Conference is sorting itself out with each game. Let’s dive in deeper together:

In case you weren’t here the first time, we at Hustle Belt (with the help of yours truly) came up with a formula to rank FBS teams. It basically comes down to a mathematical formula that takes the quality of a win or loss and combines it with margin of victory to assign a team points.

Keep in mind that these are just statistics, not our human rankings. My projections do not take into account any MACtion that makes this conference so much fun to watch.


MAC Standings:

This week showed some movement in the middle the MAC rankings. With a 24-14 loss to Miami-Ohio Redhawks, the Buffalo Bulls dropped to seventh place. Miami is still nine points away from taking back their sixth place. Speaking of sixth place, the Central Michigan Chippewas took that slot with a 56-9 blowout win over the Ball State Cardinals. Lastly, the Eastern Michigan Eagles slipped down one position with the 20-17 overtime loss to the Western Michigan Broncos.

Despite losing to the Toledo Rockets 48-21, the Akron Zips maintained their fifth-place standing overall. Toledo holds a small lead over the Ohio Bobcats, who defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 48-3.

Miami’s win this week improves the expected finish by an additional win. Eastern Michigan’s loss may have been by a small margin, but the Eagles are now expected to finish 5-7, being excluded from going to a bowl. Although I do not predict the entire FBS season outside the Mid-American Conference, Toledo still has a shot for a major bowl bid. If the math follows the formula, the Rockets will finish 12-1, giving them a good chance at a New Year’s Six bowl.

MAC Standings: Roberts Poll

Ranking High Low Team Bowl Week Total Overall Best
Ranking High Low Team Bowl Week Total Overall Best
1 1 3 Toledo *# -84 542 #33 #20
2 1 5 Ohio 85 433 #39 #27
3 3 8 Northern Illinois -62 270 #54 #37
4 3 9 Central Michigan -63 162 #66 #41
5 1 10 Western Michigan 0 89 #77 #40
6 4 11 Buffalo 0 24 #88 #71
7 1 9 Eastern Michigan 0 -27 #90 #22
8 5 12 Akron * -97 -72 #93 #76
9 7 10 Miami 0 -106 #97 #87
10 10 12 Bowling Green 0 -562 #123 #115
11 9 12 Kent State 0 -628 #124 #106
12 4 12 Ball State 0 -693 #128 #63
# MAC Champion; * Division Champion Spencer Roberts

RP Top 25:

Now we start to see some discrepancies between the Roberts Poll and the AP Poll. Each poll differs on how to handle strength of schedule. Because the Roberts Poll rates opponents by conference instead of name, you can see things like the #15 Washington State Cougars rated seventh.

This week, six teams lost their positions by virtue of a bye week. Georgia, Ohio State, Washington, Clemson, Stanford, and North Carolina State each dropped an average of three spots each simply from not playing a game this week.

Only four Roberts Poll Top 25 members lost last week, (hopefully) giving credit to the accuracy of the poll. With the USC Trojans’ 49-14 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, USC fell nine positions. That was the largest drop of all Top 25 teams. Another Michigan Wolverines loss, this time to the Penn State Nittany Lions, drops them to the last position in the Top 25. The San Diego State Aztecs and the California Golden Bears each fell to in-conference foes, removing them from the Top 25.

Notre Dame and the Virginia Tech Hokies each gained six positions, the best gain in the Top 25. Those gains come on the backs of blowout victories for each team. With the Colorado State Rams’ 27-24 victory over the New Mexico Lobos, the Rams have entered the fray at number 23. Former MAC member Marshall Thundering Herd punched their way ahead of Michigan with Marshall’s 38-10 victory over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

Roberts Poll Top 25

Rank High Low Team Last Week's Result RP Points
Rank High Low Team Last Week's Result RP Points
1 1 4 Alabama # W 26-23 vs UGA 1282
2 2 27 Georgia * L 23-26 vs Bama 1175
3 2 45 Ohio State * W 24-7 vs USC 1173
4 2 25 Wisconsin W 34-24 vs MIA-FL 1118
5 1 17 Oklahoma * L 48-54 vs UGA 1043
6 6 46 UCF *# W 34-27 vs Auburn 1028
7 1 10 Penn State W 35-28 vs WASH 1027
8 2 10 Clemson * L 6-24 vs Bama 1016
9 3 23 TCU W 39-37 vs STAN 864
10 8 48 Auburn L 27-34 vs UCF 845
11 4 15 Washington L 28-35 vs Penn St 832
12 8 32 USC * L 7-24 vs Ohio St 820
13 5 19 Oklahoma State W 30-21 vs VT 783
14 5 53 Notre Dame W 21-17 vs LSU 756
15 15 76 Northwestern W 24-23 vs UK 749
16 16 70 Boise State * W 38-28 vs Oregon 725
17 4 74 Stanford L 37-39 vs TCU 685
18 18 63 Michigan State W 42-17 vs WAZZU 669
19 9 73 Miami (FL) L 24-34 vs WIS 655
20 20 122 Florida Atlantic * W 50-3 vs Akron 650
21 21 92 Troy * W 50-30 vs UNT 620
22 5 35 South Florida W 38-34 vs TTU 607
23 21 51 Army W 42-35 vs SDSU 601
24 6 52 Mississippi State W 31-27 vs LOU 594
25 20 85 Fresno State W 33-27 vs HOU 589
#: Claims National Championship; *: Conference champions Spencer Roberts

Analysis:

For the foreseeable future, the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide hold the lead for the Roberts Poll. With a 173-point lead over #2 Penn State, Alabama is unlikely to move any time soon. Once again, the Charlotte 49ers rank dead last, but are moving in the right direction. A comeback Homecoming victory put the 49ers within 10 points of the Texas-El Paso Miners, and 11 points behind the Bowling Green Falcons.

Seven different schools scored over 100 points, primarily from blowout victories. Notre Dame’s 49-14 win over USC gave the Fighting Irish the largest amount of points of all FBS schools. Earning 115 points launched Notre Dame into eighth place in the Roberts Poll Top 25. The biggest loser of the week came from the Mid-American Conference, unfortunately. Central Michigan’s defeat of Ball State resulted in the Cardinals losing 97 points. That loss also put Ball State between the Oregon State Beavers and North Carolina Tar Heels in overall standings.

As you can see from each poll, the leads held are quite thin, and are liable to change each week. Expect more excitement and lead changes as the weeks progress and the calculations become more accurate in their predictions.