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2017 MAC Football Power Rankings: Week 10

Eight out of 12 teams in the MAC were on byes in Week 9, yet the rankings still got shaken up.

NCAA Football: Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It was a short week for the Mid-American Conference, so we debated whether to wait until after Week 10 to release our rankings or to do it prior to the eve of Tuesday Night #MACtion.

Since you’re reading this now, we decided on the latter. Despite only two games being played last week, the results were rather significant for a number of reasons we’ll soon reveal.

For one, they certainly could impact the race for he coveted Group of Five access bowl spot, as some certain teams are in the running for said spot ahead of the Playoff Committee’s Top 25 reveal show on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EST, just before kickoff for BGSU vs. Kent State and Miami vs. Ohio

For another, it reveals a lot about the MAC as a whole.

12. Bowling Green Falcons (PW: 12)

  • Record: 1-7 overall (1-3 MAC)
  • Low vote: 12 (four times)
  • High vote: 10 (twice)
  • Average vote: 11.28

The Falcons didn’t play in the short week, but still find themselves in the bottom of the league as the only one-win program in the MAC. They’ll face fellow bottom-feeder Kent State on Halloween.

11. Kent State Golden Flashes (PW: 12)

  • Record: 2-6 overall (1-3 MAC)
  • Low vote: 12 (once)
  • High vote: 9 (once)
  • Average vote: 10.875

The Flashes look to regroup after getting railroaded by the Bobcats in Week 8 and will have a great chance to do so at home against a BGSU team which only has one win on the season.

10. Ball State Cardinals (PW: 12)

  • Record: 2-6 overall (0-4 MAC)
  • Low vote: 12 (twice)
  • High vote: 10 (four times)
  • Average vote: 10.714

Ball State has suffered two-straight blowout losses, but it isn’t all their fault. They had to play a suddenly healthy CMU team and an explosive Toledo squad on the road at what could charitably be called “less than full strength.” At least the Cards scored a touchdown, which was nice.

9. Eastern Michigan Eagles (PW: 7)

  • Record: 2-6 overall (0-4 MAC)
  • Low vote: 10 (once)
  • High vote: 7 (twice)
  • Average vote: 8.28

The voters have more or less given up on giving the Eagles the benefit of the doubt, as EMU once again found a way to lose in a one-possession game against NIU. Conservative playcalling and lackluster execution, especially on special teams, have really doomed EMU. They’ll look to get back on track against the hapless Ball State Cardinals on Thursday.

8. Miami RedHawks (PW: 9)

  • Record: 3-5 overall (2-2 MAC)
  • Low vote: 9 (twice)
  • High vote: 7 (twice)
  • Average vote: 8

The RedHawks float up a spot during their BYE week thanks to attrition, as both EMU and Buffalo around them moved. (More on the Bulls in a second.)

There’s not really a lot to report here, but one thing to look for will be whether or not Gus Ragland will return to the field for Miami. If not, the margin for error with Billy Bahl under center is razor-thin, as the RedHawks cannot afford to lose another game at this juncture.

7. Buffalo Bulls (PW: 8)

  • Record: 3-6 overall (1-4 MAC)
  • Low vote: 9 (twice)
  • High vote: 7 (three times)
  • Average vote: 7.857

The Bulls are on a four-game losing streak after a heart-breaking loss to Akron, but there’s reason to hope. Tyree Jackson came back to start (and complete) the game for the Bulls and the running attack and defense still looks good. They get a relatively easy two-game stretch as Ball State and BGSU are the next two opponents on the board after the BYE.

6. Central Michigan Chippewas (PW: 6)

  • Record: 4-4 overall (2-2 MAC)
  • Unanimous #6 team

CMU was on a BYE this week, but it makes sense that the team with a .500 record both overall and the conference would end up in the exact middle. And even more sense they didn’t move at all. Love weird coincidences like that.

5. Akron Zips (PW: 5)

  • Record: 5-4 overall (4-1 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (four votes)
  • High vote: 4 (three votes)
  • Average vote: 4.571

Akron willed its way to victory against the upstart Buffalo Bulls to put a death-grip on the MAC East at 4-1. But now is the point where Zips fan worry about football seasons past. With three games left, there’s three high-leverage rivalry games for the Zips upcoming, including the Wagon Wheel at season’s end.

They need just one win to clinch a bowl, but that isn’t necessarily a guarantee. They next face Miami on the road after a BYE week.

4. Western Michigan Broncos (PW: 4)

  • Record: 5-3 (3-1 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (three times)
  • High vote: 4 (four times)
  • Average vote: 4.42

The Broncos don’t see any movement ahead of a big rivalry game at home on Wednesday against the Central Michigan Chippewas, and that’s largely expected due to the BYE week.

The one concern to look at for WMU is how fast backup QB Reece Goddard can pick up the offense under center in his first career start. It wasn’t pretty when he was thrown in cold against EMU last week, but WMU has enough weapons to help the freshman gunslinger along until he gets up to pace.

3. Ohio Bobcats (PW: 3)

  • Record: 6-2 overall (3-1 MAC)
  • Low vote: 3 (five times)
  • High vote: 2 (twice)
  • Average vote: 2.714

The Bobcats are largely healthy and coming off a throttling of Kent State to keep pace with the Akron Zips in the MAC East race. Ohio will next face rival Miami in the Battle of the Bricks.

2. Northern Illinois Huskies (PW: 2)

  • Record: 6-2 overall (4-0 MAC)
  • Low vote: 3 (twice)
  • High vote: 1 (once)
  • Average vote: 2.142

NIU has been taking care of business, as per usual. Again. It doesn’t matter who they play, the Huskies have found a way to either outlast or totally decimate their opponent week-to-week. They’ve got an extremely outside chance at an access bowl if they can beat Toledo this week and some other G5 games fall their ways.

That certain Huskie Magic could be coming into play again.

Toledo Rockets (PW: 1)

  • Record: 7-1 MAC overall (4-0 MAC)
  • Low vote: 2 (once)
  • High vote: 1 (six times)
  • Average vote: 1.14

Toledo is absolutely, positively, the run-away favorite going into the depths of the Weeknight #MACtion slate, and it isn’t even close.

The Rockets throttled Ball State as expected last week and have a chance to prove to the country they’ve got a chance to pull off the MAC’s second-straight opportunity to play in an access bowl. In order to do that, however, they have to beat NIU first, a task which has proven elusive in six of the past seven years.