The stage is set for the Mid-American Conference Championship Game between the Toledo Rockets and Akron Zips. We have a glimpse at who will be bowl eligible, although it is not cut and dry. Let’s use some statistics to determine who is the real king.
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.
Right then, begin the controversy: the Akron Zips are not one of the top teams in the MAC. Not even close. Although the Ohio University Bobcats may have lost to Akron, but they still hold a lead in the MAC East section of the all-important Roberts Poll. Akron has not gained enough points throughout the season and Ohio has gained too many.
The Toledo Rockets have earned their rightful place atop the MAC West standings. By topping nearly every opponent in the very competitive Mid-American Conference, Toledo earned an insurmountable lead. When the Rockets face Akron in the MAC Championship Game, the Rockets are expected to win by a 21-point margin, according to the Roberts Poll.
Seven different MAC schools also are realistically bowl-eligible by earning six or more wins. Toledo, Ohio, the Northern Illinois Huskies, the Central Michigan Chippewas, and Akron have each guaranteed bowl appearances. With the surplus of bowl-eligible teams, six-win teams across the nation are competing for an ever-shrinking number of bowl bids. In the MAC, the Western Michigan Broncos and Buffalo Bulls are in competition with six wins apiece. Although both teams could conceivably achieve eligibility, the Roberts Poll places Buffalo outside of the cutoff for bowl-eligible teams.
Speaking of bowls, at least one bowl has been announced at the time of publication. Ohio will face the UAB Blazers in the Bahamas Bowl on Dec 22. The announcement was made and confirmed earlier than other bowls due to the necessity for rush-order passports.
MAC Standings: Roberts Poll
Roberts Poll Top 25:
Okay, I know the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Auburn Tigers 26-14. I know that they should not be number one if they are fresh off a butt-spanking. However, they retain the top spot because they have racked up so many points against lower-tier teams. It really is as simple as that. With Alabama missing out on the SEC Championship Game, the Georgia Bulldogs or Auburn have the opportunity to surpass the Crimson Tide.
According to the Roberts Poll, Alabama would still be the favorite to appear in, and win, the CFP National Championship. If the CFP Selection Committee rejects Alabama on the basis of schedule and not being a conference champion, Wisconsin would be the favorite to win.
In other news, the highly-ranked Miami-Florida Hurricanes were downgraded by the Pittsburgh Panthers by a score of 24-14. Miami (FL) was dropped by five positions following the loss, but was able to keep the seventh place in the AP Poll.
Also facing a loss, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have erased any reasonable hope of a College Football Playoff (CFP) bid. Courtesy of the Stanford Cardinal’s 38-20 win, the Cardinal also moved up while Notre Dame dropped even further. The Apple Bowl featured a Washington Huskies victory over the Washington State Cougars, separating the two teams from three positions to thirteen positions.
This week saw three new teams join the Roberts Poll Top 25 and lost three more in the process. The new entrants are the LSU Tigers, Fresno State Bulldogs, and the Michigan State Spartans. Each team earned their position with well-deserved big victories from elite schools. Falling from the Roberts Poll Top 25 were the Boise State Broncos, South Florida Bulls, and Mississippi St. Bulldogs.
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|
As mentioned previously, Alabama holds the overall lead with 1,061 Roberts Poll points. Alabama holds a small, 17-point lead over the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers. Holding the last place position are the win-less Texas-El Paso Miners. At the end of their season, UTEP will finish 820 points below their starting total of no points at all. The lowest MAC team are the Ball State Cardinals, who are third-from-last at -693 points.
Gaining the most points is always a huge momentum swing in the Roberts Poll standings. This week, that honor goes to the Penn State Nittany Lions, who gained 133 points in their 66-3 defeat of the Maryland Terrapins. In the MAC that same honor goes to Toledo, gaining 77 points in their 37-10 defeat of Western Michigan. As a result, the Broncos also lost 77 points in that game. The biggest loss in weekly points goes to my alma mater, the Texas State Bobcats. A 62-9 blowout at the hands of the Troy Trojans doomed the Bobcats to lose 103 points this week.
This week was filled with some surprising upsets and lots of blowouts. These shake-ups will change the conference championship match-ups and bowl pairings. Stay tuned for those updates as well!