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2017 MAC Football Power Rankings: End of Regular Season

Toledo and Akron are obvious favorites, but how does the rest of the conference shake out?

Toledo v Ball State Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

We’ve reached the conclusion of the regular season, and boy was it a fun ride to get there.

Most every game came down to the wire in the last week of weeknight #MACtion, and even the games which were blowouts most definitely had their fun moments. We even had a coach firing!

Toledo and Akron will make an appearance in the MAC Championship game for the first time since the mid-2000’s for either squad, a major achievement for both sides and a potentially dynamite matchup featuring contrasting styles.

See where our writers ranked every team ahead of the bowl season:

12. Ball State Cardinals (PW: 12)

  • Record: 2-10 overall (0-8 MAC)
  • Unanimous #12

It’s time to build for next season.

11. Kent State Golden Flashes (PW: 11)

  • Record: 2-10 overall (1-7 MAC)
  • Low vote: 11 (six times)
  • High vote: 10 (twice)
  • Average vote: 10.75

Kent State came out emotional and hungry in the first half against Akron, but ultimately, they could not keep up the momentum. As a result, Paul Haynes lost his job. (Okay, he was probably not coming back anyway, but still.) The Flashes will have to regroup quickly this offseason.

10. Bowling Green Falcons (PW: 10)

  • Record: 2-10 overall (2-6 MAC)
  • Low vote: 11 (twice)
  • High vote: 10 (six times)
  • Average vote: 10.25

BGSU has put up valiant efforts over the past three weeks and someday, they’ll be awarded. Mike Jinks has shown twice in a row he can rally the troops when there’s nothing left to lose. Now the next step will be how to keep that attitude up for an entire season.

9. Miami RedHawks (PW: 8)

  • Record: 5-7 overall (4-5 MAC)
  • Low vote: 9 (seven times)
  • High vote: 8 (once)
  • Average vote: 8.875

Miami won the Redbird Rivalry to put a happy ending on the 2017 season, but you can’t help but to think Miami underperformed this season, especially given some of the box scores.

8. Eastern Michigan Eagles (PW: 7)

  • Record: 5-7 overall (3-5 MAC)
  • Low vote: 8 (three times)
  • High vote: 6 (once)
  • Average vote: 7.25

EMU, out of bowl contention, predictably falls despite a win. A season of “what if’s” mercifully ends for the Eagles, who can now focus on life after Brogan Roback.

7. Buffalo Bulls (PW: 8)

  • Record: 6-6 overall (4-4 MAC)
  • Low vote: 9 (once)
  • High vote: 6 (four times)
  • Average vote: 7

The Buffalo Bulls have been riding the backs of Tyree Jackson and Anthony Johnson for eight touchdowns in four games since Jackson recovered from injury, and their stellar performances just might put the Bulls in a bowl for the first time since 2013. They’re going to need a lot of help though.

6. Western Michigan Broncos (PW: 6)

  • Record: 6-6 overall (4-4 MAC)
  • Low vote: 8 (twice)
  • High vote: 6 (three times)
  • Average vote: 6.875

WMU got outworked by a Toledo team on a mission and will now be sweating along with Buffalo (mentioned above) to see if they go bowling. The Broncos haven’t looked very good over the last month under the weeknight lights, losing three of the last four games. They have a slight edge over the Bulls if only for a head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to that crazy 7OT game.

5. Ohio Bobcats (PW: 2)

  • Record: 8-4 (5-3 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (four times)
  • High vote: 3 (once)
  • Average vote: 4.375

Ohio dropped their second straight one-possession game in a row, ruining any chance for the Bobcats to return to Detroit. They lost to 5-6 Buffalo, which is even more surprising. They’re going bowling, however, and the Bahamas isn’t a bad place to land.

4. NIU Huskies (PW: 3)

  • Record: 8-4 overall (6-2 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (twice)
  • High vote: 3 (once)
  • Average vote: 3.875

NIU held a double-digit lead on the road against CMU in the second quarter and then, rather than go for a field goal or convert fourth-down at the CMU 26, the Huskies decided to punt. It all went downhill from there, as the Chippewas came roaring back in the second half to take the game by a final score of 31-24. It’s a less-than-ideal finish for NIU, who were hoping to go to Detroit. They await a bowl selection.

3. Central Michigan Chippewas (PW: 5)

  • Record: 8-4 overall (6-2 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (twice)
  • High vote: 2 (twice)
  • Average vote: 3.25

The Chips experience the biggest jump on the countdown, going from fifth to third, and they did it on the strength of their fifth-straight win, this time in comeback fashion over rival NIU. A commitment to running the ball more after a torrid loss to Toledo at home was the catalyst, as the Chips haven’t dropped a game since. This certainly wasn’t the season many CMU fans expected, but they certainly won’t complain about it. They’re awaiting a guaranteed bowl selection.

2. Akron Zips (PW: 4)

  • Record: 7-5 overall (6-2 MAC)
  • Low vote: 5 (once)
  • High vote: 2 (six times)
  • Average vote: 2.5

Predictably, the Zips jump up to #2 in our power rankings after managing to mangle through the weeds of clinching scenarios and take care of business against rival Kent State. They secured the Wagon Wheel, clinched a trip to Detroit for the first time since 2005 and will have a guaranteed bowl once again. Terry Bowden has done an outstanding job rebuilding this program from when he first took over.

1: Toledo Rockets (PW: 1)

  • Record: 10-2 overall (7-1 MAC)
  • Unanimous #1

The Rockets remain at the top of the rankings, as they have for most of the season. They won convincingly over WMU to clinch the MAC West, securing a trip to Detroit for the first time since 2004. A win at Ford Field could do a lot for shedding the program’s reputation as being unable to win the Big Game.