Here I sit, carefully inputting scores in the Roberts Poll computers. Then it hits me: this year is almost up. We only have between three and five more opportunities to watch your favorite team play. Now that Mid-Week MACtion is here, let’s dig into where our teams stand so far:
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 biased MACtion takes.
The past week was certainly troublesome for some teams, and downright thrilling for others. This week, the Ball State Cardinals saw another blowout loss at the hands of the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Ball State rocketed into last place, while Eastern Michigan shot up to seventh. In a somewhat shocking game, Jarret Doege and his Bowling Green Falcons dismantled the Kent State Golden Flashes.
The top half of the MAC standings did not budge at all, even with all the exciting games. Despite my cheering, the Western Michigan Broncos gave up 21 consecutive points to the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Broncos lost the game and the Victory Cannon for the first time in four years.
The Toledo Rockets have leaped further into the lead of the Roberts Poll, cementing themselves in first place of the MAC. Northern Illinois Huskies have only a few games remaining to make up the 242-point deficit.
As the season comes to a close, we can see that the Ohio Bobcats and Toledo Rockets are the most likely to attend the MAC Championship Game. Another interesting side note is that Central Michigan is now predicted to attend a bowl game, possibly finishing the season at 7-5. Western Michigan is now on the cusp of being left out of the bowls, needing one more victory to earn the predicted 6-6 record.
MAC Standings: Roberts Poll
RP Top 25:
This section may be the section to get me all worked up. The Roberts Poll rankings typically align with the AP Top 25, given the careful attention put into it. The College Football Playoff rankings are much more focused on the top few teams and the rest are ranked will little regard. Using the objectively-based Roberts Poll, we can see some people getting favored by the CFP committee, as well as some teams being unfairly left out.
Right from the start, the Roberts Poll places the Washington Huskies in the fourth position, despite being left out of the top 10 by the CFP committee. Similarly, the Washington State Cougars are listed as last in the CFP standings, but good enough to earn number 14 in the Roberts Poll.
At the same time, we can see that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Clemson Tigers were boosted from an appropriate fifth and sixth positions in the Roberts Poll, to third and fourth in the CFP rankings. The Oklahoma State Cowboys, who have a knack for taking credit for wins that were actually losses, rode the coattails of a “quality loss” to the Oklahoma Sooners to remain just outside the AP and CFP Top 25.
New this week were the Army Black Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, and Boise State Broncos. The Broncos earned the spot from a 41-14 blowout win against the Nevada Wolf Pack. San Diego State blew out the San Jose State Spartans 52-7 to join the RP Top 25.
Falling out of rankings after a long run were the Iowa St. Cyclones. Their narrow-margin loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers was just enough to land 86 points shy of being ranked. In a ranked match-up, the Arizona Wildcats fell to the USC Trojans, pushing Arizona just outside the cutoff. Most notably, the Stanford Cardinal plummeted from being ranked #17 to #26.
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 the season progresses, most teams jump around in the Roberts Poll, but the Alabama Crimson Tide has remained steadfast in the first position with 930 points. The bottom of the 130-team field is a free-for-all, as each team fights for precious Roberts Poll points. This week, San Jose State holds the bottom position at -596 points. The Texas-El Paso Miners are only three points ahead of them.
The Ball State Cardinals showed the worst performance this week, costing them 92 points during the loss to Eastern Michigan. Only six teams separate Ball State from dead-last San Jose State. The best performance came from the Iowa Hawkeyes’ upset of the Ohio State Buckeyes. In the 55-24 blowout, Iowa earned 131 points, ranking them #28 overall.
That same game cost Ohio State five positions in the Roberts Poll Top 25 standings. The only team to drop more was Stanford, who fell out of the standings from 24-21 loss to Washington State. While the Cardinal did not lose many points, every position in the coveted top 25 is highly competitive. On the flip side, the biggest gain was actually from Army. Their 21-0 shutout of the Air Force Falcons was just enough to sneak into the #22 position. Of teams already ranked, three were able to jump three positions each. Washington, the Miami-Florida Hurricanes, and the Michigan Wolverines accomplished the movement despite big wins for each team.
As we enter the final few weeks, we will be making some bold predictions featuring conference championships. With such slim margins, who knows where your favorite team will wind up next week?