The MAC West did a solid job in the opening week, but it could have been so much better. Most of the teams looked good, and there were some fantastic games. Sadly, the three games against Power 5 opponents were all winnable late, but we didn’t get a single win. Here are their grades.
When a MAC squad out gains a Big Ten team 375-216, they have to close out the win. There are certain gauges with which conferences are ranked by the national media. For the MAC, their record against the power 5 is high on the list. The good news is that Ball State looked good on defense. Sadly, this might be Illinois only win of the season, one that the Cardinals could have won.
Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Rhode Island Rams
When I stared this, I decided to make it policy to not give Fs for a win. This game made me rethink that policy. The Rams turned the ball over 6 times. Central Michigan rushed for 246 yards compared to 108 for Rhode Island. The Chippewas still needed triple over time to pull out the win. With those kind of stats, you really expect an FBS team to beat an FCS team by 40.
Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Charlotte 49ers
The Eagles beat up a team they should have beaten up. There were still some red flags. They only managed 3.1 yards per rush and gave up 4.7. Considering the offensive line was one of the biggest question marks entering the season, that could mean everything. Then again, it could mean nothing. It’s something to keep an eye on, though.
This was another winnable game against a P5 school. It was tough to grade this game because I really don’t know how good the Eagles are. The Huskies went toe to toe with them, and if the Eagles are an 8 win team out of the ACC, then it should probably be a little higher. If the Eagles are a 4 win team, then it should be a little lower.
Toledo Rockets vs. Elon Phoenix
Arguably the best team in the MAC blasting a cupcake would normally only garner a B, but I decided to up to a B+. An already loaded offense showed they have a pipeline loaded with talent. Shakif Seymour, Art Thompkins and Diontae Johnson all had huge games. The defense is still a little worrisome.
Mark your calendars because this will probably be the only time I give B in a loss. This game gave Western Michigan hope and optimism for this season and beyond. They looked like the equal of a playoff contender. I hate to make a huge deal out of the first game of the season, but I am going to anyway. I was hesitant to call the Broncos a contender for the MAC crown going into the season, but I firmly believe they are now.