12. Miami-Ohio RedHawks (Previous Ranking: 10)
- 0-3 overall
- Average vote: 11.4
- High vote: 10, low: 12 (four times)
The RedHawks have simply looked defeated over the duration of the 2018 season and it finally came to a head against Minnesota, as Miami just couldn’t get any sort of offensive attack going in a 26-3 loss. Gus Ragland went 11-of-20 for 108 yards and an interception and was replaced by Alex Malzone late. One positive to be taken away here though is the 10 tackles-for-loss as a team to go along with three sacks and one interception.
They next get fellow MAC East bottomfeeder Bowling Green.
11. Central Michigan Chippewas (PR: 12)
- 0-3 overall (0-1 MAC)
- Average vote: 11.2
- High vote: 8 (twice), low: 12 (twice)
The Chippewas actually went up a spot despite falling to 0-3 after a loss to NIU, which you don’t see every day.
CMU looked lost and confused in the first half, as Tony Poljan once again struggled to generate anything in the pass game. He was replaced by former Garden City CC (KS) JUCO product Tommy Lazzaro, who promptly brought CMU to the brink of an upset bid from down 28-3. CMU lost 28-20, but showed a lot of mettle. There will be quarterback intrigue going into a primer match vs. Maine.
10. Bowling Green Falcons (PR: 9)
- 1-2 overall
- Average vote: 9.6
- High vote: 9 (three times), low: 12
The Falcons always seem to have a problem against FCS teams, and sure enough, the Colonels gave BGSU everything they had on Saturday. Jarret Doege was able to save the Falcons late to give the Falcons a much needed 35-28 win.
The win doesn’t absolve very much, however, as this team still has a bunch of problems which were exposed once again vs. EKU. Perhaps the worst of it was the rushing defense, which gave up an astounding 389 rushing yards. The Colonels also had more offensive yards (498-388) than the Falcons, who are an FBS team that runs the Air Raid. Ouch.
BGSU will start conference play against Miami, which very well could be winnable for either team considering how down both squads are.
9. Western Michigan Broncos (PR: 11)
- 1-2 overall
- Average vote: 9.4
- High vote: 7 (three times), low: 11
The Broncos get the “beat Delaware State by a zillion” boost that Buffalo was the benefit of a few weeks ago. There’s nothing really to learn from such blowouts, but hey, a win is a win.
The Broncos next go down south to Atlanta to face Georgia State at the old Turner Stadium to try and get to .500.
8. Kent State Golden Flashes (PR: 8)
- 1-2 overall
- Average vote: 8.2
- High vote: 5, low: 10
Kent State held up admirably against Penn State in Happy Valley for about half of a quarter before the inevitable nuclear explosion of offense led by Heisman candidate QB Trace McSorely. The Flashes are fairly used to these ultra-destructo losses, but the positive of this particular one is that no one got hurt. That’s fantastic news, but the Flashes are still going to have to travel down to Oxford, Mississippi to face an Ole Miss squad which seeks vengeance after getting embarrassed by Alabama at home.
7. Ball State Cardinals (PR: 5)
- 1-2 overall
- Average vote: 7
- High vote: 7 (three times), low: 9 (three times)
The Cardinals lost once again, but unlike the other 1-2 teams in the conference, they’ve been extremely competitive against upper echelon talent. While the Indiana game ultimately resulted in a 31-10 loss, Ball State has shown they’re not scared of the competition and with everyone still relatively healthy, there’s a lot of optimism in Muncie.
They fell not so much because of the loss, but because of movement up front.
6. Northern Illinois Huskies (PR: 8)
- 1-2 overall (1-0 MAC)
- Average vote: 5.6
- High vote: 4 (twice), low: 7
The Huskies stand atop the MAC West standings after taking down Central Michigan at home 28-20. The offense showed signs of life too, with Marcus Childers connecting on touchdowns with Spencer Tears, Dennis Robinson and DJ Brown in the first half. Tre Harbison also broke out for a 48-yard rush to set up a touchdown and finished with 124 rushing yards overall.
The second half was decidedly different, as the Huskies largely tried to run the clock down and not make mistakes in the midst of a big CMU comeback. The Huskies next face a wounded Florida State in Tallahassee, so we’ll see if this Saturday was a blip or a trend.
5. Ohio University Bobcats(PR: 4)
- 1-1 overall
- Average vote: 5.2
- High vote: 5 (five times), low: 6 (two times)
The Bobcats were a huge MAC East favorite in the preseason, and the first two games have done pretty much nothing to hold up that standard. Nathan Rourke (16-of-31 for 288 yards and two touchdowns) took over the ship once again for Ohio at QB, but the result still wasn’t ideal, as Ohio lost to Virginia on neutral ground in Nashville, Tennessee, 45-31. The game was over fairly early, as Virginia posted 38 points in the first half, including 21 in the first quarter, to hold a 35-7 lead prior to two Ohio touchdowns to end said half.
There’s still plenty of time for the Bobcats to right the ship, and goodness knows they have a lot of talent to help them weather the storm, but they’ll likely do most of their damage in conference play.
Ohio next faces a suddenly dangerous Cincinnati, which recently demolished rival Miami and is fresh off a slaughter of Alabama A&M, on the road Saturday.
4. Eastern Michigan Eagles (PR: 3)
- 2-1 overall (0-1 MAC)
- Average vote: 3.66
- High vote: 4 (four times); low: 10
The Eagles met the Bulls for an early conference matchup and boy was it a fun little affair.
It was an affair the Eagles lost, however, and they now fall to 2-1 on the season and down a spot in our Power Rankings. Eastern Michigan made the switch to Mike Glass III at the 11:17 mark of the second quarter and it paid some dividends, as Glass finished 17-of-27 for 264 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yard laser to Blake Banham, who has been a revelation at receiver.
There will be some quarterback intrigue ahead of the game against San Diego State, but no matter who that is, the Eagles are in great position going forward in part thanks to a relentless defense.
3. Toledo Rockets (PR: 1)
- 2-1 overall
- Average vote: 2.8
- High vote: 2, low: 4 (twice)
The Rockets took an expected loss to the Miami (FL) Hurricanes in the Glass Bowl, but the offense looked fairly good during the game considering the competition. Diontae Johnson especially balled out, accounting for 119 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. Mitchell Guadagni finished 13-of-21 for 222 yards and two touchdowns with an interception through the air, and was also Toledo’s leading rusher with 47 net yards (77 total) on 15 attempts.
The defense will need some work, but those are problems that can be fixed with some time. The Rockets face the first of two Mountain West conference foes in Nevada this upcoming Saturday.
2. Akron Zips (PR: 3)
- 2-0 overall
- Average vote: 2.4
- High vote: 2 (three times), low: 3 (four times)
The Zips created history on the Big Ten Network on Saturday night, defeating Northwestern on the road to win their first game over a Big Ten team since… 1894.
Yes, that’s right. Not since John Heisman was quarterbacking and coaching the Butchel College football club have the now-Akron squad beaten a current Big 10 member. (That win was a 12-6 victory over Ohio State, by the way.)
The Zips accomplished the feat in exceptional fashion, too. Despite being outgained by over 100+ offensive yards and being called for 15 penalties equalling 140 yards, Akron managed to score not one, not two, but THREE defensive touchdowns in 11 minutes of game time to go from trailing 21-6 early in the third quarter to leading 39-28 halfway through the fourth.
Akron looks to continue to make a statement to the MAC in their next game against Iowa State.
1- Buffalo Bulls (PR: 2)
- 3-0 overall (1-0 MAC)
- Unanimous #1
The Buffalo Bulls just might be the best football team in the city of Buffalo, and they showed it against Eastern Michigan to open conference play to earn our unanimous #1 vote.
The Bulls were in command throughout, taking a 21-7 lead early before going back and forth in the second half. Ultimately, Buffalo pulled away to where the late Eagles comeback didn’t really amount to much.
Tyree Jackson was on fire, completing 21-of-26 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions on one of the better defenses in the conference. Anthony Johnson didn’t have his best day (six receptions for 74 yards), but KJ Osbourne picked up the slack with 188 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions.
Buffalo travels to Piscataway, New Jersey, next Saturday to attempt to #FlyTheFlag against a Rutgers squad who got slaughtered (!) by a resurgent (!!) Kansas (!!!) squad on the road.
What say you? Where did your Belt crew get it right or wrong?