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2018 MAC Football Power Rankings: Week 1

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Which MAC team is on top of our Hustle Belt Power Rankings? Who else but Toledo?

NCAA Football: Toledo at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 MAC Football season has finally kicked off which means that our staff is keeping a watchful eye over ever game with a MAC affiliation to take a gauge on just how well your favorite team is doing thus far this year.

All of our poll voters have different criterion they rate on: the only thing they’re told is that 1 is the best and 12 is the worst. No explanation needed or is necessary.

With every team excepting Akron having at least one game under their belt, the Hustle Belt staff gives its first rankings of the year.

Without further ado: the rankings:


12. Bowling Green Falcons (Previous Ranking: —)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 11.2
  • High vote: 10 (three times), low: 12 (once)

BGSU took an expected loss to #24 Oregon on the road, but they looked fairly decent at the start of the game, pulling together 10 straight points to take the lead before losing the game 58-24. Andrew Clair had a great outing with 113 yards rushing on 25 carries. BGSU gets Maryland on Saturday, another game which could be difficult for the Falcons.


10-tied. Ball State Cardinals (PR: —)

  • 1-0 overall
  • Average vote: 10.2
  • High vote: 9 (twice), low: 12 (three times)

The Cards took care of business against Central Connecticut State, but it’s hard to take away much from the 42-6 result. Understandably, there’s a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding BSU after last year’s injury-ravaged season. We’ll probably get a better sense of this team health-wise and talent-wise by the start of the conference season. They next face in-state foe Notre Dame.


10-tied. Kent State Golden Flashes (PR: —)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 10.2
  • High vote: 8 (twice), low: 12 (once)

Kent State is starting from the ground up under new head coach Sean Lewis, so having them tied at 10 isn’t necessarily a bad thing to start the season. The Flashes surpassed all expectations against Big Ten foe Illinois, taking the Illini down to the wire in Champlain and looked good doing so, especially on offense. Now they get a chance to pick up a win against Howard, who nearly upset Ohio last week. (More on that in a moment.)


9. Miami-Ohio Redhawks (PR: —)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 8
  • High vote: 5 (twice), low: 12

Miami continues to be a team that divides the HB staff. They’re a team which you can look at as either snakebitten but talented or sloppy and underachieving, and the game against Marshall definitely gave both sides of the argument ammunition for the future. They face rival Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium to try and break a 12-year losing streak in the Battle of the Victory Bell, speaking of being snakebitten.


8. Akron Zips (PR: —)

  • 0-0 overall
  • Average vote: 8
  • High vote: 5, low: 11 (twice)

Akron didn’t play against Nebraska, so there’s no real analysis to give here. It’s surprising to see two voters rank them 11 out of 12, however. They’ll face FCS foe Morgan State on Saturday.


7. Eastern Michigan Eagles (PR: —)

  • 1-0 overall
  • Average vote: 7
  • High vote: 6, low: 9 (twice)

The Eagles put a fiftyburger on FCS Monmouth in an expected victory. They’re figuring some things out on offense, but the defense looked excellent in limited action. The road will get a bit harder as they next face Purdue on the road.


6. Western Michigan Broncos (PR: —)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 6
  • High vote: 4, low: 8

The Broncos looked dead in the water at home against Syracuse, who unleashed a seemingly unstoppable aerial attack behind the arm of Eric Dungey. But somehow, they came back with a fury in the third quarter to at least give the Orange a scare.

They lost, but at least they’ll have a bit of momentum going into their game against a wounded Michigan.


5. Central Michigan Chippewas (PR:—)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 5.6
  • High vote: 4, low: 8

Central Michigan dominated the first half of the game against SEC foe Kentucky on the road, making the Wildcat faithful a little bit fretful just before an opportune touchdown prior to the end of the second quarter gave UK a one-point lead they’d never relinquish.

The CMU defense looks legitimate, causing five turnovers and scoring once (while nearly taking back another) to carry the day while the offense struggled. They’ll have an ailing Kansas to open up the home slate next week and perhaps get them on track.


4. Northern Illinois Huskies (PR: —)

  • 0-1 overall
  • Average vote: 5.2
  • High vote: 3 (twice); low: 11

The Huskies didn’t have very many answers for an overwhelming Iowa side to start the season, and the road doesn’t get any easier from here. The offense was especially woeful for NIU, as they failed to produce a single point and managed a measly 211 yards total offense. That said, there’s still a good deal of optimism from at least a majority of the voters that they’ll turn the ship around.

They host the PAC-12’s Utah to open up the home slate.


3. Buffalo Bulls (PR: —)

  • 1-0 overall
  • Average vote: 2.8
  • High vote: 2 (three), low: 3 (four times)

The Bulls easily breezed through Delaware State on the way to a big win. Tyree Jackson was responsible for six passing touchdowns on 17-of-27 passing on only 189 yards, a fairly impressive feat all considered.

We’ll start seeing what these Bulls are made of this upcoming weekend when they face former MAC East rival Temple.


2. Ohio University Bobcats (PR: —)

  • 1-0 overall
  • Average vote: 2.6
  • High vote: 2 (four times), low: 5

Well, that was... a game against Howard. Yup.

The Bobcats crawled out of Athens with a victory over the Howard Bison, and did so without Nathan Rourke on the field. Quinton Maxwell took over QB duties after three series and was accountable for four offensive touchdowns (two passing and two rushing), leading Ohio to the promised land late in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Frank Solich indicated to Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger he’ll be rotating between Maxwell and Rourke in the ‘Cats’ next game after a (suddenly much-needed) bye week.


1- Toledo Rockets (PR: —)

  • 1-0 overall
  • Unanimous #1

The defending MAC champions made the VMI Keydets look silly all day long in a 66-3 shellacking at the Glass Bowl. Unfortunately for the Rockets, next week brings a much tougher challenge in the #15 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, who come to Toledo looking to wreak havoc after an embarassing national TV loss to LSU.


What say you? Where did your Belt crew get it right or wrong?