Week 8 was significant for several teams in the MAC, and it was proven by our power rankings, as there has been a massive amount of movement between Weeks 7 and 8 in terms of where teams find themselves at hte halfway point of the season.
As #MACtion is quickly coming upon us, teams get to enjoy the last of the weekend slate before the conference gets swallowed in weeknight games.
We rank the teams as they head into Week 9 below:
12. Akron Zips (Last week: 12)
- Unanimous #12
Akron just can’t get off the snide, getting shut out at home by a Buffalo Bulls squad coming off of a BYE week. It was Zach Gibson’s first start as Akron’s quarterback, with Kato Nelson on the bench due to a “violation of team rules” and he didn’t look terribly bad, all told.
There’s only one direction to go for Akron, who is in the midst of a complete retooling of the program, and down certainly is not it. They limited the damage in what could have been a terrible result.
11. Bowling Green Falcons (LW: 11)
- Unanimous #11
Bowling Green stays planted in the #11 seat after a loss to Central Michigan, who up to that point, had not won on the road all season. The Falcons lost more than that, however. BGSU is now down to their third-string running back in Bryson Denley after a nasty injury to Davon Jones early. That’ll hamper BGSU’s ability to move the ball going forward.
That said, they showed a bit of fight late in the game, making the score extremely respectable, and now they face a WMU squad who has had the reputation of playing down to competition this year.
10. Northern Illinois Huskies (LW: t-6)
- Average vote: 9.5
- Highest vote: 9 (three)
- Lowest vote: 10 (three)
NIU just couldn’t conjur up enough of that patented Huskies Devil Magic (patent pending) to steal away a victory from the Miami RedHawks, falling by a final score of 27-24. They had to rally around Marcus Childers in the second half, as grad transfer Ross Bowers left with a head injury early. They now face the heart of the schedule without two of their biggest defensive players as well, with Antonio Jones-Davis and Antwain Walker were reported as being out for the season on Wednesday by the DeKalb Daily Chronicle’s Kaleb Carter.
But first, Akron.
9. Buffalo Bulls (LW:9)
- Average vote: 8
- Highest vote: 6 (one)
- Lowest vote: 10 (one)
Buffalo fell three spots on a BYE week in Week 7 due to the general chaos in the MAC, and a win against Akron, no matter how big, doesn’t really get them a lot of looks from the voters. They’re now 1-2 in MAC play, and will have to take down a surging Central Michigan squad at home to keep any hope of competing for a MAC East title alive.
8. Miami RedHawks (LW: 10)
- Average vote: 7.66
- Highest vote: 5 (one)
- Lowest vote: 9 (two)
The RedHawks managed to pick up another MAC win against NIU in a cross-divisional matchup which will prove to be especially pivotal down the line in a MAC East race where four of the six teams are holding an overall record of 3-4 and three hold a MAC record of 2-1.
They’ll continue to depend on the arm of Brett Gabbert and a reasonably solid defense in order to work their way up the board. They next take on Kent State in what should be an intriguing matchup.
7. Kent State Golden Flashes (LW: t-6)
- Average vote: 7
- Highest vote: 4 (one)
- Lowest vote: 10 (one)
Speaking of Kent State....
It was a back-and-forth affair in what became an offensive shootout between Kent State and Ohio on Saturday afternoon, but it was ultimately the Golden Flashes who blinked first, allowing what would eventually be the game-sealing touchdown drive to put the Bobcats up 14 late in the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t for lack of effort Kent State lost; they showed a lot of resilience and played mistake-free football throughout. They just played a better team who had everything to lose.
6. Toledo Rockets (LW: 2)
- Average vote: 6
- Highest vote: 4 (one)
- Lowest vote: 10 one)
The Rockets finally come crashing to earth after back-to-back aura-shattering losses to Bowling Green and Ball State, where they scored a combined 21 points and gave up an astonishing 72 points.
Yes, the Rockets are ailing right now, with Mitchell Guadagni hurt and Carter Bradley (the second-string QB) questionable, but that doesn’t excuse how poor the offense has looked over the last three weeks of conference play. It has exposed the clear problems in the out-of-conference slate and made them seem more concrete, as opposed to matchup anomolies. Unless the Rockets make a big run to end the year, this may be as high as they get.
5. Western Michigan Broncos (LW: 1)
- Average vote: 4.66
- Highest vote: 1 (one)
- Lowest vote: 6 (three)
Toledo wasn’t the only team to take a very hard tumble.
The one team the Rockets beat also finds themselves falling towards the middle of the table after a head-scratching performance against rival Eastern Michigan on the road. We still have no real concensus on the Broncos, with their two wins at the cost of losing team mistakes, and their two losses showing a WMU team who can’t finish games.
(More simply put, they had no business losing to an EMU team playing a backup quarterback who found out he was starting hours before the game.)
4. Eastern Michigan Eagles (LW: 8)
- Average vote: 4.5
- Highest vote: 3 (three)
- Lowest vote: 7 (two)
So, that Preston Hutchinson kid... he’s pretty good!
It was up to QB2 to pull out the victory against WMU on Saturday, as Mike Glass III was dealing with an undisclosed injury. It might have been a blessing in disguise, as Glass had been struggling to keep turnovers low since the start of MAC play. The EMU defense also had a lot to say in the win, picking off Jon Wassink on the potential game-winning drive and forcing the Broncos off the field when needed.
They’re 1-2 in the MAC West, but sometimes, all you need is one win to get momentum going.
3. Ohio Bobcats (LW: 5)
- Average vote: 3.83
- Highest vote: 3 (three)
- Lowest vote: 6 (one)
The Ohio Bobcats eeked one out against a suddenly proific Kent State squad who seemed to be in control of the tempo. Thankfully for OU, Nathan Rourke looked like his old self-scoring four times in the win.
This is good news for an OU team who was very much in need of it; they’re 2-1 in the MAC East, and can separate themselves from the pack (while showing they deserved the preseason hype) with a win over Ball State this week.
2. Central Michigan Chippewas (LW: 3)
- Average vote: 2.83
- Highest vote: 2 (five)
- Lowest vote: 7 (once)
Despite the final score, CMU was the clearly dominant team in last week’s game against Bowling Green, dispatching the Falcons early in a coasting 38-20 victory. The MAC’s best running back duo in Jonathan Ward and Kobe Lewis shined once again, scoring four touchdowns combined, while the defense stifled the BG offense in the first three quarters, limiting it to 0 points in the first half, while allowing only 13 in the second, well after the game was over.
CMU now travels to Buffalo for a revenge game, as UB decimated the Chips in Mt. Pleasant last season, effectively putting the nail in the coffin on the 2018 season.
1. Ball State Cardinals (LW: 4)
- Average vote: 1.16
- Highest vote: 1 (five)
- Lowest vote: 2 (one)
Look, we’re just as surprised as you are.
Abolutely no one expected Ball State to play as well as they have this season, and that’s on us as media for not seeing the Cards might have been set up for success. They have a veteran starting line-up on offense and a young, but emerging defense which has presented problems for conference opponents.
Perhaps the best indication that BSU was turning the corner may have been last season, when they pushed Notre Dame to one score with a roster which would be torn asunder by injury. Many of the same players who got experience last season due to those circumstances are now starters and contributors this year, and in the out-of-conference season, they didn’t lose by any more than 11 points.
This week’s game against Ohio could be a watershed moment for the Cardinals, and we’re excited to see how it turns out.