After an amazing two weeks of conference play filled with miraculous comebacks and crazy finsihes, this wewk mellowed out a bit with some hige blowouts and one back-and-forth game to help bring balance back to the conference.
Once again, there isn’t a terrible lot of movement at the top, but the fact is the last week only served to tighten up the middle of the pack, with five (!) teams separated by about a point (!!!) in average vote totals.
As we enter the pivotal final week of action, with most every game to be played on Black Friday, we update where we believe the team stand as of the end of action on Saturday.
12. Akron Zips (Last week: 12)
- Unanimous #12
The Akron Zips are still winless, and are therefore still at the bottom of our rankings once again.
11. Bowling Green Falcons (LW: 11)
- Average vote: 10.85
- Highest vote: 10 (once)
- Lowest vote: 11 (five)
Bowling Green has been unable to move from the 11 spot most of the season, and rightly so. They sit at only three wins on the season and in their losses, they’ve looked pretty bad. This time around, the Falcons got off to a fast start against Ohio and kept pace in the first half before the wheels absolutely fell off in a huge blowout. They’ll look to come away with a win in their last tilt of the season.
10. Northern Illinois Huskies (LW: t-9)
- Average vote: 9.5
- Highest vote: 9 (three)
- Lowest vote: 10 (three)
NIU needed a win to stay alive this past week, but couldn’t seal the deal. Instead, they looked lifeless in a 45-17 loss to EMU, who they hadn’t lost to in nearly a decade. Now, with the MAC West out of reach, all they can do is play spoiler vs. WMU to try and attain bowl eligibility.
9. Eastern Michigan Eagles (LW: 8)
- Average vote: 7.66
- Highest vote: 5 (two)
- Lowest vote: 10 (two)
Speaking of EMU, they’re the victim of a lot of movement above them in this week’s rankings, even as they took out NIU to be able to attain bowl eligbility. It’s a testament to how far this team has come since Chris Creighton took over as head coach that the Eagles never gave up on the season, even with their MAC West chances dashed relatively early. They’ll look to finish on a high note to guarantee the postseason against Kent State.
8. Toledo Rockets (LW: 6)
- Average vote: 7.16
- Highest vote: 6 (two)
- Lowest vote: 8 (three)
The Rockets lost the war of attrition long ago, as injuries have ravaged them at key positions on offense throughout the season. That showed itself in spades againt Buffalo, who went through them, over them and around them in a 49-30 game. Now, they’re down to third-string quarterback Carter Bradley as they face one of the best home teams in the MAC in Central Michigan. They’ll try to make the postseason a guarantee on Black Friday.
t-6. Ball State Cardinals (LW: 5)
- Average vote: 7
- Highest vote: 5 (one)
- Lowest vote: 9 (two)
The Cardinals dropped a fourth-straight game in conference play, and lost the chance at the postseason, as they just couldn’t seal the deal against Kent State.
A lot of the problems which plagued the Cardinals against CMU cropped up once again, as conservative playcalling on offense and lack of discipline on defense resulted in Ball State blowing a lead and allowing KSU to come back in. There’s not a lot of positivity in the fanbase right now, and next week will be a meaningless game against Miami, who has already won the MAC East.
t-6. Kent State Golden Flashes (LW: t-9)
- Average vote: 7
- Highest vote: 4 (one)
- Lowest vote: 10 (one)
Kent State showed explosiveness in a walk-off(ish) victory against Ball State. The #FlashFast philiosophy was on full display on Saturday afternoon, as Dustin Crum didn’t hesitate to let the ball fly, nearing 400 passing yards, and even added over 100 yards on his feet in the effort.
This team has been close for a long time, and Saturday might be the game where the page finally turns in the story of Kent State’s resurgence as a relevant football program. They can attain bowl eligibility against EMU this week.
5. Ohio Bobcats (LW: 7)
- Average vote: 6
- Highest vote: 4 (two)
- Lowest vote: 8 (two)
The Bobcats knew the margin for error was zero, and after a slow start against Bowling Green, blew the lid off of the game in the second half, scoring 66 points in what would prove to be the game which made Frank Solich the winningest MAC football coach in conference history.
Now, with bowl eligibility on the line, Ohio faces the 0-11 Akron Zips. The possibility of a winning record is still there as well, should they make the preseason.
4. Buffalo Bulls (LW: 4)
- Average vote: 4.66
- Highest vote: 4 (three)
- Lowest vote: 6 (one)
The Bulls took care of business in a dominant victory over the Rockets this past week, and did it on the back of Jaret Patterson, who scored five total touchdowns on offense this week, as well as over 150 yards on the ground.
They can’t win the MAC East any more, due to their loss two weeks ago, but they are certainly making a case to be included in the bowl conversations so long as they can seal the deal this week.
3. Central Michigan Chippewas (LW: 3)
- Average vote: 2.66
- Highest vote: 2 (two)
- Lowest vote: 3 (four)
Central Michigan took their second BYE in three weeks, and prepare for an injured Toledo side to come into Kelly/Shorts Stadium. They’re the only other serious MAC West contender, but don’t control their destiny; they’ll need NIU to play spoiler to WMU and secure a win vs. Toledo— which hasn’t exactly been an easy thing in CMU’s history.
2. Miami RedHawks (LW: 2)
- Average vote: 2
- Highest vote: 1 (two)
- Lowest vote: 3 (two)
Miami had to sweat it out against Akron, who just couldn’t pull together a comeback bid in the waning moments. Miami looked lethargic, especially on offense, in the late going, and allowed Akron to play aggressively down the stretch. It wasn’t a very encouraging performance, to say the least.
It’s a minor setback, but with their path to Detroit secured, the primary concern is getting (and staying) healthy prior to playing in the title game, so it’s better to lay the duds now. They’ll play a Ball State side hungry for a win this week.
1. Western Michigan Broncos (LW: 1)
- Average vote: 1.33
- Highest vote: 1 (four)
- Lowest vote: 2 (two)
The Broncos have the MAC West on a platter; all they have to do is beat NIU, and a trip to Detroit is theirs. Of course, if they lose, they’d have to depend on Toledo to beat their blood rival CMU. It’s a good place to be in if you’re a WMU fan. (Even with the history of WMU going to NIU on the road.)
They’re relatively healthy, and have one of, if not the most, talented rosters in the MAC, and they’re currently tops in the tougher division of the MAC. It’s tough to not rank them here at this point.