Who would have thought that in Week 3 we would see a last-second UMass loss versus an SEC opponent, Ball State losing to the Indiana State Sycamores for the first time since 1987, and Western Michigan winning in blowout fashion in a cross-country road matchup?
All of this activity seems to indicate that we're going to be in for a bumpy ride come time for the conference schedules. With the East in flux, and the West looking more of the same, it will be interesting to see where the teams end up after the end of the non-conference schedule. For now though, let's rank the teams after their week three performances.
The "At Least We're D-1..." tier
13. Miami RedHawks (LW: 13)
12. Eastern Michigan Eagles (LW: T-11)
11. Massachusetts Minutemen (LW: T-11)
10. Kent State Golden Flashes (LW:9)
I hate to keep Massachusetts as 11th on the overall list; at current, I believe they could definitely beat out Kent State, which has looked woefully non-competitive against every team that they have faced this season. (Full disclosure: on my sheet, Kent State was listed 13th.) But these are group rankings.
Eastern Michigan played a great game against the Old Dominion Monarchs, but still cannot find a way to win. Miami did a great job at the Big House, holding the Wolverines to 17-10 at the half, and even well into the third quarter, when their defense finally broke own in coverage. It was an admirable job, and maybe they can build on that performance for the coming weeks.
The "AAA baseball of college football" tier
9. Western Michigan Broncos (LW: 10)
7-t. Buffalo Bulls (LW: 8)
7-t. Ohio University Bobcats (LW: 7)
6. Central Michigan Chippewas (LW: 6)
The big surprise here is that Central Michigan did not drop a single position. They were exposed for what they really are against the Syracuse Orange; a team that relies entirely on big playmakers on offense, and that gives up way too many rushing yards on defense. They remain in sixth only because they were at least competitive in the first half in their game, whereas the Bulls and Bobcats were both blown out in their match-ups from the start, and Western Michigan won against clearly inferior opposition in the Idaho Vandals.
The "We're pretty legit, ya'll" tier
5. Ball State Cardinals (LW: 4)
4. Akron Zips (LW: 5)
3. Toledo Rockets (LW: 2)
2. Bowling Green Falcons (LW: 3)
Another big surprise here as Ball State falls only one position for losing to FCS foe Indiana State. Even if the Cardinals were making a nice comeback before whatever the heck those last fourteen seconds were, it is completely unacceptable to lose to an FCS foe in Week 3 of the non-conference season.
Luckily for Akron, the Zips moved a spot while on bye. I'm sure Zippy will be dancing about that. Toledo led a valiant never-say-die type of effort versus the Cincinnati Bearcats despite a loss, but were hopped over by the deserving Bowling Green Falcons, who won against B1G foe Indiana at home in dramatic fashion, showing how a #FalconFast offense really works.
A Tier of Their Own
1. Northern Illinois Huskies (LW: 1)
In a poll full of both surprises and lack of movement, it's no surprise that Northern Illinois hasn't moved from its spot on the top of the MAC. Their 17th straight road win against the UNLV Rebels put them as the only undefeated team in the MAC... despite refusing to list a starting quarterback. That statement right there should be indicative of their success.