Y11 Notes: MAC Football Power Ranking Update, Toledo's Actually Doing It
Also: Ohio's Kurtis Rourke currently running away with First Team All-MAC honors.
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Y11 Notes: Sunday, Oct. 9
MAC FOOTBALL POWER RANKING: Turns out Toledo has truly earned the #1 spot after all
Now that we’ve hit the halfway point of the regular season, we have a pretty good idea of just exactly who’s good and who’s bad. While there’s a huge gray area in sorting teams out, we can still trust a lot of the information we’ve gotten so far.
But with the MAC, a lot of data on all of these teams include a lot of good and bad. Buffalo started out the year 0-3 with a loss to an FCS school before it changed its look and is in good position to begin the MAC East title race. Can the Bulls keep it up?
Toledo’s difficult to absolutely bank on in terms of “winning a MAC title with Jason Candle these days” but anything short of that this year would be a catastrophic disappointment. In a season without any clear #2s or #3s I this league, Toledo’s playing better than anybody and truly has deserved the top spot in this list all along.
Eastern Michigan’s very up-and-down, and last week it gave Western Michigan a historically bad loss at Waldo Stadium with Taylor Powell back in the lineup.
As for the rest of the gray area, well, that’s just MACtion for you.
#1 Toledo (4-2, 2-0 MAC): No point in belly-aching over this anymore. Toledo’s earned the top position in everybody’s MAC football power rankings at this point of the year. All four of Toledo’s wins have been by convincing margins, and when you beat the brakes off of Northern Illinois after a MAC title-winning year, then you’ve officially made a believer in me.
#2 Buffalo (3-3, 3-0 MAC): Buffalo’s the only team that’s 3-0 in MAC play so far, and has been moderately impressive with how it got there. Buffalo beat Miami, the preseason MAC East favorites, at home last week, and sandwiched it with a pair of blowouts on the road. UB just torched Bowling Green and only has three more divisional matchups left, but they’re all in November when the marathon of the season truly kicks in.
#3 Ball State (3-3, 2-1 MAC): All three of Ball State’s conference games this year have been decided by one possession, and the Cardinals have won the last two. The last two games have required second-half comebacks, and I think the defense should get a lot of praise for helping this team get it done. Ball State’s got some efficiency issues on offense, but the defense has made enough big plays to trust that side of the ball.
#4 Miami (3-3, 1-1 MAC): Chuck Martin 2, Sean Lewis 1. The RedHawks beat Kent State at home 27-24 For all the talk of how Kent State’s offense is legendary and Miami’s offense isn’t quite as, the two teams finished with the exact same amount of total yardage yesterday: 415 each. I don’t love the state of Miami’s offense right now, but I don’t hate that Miami was able to do that with Aveon Smith still at QB.
#5 Eastern Michigan (4-2, 1-1 MAC): Eastern still misses some important players to injury, but bringing back QB Taylor Powell, WR Dylan Drummond, and DE Carter Evans was really good for the team yesterday. EMU rode into WMU yesterday to have the team’s biggest win in rivalry history, and showed that the talent across its defensive line is definitely still there. Jose Ramirez had a 4-sack performance and got a fancy helmet sticker from ESPN.
#6 Kent State (2-4, 1-1 MAC): Kent State knows how to get yards, but it doesn’t score nearly as much as it should. The Flashes are second in the MAC with 2,623 total yards of offense and run plays at a 6.2 yards per play clip. Pretty good! Sandwiched right between Buffalo and Bowling Green, Kent is just sixth in the MAC in points per game at 27.2. Here’s a stat nobody ever cites: yards per touchdown. Forget field goals; on average, how many yards does a team have to travel to finally put the ball in the end zone? Kent State is ninth in the MAC at 131.15 ahead of just Ball State (137.61), Miami (138.07), and Akron (160.92). For the pace Kent State wants to play with, it’s got to fix up its efficiency to light up the scoreboard like it really ought to.
#7 Central Michigan (1-5, 0-2 MAC): Something I’m tracking this year is whether or not RB Lew Nichols will even reach 1,000 yards rushing this year after he hit 1,848 last season. He’s at 460 so far halfway through this season, and that’s in large part because CMU had to replace two great offensive linemen that were NFL Draft picks. But CMU’s issues as a team go far beyond its OL play. CMU has just lacked moxie this year.
#8 Ohio (3-3, 1-1 MAC): I want to put Ohio higher than where I have them, but only because I think Ohio would beat Kent State in a rematch. QB Kurtis Rourke is running away with First Team All-MAC honors right now: 151/213 passing (70.9%) for 1,944 yards (9.1 Y/A), 14 TD, 2 INT. Ohio’s got it made on offense right now and I feel like this team can steal some games if Rourke keeps up the pace and its secondary gets some takeaways in a shootout. Ohio’s lone interception this season was caught by linebacker Keye Thompson.
#9 Northern Illinois (1-5, 0-2 MAC): NIU’s has definitely been one of the bigger disappointments on the year. After losses to Ball State and now Toledo, it’s safe to write NIU off from repeating as MAC Champions. For throwing four interceptions (two pick-sixes) to the same guy, NIU moves down an extra spot this week.
#10 Bowling Green (2-4, 1-1 MAC): Buffalo came to Bowling Green with a 9-pound fish in-hand and slapped BG across the face with it. Buffalo got off to a 17-0 start, hung it in front of BG for a while, then pushed the lead up to 31-0 by halftime. BG generally takes care of the football, but turned the ball over four times yesterday for Buffalo to turn into 17 points. By points per game, BG (41.0) and Akron (40.8) both have the worst marks in the MAC this season.
#11 Western Michigan (2-4, 1-1 MAC): WMU’s offensive problems are really, really bad. The QB play isn’t there, but the receivers didn’t play any better in the first half against EMU, either. WMU can play some defense, but not well enough for WMU to “Iowa” its way into any wins.
#12 Akron (1-5, 0-2 MAC): I like that Akron was at least able to put up points at Ohio, but that might have more to do with Ohio’s putrid defense. That, and Akron’s defense clearly needs more work. It’s a good thing Joe Moorhead actually wants to be in Akron for the long haul.