Power Rankings: Does Anybody Ever Learn Anything Over Labor Day Weekend?

After a week of football (it felt SO GOOD just to type that), we’ve learned a few things around the league, but it’s not usually too eye-opening.

Rankings here are pretty much stagnant, especially in the top-half of the list. The bottom-half has some shake-up, but I’m not going to act like there’s a point to be made in any of those moves. The bar for my editorial judgment on these is if whether or not I shrug my shoulders when I ask myself “does that feel right?”

MAC Prospectus Power Rankings (thru Week 1)

    1. Ohio
    2. NIU
    3. Toledo
    4. EMU
    5. Buffalo
    6. WMU
    7. Miami (last week: 8)
    8. Ball State (last week: 9)
    9. Kent State (last week: 7)
    10. BGSU (last week: 11)
    11. CMU (last week: 10)
    12. Akron

Previous rankings thru: Week 0

1. Ohio (1-0)

Last week: defeated FCS Rhode Island 41-20

No real shift in my confidence for the Bobcats after beating up on Rhode Island. It wasn’t something ridiculous of a finish like 82-3 or 52-0 or anything of the sort. A modest, 3-score victory at home to celebrate the new year and forget about later is always nice and polite.

New name alert: There’s this running back for Ohio named De’Montre Tuggle that’s really worth the mention here. The man’s got an A+ name that joined Ohio this year via the JUCO route. Anyways, he only had three carries on Saturday and now he leads the team with two rushing touchdowns.

2. Northern Illinois (1-0)

Last week: defeated Illinois State 24-10 at home

That first 30 minutes of football? You know, the time where it’s halftime and everybody’s wondering why the heck this is still a 3-3 ball game?

Does it mean anything? No, not really. Week 1 is sometimes a liar. There’s no preseason in college sports, so slow starts happen. Sometimes when NIU has slow starts against FCS schools, they might result in games like this! Or sometimes, like in 2016, you lose to Western Illinois.

NIU eventually broke out of its shell though. Ross Bowers, to nobody’s surprise, was the full-time quarterback for the Huskies and had a really decent outing. He was 20-for-33, 299 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT. His two touchdowns went to new JUCO transfer Tyrice Ritchie, including one for 68 yards.

Have a day: Jalen McKie! Took one interception to the house from 32 yards out, four tackles, one tackle for loss.

3. Toledo (0-1)

Last week: lost at Kentucky 38-24

Toledo lost Mitch Guadagni after he was hit in the head in the third quarter of the Kentucky game, and now it’s wait-and-see if he’ll be cleared to play again [soon]. Carter Bradley didn’t exactly do many favors when he came in, but again, I’m willing to look past the Week 1 blues if there’s any improvement out of him if that’s what has to happen next.

Good news: It’s already a bye week for Toledo. Extra prep time for the Rockets to slide back into non-conference play with rest on their side.

4. Eastern Michigan (1-0)

Last week: defeated Coastal Carolina 30-23 on the road

Mike Glass looked damn fine against Coastal Carolina. He threw 22 passes and completed all but two of them for 188 yards and three scores. Two went to rising sophomore Dylan Drummond, one to newcomer Quian Williams. The defense took advantage of turnover opportunities with four interceptions, including one from defensive end Clay Holford (he almost had two).

5. Buffalo (1-0)

Last week: defeated Robert Morris 38-10 at home

Not a lot was learned from Buffalo last week, other than that the team isn’t catastrophically worse with all the roster turnover from last year. Or at least not against Robert Morris. Or maybe even at least not yet, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

6. Western Michigan (1-0)

Last week: defeated Monmouth 48-13

I didn’t watch WMU’s win over Monmouth too closely, so I’m very confused as to why LeVante Bellamy got only averaged 2.9 yards per carry (18). Not going to read too much into that, but that’s just not a stat I thought a player like him would have against a team like that.

Jon Wassink looked really good with five TDs. I doubt that’ll be the norm, but it was a very strong start to the season.

7. Miami (0-1)

Last week: lost to Iowa 38-14 on the road

Coming into the game, I didn’t think I’d be impressed with whatever performance I saw out of whichever quarterback Chuck Martin decided to go with. Instead, Brett Gabbert became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Miami in school history and went 17-for-27, 186 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT against a really strong Iowa defense.

If there’s any upward trend in this kid’s career from this point, then it’s a career to really look forward to. And for Miami’s sake, hopefully, there’s more of that coming out of him soon.

8. Ball State (0-1)

Last week: lost 34-24 to Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium

Ball State played the football game I thought it would to perfection. The two interceptions from AJ Uzodinma and Antonio Phillips. The moments of “maybe a lead change are looming!?” Drew Plitt’s good day behind center as the new full-time quarterback. Indiana actually left points on the board with missed opportunities on botched big plays.

Indiana kicker Logan Justus nailed field goals from 48, 30, 49, and then 50 yards out. Four deep field goal tries, and no misses. That’s 12 points in a 10-point game. Give that man the game ball.

9. Kent State (0-1)

Last week: lost to Arizona State 30-7 on the road

Kent State played terribly, but there’s absolutely no humane way to prepare for a football game in 102-degree heat. Weeks later, we’ll remember that Kent State had -1 passing yard in the first half against Arizona State, but we’ll forget about everybody that started to cramp up during the pregame.

(I don’t know if that last part’s true. I’m just assuming that it happened because it was a football game in 102 damned degrees.)

10. Bowling Green (1-0)

Last week: defeated Morgan State 46-3 at home

Of the three teams left to list, BG had the best showing with its new head coach. BG is now 1-0 in the Scot Loeffler era with a huge win over a not-great FCS team. Morgan State threw nine passes all day, the team probably just wanted to pack up and go.

11. Central Michigan (1-0)

Last week: defeated Albany 38-21 at home

Hey, that’s the Jonathan Ward we all know and love. On 22 handoffs, Ward picked up 158 yards and scored two times. The last time he had a game like that was in 2017 when he had 21 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown to help beat NIU. Albany isn’t NIU, but Ward didn’t have a day like this last year, so it’s a nice change of pace.

12. Akron (1-0)

Last week: lost to Illinois 42-3 on the road

In an effort to improve on the Akron offense by making a coaching change from Terry Bowden to Tom Arth, the Zips averaged 2.9 yards per play to debut the professional style of play.

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