Things just haven’t gone right for the Mid-American Conference this season. Against FBS schools, the MAC is 1-13 with the one win coming from Eastern Michigan over Coastal Carolina. This weekend, the MAC was 0-7 at Power 5 schools, and there weren’t any moral victories picked up on Saturday either.
In this week’s power ranking, I decided to keep my changes to a minimum. It was bad for everybody, and it’s probably just fair to wait it out another week or so to see how these teams rebound after a mostly crappy weekend.
The only adjustments from last week: Akron went from 12th to 11th and Central Michigan from 11th to last. Everybody else is at the same spot as last week.
MAC Prospectus Power Rankings (thru Week 2)
- Ball State
- Kent State
- Akron (last week: 12)
- CMU (last week: 11)
1. Ohio (1-1)
Last week: L 20-10 at Pitt
If I could, I’d have this list start at No. 5 and rank these teams 5-16 instead of 1-12, because that’s the taste Week 2 left. Hopefully, it’s just a non-conference week that’s mostly smoke and mirrors because Ohio’s offense averaged 3.8 yards per play against Pitt.
In fairness, Pitt’s tough to play against (42nd in defensive SP+), and Nathan Rourke was under the weather during the game, but it truly looked like the game a lot of people feared when roster attrition was the focus of the offense. Rourke was sacked six times, and his total offense was limited to 134 net yards and no scores on the morning.
2. Northern Illinois (1-1)
Last week: L 35-17 at Utah
It only took two games for Ross Bowers to deliver on what we all really wanted.
Aside from the cool-looking score, Bowers was 20 of 29 for 229 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Nobody for NIU even reached 40 yards rushing, but Spencer Tears had a 112-yard game, including a 74-yard score.
The defense played uncharacteristically poorly, though. Utah had 11.3 yards per pass attempt, 5.2 per rush, 7.3 per play, and was 5-for-5 in the red zone. Utah’s a damn good team and a 35-17 loss is still respectable, but Utes RB Zach Moss broke 50 or so tackles against a defense that usually doesn’t allow that sort of behavior.
3. Toledo (0-1)
Last week: bye
An update at quarterback: Candle didn’t say that Bradley won’t be starting on Saturday. Still waiting to see how Guadagni’s treatment for concussion goes.
4. Eastern Michigan (1-1)
Last week: L 38-17 at Kentucky
EMU had its chances to go on and make a score during crucial moments of the game, but decided not to.
With 1:11 to go in the first half, down 17-3 with two timeouts to use to try and string together an 89-yard drive, here’s how EMU drew things up: Swing pass, run option, QB run (scramble or RPO?), then a pass to TE Bryson Cannon going out of bounds to stop the clock at 20 seconds, still two timeouts to use. From Kentucky’s 28-yard line, EMU called another run option play, then let the clock wind down to 5 seconds before snapping it from a 5-wide set, just for Glass’ pass to go incomplete to Dylan Drummond running towards the sideline. No timeouts used, no points to show for it.
Under eight minutes to go in the game, the score read 31-17, Kentucky’s way. EMU had two timeouts to use to try and score an 80-something yard drive again. With about five minutes left, still driving, Glass’ helmet came off after a second-down play, so backup Preston Hutchinson had to come in for a play on third down and four.
EMU’s decision: Just run the ball up the middle.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. Hutchinson went back to the line of scrimmage, then back to the sidleline. The rest of the offense would join him in less than a minute after Glass’ pass downfield. Two timeouts still in the back pocket, but Kentucky took advantage of the short field to get the game out of reach.
Another spoiler: EMU finished the game with 2.2 yards per rush attempt. So it’s not like running the ball was ever an efficient strategy for EMU on the night. This may or may not be a recurring theme this season.
5. Buffalo (1-1)
Last week: L 45-13 at Penn State
Buffalo led at the half! That’s a guaranteed 20-minute lead in Happy Valley that his team will have for the rest of their lives.
Penn State ended up smacking Buffalo for 28 points in the third quarter and didn’t really let off the brakes. Penn State scored with three minutes to go on a 56-yard pass on a game that was already a blowout, but that’s James Franklin for you. (Note: I endorse running up the score. Always.)
Buffalo’s defense gave up 12.7 yards per pass attempt, which is uncharacteristic for this team. Last year’s defense gave up 6.7 yards through the air on average. Looking at defensive Y/A in the game log, Buffalo’s worst outing was against Army (lol) when the Black Knights went 4-for-5 for 91 yards (18.2).
I’m sure the pass defense will get better as the season goes on, and Penn State’s just the better team.
6. Western Michigan (1-1)
Last week: L 51-17 at Michigan State
WMU’s defense is probably still really bad. Michigan State’s probably one of the 14 best teams in the country when it’s all said and done, but WMU’s defense is probably still really bad, too.
Through the air at Michigan State, WMU’s defense allowed 10 yards per pass attempt. On average, incomplete passes are still worth a first down against the Broncos.
Look, I really want the Broncos to move up based on talent alone, but the offense isn’t good enough to rally for 50 or so points every week (or at least not yet) if this defense has a serious weakness against the pass.
Again, this week really sucked for a lot of MAC teams.
7. Miami (1-1)
Last week: W 48-17 vs. Tennessee Tech
Take it for whatever this is worth. This is the best win over an FCS team during the Chuck Martin era.
- 2014, Miami lost to Eastern Kentucky 17-10.
- 2015, Miami beat Presbyterian 26-7, but it was a 13-7 game entering the fourth quarter.
- 2016, Miami lost to Eastern Illinois 21-17.
- 2017, Miami beat Austin Peay 31-10, led 21-10 entering the fourth quarter.
- No FCS games in 2018.
Miami scored 41 points and allowed no touchdowns by halftime. That’s exactly how games against FCS game should go. And there’s no trophy in getting to this point (sorry, Chuck) but at least it’s better than what Miami fans have had to deal with before. It’s too early in the season for high blood pressure.
We’ll find out more about how good Brett Gabbert really can be as a true freshman quarterback as this season plays out, but so far he’s played roughly 60 minutes of college football and hasn’t embarrassed himself out there. That’s really something to build off of.
8. Ball State
Last week: W 57-29 vs. Fordham
Drew Plitt had six touchdown passes which is really cool! Riley Neal’s performances max’ed out at four scores, so what I’m trying to say is that Ball State got better by subtraction.
9. Kent State (1-1)
Last week: defeated Kennesaw State 26-23/OT at home
Dustin Crum played all but one snap at quarterback for Kent State in the overtime win over Kennesaw State last week. Local reporter Allen Moff said that Woody Barrett is still the starting quarterback, but I’m going to wait until Saturday rolls around to find out what the truth is. In any case, if there’s uncertainty at the most important position on the field during Week 3 of the season when there was none of this over the offseason, then that’s a problem.
10. Bowling Green (1-1)
Last week: L 52-0 at Kansas State
Keep playing offense like that and I’ll have to start calling you Bwling Green. There will probably be better days than the one BG had with its whopping zero points at Kansas State, boss level of BG’s schedule,
11. Akron (0-2)
Last week: L 31-20 vs. UAB
I’m not interested in talking about what this team has done on the field because I’m most interested in that Doodlebob-ass turnover pencil the Zips are playing around with on the sideline. Which is weird because I also know that simply talking about the turnover pencil just legitimizes it all together, and that’s not a cool sideline prop. If Akron had any confidence in itself, it’d use a pen.
12. Central Michigan (1-1)
Last week: L 61-0 at Wisconsin
Against Wisconsin, CMU’s offense had 59 total yards and the defense allowed 61 points.