MAC History: Ball State, Buffalo ranked in final AP Poll

After watching the Big Ten’s representative team get its ass kicked for three straight hours on Monday night, the final AP Top 25 Poll came out. And with that, MAC football history was made at 1 in the morning with two teams ranked in the final poll.

MAC championship team Ball State pulled in at #23, and runner-up Buffalo got the #25 spot. It’s the second time in MAC history where two untraditional powers from this level finish in the AP’s final poll. They are the 16th and 17th teams in MAC history to be recognized on the year-ending list.

Ball State (7–1) had a long build-up to this moment and had an undeniably awesome rally to end the year. It’s final three games of the year included a home, MAC West-deciding game against favored Western Michigan, a 10-point win over then-AP-ranked Buffalo in the MAC Championship, then dominated the undefeated (now one-defeated; boom. roasted.) Mountain West champs San Jose State with a 27-point first quarter in the Arizona Bowl. The Cardinals would definitely be ranked higher if it wouldn’t have lost to Miami, then-defending champs from 2019, in the first game of the year.

Buffalo (6–1) is known by and large for its nation-leading rushing attack (6.7 yards per carry), and Jaret Patterson’s performance vs. Kent State will be talked about for a long, long time. The Bulls scored no fewer than 42 points in any of its MAC contests and narrowly beat Marshall in the Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day without two of the Bulls’ best players that day.

MAC teams to finish ranked on AP Final Poll:

  • 2020, #23 Ball State
  • 2020, #25 Buffalo
  • 2016, #15 Western Michigan
  • 2012, #22 Northern Illinois
  • 2009, #23 Central Michigan
  • 2003, #10 Miami
  • 2003, #23 Bowling Green
  • 2002, #24 Marshall
  • 2001, #23 Toledo
  • 1999, #10 Marshall
  • 1996, #24 Toledo
  • 1975, #12 Miami
  • 1974, #10 Miami
  • 1973, #15 Miami
  • 1971, #14 Toledo
  • 1970, #12 Toledo
  • 1968, #20 Ohio

Note on the AP rankings: The poll used to only list its top 20 schools up until the start of 1989 when the lists expanded to 25.

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