Welcome to Week 1!
The Mid-American Conference joins the rest of college football with its season-opening games beginning over Labor Day weekend. Games begin Thursday with defending MAC champs and championship runners-up, Ball State and Buffalo respectively, going up against FCS competition; Bowling Green will try to hold its own at Tennessee. There’s one game Friday (Eastern Michigan vs. an FCS team), and remaining games all throughout Saturday.
So how do we all feel about these teams heading into the year?
Power rankings is a stupid thought exercise, but I like to have fun with them so I’ve thrown together an incredibly inconsequential list of my rankings. Please feel free to have fun with the list because my one rule for whenever I publish these things is this (which, for now, will be every Sunday here on macfootballblog.com): You’re not allowed to get mad at these. No matter how you really feel about my lists, feel free to post your own in the comments.
Week 1 MAC Football Power Rankings
BALL STATE — Let’s simply give it up for the returning MAC Champs. There’s a lot of returning talent here; hard to go against the Cardinals.
TOLEDO — Toledo is SP+’s favorite to be the most successful team in the league. On paper it makes sense, and I believe things could turn around for the Rockets.
WESTERN MICHIGAN — The Broncos just might have the best offense in the conference. With Kaleb Eleby, anything’s possible. With that defense, I’m a little bit nervous for this team.
MIAMI — Miami actually did win the MAC the last time we had a full, 12-game football season. A lot of those same contributors in 2019 are back for 2021. Miami’s defense has my respect. Also, I didn’t see anybody else beat Ball State last year. Did you?
KENT STATE — There’s potential for this Kent State team to be, maybe, the best in school history. The defense needs to prove itself immediately, but at least the offense is really solid.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN — I think CMU is the most physical team in the league, and the defense is one of the most consistent units in the league. If there’s good QB play out of Jacob Sirmon this year: everybody watch out.
BUFFALO — This is just a hard team to forecast, all things considered. If Lance Leipold were still here, I’d feel much more optimistic for UB’s odds heading into the new year. The late coaching change is going to hurt, but some mistakes might be masked by senior talent. (Fingers crossed!)
EASTERN MICHIGAN— Eastern’s certainly gotten more respect over the years, and can certainly hold its own. Even though the Eagles are good about keeping games to one score, still coming off 2-4 record in 2020.
OHIO — Ohio’s probably (definitely) “too low” on this list, but we all know why, right? Decent floor, but the ceiling is uncertain. Barely 3 games played last year (BG, Akron: meh) and the QB situation isn’t a slam dunk.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS— The Huskies have SO MANY freshmen, and it’s almost a sin for me to put the Huskies *this* highly. Did show some improvement down the stretch in 2020. Finished 0-6.
AKRON — Could go either way with NIU/Akron here and at 10. I want to believe in Akron, but using BG to snap a 21-game losing streak to end the 2020 season isn’t enough for me to rate the Zips higher.
BOWLING GREEN — No.