Remember, these are weekly rankings, so teams can move up, down or stay put from one week to the next.
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1. Bowling Green - The solid defense appears to be there again, and that should keep the Falcons in a favorable position just about every time out. The thunder and lightning running back combination is very effective, so if the quarterback production improves … Wow! Who knows?!
2. Kent State - RB Dri Archer’s injury isn’t expected to be serious, but he has been banged up quite a bit in his career. The Flashes, however, do have some other options, including hard-running Tryion Durham. Then there is that KSU defense – which serves the Flashes well.
3. Ohio – Okay, Teddy Bridgewater is thinking Heisman and played like it Sunday. But not only were the Ohio defensive numbers bad, the offense was downright disappointing. Add it to the late slide last year, and it’s a little unnerving for some Bobcat fans right now.
4. Buffalo – You don’t have to endorse moral victories to appreciate the Bulls’ effort against No. 2 Ohio State Saturday. The Bulls did some impressive things on both sides of the ball, indicating they could make some real noise as they move down the schedule and – possibly – up the power rankings.
5. Miami – It’s hard to judge Miami’s defense by the warp-speed tempo employed by Marshall’s offense Saturday. Further analysis can come later. However, there were mixed signals by Miami’s offense. The RedHawks failed to score in the second half against a program that yielded over 40 points per game (average) last year. Miami likely won’t have much of a margin for error this year, so cleaning up dropped passes and other miscues would serve MU well.
6. Akron -- The Zips managed just 250 yards of total offense, with Jawon Chisolm picking up 10 yards on 11 carries with a long of nine yards. Ouch! D.J. Jones and Conor Hundley did combine for 104 yards, so that helped. But there was only 116 passing yards on 18-of-25 attempts. The offense must get untracked. Let’s see what happens this week against FCS foe James Madison.
7. UMass – It’s hard to matchup with a team like No. 23 Wisconsin, so it is really difficult to gauge any progress the Minutemen MIGHT have made as they start year two as an FBS program. Head coach Charlie Molnar seems to think things are headed in the right direction. Better tests lay ahead.
1. Northern Illinois – Those looking for some kind of chink in NIU’s armor are likely still looking. Saturday’s upset win at Iowa was truly impressive. Kinnick Stadium is a very tough place to play. Experience in big games seems to have steeled the Huskies even more.
2. Ball State – The Cardinals are in a position to thrive with Keith Wenning at QB and Jahwan Edwards toting the football. Wenning was in on five TDs last week (three passing, two running). Defensively, BSU yielded only a last minute TD after the 3:05 mark of the second quarter.
3 Toledo -- With nine returning starters on offense, UT’s offensive production against No. 10 Florida was disappointing. The Rockets registered just 205 yards of total offense and were 1-for-13 on third down conversions. Maybe it was a case of “Swamp Fever.” That happens a lot in Gainesville, especially this time of year. Toledo faces another stiff challenge on the road this week at Missouri.
4. Western Michigan – The Broncos yielded points in each quarter against Michigan State, but no more than seven per stanza and also limited the Spartans to 297 yards. If WMU can avoid turnovers (like the four against MSU) and cut down on penalties (7/65), they won’t be beating themselves. QB Tyler Van Tubbergen is reportedly day-to-day after a second quarter head injury in the 26-13 loss at Michigan State.
5. Eastern Michigan – Tyler Benz connected on 19-of-26 with two TDs and Bronson Hill rushed for 101 yards (28 carries) with two key touchdowns in the win over Howard. This may be a year for balance in the Eagles offense.
6. Central Michigan – A Detroit News report indicated Chippewas starter Cody Kater (QB, collar bone) and Zurlon Tipton (RB, ankle) will be out indefinitely following injuries in CMU’s 59-9 loss at Michigan. That’s not the way you want to start a season, especially with Central’s schedule.