The Mid-American Conference has slowly veered away from traditional Saturday afternoon football as the season enters its fourth quarter. Week nine finally drew to a close Thursday night in Oxford when the RedHawks beat Akron, 35-3. Entering week 10, the conference is shaped as follows:
Ohio (3-2 MAC, 6-3 overall)
Miami (3-2, 4-5)
Temple (3-3, 5-4)
Bowling Green (2-3, 4-5)
Kent State (1-3, 2-6)
Buffalo (1-4, 2-7)
Akron (0-5, 1-8)
Northern Illinois (4-1 MAC, 6-3 overall)
Toledo (4-1, 5-4)
Eastern Michigan (3-1, 5-3)
Western Michigan (3-2, 5-4)
Ball State (3-2, 5-4)
Central Michigan (2-3, 3-6)
The RedHawks will carry their momentum from their last game to take on Temple at Lincoln Financial Field for a key MAC East matchup. Miami has only one road win in four away games this season. The Owls are only 2-2 with home-field advantage, though they will be hungry to end their two-game slide that has brought them to third in the division standings.
If teams have the same record at the end of conference play, the team that had the best head-to-head success will advance. For example, if, at the end of the season Ohio and Temple have the same record, the tiebreaker goes to the Bobcats. That also means that Miami and Ohio could be playing for more than bragging rights if the rivals sit atop the East Division on Nov. 22.
In the unlikely situation that the top three teams lose the rest of their games, Bowling Green could silently sneak to the top of the division. The Falcons need to win the rest of their games, but they have a cushion in the event of a tie. Bowling Green already beat Miami and Temple, and they play Ohio Nov. 16.
Scoring sixty points in a game is usually enough to beat an opponent soundly, but that was not the case for Toledo. Northern Illinois beat the Rockets 63-60 Tuesday in a game with much more significance than a conference victory.
The Huskies’ win gave them a share of the division lead and earned them the tiebreaker. Next for Northern Illinois is Bowling Green, followed by Ball State and Eastern Michigan. The Eagles, currently tied for second in the division, play the Cardinals this weekend. Unlike most teams, Eastern Michigan has four MAC games remaining instead of three. It will be difficult for the Eagles to take the division lead because they lost to Toledo, though they could still make it with the help of others along with a win against the Huskies.
Even with the loss to Northern Illinois, Toledo still seems to be the most likely candidate to win the division if Northern Illinois falls. The Rockets play Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Ball State in the next few weeks. None of those games should be too difficult for the Rockets, though they are all must-wins.