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2013 CFN Final MAC Rankings & Roundup
Posted Jan 13, 2014

2013 MAC Fearless Predictions, Roundup & Standings

CFN 2013 Final Season Rankings | The Top Ten
11 to 25 | 26 to 50 | 51 to 75 | 76 to 100 | Bottom 25
By Conference ACC | AAC | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA
Independents | MAC | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

The Formula's Components: 
1. Wins. - If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
2. Quality Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each win counts as 1.
3. Elite Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5. Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn't added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game counts as one.
4. Bad Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer or a loss to a FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
5. Bad Win - The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a D-IAA team. Each win counts as minus 0.25. 
6. Elite Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
7. Point Differential - Points for minus points against divided by 100. 
8. Winning Percentage - To take losses into account, winning percentage is in the mix. Total wins is the tie-breaker followed by winning percentage.

Remember, these rankings are based on how good the seasons were overall, and NOT based on how good the team might have been. Number next to team is the final overall season ranking.

21. Northern Illinois (12-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.40
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 76
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 15

It was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year after losing to Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl, but the Huskies got to the MAC title game unbeaten and with a shot at a second straight BCS appearance right there for the taking. However, the team held on for dear life time and again thanks to the great play of Jordan Lynch and hurt by the shakiness of the defense. It all fell apart late in a 20-point loss to Bowling Green in the championship, and with the season memories hurt by a 21-14 loss to Utah State in the Poinsettia, but Lynch got to New York as a Heisman finalist and with wins over Iowa, Ball State and Toledo, it was still a great year.

23. Bowling Green (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 82
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 58

The Falcons came into the season as one of the preseason favorites for the MAC title, and they came through ending NIU’s BCS dream with a 47-27 stomping in the championship game. There were some strange moments, like a 42-10 loss to Indiana, but they pushed Mississippi State to the brink in a 21-20 road loss. There were lots of bad wins – that’s life in the MAC – and losing to Toledo and to Pitt in the Little Caesars Bowl were disappointments, but the conference title made it one of the greatest seasons in school history. Unfortunately, that meant losing head coach Dave Clawson to Wake Forest.

44. Ball State (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.32
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 96
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 43

With a high-powered offense that destroyed most MAC teams, Ball State’s ranking finished in the high 40s for yet another year. Six of the eight wins were bad, beating five teams that finished with three losses or fewer along with a victory over Illinois State – and Toledo was the only quality victory, but the big problem was a loss to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl – the program still has yet win a bowl game. Fortunately, ten wins and that offense were enough to make it a strong season.

67. Ohio (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 8.78
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 80
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 51

Call this one of the rankings that doesn’t really fit. The Bobcats lost four of their final five games, getting blown out by Buffalo, Bowling Green and Kent State by a grand total of 123 to 16, but wins over North Texas and Marshall helped the overall ranking. The season was far better over the first half of the year than the second, and closing out with a blowout loss to East Carolina wasn’t a positive.

83. Akron (5-7)
2013 CFN Season Score: 5.09
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 110
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 93

All things considered, it was a better season than the Zips could’ve reasonably asked for. Losing to Northern Illinois and UCF wasn’t any big deal, and closing out with four wins in the final five games was great, beating Toledo and Kent State along the way. It took a miracle for Michigan to escape a massive upset at home, and Louisiana-Lafayette was pushed in a 35-30 Zip loss. Three losses came by seven points or fewer, and while the offense was never consistent, and it scored more than 24 points just three times, 5-7 under Terry Bowden is a plus.

85. Central Michigan (6-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 4.86
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 94
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 72

The Chippewas won five of their final seven games, and while the victory over Ohio was the only one on the slate against an FBS team that won more than two games. The offense might have been mediocre until late, and the defense might have been rocky against any team that could field an offense, it was still a six-win season – beating the bad teams is part of life in the MAC.

89. Kent State (4-8)
2013 CFN Season Score: 4.09
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 86
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 26

After an epic 2012 season that almost concluded with a BCS berth, reality hit hard in Paul Haynes’ first season. The year, though was saved by wins over Miami University and Ohio to close out the season – the victory over the Bobcats was the biggest key to keeping the ranking from sinking into the abyss. The three wins came against Liberty, Western Michigan and MU – ugh. However, only the 16-7 loss to Akron came against a team that finished with a losing record.

115. Eastern Michigan (2-10)
2013 CFN Season Score: -2.24
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 121
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 115

The wins came over Howard in the opener and late against a one-win Western Michigan team – that’s only part of the reason why Ron English isn’t the head coach at EMU anymore. The defense was a nightmare, giving up 42 points or more in nine games and 50 or more six games. All ten losses were by 18 points or more including a 50-25 bad loss to Army.

118. Western Michigan (1-11)
2013 CFN Season Score: -3.36
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 100
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 101

Out of all the tough first years by several new head coaches, no one had a rougher go than P.J. Fleck, with a non-existent defense and a floundering offense. The hindsight highlight was giving Michigan State a rough time in the season opener, but all the hopes were wiped away immediately with a home loss to Nicholls State. The lone victory over UMass helped a little bit, but that was blown away the week after with a loss to Eastern Michigan. Three of the losses were by five points or fewer.

121. Massachusetts (1-11)
2013 CFN Season Score: -4.48
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 122
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 117

It’s a process under Charley Molnar has he tries to make UMass a MAC power by building from the ground up. Along the way, it’s a difficult fight losing to Maine at home and with the lone win coming against a woeful Miami University. The home loss to Western Michigan was particularly galling, but the biggest overall issue was an offense that managed just 35 points over the first five games.

123.Miami University (0-12)
2013 CFN Season Score: -5.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 118
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 90

The season was a total disaster from the start and didn’t get any better, firing Don Treadwell after an 0-5 start. Only FIU was as bad at scoring with the RedHawk attack never coming up with more than 17, and now the program is on a 16-game losing streak. Why isn’t the ranking lower? Only two bad losses with one to Kentucky and the other to UMass.

MAC Offensive Player of the Year
QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois – He might not have brought home the MAC title or a BCS bid, but this was his MAC season on the way to being named a Heisman finalist. If he has a nice day against Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl, he could finish with 2,000 rushing yards after a dominant campaign. He showed he could throw a little bit, too, hitting 63% of his throws with 23 touchdown passes and seven picks, with two of those coming in the loss to Bowling Green. .

MAC Defensive Player of the Year
LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo – There were other reasons Buffalo had a shockingly strong year, but Mack was the catalyst. A mortal lock to be a top 15 overall draft pick, if not top five, he closed out a phenomenal career with 94 tackles with 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. All the tools are there to be a star at the next level, and he showed off glimpses of his greatness early on with 2.5 sacks against Ohio State while finishing the regular season great against the run with 15 stops against Toledo and 12 against Bowling Green.

3 Biggest Surprises
1. Buffalo. After starting the season 0-2 with losses to Ohio State and Baylor by a combined score of 110-33, it looked like just another bad year for the Bulls. Of course, the Buckeyes and Bears turned out to be great, and so did UB, ripping off seven straight wins to challenge for the MAC title and get off to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to face San Diego State. Yes, there isn’t a good win on the lot – except for maybe the 30-3 victory over Ohio – but beating UConn at least looks decent on the resume and 8-4 is 8-4.
2. Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson. He didn’t even make the All-MAC Third Team, but he’ll have to settle for a conference title after outplaying Jordan Lynch in the championship. Matt Schilz was originally supposed to be the veteran leader to take the strong Falcon team to a big year, but it was Johnson who took over right away to finish second in the conference in passing while also showing off some decent mobility to finish third in the league in total offense.
3. Ball State 48, Virginia 27. There were some decent MAC wins this year – highlighted by the NIU win over Iowa – but Ball State turned in a key gem from out of the blue in early October. The Cardinals were stunned by North Texas a few weeks earlier, but the offense ramped it up in Charlottesville in a shocking blowout over an ACC team that needed the home victory.

3 Biggest Disappointments
1. Bowling Green 47, Northern Illinois 27. The Huskies had everything set up perfectly with a 12-0 start – remember, they went 11-1 in 2012 before winning the MAC title – and a Fresno State loss to pave the way to a second straight trip to the BCS. No one was talking BCS championship, but the Huskies could’ve made everyone in the conference a lot of money with a date in one of the spotlight games. Matt Johnson and Bowling Green were fantastic, and NIU didn’t have any answers.
2. Western Michigan. Enough talent returned to have been a factor in some way in the MAC race, instead, the Broncos were a complete and utter disaster in P.J. Fleck’s first season at the helm. The home loss to Nicholls State was a particular problem, but nothing else worked against anyone by UMass, coming up with a 31-30 victory for the lone win. You’re not going in the right direction if you’re losing to Eastern Michigan.
3. Kent State. One year removed from being really, really close to winning the MAC title and going off to the BCS, the defense went bye-bye as Darrell Hazell took off to Purdue – where he had plenty of problems of his own. The Golden Flashes never found any sort of a positive groove, but the schedule had a lot to do with it. They played Ball State tough, but they were blasted by 20 in a loss to Buffalo and clunked against Akron. The season-ending 44-13 win over Ohio showed just how good the team could’ve been.

Best MAC Game of the Season
Oct. 26, Toledo 28, Bowling Green 25
Toledo got out to a 21-0 lead and was cruising along on the road in what appeared to be a stunner, and then Bowling Green came roaring back with 25 straight points helped by two seven-yard touchdown runs from Travis Greene in the fourth quarter for a four-point lead. But Terrance Owens took over late, marching the Rockets to an 11-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell with just over a minute to play for the key win.

Coach of the Year
1) Dave Clawson, Bowling Green – He got the job done, taking the Falcons to a MAC title before cashing out with the Wake Forest gig.
2) Rod Carey, Northern Illinois – All he had to do was take a team that went to the BCS and keep the momentum going despite a huge loss of talent on both sides of the ball. He didn’t get the MAC title, but 12-1 isn’t anything to be too disappointed over.
3) Jeff Quinn, Buffalo – It took a few years, and he was helped by a soft schedule, but his team was fantastic defensively on the way to its strongest season since winning the MAC under Turner Gill.

Grading the MAC
Akron: C+ … The Zips made another step forward under Terry Bowden, shining late with four wins in the final five games including a nice win over Toledo to close things out.

Ball State: A … The loss to Northern Illinois was the one big misfire, but the Cardinals came up with ten wins and a bowl appearance. Keith Wenning and the offense were worth the price of admission.

Bowling Green: A … The Falcons lived up to the preseason billing and came up with a brilliant performance to win the MAC title. The defense was fantastic.

Buffalo: A- … It would’ve been nice if the Bulls had come up with a better performance at home against Bowling Green, and the loss to Toledo hurt, but there’s no real complaint with the eight-win season and a bowl appearance..

Central Michigan: B- … Considering the rough start to the year, the Chippewas weren’t all that bad winning five of their last six games to become bowl eligible. There was only one good win – Ohio – but part of MAC life is beating the teams you’re supposed to.

Eastern Michigan: D- … It wasn’t just that the Eagles were bad; they weren’t even close. The Ron English era came to a bad end, but at least the team beat Western Michigan.

Kent State: D+ … Considering how good the 2012 team was, losing eight games and getting blown out by South Alabama and Buffalo, and losing to Akron, was a major fall back to earth.

Massachusetts: D … It’s all relative. Charley Molnar is trying to build up the program from scratch, and while 1-11 is hardly anything to be happy about, the team needs a while.

Miami University: F … Awful. The RedHawks might have had the worst team in America.

Northern Illinois: A- … The Huskies did everything right but win the MAC title and go do the BCS. It was still a tremendously successful year.

Ohio: C+ … The Bobcats beat North Texas in a better win than it seemed at the time, and they set the bar high with a win over Marshall on the way to a 4-1 start, but a three game losing streak by a total score of 95-16 was awful.

Toledo: C+ … It wasn’t a bad year, and the win over Bowling Green was fantastic, but 7-5 didn’t bring a bowl bid. Blame the loss to Akron in the season finale.

Western Michigan: F … A complete and utter disaster for a team that should’ve won at least five games. Instead, it was really, really close to being winless.

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