ET - When will Northern Illinois take their first loss, and when will Massachusetts, Miami, and Western Michigan get their first wins? (Or will the Huskies go undefeated and/or one of those teams go winless?
NIU might not take one at all but if they do I suspect it will come at the hands of Toledo (if they can clean up the penalties) or Ball State (if they can get their defense solid enough to slow down Jordan Lynch).
The Rockets game was telling because Toledo's play was really solid enough to have comfortably won that game if not for undisciplined play (penalties) and some very sad trips into the redzone. If the Rockets manage to knock off NIU while the Huskies keep the Brass Stalk trophy by beating Ball State the tie breakers begin to get ugly.
First wins? Well let's hope none of them get on the score board against Buffalo. The standard answer in years past was "when do they play Akron". The problem for these teams is that the Zips, while bad, are not comically bad. I doubt they lay down for UMass like they did last season.
If Buffalo shows up in Kalamazo then the first chance for the Broncos might come on October 26th when WMU and UMass Square off. UMass plays the other winless team, Miami, on the 12th.
Miami has a very favorable stretch of games coming up. Central Michigan, UMass, and then Akron. If they don't win there it's hard to see them winning a game this year.
ET - Who are your early picks for offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, special teams player of the year, freshman of the year, and coach of the year?
It's hard not to go with Wenning from Ball State. Their offense has been on a tear and he is the most efficient and proficient passer in the conference. People are going to say it should be Jordan Lynch but for what Ball State is Keith Wenning is the perfect Quarterback.
On defense it's a little bit less clear cut but Khalil Mack is tied for the conference lean in sacks per game and he is second in tackles for loss. A lot of teams are trying to scheme him out of games but Adam Redden and Colby way are starting to make that rather difficult.
With a soft spot coming up in UB's schedule Mack has a crack at the NCAA record in tackles for loss.
ET - Since we did our first in-season ranking last week, which teams are most likely to finish well above where we ranked them, and which will finish far below?
After seeing Dri Archer back on the field I think Kent has the highest shot of moving up in the world. The Flashes are a different squad once Archer comes in to make the big plays. Their slow start and a killer draw against the MAC West puts Kent over a barrel but it's relatively clear sailing until a season final against Ohio.
Ohio I think has the best chance of failing in the rankings. They are getting pretty banged up and Solich has never been a fabulous November coach. Three of their last four are against Kent, Buffalo, and Bowling Green with the Buffalo and Bowling Green games on the road.