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The Road to the College Football Playoff - Preseason

Not Everything Is MACtion's Road to the College Football Playoff

Brian Kersey/Getty Images

The NEIM Road to the College Football Playoff looks at the MAC's national profile, and how far conference teams need to climb to earn the Group of 5 top bowl game spot, as well as how far they need to climb to gain an unprecedented spot in the college football playoff:

MAC Average National Rank
Team Average National Rank CFP Magic # High Low
WMU 50 46 65 31
Toledo 58 54 87 39
NIU 67 63 81 49
BGSU 71 67 93 53
CMU 75 71 85 46
Ohio 79 75 100 59
Akron 89 85 112 64
Buffalo 104 100 114 92
Ball State 110 106 123 101
Kent 110 106 120 103
Miami (OH) 111 107 124 106
EMU 123 119 128 110
USA Today Myerberg, CBS Sports, ESPN FPI, Orlando Sentinel, Massey, Billingsley + MOV, S&P, Bill C SB Nation

The MAC puts 2 teams in the top half of the nation, as everyone waits for the assumed week 13 MAC West Championship Game showdown between WMU and Toledo. On average WMU will need to leap over 46 teams to earn a spot in the college football playoff. In their best ranking, WMU sneaks into the top 25% of the nation at #31.

MAC G5 Rank
Team G5 Rank G5 Magic #
WMU 7 6
Toledo 11 10
NIU 17 16
BGSU 20 19
CMU 22 21
Ohio 25 24
Akron 31 30
Buffalo 41 40
Ball State 46 45
Kent 48 47
Miami (OH) 51 50
EMU 60 59

WMU only needs to pass 6 teams to reach the G5 top-6 bowl game.

The G5 Top 25
Rank Conf Team Avg Hi Low Change
1 AAC Houston 26 53 10
2 MWC Boise State 34 50 18
3 MWC San Diego State 43 58 14
4 CUSA Western Kentucky 44 62 31
5 AAC South Florida 47 69 30
6 Indy BYU 50 69 35
7 MAC Western Michigan 50 65 31
8 Sun App State 53 70 24
9 AAC Temple 53 64 40
10 AAC Navy 54 80 33
11 MAC Toledo 58 87 39
12 AAC Memphis 61 79 39
13 CUSA Marshall 62 76 38
14 Sun Ga South 62 85 52
15 CUSA So Miss 63 90 34
16 MWC Air Force 64 82 41
17 MAC NIU 67 81 49
18 AAC Cincy 67 75 51
19 Sun Ark State 70 89 42
20 MAC BGSU 71 93 53
21 CUSA La Tech 71 94 33
22 MAC CMU 75 85 46
23 CUSA Middle Tenn 78 96 55
24 MWC Utah St 79 90 59
25 MAC Ohio 79 100 59

6 MAC teams are in the initial G5 top 25.

Average Conference Rank
Rank Conference Average Rank
1 AAC 74
2 MWC 84
3 MAC 87
4 CUSA 93
5 Sun 96

The MAC is third in strength and can gain ground on the MWC with a good showing in OOC play.

Season Projections:
W/L Projections Based on National Perception
Team Overall W/L MAC W/L W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12 W13
WMU 10-2 8-0 P5 FCS P5 Ga Sou at CMU NIU at AKR EMU BYE at BSU at KSU UB TOL
NIU 9-3 7-1 at WYo at USF SDSU FCS at BSU at WMU CMU UB BYE BG TOL at EMU at KSU
Ohio 8-4 6-2 Tx St P5 P5 FCS at MIA BG EMU at KSU at TOL UB BYE at CMU AKR
Toledo 8-4 6-2 at Ark St FCS Fresno BYE at BYU at EMU BG CMU OU at AKR at NIU BSU at WMU
CMU 7-5 5-3 FCS P5 UNLV P5 WMU BSU at NIU at TOL KSU at MIA BYE OU at EMU
Buffalo 6-6 4-4 FCS BYE at Nev Army P5 KSU BSU at NIU AKR at OU MIA at WMU at BG
BGSU 6-6 4-4 P5 FCS M. Ten at Mem EMU at OU at TOL MIA BYE at NIU at AKR KSU UB
Akron 5-7 4-4 FCS P5 at Marsh App St at KSU MIA WMU at BSU at UB TOL BG BYE at OU
Miami (OH) 3-9 2-6 P5 FCS WKU at Cincy OU at AKR KSU at BG at EMU CMU at UB BYE BSU
EMU 3-9 1-7 FCS P5 at Char WYM at BG TOL at OU at WMU MIA BYE at BSU NIU CMU
Ball State 2-10 1-7 at Ga St P5 FCS at FAU NIU at CMU at UB AKR BYE WMU EMU at TOL at MIA
Kent 2-10 0-8 P5 FCS FCS P5 AKR at UB at MIA OU at CMU BYE WMU at BG NIU
All P5's are projected as losses, all FCS projected as wins.
If average national rank is more than 20 higher than opponent, the game is projected as a win
If average national rank is +/- 20 than opponent, home team is projected to win
if average national rank is 20 lower than opponent, the game is projected as a loss

WMU is seen as the best school in the MAC and they host NIU and Toledo. If they beat Northwestern and Illinois, WMU could run the table.

NIU could make G5 waves if they can beat USF and SDSU

Ohio was projected to win the MAC East by 2 games, will their outlook dampen without Sprague?

Toledo can make G5 waves with wins at Arkansas State and at BYU. Even if they lose, the practice on the road could pay off late when the Rockets travel to DeKalb and Kalamazoo.

CMU travels to Oklahoma State, Virginia and then takes on the teeth of the MAC West. Fatigue may doom CMU's chances at a MAC West title, but you can always count on CMU to spoil someone else's chances.

UB is lucky to have their easier 4 MAC games at home and their harder 4 on the road. It's a clear path to 4-4 in conference and a bowl bid.

BG also plays easier foes at home, but after their run of success they probably won't be as happy to go 6-6 as the folks in Buffalo.

Akron has tough matches at home and some easier teams on the road in hard places to win. Akron will have to beat a good team at home, or steal a win on the road to go bowling.

Miami will improve, but their schedule doesn't set them up for success.

EMU the birds could probably compete in the East, but will get destroyed in the West, the factory will shutdown in November.

Ball State like Akron, their most competitive games are on the road, so their record may not show the progress the team from Muncie has made.

Kent State the good: Kent plays 2 FCS games so should get 2 wins. The bad, that probably means Kent needs to win 7 to become bowl eligible. The ugly, based on national perception, the 2 FCS wins will be Kent's only victories of the season.