Creating Mass Chaos in the MAC East

With the MAC East a jumbled up mess, we created the craziest scenario possible: a six-way tie for first place.

Photo edit by Alex Alvarado.

Week 7 is over, and with it, we have no idea what is going on in the MAC East.

Akron, a team many believed to be one of the worst in the MAC, currently leads the division with a 3–0 record in conference. The Ohio Bobcats, a pre-season favorite of the division, sit a game back after a baffling loss to Central Michigan in Week 6. After that, a four-way mess of 1–2 team that seem to all be trending in different directions depending on the weekend.

MAC East standings. Screenshot via ESPN.

Who will win the East? It’s anyone’s guess. Every team has a decent shot at the title, so the next few weeks should separate the true contenders from the rest of the pack.

But what if it doesn’t? What if the MAC East is so even that the six schools were to somehow play themselves into a tie?

It’s possible, and here’s how we did it.

NOTE: There are probably other ways to do this and create other winners, but this is the initial draft that worked for us.

Week 8

Toledo beats Akron
Kent State beats Ohio
NIU beats BGSU
Miami beats Buffalo

Of these games, Kent State beating Ohio seems the least likely to happen. However, the Golden Flashes moved the ball decently against Buffalo and Miami, so there’s a chance! Also, Miami would have to show massive improvement, or hope Drew Anderson and Tyree Jackson don’t play next week to limit the damage the Bulls could do.

Week 9

Buffalo beats Akron

Light schedule with two other West games on the Thursday before this East showdown ends the Saturday slate of MAC games for the season. An 11:30 a.m. kickoff is weird, so let the weird stuff happen. Buffalo is a good team and getting Jackson back for this game would be a great boost to that offense.

Week 10

Bowling Green beats Kent State
Ohio beats Miami

BGSU vs. Kent State could cause problems, as you don’t know what you’re gonna get from either team in any give week, but the Falcons have improved as the season has moved along, so this is completely doable. Miami losing to Ohio is believable as well.

If all this goes as planned, here’s what the standings would look like:

Akron: 4–5 (3–2)
Ohio: 6–3 (3–2)
Kent State: 3–6 (2–3)
Bowling Green: 2–7 (2–3)
Miami: 3–6 (2–3)
Buffalo: 4–5 (2–3)

So far, 2–3 games that might be a stretch, but this is still in good shape.

Week 11

Akron beats Miami
BGSU beats Buffalo
Kent State vs. Western Michigan*
Toledo beats Ohio

Toledo beating Ohio? Reasonable. The other two? Ehhhh. Bowling Green might be improved enough by November to win this one, but it’s in Buffalo so that’ll be tough.

The Kent State vs. WMU game is marked as it is part of a special flex.

Week 12

Kent State vs. Central Michigan*
Ohio beats Akron
Miami beats Eastern Michigan
Toledo beats BGSU
Buffalo beats Ball State

Lots to dissect here, so let’s start with the easy ones: Buffalo over Ball State is very reasonable, as is Toledo over BGSU given both the two teams’ current state and the fact the Rockets absolutely own the Falcons in that rivalry.

Ohio vs. Akron is a toss-up right now, so this is fair. Miami over EMU is a question of which team blows a late lead. Then we have Kent State vs. CMU.

The reason Kent State’s games against WMU and CMU aren’t marked as win or loss is because it doesn’t particularly matter which one the Flashes take as long as they go 1–1 in those two games. The Flashes get the Broncos on the road on Senior Night while the CMU game is Kent State’s Senior Night. If I had to guess right now, Kent State can beat the Chippewas more easily than they would beat the Broncos.

Let’s take a look at the updated standings:

Ohio: 7–4 (4–3)
Akron: 5–6 (4–3)
Kent State: 4–7 (3–4)
BGSU: 3–8 (3–4)
Miami: 4–7 (3–4)
Buffalo: 5–6 (3–4)


Week 13

BGSU beats EMU
Kent State beats Akron
Miami beats Ball State
Buffalo beats Ohio

And chaos is unleashed.

The best part of all this is the Tuesday night games (first three listed) all are possible, especially if BGSU hits a late-season high and EMU packs it in for a bowl-less season. That would mean Ohio would go into a Black Friday game for a chance to win the MAC East at Buffalo. The key part of that, to me, is the “in Buffalo” qualifier because that will not be easy. The Bulls probably have as good, if not better of a defense than the Bobcats, and Jackson vs. Nathan Rourke would be a battle for the ages.

So that puts all six teams at 4–4 in the MAC. Kent State’s Wagon Wheel victory would deny Akron from going to a bowl game (5–7) and the Bulls’ win would sneak them into bowl eligibility (6–6), but the question remains: who wins the East?

Well, let’s go to the tie-breaking procedures:

A. In the event of a multiple-team (for example, three teams) tie, the team with the best head-to-head record among tied teams wins the tie-breaker;

Since all six teams played each other as divisional games, we’re going to the divisional record for this:

BGSU: 3–2
Buffalo: 3–2
Ohio: 3–2
Kent State: 3–2
Akron: 2–3
Miami: 1–4

Akron and Miami are eliminated, and we re-start back at A, and here are the head-to-heads between the four remaining teams:

BGSU: 2–1
Buffalo: 2–1
Ohio: 1–2
Kent State: 1–2

Again, we drop Ohio and Kent State and we look at the head-to-head.

So that Tuesday night game Week 11 that Bowling Green won over Buffalo in this run-thru? Yeah, that’s what sends a Falcon team that went 4–8 last year to Detroit as the MAC East champion.

And if they were to win that? They would be MAC champions, and their season would be done! The Falcons could win the MAC, finish the season with a 5–8 record and not even be close enough to being bowl eligible.