Opponent pre-season rankings summary
As you might have guessed from some of my previous comments about pre-season rankings for EMU, I’m not really a big fan of the whole pre-season ranking thing in general. For that matter, I’m not really a fan of rankings during the season, or after the season, which is why I’d like to see a football playoff that includes, at a minimum, all the conference champions. But some people do like the pre-season rankings, and they can help to give a general idea of the level of competition a team will face. So with that in mind, I’ve pulled together rankings from a variety of sources.
Since I’m not that keen on pre-season rankings and the like, I have not paid for any magazines or subscription services. I found rankings for the entire MAC from 5 services compiled at the excellent NIU blog, Red and Black Attack. A little hunting around turned up some of the rankings for the Eagles non-conference opponents. Phil Steele‘s information appears to be pay-only. Athlon lists their pre-season top-25 for free, which included Ohio State at #2. Pre-Snap Read, College Gridiron 365, and Rivals are dribbling out their rankings bit-by-bit, and haven’t yet freely published their rankings for Ohio State (I think it’s a fair guess that they’ll all have the Buckeyes in the top ten, and probably the top five). In those cases where I’m missing rankings, my average is based on just the rankings I’ve got.
|Team||Steele||Athlon||PS Read||CG 365||Rivals||Average|
Italicized teams are MAC teams not on the 2010 schedule.
It’s worth noting briefly that, while most of the rankings put each team in the same general area, there was a wide divergence — 55 spots! — when it comes to Army. If Army turns out to be at the weaker end of that range, it’s a very winnable game for the Eagles, but if Army is as good as College Gridiron 365 expects, that game will be out of reach.
Looking at the schedule, we have:
- Home v. #75 Army
- At #113 Miami University
- Home v. #89 Central Michigan
- At #2 Ohio State
- Home v. #72 Ohio
- At #98 Vanderbilt
- At #102 Ball State
- At #93 Virginia
- Home v. #95 Toledo
- At #89 Western Michigan
- At #106 Buffalo
- Home v. #62 Northern Illinois
The average ranking of the teams coming to Ypsilanti is 79. The average ranking of the teams the Eagles will visit is 86, but when you cut out Ohio State, that rises to 100. Except for Ohio State, every team on EMU’s schedule is generally in the bottom half of pre-season rankings. The other two BCS-conference schools, Vanderbilt and Virginia, are both ranked in the 90s. Of the three highest-ranked MAC teams, EMU doesn’t face Temple, and will have NIU and Ohio at Rynearson. So with the exceptions of facing Ohio State and having 3 consecutive road games in October, this is a pretty favorable schedule. A top-40 team facing this season could probably finish at least 10-2, and even Eastern Michigan should be able to pull several wins out of this schedule. Based solely on these pre-season rankings, I would circle Miami, Toledo, Buffalo, and Ball State (in that order) as the most winnable games. But I really think that EMU has the potential to defeat any of these teams except Ohio State.