When I first started these rankings in Week 4, the reason why I decided to do Divisional Rankings instead of the more conventional (tired) Power Rankings was that what matters, or should matter, are Championships. Being the second "most powerful" team in the Conference does a team no good, if they are not playing for the MAC Championship in Detroit.
A Power Ranking is more appropriate after the Champion has been decided on the field, as will be the case next week. So, next week North Coast Bias will debut its first Power Rankings of the season.
But for now, here are the Final 2012 MAC Divisional Rankings.
- NIU (11-1, 8-0): The Huskies closed out their regular season with a win to remain undefeated in conference play and extend their conference winning streak to 16 games. The NIU Huskies are off to Detroit to represent the West Division, for the third straight year, in the MAC Championship Game. This year's game will feature two Top 25 Ranked teams with double-digit winning streaks.
- Ball State (9-3, 6-2): Ball State's nine wins are the best since 2008 when they started the year 12-0 and won a Division Title. This also marks the first time that the Cardinals will go to a bowl game since their GMAC Bowl appearance following that season.
- Toledo (9-3, 6-2): It's difficult to think of a 9-win regular season where you found yourself ranked and beating a ranked undefeated team as a disappointment, but I have a feeling that that's exactly how the Rockets would describe it.
- Central (6-6, 4-4): The Chips became the seventh MAC bowl eligible team with its win over UMass, and should be bowling for the first time since 2009 and the first time under current Head Coach Dan Enos. The six wins matched the win total for the Chips under Enos in his first two seasons combined.
- Western (4-8, 2-6): The Broncos finished their disappointing season without a bowl bid or a head coach.
- EMU (2-10, 1-7): The Eagles finished the season the same way they started it, with a conference loss. EMU's season expectations were not met and the lone bright spot of the season may have been retaining the MAC Michigan Trophy.
- Kent State (11-1, 8-0): Kent State finished the regular season undefeated in conference play and on a 10-game winning streak. Up next for the Golden Flashes is a trip to Detroit for the MAC Championship to take on the streaking NIU Huskies who have won 11 in a row.
- Bowling Green (8-4, 6-2): Bowling Green's eight wins are the most for the program since 2007 and the Falcons will likely play in a bowl game for the first time since the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl.
- Ohio (8-4, 4-4): The Bobcats limp into the Bowl Season, losing three in a row and four of their last five games. Frank Solich and his Ohio Bobcats have never beaten a ranked opponent.
- Buffalo (4-8, 3-5): Buffalo had a tough road considering its schedule and the injuries suffered throughout the season, and while the season may have been a disappointment, there were several positives from which to build from.
- Miami U. (4-8, 3-5): Miami finished the season with four straight losses after ruining rival Ohio's perfect season and sending them into a tailspin. Considering the preseason expectations, there are probably more than a few Redhawks fans who do not see the season as a failure.
- UMass (1-11, 1-7): The Minutemen concluded their inaugural FBS season with a MAC loss. Noteworthy stat: UMass went 1-4 against the East with a point differential of -40 total points (-8 ppg) and went 0-3 against the West with a point differential of -122 (-40.67 ppg).
- Akron (1-11, 0-8): Akron extended its current streak of 1-win seasons to three and has not beaten a FBS team since November 2010. The Zips were the only team not to notch a conference win.