Created:Monday, October 24, 2011 12:55 p.m.CST
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MAC West links

Northern Illinois win Saturday at Buffalo was wild and unpredictable. It was also a microcosm of the Mid-American Conference West as a whole.

Between upsets and upstarts, this division is just wacky right now. Here are some links to the action you missed.

Rockets healing:Toledo welcomed top RB Adonis Thomas back to the field Saturday in its 49-28 win against Miami. Thomas, one of several injured Rockets, missed four games because of a broken left arm. He played his part in Toledo's 269-rushing-yard performance, finishing with 80 yards on 10 carries.

Broncos out of the race:The smugness has worn off in Kalamazoo, Mich. A week after thinking too highly of itself against NIU, Western Michigan perhaps thought too lowly of a much-improved Eastern Michigan team. The Eagles beat the Broncos 14-10 when WMU was stopped inches from the goal line on what would have been a game-winning touchdown.

As Graham Couch of the Kalamazoo Gazette writes, a lot has changed in two weeks. Meanwhile, EMU has an unfathomable five wins, and won the MAC's battle of Michigan after beating Central and Western on consecutive weeks. Two of the Eagles victories came against FCS opponents. Since only one counts toward bowl eligibility, EMU will need seven to make it to the postseaon. That's a long shot, but Eagles coach Ron English has still done a masterful job of reviving the program.

Cards also at 5:Not only is Ball State at five wins after recovering from a 17-point deficit to beat Central Michigan 31-27 at Scheumann Stadium this past weekend. With four games left – including contests at Eastern Michigan and a slumping Western Michigan – the Cardinals seem to have a realistic shot at making a bowl.

As Teddy Cahill of the Ball State Daily News writes, the excitement in Muncie, Ind., is perhaps only matched the shock. Ball State is still drawing fewer than 8,000 fans for home games, but the Cardinals have more wins than thousands more would've predicted.

– Ryan Wood, @rwood_DDC on Twitter, rwood@shawmedia.com

Does NIU coach Rod Carey get enough credit for NIU's season?
Yes
No