The Mid-American Conference has become one of my favorites to follow in recent seasons. It’s not because I’m a fan of the basketball-style of play that the member schools exhibit or that quarterbacks post numbers that make you wonder if they’re playing flag football. Ironically, the type of football I like is the exact opposite. But what the MAC does have is priorities and stability.
In an age where college football has taken over the athletic culture at so many schools, MAC football still seems down-to-earth…you know, like it’s a game, and not the essence of life itself. It’s also hard not to like the fact that this league has been pretty stable. They haven’t lost members to the raids of college football’s Five Families (SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC) and the only addition in recent years has been UMass, who was simply elevating its program to the FBS level.
Therefore, it was nice to see the conference get some love nationally last season, when Northern Illinois made the Orange Bowl. Critics, including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit will argue that NIU’s decisive loss to Florida State in that game shows why conferences like the MAC don’t belong. I would argue that the MAC is not the first program to see its champion lose a BCS game, and Herbstreit’s alma mater at Ohio State has lost games in far more egregious fashion than the Huskies lost last year’s Orange Bowl.
I don’t see any reason to think we’ll have a BCS-buster out of this league again, but it’s still going to be a fun race. The college football coverage at the links below break down the races in both the East and West Divisions.
The Cliff’s Notes version of those posts is that I like Bowling Green and Northern Illinois to play in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit on December 6. And this year I’m taking Bowling Green to win the conference title.