So this MAC football schedule thing finally got released. The above video is our super serious initial reaction to finally receiving it. The big wonders on the schedule were what conference opponents everybody had and when they were. Here's what stands out:
• Here's the March surprise: Bowling Green and Buffalo will play a game inside the Columbus Crew Stadium the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Ohio State hosts Michigan. This could be really cool or blow up in everybody's faces; FalconBlog takes the con argument.
• We could've pieced this together earlier but September 1 really stands out as the "Day of MACkoning." Bowling Green-Florida, Buffalo-Georgia, Iowa-Northern Illinois, Miami-Ohio State, OHIO-Penn State, Toledo-Arizona and Western Michigan-Illinois. That's the entirety of September 1 MAC games — each one a monumental potential upset. Wee-ow.
• Kent State and Buffalo is the official first "MAC weeknight game" but we don't even know which day it's going to be; either Wednesday, September 19 or Thursday, September 20. The first game with a solid date is November 1, which is EMU traveling to OHIO. Knowing what we know, it oughta be a great if not high-scoring affair.
• And save for the Black Friday slate of games, nothing on Friday nights! Maybe it's just me, but I really despise Friday night games.
• And we'll finally get to see how UMass likes those long trips to the MAC West teams. They're taking trips to Kalamazoo and DeKalb, while hosting CMU in their finale. In their division they'll visit Miami and Akron, then play BGSU, Buffalo and OHIO at home. I can't really tell you how many games I think they'll win here; one or two is a safe bet. But for all their trouble, they get the last three games at home.
• The Toledo-NIU fireworks explosion is going to be Wednesday, November 14, overshadowing OHIO-Ball State, which might also get into the 40s.
• They coulda done an OHIO-NIU rematch. They didn't.
• NIU, meanwhile, might've drawn the easiest MAC schedule. The Toledo game is at home; at EMU or at WMU might be the toughies. The East opponents they drew: Buffalo, Akron, UMass.
• Ball State's looks pretty tough. NIU/EMU/WMU all at home, sure, but they drew Kent State, Miami and OHIO out of the East. That November stretch finishing with Toledo, OHIO and Miami is going to be the dickens. And four of their last five games are all on the road. They may be improved, but sometimes the schedule dictates that, and it's working against them.
• The MAC East "Gap Game" is Kent State and UMass. They don't play each other; instead each get to play three MAC West teams instead of the standard two. Last year it was BGSU-Akron who didn't play.
• Bowling Green-Toledo was moved up to October last year; this year it's in SEPTEMBER. Third week of the season and it's already the biggest game of their lives.
• The Michigan MAC Trophy games are all in November on Saturdays. WMU-CMU is November 3. CMU-EMU is November 10; and EMU-WMU is November 17.
• The weeknight game tally is seven, not counting Opening Thursday or Black Friday. Last year it was 13. Either their cutting back or they're intaking a healthy amount.
Here's the breakdown by team playing weeknight games:
Ball State 2
Kent State 1
Probably for the best that we wean UMass slowly into this whole mess.