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Just For a Minute(men)

The big news in the MAC this week was the University of Massachusetts announcing that they will be leaving the conference after the 2015 football season. This will make the Minutemen the third football-only school to leave the conference in less than a decade, following a trend set by Central Florida and Temple. My initial reaction was somewhere between disappointment and anger. I felt as though we were being abandoned. Rejected by them just like the pretty girl you asked to prom. The more I thought about it however, my disappointment turned to a feeling of happiness and relief. We shouldn't be upset that UMass is leaving the conference, in fact, we should be glad.

First and foremost, UMass was not even close to competitive in the MAC. One can argue that their combined 2-22 record is simply a result of the transition to the FBS, but compared to the other schools to join the FBS at the same time, their record still doesn't hold up.

TEAM

YEAR ONE

YEAR TWO

TOTAL

UTSA

8-4 (3-3 WAC)

7-5 (6-2 C-USA)

15-9

Texas State

4-8 (2-4 WAC)

6-6 (2-5 Sun Belt)

10-14

South Alabama

2-11 (1-7 Sun Belt)

6-6 (4-3 Sun Belt)

8-17

UMass

1-11 (1-7 MAC)

1-11 (1-7 MAC)

2-22

You can certainly argue that the MAC is the strongest conference of those represented above, but it still doesn't excuse the fact that their only wins in two years have come against a 1-11 Akron team in 2012, and an 0-12 Miami of OH team in 2013. Thanks to these two victories however, the Minutemen have managed to not finish dead last either of their first two years.

We can try to deny it all we want, but the fact is that the MAC has some of the worst attendance numbers in college football. The easiest way people try to discredit the MAC as a legitimate football conference is by showing a picture of a mostly empty stadium during a game. I understand UMass has been renovating their stadium, but the fact of the matter is that seeing a team play in a large NFL venue like Gillette Stadium and it being mostly empty is embarrassing. I hated watching UMass play at "home" because I cringed every time there was a shot of the "crowd". It not only makes UMass look like they can't draw a bigger crowd than a medium sized high school, but it makes the whole conference look bad. Playing and watching football in the vacuum of an empty stadium is fun for no one.

The geographic location of a school is mattering less and less in conference realignment (i.e. Boise State almost joining the Big East), but let's just take a moment to realize that Massachusetts isn't exactly Middle-America. Let's take pride in our geography as well as our sports and not be sad about this lackluster east coast school leaving.

The MAC has a lot going for it. The last few years have been good for the conference, especially with regards to football. If a school like UMass doesn't want to commit their full athletic program to us, then good riddance. The MAC is great and we don't need to grovel and beg to keep schools around. UMass needs the MAC more than we need UMass. So you won't find me losing any sleep over the Minutemen leaving, although I will miss the guaranteed 30 point win every year.

This post was submitted by one of our esteemed readers and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or thoughts of Hustle Belt or SB Nation.

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