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As If You Needed More Proof MAC Football Captured The Nation's Heart

A real humdinger of a feature on SBN highlighted the top 100 games of the college football season, bowls and all. The teams may have gone the entire season without being ranked, but the actual games are right up there with the big boys in terms of entertainment — even if it comes at a cost to the defense. And sure enough, Toledo had five such games, tied for second most of any behind Oklahoma State.

In all, 12 games with MAC connotations (half of them were conference games) hit the century-long list. Follow the jump for the which games cracked the top 100.

100th — WMU 45, Ball State 35 (October 29): I don't remember anything about this one, but going back to the box score, yeah there was some fun in this one. WMU survived four turnovers but Jordan White broke the school reception record, and there even a 61-yard WR pass to him for a touchdown.

94th — Ohio State 27, Toledo 22 (September 10): Going into the season I was mostly interested in seeing how this one would play out. In cross-the-Internet Q&As I teeter-tottered on whether or not Toledo could actually win this game. And they almost did, getting deep in OSU territory on the final drive. But the penalties. Oh, man, the penalties.

93rd — Kansas 45, NIU 42 (September 10): Lost in the horizon of a Buckeye State upset was a really puzzling gagger by the Huskies at a weak Big XII school. Their defense was in shambles, there was a questionable catch by NIU ruled a non-catch, and I'm certain if this game was played in November it'd be a much different outcome.

85th — Syracuse 33, Toledo 30 (OT) (September 24): You'd think a game in which Adonis Thomas fractured his arm would be the focal point. At least it should've been except the referees gaffed a call on a Syracuse extra point which would've given 'em 29 points in regulation. Even after replay they determined that the XP was good. There was an appeal by Toledo and everything.

81st — OHIO 35, Temple 31 (November 2): No doubt people in Philly have nightmares about Peden Stadium and the all blacks. For the second straight year the Bobcats essentially knocked the Owls out of MAC East title contention.

54th — The MAC Championship (December 2): Yeah, when OHIO goes into halftime with a 20-0 lead and loses the second half 23-0, that's rather darn notable. This is also the reason LaVon Brazill's one-handed catch on a crossing route followed by a deathly stiff-arm didn't make the rounds.

47th — Little Caesars Bowl (December 27): It was the MAC's lone loss of the bowl season, and despite Alex Carder's horrific turnover malady, the Broncos did have the ball in their hands on the final drive. Purdue won 37-32.

46th — Ball State 33, EMU 31 (November 5): LOVE that Connelly included this one, and in the top 50. Also consider that this one was watched a bit more than most. It was played the day of LSU-Alabama I, and all other concurrent games were pretty disgusting. Since it was televised as the MAC Game Of The Week quite a few connoisseurs tuned in to see the sixth- and seventh-best MAC teams actually play each other well. Probably the best FBS game this year with a real attendance below 2,000.

44th — Toledo 66, WMU 63 (November 8): Probably a bit low given the scoring here, but remember that this was a week after the NIU-Toledo race to the moon. We were all a little worn out; I didn't even write a recap on it I was so bushed. This game was also more of a consolation shootout, as Toledo helped cement their second-place MAC West finish but required a game of catchup with NIU that they never mastered. Also this one broke the MAC record for most points in any game, overtime or regulation.

32nd — Idaho Potato Bowl (December 17): Not only was it OHIO's first postseason win ever, not to mention the first-ever 100% potato-based bowl game. but the last second drama/malarkey in a 24-23 win over Utah State. Tyler Tettleton's name got lost in the shuffle of really neat MAC quarterbacks, but games like this are going to ascend his status as a fourth quarter man in 2012.

13th — Military Bowl (December 28): Toledo wins 42-41 over Air Force, and the score alone should be proof at how silly this one was. But if you didn't see Air Force's failure on the potential game-winning two-point conversion ... oh, lord, please do. It was the fitting capper to perhaps the wackiest seasons to date of any MAC team, and quite possibly the beginning of something even greater for Matt Campbell.

8th — NIU 63, Toledo 60 (November 1): But of course. It was the first game of many for the MAC on weeknights, and the vast majority of them delivered bliss to a nation. None of them reached the level of excitement that this no-defense night brought, although there were kickoff returns, scads of touchdowns, and a still-murmured decision by Tim Beckman to let NIU enervate the clock of all its precious seconds, all the while Beckman kept a timeout in his breast pocket. That's a defensive coach for you. Your men allowed 56 points but you still trust them on a goal-line stand.