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MAC attendance numbers are in, and they're not pretty

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Five of the bottom ten teams in the country in average attendance hail from the Mid-American Conference, while the majority of MAC teams saw declining numbers.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The end-of-season attendance numbers are starting to leak in, and an ages-old debate will surely be stirred up again after a good look.

The Mid-American Conference made up half of the bottom ten teams in the nation in terms of average attendance, with EMU (predictably) last in the FBS with 4,897 fans coming through the turnstiles for games over the course of the season, good enough for a freefalling 67% decrease from 2014.

Not all is bad, however: Ohio (21,323) and Toledo (20,842) led the MAC in attendance numbers, while Akron nearly doubled their attendance from last season with a 97 percent (!!!) increase in attendance. Here are all the numbers, courtesy of Jon Solomon of CBS Sports:

Team Avg. Attendance Percentage National Rank
Ohio 21,323 4% 94
Toledo 20, 842 7% 97
Bowling Green 19,608 29% 101
Western Michigan 19,441 24% 102
Buffalo 18,457 -10% 106
Akron 18,098 97% 108
Miami 15,707 -1% 115
Central Michigan 15,672 -4% 116
Northern Illinois 13,631 3% 120
Kent State 12,561 -7% 122
UMass 11,124 -31% 125
Ball State 7,974 -15% 127
Eastern Michigan 4,897 -67% 128

The numbers above are largely indicative of college football attendance numbers across the board, as there has been a decline in fans attending the games over the past four years. Part of this is thanks to overexposure on television and streaming sites keeping fans that might otherwise go to games at home, but especially in the Group of Five schools, weeknight games could also be making a cut into those numbers.

The Mid-American Conference especially suffered this past season, finishing at the bottom of the G5 conferences. If you take out Akron's percentages, the conference as a whole suffered a -71% decrease in attendance (with Akron, it's a 26% increase.)

However, the number to really look at here is aggregate attendance, which adds up the entire number of fans per game and divides by member institutions. The MAC as a conference averages 15,333 fans between 13 schools using aggregate attendance, which makes it the worst conference in all of FBS football. The Sun Belt, which has often been the MAC's punching bag in this category, actually outranks the MAC in aggregate attendance, averaging 15,834 fans between 11 schools. Conference USA (19,811), the Mountain West Conference (23,743), and the American (31,870) also all outranked the MAC in the G5 numbers.

For perspective on the differences between the G5 conferences, UCF, who finished 0-12 on the season, outranked MAC Champion Bowling Green in overall attendance, averaging 30,065 fans per game (down from 20% in 2014) to BGSU's 19,608 (up from 7% in 2014).

There's a lot for fans of the #MACtion to consider here in terms of the national picture, but if you just wanna talk some trash to your rivals, well, here are the numbers.