Western Michigan to a New Years 6 Bowl Game? It all come down to “street cred”. Boise State has it and the Mid-American Conference does not. That’s not going to change any time soon and certainly not in time for this season. Boise State didn’t get it’s street cred with it’s regular season wins over Oregon and Georgia. It got it from beating Oklahoma in a BCS bowl game. And Utah and TCU, in the MWC at the time, beating top 5 Alabama and Wisconsin in BCS bowl games. Now the BCS is dead, and that’s where the MAC is going to have a hard time getting into the Cotton Bowl, ever.
Toledo beating Arkansas last season doesn’t matter, and neither does CMU beating Oklahoma State. At least in regards to the MAC and national perception. Don’t believe me? A 5-1 Toledo squad that only lost in the last seconds, on the road, isn’t receiving votes. Not a single one in either poll. The MAC needs bowl wins to rise on the national respectability meter, and that cannot happen in the current system. The MAC champion beating the Sun Belt number 2 in the Dollar General Bowl does NOTHING to the national meter. The second place MAC team beating a MWC opponent in the Potato Bowl probably hurts it. Potato Bowl? Are you kidding me? The current bowl alliances are hurting the MAC, and it’s ability to get to a New Years 6 bowl game.
Why should you, the fan of a MAC school care? Because everyone else in college football gets to dream of something greater than a conference championship. A rainbow is nice, but common enough. A double rainbow, that will bring a tear to your eye. Or at least it does that for that dude on YouTube. Every year, someone wins the MAC. It would be nice if every few years, the MAC champion could play in the Cotton Bowl. That’s an even rarer win. We are talking couch burning good times. The Power 5 and FCS schools get a shot at the national title. The MWC and American get a shot at the Cotton Bowl. The MAC gets nothing.
How can we change this?
- Schedule more MAC vs. Goliath bowl games. I don’t know how to achieve this, but your local AD probably does. I say rally a dozen or so of your friends, paint your faces with the team colors, and do a sit-in in his office. Colleges these days are very fond of protests.
- Start spamming all the major sports news comments sections with MAC pride. The more capital letters in your posts, the better. Talk up the MAC successes, and insult the other posters. If you are polite and reasonable, they will probably think you are a spam bot.
- Rally behind the best MAC school each year. Sure, watch your favorite team, but make sure you also watch the best. This year, it appears to be WMU. Go to fan sites and tell the locals that WMU would win their conference, and tell them their favorite team would be lucky to finish .500 in the MAC. Is that ridiculous? Probably, but their fans are doing it to everyone else. Most importantly, it shows the powers that be a Cotton Bowl with a MAC team wouldn’t be a financial disaster.
The reality of the situation is that college football has changed. There is parity on unprecedented levels. The landscape of college football has changed to reflect this, but that hasn’t included the MAC. All P5 schools know that if they go undefeated, they are playing for the National Championship. If they slip up and finish second, they probably go to a New Years 6 Bowl Game. All MWC and American conference teams know if they go undefeated, they go to a New Years 6 Bowl Game. If they slip up and lose a game, they still have a good shot at the New Years 6 or a chance to prove themselves against an ACC or Pac 12 opponent.
Contrast that with this: If WMU goes undefeated, they get to play against the second place SunBelt team. If they lose the last game of the season against a 1-loss Toledo squad, in triple overtime, on a bad call, they get to go to the Potato Bowl. If that doesn’t piss you off, you are probably struggling to decide on your presidential vote because they are both so awesome.