One of the defining characteristics of the fans of the Mid-American Conference and their member institutions is the passionate commitment that they have to further the cause of MACtion. For some schools, that may be a .500 season. For others, it could be a bowl trip. For a select few, it might mean a trip to a high prestige bowl on New Year’s Day. There are different stratospheres of “success” this season (and all seasons, really) for those who comprise the MAC.
From a fan’s point of view it goes without saying that you will passionately root on your own team. That’s sort of the foundational premise of fandom in the first place. Regardless of the going on in your life, at your core you are a fan of Eastern Michigan/Western Michigan/Akron/Ball State/Fill in whatever MAC program you follow. It defines your sports fandom. Whatever rooting interests you have are devoted to them.
But here’s the thing. Sometimes, just rooting for your team isn’t enough. If you’re in the upper echelon of MAC programs this year, your rooting interests have a worldview far outside the rust belt. Middling MAC program grasping for the top? You need to actively root against those upper echelons. Buffalo or Bowling Green? Root for chaos. After all, some men just like to watch the world burn.
So for Week 8, here’s where your rooting interests should lie....
As much as it hurts, you’re going to have to root for Kent State this weekend (and Toledo next weekend, but we’ll get to that in Week 9). If the Golden Flashes can somehow upset the Ohio Bobcats, then Akron’s path to the MAC East and Detroit gets a little easier.
The MAC West hopes for the Cards are on life support, but they do have a path, albeit small, to Detroit. That requires their head to head loss against CMU to not be a factor, so root for Toledo to take down the Chips. You should also root for EMU to knock off WMU. Oh, and definitely root for Northwestern. Go Wildcats!
At this point, and at 0-3, you have to decide what kind of MAC fan you are. If you want the conference to thrive, root for Western Michigan to keep rolling and the undefeated teams above them to start losing. Or, you can take the contrarian path and actively root against Akron, Ohio, Western, and Toledo. If you can’t enjoy a good season, then no one else should either.
I’d say root for whoever Buffalo plays. With enough losses, perhaps Coach Lance (who is not living up the first version of Coach Lance from Varsity Blues) will find himself no longer gainfully employed by the State University of New York system. Sure, it may feel dirty and wrong, but like Mr. Wallace told Butch, that’s just pride f’ing with you.
It’s pretty simple for CMU fans. You need losses by both WMU and Toledo, and you need them soon to have any hope for Detroit. It may feel weird, but don your green this weekend and hope against hope that the Eagles knock off the Broncos. That’s Step 1 in a multi-part plan to get the Chips to Championship Weekend.
Since your one loss in conference came at the hands of Toledo, the Rockets will have to lose two for the Eagles to get the nod for the Championship. Root for Central to knock them off this weekend, and pending an Eagle upset of WMU, you could be right back in the driver’s seat for a MAC Championship.
The loss to Miami last week was a killer for Kent State. So first and foremost, you need BG to knock off Miami. You also need to root for Ball State to upset Akron. It’s Homecoming in Muncie, so anything is possible.
As strange as this sounds, Miami is still alive for the MAC East. But you need help and your rooting interests need to reflect that. Step 1 is rooting hard for Kent State to knock off Ohio this weekend and Ball State to do the same to Akron. Longshots, to be sure, but you root for Miami in general, so rational thought has no place in your fandom anyway.
Similar to Buffalo, you need to choose your own adventure. If the win against BSU bought Rod Carey another season in your mind, then just root for NIU and go on about your merry Huskie way. Or, you can choose to be destructive, root for all their opponents, and begin CoachSearch16 in earnest. Choose wisely.
It’s pretty simple for Ohio fans: you are the world’s biggest Ball State fans this weekend. If the Cardinals can knock off the Zips, then Ohio is in possession of first place in the division. With a Zips’ game on the road against Toledo in the coming weeks, that may even give the Bobcats some breathing room before the season finale against the aforementioned Akron squad.
Toledo is undefeated in the conference and controls their own destiny for the MAC Championship. That fact gets lost a lot in the flash of WMU’s dominance this season. Some of that attention can shift to the Rockets if WMU takes a loss, so root for EMU this weekend. Unless you really want it to be Toledo to ruin their perfect season, then root for WMU right up until the season finale against your Rockets. Sneaky, sneaky, you are.
Inside the MAC, you’re rooting for Central to knock off Toledo. The Rockets could still put a significant dent in the Broncos’ season. Your focus should also shift to a national view, specifically to the undefeated teams and those ahead of you in the polls. Boise State got it done Thursday, but feel free to actively root against Tennessee, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, and Florida State.