The Mid-American Conference is a funny thing. On paper, it’s a small market conference, filled with small market teams, in the shadow of the tradition-rich and blue chip old money Big Ten. Maybe there’s the sideshow attraction oddity that catches the eyes of the nation a la 2008 Ball State, 2012 NIU, or Marshall back in the day, but on the whole, it’s a conference filled and followed by loyalists who be small but mighty.
That lack of attention and relegation to not-at-the-forefront status is a hallmark of MAC fandom, and one that binds the MAC together. But it also creates a sense of importance on the out of conference contests unlike any other conference in America. There’s payday games and loss for hire games throughout, but there’s a whole host of other contests, all against The Others, all of which carry an enormous amount of importance. Everyone knows what a win against a B1G opponent will do, but each and every game matters. Winning your out of conference contests, no matter the opponent, will likely make the difference between bowling and celebrating your holidays at home.
Over the next few days, the Belt will be leading you up to the 2016 football season by evaluating each and every game that your MACtion ambassadors will be participating in against teams from outide of our little rust belt corner of the world and ranking them accordingly. Our evaluation looks at things like winnability, watchability, and Guy Factor. What’s Guy Factor, you ask?
Some of you know the patron saint of MACtion, Jeremy Guy at the home office, who spearheaded the MAC’s social media presence, celebrates all things MACtion, and is who we think of when we ponder the meaning of MAC football, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That seven touchdown passing performance on a Tuesday night? How about the Wednesday night six OT battle that pretty much costs you your Thursday at the office? All of that is MACtion and so much more. We’ll give you a Guy Factor from 1-5, with 5 being appointment viewing, cancel plans, get thee bottom to a chair in front of a television, STAT.
Speaking of appointment viewing, we’re weeks away from our first true love of football finally coming home and the Belt will be your one stop shop for prep work to make sure your MACtion needs are satisfied. In the street game of mid-major football, and to borrow an analogy from our favorite national MAC media alum Jason Whitlock, the Barksdale crew of MAC blogging is back, and we’re coming for our corners.