Welcome to the first of a three-part series Hustle Belt is doing on reorganizing the college football landscape. Ridiculous! But fun. First, we’re going to take on an idea from somebody else, but apply it to our lowly [awesome] conference. Last summer, SBNation’s Bill Connelly proposed that P5 conferences do away with divisions in favor of protected matchups each year. The idea here is the protected games preserve rivalries/trophy games, and ensure that teams within a conference play each other more frequently. (It’s kind of ridiculous that you only play a team from another division like once every four years.)
So, Connelly did this reorganization for the power conferences, but how would this look in the MAC? Keeping in mind that I’m not as well-versed in MAC East rivalries (go Broncos), here’s how I thought it would look:
Boom! No more divisions, but your favorite team will play these three other teams every year. (Keep in mind the “Protected 1, 2, 3” designations don’t have anything to do with importance of the protected game.)
Of course, Akron’s rival is Kent State, but we add BG for some in-state fun. And Buffalo because maybe we foster some rivalry for a couple of the most eastern squads in the MAC?
The Battle for the Bronze Stalk with NIU is obvious and did you know Ball State and Miami are only an hour and a half away? Total rivalry building there! I also feel like Ball State-WMU have both played second fiddle to NIU and Toledo for so long, there’s so good football there.
BGSU and Toledo, enough said. For some reason, Eastern and BG makes sense to me. They’re only about an hour apart, and green and orange on one field is weirdly beautiful.
Akron and Kent State are both protected for Buffalo because they’re far and away the closest teams to the Bulls. Maybe there are some divided families in Erie, PA, approximately equidistant between these schools? Right? Eh? Northeast Ohio and western New York, fight! I also added Ohio to Buffalo’s protected games so they get to play at Ohio’s cool stadium every other year.
Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are obvious, the Michigan MAC Trophy is already a thing. NIU and CMU have had some pretty badass games historically, let’s keep them together.
Again with the Michigan MAC! And BG as previously mentioned (pretty, pretty green and orange).
Akron and Buffalo, battle for the furthest eastern reaches of the MAC. Miami and Kent, a lot of history there, let’s go for it.
Battle of the Bricks with Ohio, naturally! Then Kent State and add on Ball State just over the border there in Indiana
Toledo and the Huskies have been titans of the MAC for years and that has naturally become such a big game; we must keep it going. We discussed CMU and keeping the corn battle going with the Cardinals.
I like a Toledo-Ohio matchup. Kind of a north vs. south, in-state dynamic going. Then the obvious Miami, and the not so obvious Buffalo.
Battle of I-75, NIU megagames, and the Bobcats.
Michigan-MACtion, and the Michiana border battle with Ball State.
Some people like divisions to keep regional rivalries going, and I tend to agree, but I would like a system like this that keeps rivalries and we keep formerly cross-divisional squads close by. Maybe we’d get the most powerful two teams in the championship more frequently? But who doesn’t like a good upset. What do y’all think?
Tomorrow we’re going to totally destroy the MAC – and all conferences for that matter – in favor of smaller, geographically based conferences. Chaos!