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Zero Hour: Introducing the Un-official MAC vs. Sun Belt Challenge!

If they wont do it, I will!

Illustration: James H. Jimenez | Photo: ESPN/Outside the Lines

For a while now I have been advocating for a Sun Belt vs. Mid-American Conference rivalry. I have even called for a challenge in basketball, similar to what the ACC and Big Ten have been doing for years. Sadly, my calls have been unanswered, much to the shock of no-one. So I have decided to create my own challenge. I will have a top secret point system where I will keep score. Of course head to head meetings will be the main focus, but teams can score points for their conference with a big out of conference win against a power school. I might even throw in a few bonus points if there is a connection. For example the University of Louisiana-Monroe takes on the fighting Matt Campbells of Iowa State. Beating the former Toledo Rockets head honcho would garner a few extra points.

Sadly there are only 4 head to head match-ups this non-conference season.

Coastal Carolina plays host to the Eastern Michigan Eagles on August 31st. Georgia State will head to Kalamazoo to take on the Western Michigan Broncos on September 14th. The biggest day of this challenge, at least till bowl season, will take place September 21st. Troy head to Akron while Louisiana visits Athens to take on the Ohio Bobcats.

This challenge will be a grass roots affair, one which I will shamelessly promote. Maybe, with some good old fashioned Midwestern blood, sweat, and tears, we can get enough support to garner some additional head to head match-ups in the future. I also plan on carrying this challenge through to the basketball season, though there will not be a boat load of head to head match-ups there, either.

However, I do believe this challenge will take off. It might take a few years, but I see a trend forming. A lot of people are shopping local. They are also getting sick of the over produced “major” college athletics. In the future, I see these people reconnecting with the colleges right around the corner or their Alma Maters.

Currently, games against the major teams are what generates the most buzz around these two conferences. Generally the good guys get slaughtered. Ironically, the more important games, the ones that usually determine bowl eligibility, will between the two conferences. That is why I am going to place my focus on those games. This challenge will be especially fun bowl season, but the #MACtion starts August 31st.