Hey everyone, welcome back to MAC Gems, the only column on the internet* that scours the web to bring you some certifiably cool MAC-themed gear available for purchase!
(* that we know of, anyway.)
It’s been a real busy time at Hustle Belt HQ in the way of preseason coverage, so we took a little break from MAC Gems in order to bring you some quality content. If you haven’t seen that yet, you can catch up on our preseason team previews and our Top 25 MAC Players Countdown at your own leisure!
For the latest installment of MAC Gems, we went to you, the reader, and requested you send in some of your favorite MACtion-related items that you own. The submissions were all great, and we’re ready to share a bit of the community with you, the community!
Without further ado: the gems!
A Rufus Bobcat jersey: submitted by Kyle Arnott
the annual equipment sale makes Ohio jerseys fairly accessible, but I’m extra proud of this Rufus one from the 2016 Dollar General Bowl (my last game as a student!) that I picked up this spring #MACGems pic.twitter.com/E9dXT3qAYU— Kyle “fish tube” Arnott (@arnottky) August 4, 2019
Everyone’s favorite anthropomorphized Bobcat is a fixture at both basketball and football games for the Ohio Bobcats and has a lot of swagger about him. It makes sense that people would want to be just like him. I mean, he’s a six-foot-tall bobcat that can walk and ride a Harley-Davidson motorcyle. How cool is that!?
Our lucky reader Kyle Arnott managed to pick up this MAC Gem at a jersey sale held by Ohio Athletics. It even comes with the RUFUS nameplate and the Dollar General Bowl path! (RIP in peace.)
A Bruce Gradkowski autographed shadowbox: submitted by Twitter user @RocketRyanB
This is a hell of a shadowbox, complete with a mini-helmet and an in-game action shot of Bruce Gradkowski, perhaps one of the best quarterbacking prospects to ever come out of Toledo. Gradkowski finished his career as a Rocket throwing for 9,225 passing yards on 68.5 percent completion percentage, with 85 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.
He would go on to be selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2006 by Tampa Bay, starting 11 games in his rookie season before becoming the primary backup in Cleveland, Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh prior to his retirement in 2014. Gradokowski is the current radio analyst for Toledo Rockets football.
Official Toledo Football-branded deskchair: submitted by Dan Savage
Official Toledo team room chair pic.twitter.com/ZB9s2jqRlY— Savage Arena (@DanSavage_live) August 8, 2019
Guessing from the design on the armchair, I’d say this is from the early 2000’s. It looks to be a former part of a film room, as suggested by the desk attachment and the fact that seat is leather and seemingly thick.
When locker room renovations and the like happen, you can usually find old fixtures from those places available for auction by the school if you look hard enough. I’d recommend checking your school’s database to see if you too can snag some swag like that.
Molly’s Ride the Rail shirt: submitted (?) by Twitter user @CeeDeeFive
We have no submitted picture with this one, but you can check out the gallery on the Molly’s website here.
Some quick research (i.e.: typing in Molly’s ride the rail into Google) reveals that Riding the Rail is a favorite activity of many Huskie students and alums, especially during homecoming. In order to be eligible to get the t-shirt, you have to drink nine different beers from the tap. Assuming you make it without throwing up everything in your system, you have physical proof of that one time you drank a bunch of beers for $25!
If you have a Ride the Rail t-shirt in your possession, we’d love to see it!
NIU Rubber “Huskie”: submitted by Joe Palmer
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THE EXISTENTIAL HORROR
CMU inflatable helmet tunnel: submitted by Kash O’Brien
No, you’re not imagining things: this is the actual, IRL helmet tunnel that the Central Michigan football team used to run out of in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s.
Standing at 20 feet by 30 feet tall, this big ol’ boy has seen a lot of football in its day, and has had a host of legendary CMU alum run under it’s impressive dome, including a young wide receiver named Antonio Brown, who can be found in a 2008 issue of Central Michigan Life talking about the tradition.
If you’re in the market for such a weird and fascinating piece of CMU history, there’s good news: the owner is willing to part with it! Here’s the Craigslist ad for it.
2013 NIU football/helmet shadowbox: submitted by William R. Wise
NIU Orange Bowl signed team helmet and Jordan Lynch signed football. pic.twitter.com/cJln8avBVc— William R Wise (@huskiehog64) August 4, 2019
The 2012 NIU Huskies football team has gone down in history as one of the most successful MAC footballing teams to ever take the field, riding a 10-1 regular season record to the Orange Bowl against Florida State, who would go on to win the national championship next season.
That team as lead by Heisman finalist quarterback Jordan Lynch, who broke multiple program, MAC and NCAA records on the way to the league’s first-ever major bowl appearance. The Huskies are considered the last major “BCS Buster,” a term the Boise State Broncos made famous, as the BCS would be sunsetted in 2014. Lynch finished his career with 6,203 passing yards on 61.8 passing completion percentage, 51 touchdowns and 14 interceptions through the air, while also accumulating 4,343 yards on the ground with 48 touchdowns.
In this shadowbox, we see a Jordan Lynch autographed football and a team helmet signed by members of that Orange Bowl team. The helmet and ball both feature an older logo that isn’t much in use in modern day, with the Huskie head above “NIU”.
BGSU Hockey banner and an EMU football street banner: submitted by Zach VanNieuwenhze
A pair of really cool banners here from a former reader (and newly-minted contributor) Zach VanNieuwenhze, who came upon his gems in different circumstances.
The BGSU Hockey banner was bought directly from the Joe Louis Arena, which used to feature it for CCHA and Great Lakes Invitational tournament games. It includes the old Falconhead logo, which was retired in 2005. This particular logo is a secondary one, as the primary was orange outlined in brown.
The EMU banner, meanwhile, was an old street banner which was sunsetted with Ron English’s firing. The banner features a pre-2012 uniform, which is really fun, as well as the school’s campaign slogan TruEMU. Zach has three sets of the banners, each with various Coach English-favored slogans.
Thanks to everyone who submitted their MAC Gems for consideration! Without you, this wouldn’t be possible. Want to show off your MAC Gem in a future installment? Let us know on Twitter @HustleBelt or using the tag #MACGems! We also accept theme suggestions.