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Preliminary Mid-American Conference football schedules for 2021 season released

Mark your calendars for Sept. 2 and Nov. 2, #MACtion fans!

MAC Football Championship - Ball State v Buffalo Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Mark your calendars, plan your stadium trips, prepare for those Tuesday night watch parties, and make sure to avoid fall weddings.

We still have to travel halfway around the sun before the dawn of the 2021 college football season, but the schedules are finally in place. The Mid-American Conference launched its schedule Friday morning, featuring four non-conference matchups and eight conference clashes for all 12 member institutions.

While last year’s February schedule release for the MAC was all for naught due to the rare circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport is hoping for a return to normalcy this fall with its traditional 12-game regular season schedules.

The reigning MAC champion Ball State Cardinals will be the first MAC team to take the field in 2021, hosting Western Illinois of the FCS on Sept. 2, the sport’s opening Thursday night.

After several weeks of non-conference battles, league play kicks off in the fourth week of the season when Toledo and Ball State meet at the Glass Bowl on Sept. 25.

Most notably, midweek MACtion makes its triumphant return on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The ESPN and CBS Sports Network schedules for Tuesday and Wednesday night games have yet to be released, but you can count on national television appearances during these weeknights. There are 11 Tuesday games and 9 Wednesday games spanning across four weeks in November, continuing the decade-long tradition of dominating the college football spotlight on weeknights.

The MAC Championship Game is currently slated for Saturday, Dec. 4 at Ford Field. After returning to the Friday night slot last fall, the conference title game will shift back to Saturday at Ford Field.

Below is the complete 2021 MAC schedule. Note that Tuesday and Wednesday games precede the corresponding Saturday listed in the chart.

2021 MAC Football Schedule

Week (Saturday Date) Akron Ball State Bowling Green Buffalo Central Michigan Eastern Michigan Kent State Miami (OH) Northern Illinois Ohio Toledo Western Michigan
Week (Saturday Date) Akron Ball State Bowling Green Buffalo Central Michigan Eastern Michigan Kent State Miami (OH) Northern Illinois Ohio Toledo Western Michigan
1 (September 4) @ Auburn vs. Western Illinois [FCS] (Thu) @ Tennessee vs. Wagner [FCS] @ Missouri vs. St. Francis [FCS] (Fri) @ Texas A&M @ Cincinnati @ Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse vs. Norfolk State [FCS] @ Michigan
2 (September 11) vs. Temple @ Penn State vs. South Alabama @ Nebraska vs. Robert Morris [FCS] @ Wisconsin vs. VMI [FCS] @ Minnesota vs. Wyoming vs. Duquesne [FCS] @ Notre Dame vs. Illinois State [FCS]
3 (September 18) vs. Bryant [FCS] @ Wyoming vs. Murray State [FCS] vs. Coastal Carolina @ LSU @ UMass @ Iowa vs. LIU [FCS] @ Michigan @ Louisiana vs. Colorado State @ Pittsburgh
4 (September 25) @ Ohio State vs. Toledo @ Minnesota @ Old Dominion vs. FIU vs. Texas State @ Maryland @ Army vs. Maine [FCS] @ Northwestern @ Ball State vs. San Jose State
5 (October 2) vs. Ohio vs. Army @ Kent State vs. Western Michigan @ Miami (OH) @ Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green vs. Central Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan @ Akron @ UMass @ Buffalo
6 (October 9) @ Bowling Green @ Western Michigan vs. Akron @ Kent State @ Ohio vs. Miami (OH) vs. Buffalo @ Eastern Michigan @ Toledo vs. Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois vs. Ball State
7 (October 16) @ Miami (OH) @ Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois vs. Ohio vs. Toledo vs. Ball State @ Western Michigan vs. Akron vs. Bowling Green @ Buffalo @ Central Michigan vs. Kent State
8 (October 23) vs. Buffalo vs. Miami (OH) vs. Eastern Michigan @ Akron vs. Northern Illinois @ Bowling Green @ Ohio @ Ball State @ Central Michigan vs. Kent State vs. Western Michigan @ Toledo
9 (October 30) *BYE* *BYE* @ Buffalo vs. Bowling Green *BYE* *BYE* *BYE* *BYE* *BYE* *BYE* *BYE* *BYE*
10 (November 6) vs. Ball State (Tue) @ Akron (Tue) *BYE* *BYE* @ Western Michigan (Wed) @ Toledo (Tue) vs. Northern Illinois (Wed) vs. Ohio (Tue) @ Kent State (Wed) vs. Miami (OH) (Tue) vs. Eastern Michigan (Tue) vs. Central Michigan (Wed)
11 (November 13) @ Western Michigan (Tue) @ Northern Illinois (Wed) vs. Toledo (Wed) @ Miami (OH) (Tue) vs. Kent State (Wed) vs. Ohio (Tue) @ Central Michigan (Wed) vs. Buffalo (Tue) vs. Ball State (Wed) @ Eastern Michigan (Tue) @ Bowling Green (Wed) vs. Akron (Tue)
12 (November 20) vs. Kent State vs. Central Michigan (Wed) @ Miami (OH) (Tue) vs. Northern Illinois (Wed) @ Ball State (Wed) vs. Western Michigan (Tue) @ Akron vs. Bowling Green (Tue) @ Buffalo (Wed) vs. Ohio (Tue) @ Ohio (Tue) @ Eastern Michigan (Tue)
13 (November 27) @ Toledo vs. Buffalo (Tue) vs. Ohio (Fri) @ Ball State (Tue) vs. Eastern Michigan (Fri) @ Central Michigan (Fri) vs. Miami (OH) @ Kent State vs. Western Michigan (Tue) @ Bowling Green (Fri) vs. Akron @ Northern Illinois (Tue)
Steve Helwick