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MAC Blogger Roundtable: Additions To The MAC?

Each week, the blogs of the MAC come together and discuss the comings and goings of the conference. After a two week hiatus, we return to answer some questions from Toledo blog Let's Go Rockets

1.  With UMass exiting the MAC at the conclusion of the season, is it in the conference's best interest to stay at 12 teams or pursue two teams, one to replace and one to even the divisions? If the MAC goes after two, which two teams fit well or what teams would you like to see join the conference?

I think the MAC would be better off with just 12 teams.  It's a nice number to have for all sports and their tournaments (even with the funky basketball format), and 14 is just weird to me, even if it's working for the SEC.

However, let's say the MAC does decide to expand.  Who to add?  Firstly, I'd hope the MAC could somehow save UMass.  They're looking decent in football and would vastly boost the basketball resume.  However, that's not going to happen, so if we're looking for two new teams, I say target somebody solid.  For the West, you could look for a team like Grand Valley State, Wayne State, or Indiana State.  Maybe even Illinois State.  All solid programs, all geographic fits.  I'd say Wayne State most because that'd help EMU add a close rivalry that could get fierce quickly.

Out East, let's look to stay in the New England/East Coast region to help out Buffalo.  Might I suggest New Hampshire?  Maybe not a solid pick-up in basketball, but a good football program and if the MAC ever somehow developed a hockey conference, you could have some solid contenders there (even though New Hampshire would likely never leave the Hockey East, the SEC of college hockey).  Others may say James Madison or Old Dominion, but I think that'd be going too far South.

2.  If your respective team was destined to lose every remaining game on their schedule save for one that you could pick, which game would they win and why?

Again, we're looking at WMU.  So if I could pick just one victory, it'd have to be against NIU.  I'll give you a moment to pick your jaws up off the floor with both EMU and CMU on the schedule as well.

Firstly, let's just say WMU loses to Miami.  It'd suck, but it'd suck the absolute least.  It's not a rivalry, and it's not a home game.  Then, you'd go with both rivalries, and here's why:  one win doesn't do anything if you can't beat both in my honest opinion.  That goes double when there's a physical trophy to win.  Another loss to EMU would be brutal, so a win over CMU wouldn't do anything to numb the pain.  Beating EMU wouldn't do anything confidence wise while losing to CMU would allow the Chips to at least retain the MAC Trophy.

So that brings us to NIU.  I WMU hasn't beaten NIU since I started my schooling in Kalamazoo.  That includes both home and away.  Huskie fans still think the MAC West runs through them as well, so handing them a last game loss to (1) end a 3-game losing streak and a 5-game losing streak against NIU, (2) get bowl eligible, and (3) presumably end NIU's chances at winning the MAC West would just be awesome.  But I'd hope that WMU wins at least two of their last four games, with the first two being easier than the latter two.

3.  College football has seen some impressive fan displays this year with fan wearing a specific color (white out, blue out, etc.), striping the stands, checker-boarding the stands, etc. To what degree has your team embraced this trend? Has it been successful? What can be done to improve the fan participation and get more fans on board?

Western has pretty much just tried to get fans to the games.  Winning helps, but there has been a big community push this year, and it's working.  Waldo only had an announced attendance on Saturday of 20,225, but it looked more full than that.  It was also the same-ish time as the Michigan vs Michigan State game, so 20,000+ is a victory attendance wise.

Going forward, continued expansion into the community will help, then you have to get the gimmicks out.  The "White Out" or "Brown Out" games.  The promotions.  On and on.  Once you get the fans, then you get creative to keep them.