The closest thing to a National Championship that a Mid-American Conference team has had is a loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. With the BCS gone, a new way to crown the National Champion has formed.
"This year marks the beginning of all the FBS coming together and forming the College Football Playoff," MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. "The public and the media, in fact many coaches and players have been clamoring for this for probably as long as the BCS has been in existence. Before we push aside the BCS for a second, I would reiterate that the BCS was very positive for the Mid-American Conference and for all of FBS football."
Despite the fact that the MAC teams that do go bowling end up in losses, it was still nice to have the optimism prolonged throughout the season, seeing how high NIU could reach in the polls and become BCS busters. No Group of 5 school has ever won a National Championship, but one could argue that the BCS did more good than bad for the G5 schools.
"It brought increased relevance and scrutiny to all of our games and all of our teams, and an unintended, yet positive consequence of the BCS, was an expansion of bowl opportunities which has brought an increased participation of Mid-American Conference teams," Steinbrecher said.
Now with this playoff system in place, there's a lot of concern as to whether this will help or hurt the MAC's relevancy. Steinbrecher knows that this system is just brand spanking new, but is optimistic with how they could benefit from it.
"The CFB Playoff is a working progress and we will all watch as the selection committee goes about its business of conducting the rankings, ultimately selecting the teams to participate in the playoff and the highest ranked Group of 5 champion to move on to a host bowl.
"We very much like the fact that the Group of 5 have that 'automatic bid' to participate in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. It provides the most direct access that any of our conferences have ever had to a New Years Day bowl game. And, quite frankly, I expect that to be among the top priorities and goals for any of our teams. We expect to be in those games. To have five primary bowls lined up for the next cycle represents very solid growth for the conference. The games are in unique and interesting locations, and all should provide great experiences for our student-athletes and our fans."
One proposed 'solution' to this playoff system is to have two sets of champions: a Power 5 champion and a G5 champion. Steinbrecher didn't beat around the bush to say how he felt about that.
Okay, so he said a little bit more after he gave a somewhat lengthy pause and a chuckle over it.
"We like the challenges in front of us, we like the system we have, we like competing in the bowl system, we're thrilled to death about the opportunity to play into the Cotton Bowl or Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. We have an array of opportunities that have continued to grow we transition from the BCS to the CFB Playoff and we don't want to do anything to disrupt that."