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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 5:43 pm 
Buffalo is the prime example of a "dead weight" school leaving I-AA to join the MAC, and was a D-III program as recently as 1992. According to Murray Sperber in 'Beer and Circus' (2000) the UB president seriously believed that the school would use the MAC as a stepping stone to the BIG EAST, and then, in turn, use the BIG EAST as a stepping stone to their ultimate goal, the Big Ten, a conference of UB's "peers in research, teaching, and service."

As for Temple being included in the plans of Lincoln Financial Field since the beginning, please explain to everyone why it has taken so long to have a deal completed or why no tickets have been sold? Also, why do you get the impression that being a lesser tenant will be that great of a benefit for Temple football? Sure, they won't alternate between Veterans Stadium and Franklin Field, but that is still no guarantee that anyone will go the games of a moribund program that has already been forcibly removed from the BIG EAST Conference.

Sure, schools like Tulane, Minnesota, South Florida, San Diego State, and Tennesse State are tenants at pro stadiums, but oftentimes the results are counterproductive. Tired of playing at stadiums that were almost always woefully under capacity, Houston and SMU left their respective venues (Astrodome and Cotton Bowl) for much smaller (and more realistic) on-campus stadiums. Do UAB, UTEP, Memphis, Central Florida, really receive all that much of an advantage by playing at respective venues where their presence is overshadowed by a few a games year that involve teams other than themselves? The same will be said of Lincoln Financial Field and its hosting of Army-Navy.

As for having 3 teams in the Top 15 in recent history, your comments also apply to, among others, C-USA and most likely the BIG EAST. If the MAC is not a "legitimate [I-A] football Conference," it is ironic how often Temple schedules MAC teams, and even more ironic that, more often than not, these games are on the road and the MAC team is victorious.

Since 1987, Akron and Temple have met eight times, with four games in Akron, and the Zips hold a 5-3 advantage. Not too bad for a program that never should have been I-A in the first place (thank you Gerry Faust).

Since 1995, Bowling Green and Temple have met four times, with two games in Bowling Green, and the Falcons hold a 3-1 advantage.

Since 1993, Eastern Michigan and Temple have met three times, with two games in Ypsalanti, and the Owls hold a 3-0 advantage, but what record is better, the Temple with a 3-0 series lead or EMU hosting a BCS school twice in four years with only having to play one return game? A 2-1 contractual agreement where the 2 games are hosted by the MAC school and the 1 hosted by the BIG EAST school? No C-USA, MWC, or even WAC school would accede to such an agreement, not even if it meant the chance to play Marshall.

Since 1984, Toledo and Temple have met four times, twice in Toledo, and the series is locked at 2-2, with Temple's last win coming in 1987, and both of Toledo's wins coming the last five seasons. Also, Toledo has a win against Penn State that is much more recent than October 1941.

Since 1986, Western Michigan and Temple have met three times, all in Kalamazoo, and WMU leads the series 2-1 (the lead is 3-0 if you accept that Temple forfeits the 1986 game ex post facto).

Temple played at Marshall in 1999, and lost (34-0) and MU still has not played a return game (a prior meeting in Philadelphia was in 1974).

Okay, so Northern Illinois played Temple in Philadelphia (1989), but yet UNI still won (at the time both schools were independents).

So, since 1984, Temple is 10-14 (9-15*) against MAC opponents, with the MAC hosting 14 of 24 games (roughly 60 percent). Like I said, I don't know which looks worse, the 14 losses against MAC teams or the 14 road games against MAC teams, but neither one of those figures looks good as far as Temple's membership in a football conference, unless, of course, that conference was the MAC.

As far as football is concerned, Temple is a MAC team! The only problem is that instead of drawing 15,000-20,000 fans to a 30,000-seat stadium, Temple has been doing this at two different stadiums with capacities in the 50,000 (Franklin) and 70,000 (Veterans) range. I also can't recall MAC teams moving "home" games to locations like East Rutherford, New Jersey (vs. Penn State) and Washington, DC (vs. Virginia Tech). Temple has been lucky in that it has been more competitive than Rutgers and that it has benefited financially (relatively speaking) from being in the same conference as Miami.

It's too bad that Temple rejected an offer to become a charter member of the BIG EAST back in the 1970s, as there doing so led to the invitation and acceptance of crosstown Villanova, a school who would later block Temple from acquiring all-sports membership in the BIG EAST long after Penn State's (and Temple's) dreams of a bona fide all-sports Eastern conference had fell trhough more than a decade earlier. While Temple football has gradually improved in the last decade (they now hold victories over every BIG EAST school except for Miami) it has been far too little, far too late. Temple is the San Jose State of the East, a major market commuter school with a high enrollment, with no real public following (I hold out hope for Houston/Cougar High, and have not included the school in the same vein as the other two).



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 5:49 pm 
"as there doing so led to the invitation and acceptance of crosstown Villanova"

their/there grammatical error hereby acknowledged...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:04 pm 
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The MAC is a legitimate conference, more so than many in division I. UNlike the SunBelt, WAC and BigEast, the MAC is not a revolving door of partial members and teams looking for greener pastures. Most of the schools in the MAC have been in the same all-sports conference for decades - and Marshall was there decades ago and RETURNED to the MAC when they re-built their FB program. Northern Illinois is also a returnee.

True, some teams were added because they had nowhere else to go - like Buffalo. You see that as a bad thing about the MAC, while I see it as a credit to them. They don't need Buffalo. They could easily cut Buffalo loose and be the better for it - but they don't. UCF also falls under that umbrella - they had no place to go and the MAC needed another FB program to even the divisions out.

Now, Temple (on the other hand) was added to the BigEast because they needed another school - not because they were anything but deadweight. In fact, what other team has been singled out to be pushed out of a conference in recent memory? Teams occasionlly leave conferences they think they've outgrown - but when was the last time a division I conference kicked a school out?

This comment is especially stupid:

Quote:
What has to happen is teams like Ohio, Marshal, Buffalo, etc. have to wake up and cut the dead weight of the other schools in their Conference and join with fledging programs like Temple and Memphis then you have a Conference.


First, Memphis is not without a viable home - and has nothing in common with Temple. Memphis is a BB school (like Temple is), but they fit so much better in C-USA than a conference of MAC schools and Temple.

As for Buffalo and Ohio, they are very much a part of the FB deadweight in the MAC - so how can they cut the deadweight?

OHIO:
Decade W-L-T (#winning seasons-#losing seasons-#.500 seasons)
1970-79 45-60-1 (3-4-3)
1980-89 34-73-3 (2-8-0)
1990-99 34-74-3 (1-8-1)
2000-03 12-22 (1-2)
Winning seasons since 1970 = 7
.500 season since 1970 = 4
Losing seasons since 1970 = 22
In the MAC, only KentState, EasternMich and Buffalo have worse all-time records (yeah, they should leave the deadweight behind!)

BUFFALO:
Buffalo is (6-39) since joining the MAC and division I-A in 1999 (yeah, the competition is so bad that Buffalo joined the MAC to get those "easy" wins against the MAC deadweight). In the MAC, (in case you think their record is weighed down by OOC losses) Buffalo is (3-29). They are (0-2) vs the I-AA. They are a more respectable (3-8) OOC against non-MAC I-A competition (2-6 vs the BigEast, 1-0 vs C-USA, 0-1 vs the Big11, 0-1 vs the ACC). In fact, the conferences they have the best record against are C-USA (1.000), followed by the BigEast (.250).


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:16 pm 
And, of course, who could forget UB's home loss to a non-scholarship, I-AA program (Lehigh). The MAC's invitation of UB is perhaps the biggest blunder in D-I expansion since the BIG EAST invited Notre Dame on the condition that its football program would be allowed to retain its status as an independent.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 10:54 pm 
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I'll disagree on that last comment. I think adding UB was an excellent strategic move that hasn't panned out yet. The question is whether UB can become competitive. Obviously in fb and bb they aren't yet. So I think the jury is still out. But the MAC desperately needed to spread out a little bit and get more exposure. I don't think its a coincidence that they went 20 years w/o a ranked team (after having one nearly every year from the mid-60s to mid-70s) when they expanded from 6 to 10 teams adding 4 teams who recruit the same area. IMO adding Akron was definitely a big mistake-and a bigger one than UB even if they never become competitive.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:26 pm 
Much of I disagreeertion was based on the following:

-The addition of UB presented two major logistical nightmares: 1) UB became the 13th member of the conference and created an unbalanced divisional setup, which still has yet to be rectified for sports other than football; 2) UB is located in a state that is not geographically contiguous to the rest of the MAC

-UB's current D-I membership began in 1991

-The football program was inactive for much of the 1970s, and was D-III as recently as 1992

-UB only had one winning season at the I-AA level (8-3, 1996) and no playoff appearances


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 3:49 am 
I think that in light of a recent post, some things about the history of the MAC need to be clarified. When the MAC expanded from six to ten teams in the early 1970s, it added four schools from three different states (Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois), to a six-team lineup featured five Ohio schools (Bowling Green, Kent, Miami, Ohio, Toledo) and Western Michigan. While your argument about these teams all recruiting the same area could possibly apply to CMU and EMU, I don't see how it would apply to Ball State or Northern Illinois. If anything, the inability of the conference to have ranked teams was more likely due to the fact that conference as a whole was becoming more competitive, and thus it became more difficult for a team to finish undefeated, which was the case in 1970-1971 (Toledo) and 1973-1974 (Miami). The 1968 Ohio team and the 1975 Miami team also finished in the Top 20, each with one loss.

By 1976, the MAC had somehow lost its automatic berth in the Tangerine (Capital One) Bowl, and its national prestige would further be devastated when seven of its ten members (Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent, Miami, Ohio), would be downgraded from I-A to I-AA prior to the 1982 season, only to be readmitted in 1983 at the behest of MAC officials who saw fit to have the new I-A guidelines applied in a less rigorous manner, especially in regards to issues of average attendance and stadium capacity. Basically, the MAC was allowed to somehow survive the new I-A restrictions of 1982 while other similar conferences (Missouri Valley, Southern, Southland) were not as fortunate.

As the scheduling pool for major college football (I-A) became smaller, it became more commonplace for BCS-level conferences to schedule games against MAC schools, and in turn, this process made it more difficult for MAC teams to finish undefeated (and ranked).

Located within range of the Chicago area and drawing upon the recent success of Miami-FL, Northern Illinois left the conference in 1986, with aspirations of becoming a major force as an independent. Hiring ex-Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust, Akron left the Ohio Valley Conference, joined I-A (1987) and then the MAC (1992). At least Akron has been somewhat competitive from time to time (three winning seasons as MAC member) which is much more than can be said about Buffalo at this point.









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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 6:12 am 
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"The MAC is made up of schools which basically have no homes anywhere else. Nobody wants these schools and many schools moving from the 1AA to the 1A level use this Conference as a platform for improvement because the competition is so low."

Sorry, but I've got to disagree with this this characterization...

If you will allow me to ramble a bit (smile)...

From its earliest days, the MAC was an outstanding conference of non-flagship type schools in the midwest, with fairly large enrollments. It was the alternative to the Big10 for many fine other Midwestern schools, and most had regional followings. It was originally just the region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. The league never really truly aspired to major status, but evolved to 1-A when it was easy to do so, and before the larger 1-A's got antsy about attendance requirements and such. The athletic programs were always large and successful, simply because the large state populations had a good base of qualified athletes, the Big10 shcools had tougher admission standards, and there was simply room for everyone. They beat major schools about 1/3 of the time because there is such a thing in college football as emotion, motivation, and plain good coaching...

In fact this latter fact is probably the most interesting fact about the MAC. It is the prime breeding ground for coaches for all the major conferences. A winning MAC record for 5-7 years guarantees you will have a future in some BCS conference. I'm sure the detail and stat guys on this board could quote you wonderful litanies to this effect, and some MAC schools (Miami of Ohio, for example) actually pride themselves on this glorious history...

It is only within the last several years that a few of the MAC schools have gotten "swelled heads" (Marshall, Western Michigan), and thought they really ought to be treated exactly like majors, and declared an intention to become the equal of the majors. Whether they will succeed only time will tell...Its hard for a school like Western Michigan, despite overall excellence, to draw well, when you have the following all within two hours driving distance: MSU, UM, ND, PURDUE. :D The story of course is simliar for all the other MAC schools...

It is hard for easterners to sometimes understand the overall excellence and comprehensiveness of the athletic programs of midwest second-tier institutions, but aside from a few majors like Syracuse, and the like, a school like Western Michigan University would have a much more comprehensive athletic program, including olympic sports for example, and even a larger budget than most eastern schools, especially of course the private and catholic ones.

The MAC is neither lowly nor unwanted, and it is certainly not a refuge for those who can find no other home. It is really filled with very intense competition in all sports, and has been the most successful mid-level in the country for its entire existence. It will be the one mid-level that will thrive and prosper in realignment, because it serves an exquisite and very important need in its own region. Its members, with a few exceptions, are very comfortable with who they are, like their role and place in the world, and have extraordinarily good relationships with the flagship schools in their region....

Here's to you good MAC, you will always have a warm place in the heart of all midwesterners everywhere...

:)








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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:43 am 
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Very articulate post, Javaman. For a long time I have admired the MAC from afar because their teams have always been competitive & given a good account of themselves. They get more of a spotlight in basketball because the NCAA tournament allows them to take on majors in prime time, not just regular season. Every few years you can count on one of them pulling a major upset. The past decade alone attests to that.

I also get a lot of lobbying on their behalf from a good friend here in CT who is a Miami, O alum & who grew up within walking distance of the Kent State campus. Of course, he was also justly proud as well of Miami's inclusion in the 1985 book, "The Public Ivies."

As you state, they are a throwback to the time when conferences were compact & geography made sense, when you took on "other guys in the neighborhood." They should be justifiably proud of their place in the landscape of college athletics.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:03 pm 
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From what I can see as potential fallouts from all this realignment hoopla, the MAC should not only survive but prosper. And this may not even mean a merger or the addition of any schools, in fact in may mean some schools are dropped.

The tight regional grouping and the commonality of community and school profiles means this conference does work like a "Big 10 lite," for all the right reasons. Mid-major or not, they have a very good niche that may be best served by staying as is. The more I learn the more I want Marshall to stay put.

I don't think there'd be any good way to merge the conferences, but what CUSA could learn from the MAC is to regionalize itself. It appears that CUSA may suffer from a division of interest between its southeastern and southwestern schools. There's enough there to make a solid 10-12 member conference, depending on how things shake down with the WAC and MWC. By only talking to the BE, CUSA may not be addressing the interests of Tulane, TCU and others and, I fear, could fall apart. If this happens, I suspect that South Florida, UAB and ECU will be left in limbo.

In that sense, I keep wanting to see a remake of the Southern Conference involving some of these 1-A schools, one modeled after the MAC. Perhaps help foster a new SWC as discussed on other threads, and then take the southeastern schools and forge whatever you can. Perhaps it's a loose alliance now, but one that works with the likes of Western Kentucky, Ga Southern and others that may yet reach 1-A status.

Bottom Line, the number and dispersal of schools currently in 1-A makes it tough to appease everyone. Perhaps in the best long term interest of some of these schools, there could be a MAC-like conference out of all these SEC wannabes, even if it needs time to grow some members?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 9:30 pm 
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The MW is basically one big recruiting pool and there is very little fb talent in IN. So EMU, CMU, BSU all pretty much recruit from the same area as the first 6. NIU is similar. The first 3 and I believe NIU all moved up from Division II and into the MAC. The recruiting area is why I had reservations about Marshall, but looking at their roster, they actually recruit east and south of the area most MAC schools recruit even though they are right next door.

I think the map on the other thread shows that UB fits in pretty well with the MAC geographically. They may not be contiguous, but they really are pretty close to the northern Ohio schools.

You are right about the 13 team fiasco. The MAC didn't even realize that teams were required to play everyone in their division to have a championship game. You are right about UB being a risk as they had barely re-started their fb program, but everything you said could also be said of UAB and they are very competitive. But as far as UB and Akron; Akron may have had some winning seasons, but they have usually been bottom 10 and haven't won any titles or contributed anything in bb. They just dilute the talent pool. So far UB hasn't added anything, but they aren't diluting the talent pool and they draw as well as Akron did when they had good seasons. Akron even had a miserable crowd when they had VT in there a few seasons back.

I agree about the MAC being pretty stable. There is a 2nd tier conference in every part of the country and the MW has a lot of populous states, some of which have only have 1 Big 10 school. They fit a good niche. The question is how many of the commuter schools can meet the new I-A requirements and if the MAC can save any of them by getting their conference exception proposal passed (they are trying to get a rule passed saying you can protect schools if 75% of your schools meet the requirements-the old rule is 50%-the new rule has no exemption). I suspect some variation of it will pass, but at a higher %, maybe 83% (5/6ths) or 87% (7/8ths). It can be a real hardship for a conference if a school hits a bad spell and doesn't meet requirements. An 8 team conference could lose its status as a conference. Scheduling could be difficult (See SMU death penalty and SWC).

Whatever happens, I suspect NIU, CMU, WMU, Ball St., Miami, Toledo and BG will still be in the MAC in I-A. Most likely Marshall won't have found another home and Ohio will make it too. The rest are all iffy.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 7:57 am 
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Quote:

There is a 2nd tier conference in every part of the country and the MW has a lot of populous states, some of which have only have 1 Big 10 school. They fit a good niche.

The MAC is one of the few (only?) examples, however, of a conference that is thriving in the shadow of a larger, premier conferece. That seems to be what all the shuffling is about with this realignment - It is very tough to live in someones shadow in college sports. The ACC overlapped both BE and SEC territory. And while they remain overlapped with the SEC, the programs in those areas are pretty stout and the rivalry works to the benefit of both conferences.

It appears the same cannot be said of the areas where the MWC & WAC overlap or where the WAC & CUSA overlap. IMO, such arrangements require conference rivalries born of school-rivalries (GT-UGA, Clemson-USC) or a first tier/second tier status, otherwise the competition usually leaves someone unhappy. The MAC succeeds because it is not trying to be the Big 10, it's just being the best MAC possible.

When compared to their current memberhsips, is it then possible to suggest a new WAC/SWC or refashioned CUSA would be better off assuming MAC-like roles as a Big 12 lite/ SEC lite respectively?


Quote:
(they are trying to get a rule passed saying you can protect schools if 75% of your schools meet the requirements-the old rule is 50%-the new rule has no exemption). I suspect some variation of it will pass, but at a higher %, maybe 83% (5/6ths) or 87% (7/8ths). It can be a real hardship for a conference if a school hits a bad spell and doesn't meet requirements.

I wonder if part of the proposal will include an average over time to compensate for when a program is having a down period. Perhaps a five-year average factor?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 9:31 am 
While fully understanding that the MAC's situation has improved nationally (i.e. a second bowl, increased tv coverage), I am not sure that it can be said the conference is thriving. Other than the Sun Belt, no other conference stands to lose as many schools to the new I-A standards. Like I stated in an earlier post, this conference should have been more or less demoted from the ranks of I-A on a permanent basis, such a change was only implemented for one year (1982) and only three schools were not subject to reclassification (Central Michigan, Toledo, Western Michigan). Even Marshall was demoted from I-A to I-AA at this time (while still a member of the Southern Conference).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 10:49 am 
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Publius, I have appreciated your helpful remarks on this thread. In regard to the future of the MAC, my reading of Midwest MAC stories over the past seasons has given me a sense that they regret somewhat they allowed their growth in members to get a bit out of control, and would not think at all that a bit of "pruning" for the health of the plant would be at all detrimental to their future prosperity...

I think the MAC may be coming around to the view that a bit smaller and tighter may be healthier and more prosperous, particularly if the ACC thing passes. From where they are at of course, even down to twelve is a healthy "pruning"...

:)


Last edited by javaman on Thu Aug 07, 2003 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 1:43 pm 
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The sheer existence of the MAC makes it less likely that there will ever be a playoff. Just too many useless teams to worry about being fair to. Give us UCF and Marshall and send the rest to 1-AA for good. They'll never matter.


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