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Don't Bet On It: National Games of Disinterest (Special Edition)

Ordinarily, I wait until after I have predicted the outcomes of each week's S.E.C. contests and national games of interest ere I declare the national game of disinterest . . . the specific college football contest toward which I feel such complete indifference that I am disinclined even to distinguish the teams sufficiently to offer a forecast.

This week, however, I have opted to start by announcing the national game of disinterest from the outset, so that you will be able to ignore the sport's least compelling confrontation throughout the week.

In some ways, it is fair to say that Sir MixaLot was the father of this week's national games of disinterest. (Photograph from Music Mobs.)

I might have done this differently had I elected to proclaim Louisiana-Lafayette's visit to Florida International the national game of disinterest, but I may have made that one the national game of disinterest already. Instead, I am pleased to announce that this is . . . National Mid-American Conference Week of Disinterest!

Consider the following slate of M.A.C. games sprinkled throughout your work week:

Ball State at Toledo (Tuesday, November 14)
Miami (Ohio) at Bowling Green (Wednesday, November 15)
Akron at Ohio (Thursday, November 16)
Central Michigan at Northern Illinois (Friday, November 17)
Western Michigan at Florida State (Saturday, November 18)

Are we actually expected to tell these teams apart? Is the average college football fan truly obligated to be able to differentiate between Central Michigan and Western Michigan, between Akron and Toledo, or between Miami (Ohio) and Ohio (Ohio)? By Friday morning, won't even football fans in Louisiana be saying, "Man, Ohio has way too many Division I-A schools"?

Five straight days of eating these for supper? That's too much Mac.

Let's assume that you devoted every night this week to watching a M.A.C. game on television. At the end of the week, would you really be all that sure that you hadn't watched the same two teams play each other five times while wearing different uniforms?

Perhaps I'm being overly harsh. Maybe it's perfectly reasonable to expect a college football fan to be able to tell these teams apart. Try matching the M.A.C. mascot with the college town:

  1. Bobcats
  2. Broncos
  3. Bulls
  4. Cardinals
  5. Chippewas
  6. Eagles
  7. Falcons
  8. Golden Flashes
  9. Huskies
  10. RedHawks
  11. Rockets
  12. Zips

a. Akron
b. Athens
c. Buffalo
d. Bowling Green
e. DeKalb
f. Kalamazoo
g. Kent
h. Mount Pleasant
i. Muncie
j. Oxford
k. Toledo
l. Ypsilanti

Double-check my math, but I believe those mascots include a canine, a feline, an equine, four types of birds, an Indian tribe, three synonyms for speed, and the Chicago N.B.A. franchise, while the hometowns of M.A.C. schools include five locales that are namesakes for their universities, the nearest big city to Mayberry, three monikers that aren't even actual words, and three places in Georgia.

Five straight days of "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me" and "It's Hard to be Humble"? That's too much Mac. (Photograph from Universal Music Group Nashville.)

I like my Mid-American Conference football in small doses, but I quickly reach the point of diminishing marginal returns during five straight days of M.A.C. showdowns. It's a fine league in moderate increments, but this is overkill and I can't pick five consecutive contests if I can't tell one from the next.

For that reason, I am declaring this the National Mid-American Conference Week of Disinterest.

Go 'Dawgs!