I have worked out a plan for reorganizing the Division I-A college football conferences and I have already unveiled the "new look" versions of the Sun Belt and Conference U.S.A. I turn now to the league I arguably have altered the least, the Mid-American Conference.
The M.A.C. is, as its name implies, the home to all the mid-major teams in the Midwest. If we were to put it into the form of an S.A.T. analogy, it would look something like this:
M.A.C. : Big Ten :: Conference U.S.A. : S.E.C.
Seriously, shouldn't college football be covered on the college boards?
Geography and the glut of Buckeye State schools being what they are, there was little room to revamp the Mid-American Conference, although I put a couple of schools back where I thought they belonged:
All right, technically, the Black Knights of the Hudson have no business being on that side of the divisional divide, but I wanted to cram all six Ohio-based teams into a single division to let them fight it out for in-state supremacy . . . by which, of course, I mean second-banana status to Ohio State. Also, it just seemed a bit bizarre to assign the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to the M.A.C. East.
The Bearcats played in the M.A.C. from 1947 to 1952, compiling a 19-3 conference record over that span. Since then, Cincinnati has spent time as an independent (1953-1956 and 1970-1995) and as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (1957-1969), Conference U.S.A. (1996-2004), and the Big East (beginning in 2005). Do the Bearcats really think they're fooling anyone? They're a Mid-American Conference team and they need to own up to that.
While Navy has played football as an independent since 1879, the Cadets spent seven of the last eight years playing in an organized league, so it wouldn't be terribly jarring for Army to return to conference play in a league that might be more its speed, at least as I have constituted it.
I can't imagine that it matters which Eastern Division teams played which Western Division teams as their permanent opponents from the other side of the Ohio state line, but I'll give it a whirl, anyway.
Since setting up an annual clash between Army and Kent State would lend itself to too many sick jokes ("385 total yards, 13 first downs, four dead"), I have opted to pair the Black Knights with the Rockets, whose campus is home to a Nike-Ajax missile.
An Army-Toledo football game was exactly the sort of thing President Eisenhower feared when he warned the country against the military-industrial complex.
Bowling Green-Western Michigan and Akron-Eastern Michigan make a certain degree of geographic sense, so we might as well match Central Michigan with Ohio. Ball State and Kent State share a natural affinity born of years of gridiron futility, which leaves Cincinnati to pair off against Northern Illinois every year.
Detroit will remain the site of the M.A.C. championship game, despite the fact that the league isn't remotely cool enough to cut it in Motown.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your revamped Mid-American Conference.
Coming up next . . . the Mountain West Conference.