MAC announces new football schedule model, eliminates divisions

By Kevin Kelley -

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has announced a new football schedule model beginning with the 2024 season.

The new MAC football scheduling model will eliminate the East and West divisions. At the end of the regular-season, the two teams with the highest winning percentage in conference play will advance to the MAC Championship Game, which is currently played at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

“After significant study and discussion, our membership has made the decision to eliminate divisions in football,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher. “A primary goal in our discussions centered around ensuring the scheduling methodology utilized facilitated the best opportunity to put the two best teams into the championship game. The new model will protect rivalries while facilitating a more even rotation of teams through each institution’s schedule.”

According to the release, the new MAC football scheduling model will allow each team to play every other team in the conference home and away at least once during a three-year cycle.

The MAC will utilize three-team pods in its future scheduling format, which are detailed below:

  • Buffalo, Akron, Kent State
  • Ohio, Miami, Ball State
  • Toledo, Bowling Green, NIU

Future opponents for each MAC team will be announced in late January, while the complete 2024 MAC football schedule with dates will be revealed in late February.

MAC Football Schedule

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Comments (26)

Looks like a 2-6-6-6 format. This is what the Big Sky uses. I approve. You get to play each school twice in a 3 year period.

The 2 refers to your 2 other podmates

“6-6-6” (haha) refers to the following:
There are 9 other teams in the conference (minus yourself and 2 podmates).
You play teams 1-6 in year 1, teams 7-9 and 1-3 in year 2, and teams 4-9 in year 3, then the cycle repeats.

What I would prefer is the MAC add Cleveland State, Robert Morris, Southern Illinois and Youngstown State as full members with only the latter two bringing football into the conference and the former two being replaced by new football only members Fordham and Richmond.

All new members would go in the East Division for football and/or basketball except SIU which would go in the West while BGSU also moves to the West to keep the divisions balanced.

Of course a pod/rotation format can still be done too with the new football members as follows:

Akron, Buffalo, Kent State, Youngstown State
Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan
Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Toledo
Fordham, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Richmond

These games would then be played on Thanksgiving week:

Akron-Kent State
Ball State-Western Michigan
Bowling Green-Toledo
Buffalo-Youngstown State
Central Michigan-Eastern Michigan
Miami (Ohio)-Ohio
Northern Illinois-Southern Illinois

It can work with a 7-game conference schedule (two pairs of two pods paired with each other over a 6-year period) or a 9-game conference schedule (each school plays one pair from each of the other pods set to play each other on Thanksgiving week over a 4-year period).

Under this format, Buffalo and Fordham would meet in a non-conference game when not scheduled to meet in conference play.

RMU would keep football in FCS, I currently project them landing in the CAA despite current plans to rejoin the NEC in football.

You probably meant Richmond though.

The MAC and the A-10 have a strong relationship, Fordham and Richmond being full members of the latter.

The MAC has hosted the football teams of two other A-10 schools in the past, Temple and UMass, Temple no longer being in the A-10. Fordham and Richmond would continue this tradition.

The MAC is not adding any FCS.
They almost convinced MTSU and WKU to come, but somehow, like Palpatine, CUSA survived.
They would continue to welcome UMass but only as an all-sport proposition, which UMass refused thus ending the football-only.
A MAC-SBC OOC schedule deal would be a better waste of time.

Youngstown State has been ready for FBS for a long time. They also have a dormant rivalry with Akron that I want to see revived which can be made easier by joining the MAC.

Ball State’s rivals are Miami and Northern Illinois. Do you mean to tell me that Ohio fits in there better? And that Northern Illinois is more of a rival with Toledo and Bowling Green than Ball So Hard University? I would switch those two teams around. Everything else makes sense to me.

You gotta love, also, how unified the MAC has been in this conference realignment. I hope this non-division move will allow them to continue to stay relevant at the FBS level in this changing time.

I think it’s because Ball State and Miami are so close, and Ohio and Miami have been rivals forever, so it made sense to pod them together.
If I was doing this, I wouldn’t necessarily have pods, but instead each school has 2 annual opponents:
I would have kept the Akron-Kent St-Buffalo and WMU-CMU-EMU pods, but the other 6 schools would be slightly altered:
NIU: Ball St, Toledo
Ball St: NIU, Miami
Miami: Ball St, Ohio
Toledo: NIU, BGSU
BGSU: Toledo, Ohio
Ohio: Miami, BSGU

Northern Illinois Huskies & Bowling Green State Falcons are My co-favorite MAC Teams & currently blessed & happy with 12 Teams they have & I am for open for MAC to add a few Schools to their Conference & to Z-Man please do not reply My opinion & greatly to please stay out of it Thank You & go to Church.

I can reply if I want so don’t tell me not to.

Believe me, I tried telling people not to reply to me when I said something they didn’t agree with. And they replied anyway (and not even on this site). So it’s a waste of time to tell people, especially specific people, not to reply to you.

What did I just get through telling you?

Besides, I want the MAC to expand too, as detailed above.

Your problem Z-Man you are way out of line & You are putting both FOX & NBC in hot water by trading other sports events to have Michigan & Ohio State to played at night & that is a no no also you want things to come like there no tomorrow smaller Conference like MAC will make it’s decision if they want to add teams & I do not expect to happen overnight & will never reply to you Z-Man as long good lord will keep me on this Earth & also Z-Man you should get into politics.

The MAC doesn’t want to expand. I emailed the Delaware beat writer and he told me that the Blue Hens did reach out to the MAC and were told that the conference is set at 12 for now. As you all know, Delaware joined Conference USA.

They would have been a great MAC member though.

Think about it. All the conference realignment and the MAC has had no team leave or join


God Bless You John 114% agreeable I like MAC they way it is currently GO Northern Illinois Huskies & Go Bowling Green State Falcons My co-favorite MAC Teams.

Delaware would not be a good fit for the MAC geographically. The main reason I want the MAC to add the schools I specified is to have the same football games on Thanksgiving week every year and in other sports have a monopoly on Division I athletics in NE Ohio. Cleveland State is located in the same city as MAC HQ. Robert Morris would bring the Pittsburgh market into the MAC since Ohio-Pittsburgh sports rivalries are very popular like Browns-Steelers. My proposed new look MAC would give RMU 8 conference rivals in Ohio, up from 3 in the Horizon League with CSU and YSU also coming from that league.

The MAC is not taking schools that don’t play football. Nor are they taking Robert Morris and Youngstown State, both FCS playing schools. I don’t get Z-Mans thinking here.

They want to stay at 12 until their hand is forced.

I don’t know Z Man so I’ll reserve judgement but I think he dreams up all these realignment scenarios that have no chance of coming to fruition.

Football drives the bus. The ratings tell us that. The MAC can be patient because once the Superleague comes, the MAC could end up with many schools that get dropped….

Not all 67 are going to make the cut

Dan Rakow you take that back.

Also a couple things John Furgele:

1. The MAC hasn’t added any new full members since 1998, they are overdue for an expansion.

2. No current FBS school not already in the MAC is going to join. For new football members, FCS is their only option.

To Z-Man Good News I am not penalizing you however I’m just getting your attention. You can make suggestions or comments however do it in a polite & respectful manor & please stop being very greedy & i do not want to see you have that kind of attitude when you do your commentary. Please respect My opinion on having Michigan Ohio State keep it’s tradition Noon Kickoff & CBS to show the game & Satisfied with MAC Conference still currently with 12 Teams & I will respect your opinion on having Michigan Ohio State to play a night game & MAC to expand. Merry Christmas & Healthy & Happy 2024.