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Get Ready for Fabulous Idaho, MAC Fans!

Clearly that headline is sarcastic, but I’m sure the dozens of MAC fans that will make the trip to Boise, Idaho in December will find it just awesome. That’s right, ladies and gentleman… as a reward for a successful season a team from MidAmerica will get the honor and privilege of playing in the longest running cold weather bowl game. As we’ve also discussed when the possibility of Ball State playing in 2008’s game was an option, it is also one of the most challenging in terms of finances. The payout is $750,000, but teams are required to provide a corporate sponsor, purchase a minimum number of tickets, and stay at a selected hotel for a minimum stay. Super.

Per the MAC’s Release:

BOISE, Idaho – Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald today announced the signing of agreements that set the stage for a four-year relationship pitting top teams from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) against top opponents from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Qualifying teams will be selected according to each conference’s criteria for bowl participation. The MAC is committed to send its third selection of bowl eligible teams based on the MAC bowl selection process to the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl.

The WAC is committed to send one of its top teams, based on its bowl-eligible teams’ regional drawing strength for fans of the Boise-based game.

“Over the past several years the WAC and MAC have demonstrated a very high level of national success on the football field ” said WAC Commissioner Karl Benson. “Last season the two conferences were awarded nine bowl berths. We look forward to carrying that success over into Roady’s Humanitiarian Bowl.”

“We are so excited to have this agreement with the MAC and the WAC. These two conferences are known for playing a brand of explosive offensive football and a great tradition of winning teams that are really a lot of fun to watch,” said Kevin McDonald, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl executive director. “Last year’s match-up delivered one of the most exciting bowl games of the year. We believe the game will always have that kind of drama and excitement for our fans.”

Last year’s Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, which featured Bowling Green State University from the MAC and the University of Idaho from the WAC, equaled the game’s all-time highest television rating on ESPN. The game received a Nielsen household rating of 2.4, representing over three million total viewers, tying the record for the highest rating ever which was the 2008 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, matching Maryland and Nevada.

“We are very happy to have in place this tremendous relationship with a long-established and very successful bowl game,” said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher. “Based on last year’s match-up between the two conferences, I believe fans of the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl game can look forward to exhilarating and competitive contests in the future.”

The Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl is the only bowl game in the United States that has humanity in its brand. The Bowl recognizes the positive impact teams, coaches and student-athletes have in their communities and their leadership roles in promoting humanitarian efforts.

There are many who would say that having this sort of thing locked in after the fold of the International Bowl is a good thing for the conference, and while on the surface, I agree that not relying on at large bids is a solid option for the MAC, I wish it were just a different Bowl game. Unfortunately for the MAC, this conference isn’t in a place to be picky, and table scraps are better than starving. I guess.

Forgive me for being cynical, but it is what it is. The MAC’s potential for success in this Bowl game does not make me warm and fuzzy inside. In fact, it makes me even more nervous that this conference will continue to be looked at as second tier as Bowl after Bowl goes by with poor ticket sales, poor attendance, and general not good-ness. Happy for a Bowl tie in? Absolutely. Happy about this particular Bowl tie in? No. Not in the least.

If Maryland and Nevada’s 2008 game, with a local school and BCS conference school only drew 78% attendance, what happens when it’s Buffalo-Louisiana Tech? Over/under at 50% and I’d take the under. But, congrats to the MAC for locking more postseason appearances for the football programs. Thumbs down to the MAC for locking teams and schools already in financial quagmires into a potential financial disaster. But who knows… I’m sure the middle of Idaho in December is a great way to spend thousands of dollars. Was the Guantanamo Bay Bowl unavailable?

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3 Responses

  1. I’m with you that it’s gotta be almost a worst case scenario as far as Bowl Tie In’s go but it is better than hoping for at large bids.

    Besides until the MAC starts owning mid major bowls do we really deserve anything better?

  2. We used to own mid-major bowls (had a long winning streak between 2001 and 2005, if memory serves), and it didn’t parlay into anything “better,” so really, the results mean a lot less than the number of butts we put in the seats.

    It’s not just us… an undefeated Boise team played in the Pointsettia Bowl in 2008, two years after a 7-5 NIU team did the same. Unless you crack that BCS line as a non-BCS club, you’re at the mercy of the bowl system’s whims…

  3. The lone, and I emphasize lone, positive is the
    guaranteed national TV exposure…other than that, this bowl has to be the least attractive for attendance and limited financial exposure for its participants. Talk about “kissing your sister” or taking your cousin to the prom….sheeesh !

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