I am seeing a lot of traffic from UMass so being a helpful guy I thought I would pass along a few hints for those of you who wish to have a decent relationship with you're new conference mates.
Before we get started you might want to click on that 'Join Bull Run' link in the upper left corner so you can comment and create fan post / fan shots, the same goes for the other SBNation MAC Blogs "Hustle Belt" and "Red and Black Attack".
Now with that out of the way:
What to Call teams, and groups of teams, in your new conference:
Don't: Use the label "Directional" in a derisive way. We have three Michigan based schools and while I have seen the term Directional Michigan used in both a descriptive and a pejorative it takes a bit of experience to know when you can pull it off. Give yourselves a season before you try using this unless you want to come off like a jerk.
Do: Feel Free to save keystrokes by using the terms "Michigan Schools" and "Ohio Schools", those two terms cover eight schools and thirteen words.
Don't: Call Miami University, "Miami of Ohio".
Do: Call the Miami Hurricanes either Miami of Florida or Miami at Coral Gables, the only Miami that should matter to you is now based in south west Ohio.
Don't: Call the Conference "The MAC Conference" because, well the 'C' stands for conference.
Do: Call the Conference "The MAC", or "The Mid American Conference"
Don't: Complain about 3-5 basketball games a year against MAC teams, each school is giving up a chunk of their BCS pie so you can get to the FBS level.
Do: Pass along any insults you might know for Temple that have yet to make their way into the MAC vocabulary.
Where to follow the MAC:
Blogs: Look over on the side bar, those are the best Blog's for covering the MAC (and look there is even a link to a UMass Blog).
Boards: NCAABB's has a the best all conference chat board (and trafficked borads for Toledo, Kent, EMU, and NIU). In addition to NCAABB's several teams have their own well developed fan communities including UB Fan, BSU Fans, Zips Nation, BobCat Attack, Miami Hawk Talk, and Ay Ziggy Zoomba.
Schools and 'real' media: Hustle Belt has a great sidebar for all things MAC.
With that out of the way:
My main worries on this centered around the "This Space For Rent" reputation the MAC is nurturing, the likelihood that UMass fans will show any enthusiasm for Conference games, and how much lower will a new FCS team pull down the MAC East?
A Minuteman's Perspective:
I had a chance to ask Matt Creedon over at MinuteMan Nation his thoughts on the official(ish) news that UMass is going to join Temple as a partial member of the Mid-American Conference.
My main worry is that UMass and its fans see the mac as nothing but a comfy couch. They are not going to be as in demand as Temple but as a state flagship they might turn a few heads. Any team in the MAC would jump to a BCS conference but few, aside from Temple and UMass, would go too quickly to another non-aq.
Matt seems to think that like all mid major teams a move to a BCS conference would be ideal, but that UMass might still be in the MAC in 10 years, and he's okay with that. But he acknowledges that some UMass fans are thinking "This is one small step"
I think this move is worth it no matter what is happening in ten years. I love the FCS, I've grown up with FCS football, but it was clearly time to move up and we jumped at the chance. That said, I would hope that down the road UMass is able to join the Big East. This move to the MAC is viewed by some in the UMass community as a stepping stone to doing just that.
We're all just happy to be playing FBS football after years of waiting. I think you will hear some of that "we're too good" a few years in especially if we do well. Keep in mind a lot of it will come from new fans who may not fully know what they're talking about. We're not too good for anything until we can become a proven winner year in and year out in the FBS. I can only speak for myself but I am thrilled to be in the MAC and I look forward to interacting with other MAC fans and playing you guys on the field in 2013.-- Matthew Creedon.
If they don't turn out to be just another rude house guest I am quite happy to welcome UMass, and their fans into the fold.
It bodes well for UB that the MAC is looking at the eastern seaboard for it's expansion candidates. If the conference can clean up its basketball program and get the worst of the worst football teams to improve a little they can start to be more choosy about the status of new members.
The MAC Also added a school that will see Buffalo as perhaps the one conference home game worth driving to (assuming UB and Temple don't host UMass in the same year):
UMass fans are pretty good in terms of traveling. I think the Minutemen representation will be fairly low outside of Temple and Buffalo now that we are in the MAC. I'm sure the first season a lot of people will be interested and may make longer-than-usual trips.
In terms of how will the represent the conference? Well they can't be any worse than Temple was in 2007. In fact their FCS conference is pretty well respected all around and the Minutemen themselves have given quite a few FBS teams a run for their money.
If our games against Kansas State and Michigan are any indication, I don't think it will take long at all for UMass to finish at the top of the division. First year? Probably not. Year two? I'd say we'll be in contention at the very least. We've got a young team entering the 2011 season that will be experienced upperclassmen by the time we are playing MAC football.
Overall a good add, I just hope it stays that way.