Dividing the New MAC....

Not the most Geographically balanced conference, but it has potential..

With UMass evening out the MAC somehow 14 football teams and 12 Basketball teams need to live together. It's time to start talking divisions.

The only conceivable way to ensure that the football and basketball divisions are the same is to separate the two football only, and two easternmost, members. This is not going to happen for two reasons. First is that Temple and UMass are natural rivals coming from the A-10 the MAC is going to want to keep both happy because, well, we would like them to stay awhile. Secondly the worst thing you could do Geography is separate these two teams.. UMass has two (UB, Temple), maybe four (UB, Temple, Akron, Kent) schools that are realistically bus trips means.

If you're wondering just how far you might be from some of the other MAC Schools here is the new distance grid (driving in the states only):

AKR BSU BGSU UB CMU EMU KSU MAS MIA NIU OU TEM TOL WMU
Akron 0 250 140 220 240 190 15 590 240 430 180 340 140 290
Ball State 250 0 150 460 240 240 270 860 70 280 220 540 175 200
Bowling Green 140 150 0 270 200 70 150 695 175 176 200 540 20 172
Buffalo 220 460 270 0 490 360 190 380 450 600 400 380 310 460
Central Michigan 240 240 200 490 0 140 320 900 320 320 390 710 182 130
Eastern Migichan 190 240 70 360 140 0 190 760 240 313 260 580 50 110
Kent 15 270 150 190 320 190 0 610 250 430 190 400 140 290
Massachusetts 590 860 695 380 900 760 610 0 830 970 700 270 680 830
Miami 240 72 175 450 320 240 250 830 0 320 170 580 200 220
Northern Illinois 430 280 175 600 320 313 430 970 320 0 490 830 310 210
Ohio 180 220 200 400 390 260 190 700 170 490 0 460 220 370
Temple 340 540 540 380 710 580 400 270 580 830 460 0 520 670
Toledo 140 175 20 310 182 50 140 680 200 310 220 520 0 150
Western Michigan 290 200 175 460 130 110 290 830 220 210 470 760 150 0

 

Because Temple and UMass will be in the same division it's most productive to talk only about football.

The following are the four most common ideas that fans are bantering about.

Scenario #1: Do No Harm

Try to keep the current East-West layout as unscathed as possible:

The Divisions:

East: UMass, Temple, Buffalo, Akron, Kent, Ohio Miami

West: EMU, CMU, WMU, Toledo, Bowling Green, Ball State, NIU

Whats Changed:

Bowling Green get's punted back to the West so that their annual game against Toledo does not burn the only cross over game they get.

The MAP:

Macmapstyle1_medium

Who's the most effected:

Bowling Green trades trips to Temple and Buffalo for NIU and Ball State shrinking their average commute by 115 miles. Everyone in the West get's another bus trip game, most of the teams in the east trade a bus trip to Bowling Green for either a flight or a long bus trip to Amherst Massachusetts.

Scenario #2: North and South

This is the lease likely scenario but it's worth mentioning:

Divisions:

North: Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, Umass, WMU

South: Akron, Kent, Ball State, Bowling Green, Toledo, Ohio, Miami

Whats Changed:

The MAC (North) is no longer a bus league stripping one of the conference strengths (low travel cost) from seven of the schools.

The MAC (South) is, for the most part, an All Ohio League with BSU tagging along. Very nice geography but no way NIU or Temple/UMass will be too happy about this layout.

The Map:

Macmapstyle2_medium

Who's the most effected:

Northern Illinois has an average trip of more than 450 miles. Only three of six conference mates would be drivable. When Buffalo made the trip out to DeKalb this past season the team flew.

Scenario #3: The Old versus the New

Try to keep the long time conference mates together, geography be damned.

Divisions:

Old: Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent, Miami, Ohio, Toledo, WMU

New: Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, UMass

What's Changed:

This alignment literally splits the MAC into two, I think it might be even worse than the 'Legends and Leaders' arrangement the Big 10 fell into.

The Map:

Macmapstyle3_medium

Who's the most effected:

Northern Illinois has an average trip of more than 550 miles.The only MAC School that is drivable to them here is Ball State. BSU is almost as bad off with Ohio and NIU being drivable.

This also breaks up Miami and Ohio, one of the more heated MAC pairings.

Scenario #4: Rival Pairings

The Priority is to keep as many rivalries intact as possible and work on building new ones.

Divisions:

Classic: Akron, Kent, Bowling Green, Toledo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan

Modern: Buffalo, Temple, UMass, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Miami, Ohio

What's Changed:

There is still one very long division but Northern Illinois is not quite on an island here. They still have the corn stalk game with Ball State and they also have a very drivable home game with Miami. Ohio is a long dive but 500 miles is doable every other year. They would still have three flights every two years (Temple, Buffalo, UMass) but that's manageable compared to the North/South model.

The Map:

Macmapsyle4_medium

Who's the most effected:

Buffalo has nobody within 400 miles (technically OU is 390 miles away). While 6 schools are long bus trips having Akron and Kent sitting in a different division just 200 miles away seems a might unfair.

So what do you think?

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