It seems the MAC's days of playing bowl Games at Ford Field are in serious danger of coming to an end. The Detroit Lions are rumored to be in talks with the B1G and the ACC about setting up a new bowl game in the Motor City.
Detroit Lions expected to start new bowl in 2014, likely B1G vs. ACC, at Ford Field sources told @espn. Would eliminate Little Caesars Bowl— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 21, 2013
Is it not enough that the Lions ruin the post season for their own fans by only getting there once every 13 years or so? Do they have to mess with the post season for MAC fans as well? I can just see Bill Ford saying to himself "whelp I've got nothing to do in January, might was well try to get a better profile bowl game in here"
This is the other shoe of conference realignment. While the MAC escaped the fallout of conference membership changes mostly unscathed they will not be unaffected by the Bowl shifting which will accommodate the 14 team contract conferences.
I had thought maybe the MAC spot in the Spud bowl would be in danger, and who knows, it may still be. But Detroit? This is a 16 year old Bowl with an average attendance of 45 thousand people. Only four times in its history has the attendance fallen below 40 thousand and it has been as high as 60 thousand.
Part of the recent struggle has been the inability of the Big Ten to field a team for the Bowl. Detroit sits nicely in the MAC and in the B1G footprint so those Bowls have tended to draw really well. The CMU Purdue game in 2007 drew 60 thousand fans. But when the B1G can not send a team the Sun Belt sends it's backup. Last years game between CMU and Western Kentucky drew just 23 thousand, the only time the Bowl has ever fallen below 30 thousand.
The MAC needs to move quickly to shore up the LCB, secure a new spot in an existing Bowl, or maybe start up a new Bowl somewhere in or around its footprint and adjacent to another G5 conference. Perhaps in Indy versus CUSA or the Sun Belt? Or in Foxboro Stadium against the AAC.
Its possible, and sensible, that if there is a new Bowl in Detroit that is would be the MAC who lands a back up spot. With three Michigan Schools, and two more just across the state line in the Toledo Area there are five teams for whom Detroit is an afternoon trip. And the History of the LCB proves that MAC fans will travel well for a B1G or ACC foe.