You know how Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten start the season with more than their fill of #MACtion? No more, says Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith. Given the upcoming changes to college football's postseason, Ohio State football may be entertaining fewer MAC programs at Ohio Stadium.
"We're changing our philosophy because we're obviously going to move into a playoff structure that I don't think all of us really understand yet, how the committee's going to work," Smith said earlier this week. "Many of us are assuming it's going to work similar to the (NCAA tournament) basketball committee, so your non-conference schedule will come into consideration as they evaluate whether or not you're going to be one of those final four teams."
"As we move to 2018 and out, because we're all set for our games through 2017, we're looking at a different scheduling format," Smith said. "So we'll still play a MAC school on occasion, but not nearly as much as we have in the past."
Ohio State and the Big Ten are no strangers to scheduling MACrificial lambs. Over the last decade, the Buckeyes have faced 14 programs from the MAC, going a perfect 14-0. Similarly, over that same time span, Penn State is 15-0, Michigan is 14-1, Purdue is 12-3 and Indiana is 11-3.
You know what other program has scheduled more than a few MAC programs? Boston College. The only non-Big Ten, non-conference programs to have faced the Mid-American Conference over the last decade are Pittsburgh (10-3), Cincinnati (13-3) and Connecticut (17-3). The Eagles, 12-0 against the MAC over that span, are also one of three non-conference opponents with a perfect record against the MAC out of teams with 10+ games played. Wisconsin (10-0), Ohio State (14-0) and Penn State (15-0) the others.
Going forward, BC currently has five more future games scheduled against the MAC -- three vs. UMass (@ 2014, 2016, 2018) and two against Buffalo (2015, 2016). Yawn.
The point? I hope Boston College's next A.D. is closely listening to what the Ohio State athletic director is saying. As college football moves to a playoff format and the ACC moves to a nine-game conference schedule, 1-2 games a year against the MAC makes less and less sense for a program like BC.
Why you ask?
1) The games are rarely close (average score in a BC vs. MAC game over the last decade? 37-12)
2) The opponents are largely uninteresting.
3) The games against MAC opponents are typically the most poorly attended home games of the season (sometimes even worse than the I-AA game). The Buffalo 2006 (14,682) and Kent State 2009 (25,165) games remain the lowest home attendance totals of the last 10 seasons. Add in last year's game against a then FCS, now MAC Massachusetts team (30,176) and the conference accounts for the top three.
There are other ways for the Boston College program to remain relevant in the Midwest for recruiting purposes. Like, you know, beating Notre Dame, beating Northwestern or scheduling games against more competitive opponents in the region (Cincinnati, Louisville, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State). Hopefully the next A.D. doesn't feel that 2-for-1s with MAC programs is the best way to make recruiting in-roads out in Ohio and Illinois.
I'm with Mr. Smith on this. When it comes to hot, non-conference #MACtion, less is more for Boston College football.