With mid-week games the norm the remainder of the year, we take a quick look at the bowl picture for MAC teams in 2009. 2008 saw the MAC send a record-tying 5 teams to bowl games, only to see all 5 teams lose. Thanks to the bowl tie-ins and mediocrity across the college football world, even a 6-6 Northern Illinois went bowling a season ago.
In 2009, four MAC teams have been eliminated from the bowl conversation. A 6-6 record is needed to be considered, and with just three guaranteed bowl berths, MAC teams need teams like Louisville, Purdue, Illinois and Washington to lose again to better the chances of sending more than three teams to bowl games. Now that we have 34 bowl games each year, a 7-5 record will almost assure a team of a bowl game, but we have learned in the MAC that if a team is going to get screwed that team will likely come from the Mid-American Conference.
At 7-2, Central Michigan and Temple look to be in very good shape for bowl berths. Given both team’s schedules, 8-9 wins is likely and CMU could very well go 10-2 and head to another bowl game in Detroit, this time in the newly-named Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. 6-3 Ohio and Northern Illinois face off later this month and both have hopes for not only postseason play but also division titles. 5-5 Kent State has a tough road ahead and their loss to Akron hurts their chances greatly, while at 4-5 Bowling Green has a schedule that could line up a 3-0 end of the season.
Prediction: Four or five MAC teams will make bowl games in 2009 including Western Division Champion Central Michigan and Eastern Division Champion Temple. Ohio, NIU and Bowling Green all end 7-5 as the bowls have to decide between MAC teams with similar resumes.