Football: MAC realigns East and West

By
Matt Archibald

Dateline
Updated Wed, Jan 4, 2012 3:10 pm
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The Mid-American Conference will look different for the 2012 football season.

The University of Massachusetts, who moves up from FCS to FBS, will join the East Division, which currently has seven teams (the West has six). To even out the divisions, Bowling Green will move from the East to the West to make two, seven-school divisions, according to multiple sources familiar with the realignment.

The Minutemen are not eligible for the conference championship game and a bowl game until 2013. UMass was 5-6 last season and will welcome in new head coach Charley Molnar in for its first FBS season. Molnar was Notre Dame's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

Here's how the MAC will look in 2012:

EAST
Akron
Buffalo
Kent State
Miami
Ohio
Temple
Massachusetts

WEST
Ball State
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Northern Illinois
Toledo
Western Michigan

With UMass joining the conference, Ohio will play in Foxborough, Mass. every other year, as the Minutemen will play their home games at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots of the NFL.

UPDATE: Per Ohio Sports Information Director Tom Symonds, Ohio will host Buffalo, Akron, UMass and Bowling Green at Peden Stadium. The Bobcats will play Temple, Kent State, Miami (OH) and Ball State on the road. Ohio was supposed to play Western Michigan and Northern Illinois as its two West Division opponents in 2012, but with the conference realignment, the Bobcats' cross-division opponents changed.


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