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College Football Spotlight

The Great Debate

August 31, 2003|Jay Christensen;Jim Rhode

Which conference is better, the ACC or Mid-American?

POINT: Without question, it's the MAC, as evidenced Thursday night by Northern Illinois' spanking of No. 15 Maryland. MAC schools say football: Ball State, Bowling Green. ACC schools say Canterbury tales: Duke, Wake Forest. The MAC had a Miami, the ACC had to steal one. The MAC has the Thundering Herd, the Broncos, the Huskies. The ACC? The Terrapins and Cavaliers. But most important, if the MAC champion finishes 8-5, it does the honorable thing and stays out of BCS bowls.

Jay Christensen

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COUNTERPOINT: Things will really be heating up on Tobacco Road this season, baby, with the prodigal son, Roy Williams, coming home to Chapel Hill and restoring order in the ACC against Coach K and the Cameron Crazies ... Oh, we're supposed to be talking football here? Well, let's see. Florida State has lost some of its superpower swagger, but Virginia and North Carolina State could be highstepping to BCS music. The MAC? What we have here is early season fodder for Big Ten teams before they get down to serious conference business. Just look at Saturday's results for Miami of Ohio, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. The MAC's claim to fame is that it has more teams (14) than any major college conference -- and two (Buffalo and Eastern Michigan) that will bring up the rear among Division I's 117 teams. The MAC has an average stadium capacity of 33,000, with many of its venues barely able to hold what would be considered a good ACC basketball crowd. What's in a name? One of the MAC teams is called the Zips. OK, occasionally a MAC team will spring up and bite an unsuspecting Top 25 opponent, like Northern Illinois did Maryland Thursday night. Perhaps the ACC should banish the Terrapin football program to Conference USA until it gets its act together.

-- Jim Rhode

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