Lights, camera, MACtion.
Mid-American Conference football is already fun, but moving most games mid-week in the late fall with a captive national audience has turned it into an annual sports betting sensation.
Mid-week MAC football is back for the final month of each college football regular season. Here is a look at upcoming games, and what you need to know to get in on some of the craziest college football action in the country.
Editor’s note: Odds for in-season midweek games are generally released the Sunday prior to the scheduled kick.
Bahamas Bowl: Toledo vs. Middle Tennessee, noon
Cure Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina, 6 p.m.
LendingTree Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty, 5:45 p.m.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Kent State vs. Wyoming, 3:30 p.m.
Frisco Classic Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. North Texas, 3:30 p.m.
Camellia Bowl: Ball State vs. Georgia State, 1:30 p.m.
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Nevada
Arizona Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Boise State, 1 p.m.
BetMGM Sportsbook is offering One Game Parlay Insurance this college football season on your first such bet after opt-in.
Find the offer and opt-in on the promos tab. Each parlay has to be at least four legs, and up to $50 in free bets will be refunded.
Mid-American Conference football was well under way before we reached this midweek November oasis.
However, its alter ego of MACtion (the mid-week games) started this year on Nov. 2, 2021. There were three games on the slate on that Tuesday night: Ball State at Akron, Eastern Michigan at Toledo, and Miami (Ohio) at Ohio. Those teams combined for 225 points of fun.
The following night, Wednesday, November 3, Central Michigan played at Western Michigan, and Northern Illinois was at Kent State. Both overs hit again.
This section will be updated when the 2022 schedule is released.
In a maneuver to get some attention on the national college football stage at the turn of the century, the Mid-American Conference made what now looks like a brilliant move for both the Michigan sports betting world and across the country.
Since 2000, the conference has been playing mid-week football games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Simply put, they’ve been grabbing the national spotlight on nights when there’s no other football to be found.
Bettors noticed, and #MACtion was born, both among sharps and squares and on social media alike.
These ESPN and ESPN2 MAC games, otherwise among the lowest rungs of Football Bowl Subdivision competition, are some of the most frequently wagered-on contests each football season, according to data from national sportsbooks.
The games have also provided some instant classics, with high scores, unbelievable finishes and fantastic plays that many other leagues often cannot deliver. There’s also been a fair share of gaffes and bloopers.
The games are usually played in front of sparse crowds, as these mid-sized Midwest towns don’t draw many visitors during the week. And who can even blame students for not wanting to stand in the cold?
MAC schools do have some proud football histories, though. Here’s all the betting information and a few other things you didn’t know about the lovable, wacky MAC.
(More teams could reportedly be on the way next season in an expansion.)
The 2021 MAC championship game was once again played at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 4, 2021.
The game is sponsored by Rocket Mortgage and pits the East Division champion against the West Division winner.
In the 2021 title game, Northern Illinois defeated Kent State 41-23.
The MAC has pitted the East and West Division winners in a championship game since 1997.
The game was on campus sites for the first seven seasons, then moved to Ford Field in 2004.
Marshall played in the first six MAC championship games, winning five of them.
Here are the MAC teams with the most appearances and titles in MAC Championship games:
|Appearances||Team||Years Won||Years Lost|
|9||Northern Illinois||2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2021||2005, 2010, 2013, 2015|
|6||Marshall||1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002||2001|
|6||Toledo||2001, 2004, 2017||1997, 1998, 2002|
|5||Miami (Ohio)||2003, 2010, 2019||2004, 2007|
|4||Bowling Green||2013, 2015||2003, 2014|
|4||Central Michigan||2006, 2007, 2009||2019|
|4||Ohio||None||2006, 2009, 2011, 2016|
|3||Western Michigan||2016||1999, 2000|
|2||Kent State||None||2012, 2021|
3. Central Michigan 34, Western Michigan 31, Nov. 6, 2007: The rivals combined for 48 points in the fourth quarter. The win was finalized when Dan LeFevour ran it in for the winning CMU score.
2. Nov. 4, 2020: During a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, all 12 teams played on the same Wednesday for the first time in MAC history. Akron started the proceedings with a failed onside kick against Western Michigan. There was then a power outage in Mount Pleasant as Central Michigan played Ohio. Six different teams missed six extra points, which led to a lot of betting shrapnel.
1. This is where #MACtion as a social media phenomenon came to be. In consecutive weeks in November 2011, Northern Illinois beat Toledo 63-60, and then Toledo beat Western Michigan 66-63.
The first game could’ve been even wilder if Toledo’s last-ditch lateral effort didn’t stall near the NIU red zone.
The second game featured 945 combined passing yards between the Rockets and Broncos.
3. Kent State vs. Akron: There are only 15 miles between these schools, though there frankly isn’t a lot of historical success for these programs. The teams have played for the Wagon Wheel trophy since 1946.
2. Toledo vs. Bowling Green: Another Ohio rivalry has just about 25 miles separating these campuses. The teams have combined for 10 MAC Championship appearances. The Ohio schools have played for the Battle of I-75 Trophy since 2011.
1. Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan: The biggest MAC rivalry out there, Western leads the all-time series 51-39-2. There’s genuine animosity between some corners of the fan bases. The teams have played for the Victory Cannon since 2008.
5. J.J. Watt, DE, Central Michigan: You didn’t know J.J. Watt played in the MAC, did you? Before Watt went on to star for his home state Wisconsin Badgers (and, later, the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals), Watt was a young tight end prospect at Central Michigan. He even had some nice moments for the Chippewas before famously leaving the team and delivering pizzas in Mount Pleasant for a time. He gave football another shot … and it appears to have worked out.
4. Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan: Brown grew up in Miami and fell through the recruiting cracks, ending up in Mount Pleasant. He became an All-American return specialist and one of the most dynamic players in college football. Brown then became a generational wide receiver for Pittsburgh before riding the Tom Brady train in New England and Tampa Bay.
3. Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall: The enduring visual of Leftwich in college is his Marshall offensive lineman teammates carrying him down the field against Akron. Leftwich won MAC Offensive Player of the Year twice in 2001 and 2002.
2. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio): Roethlisberger won MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2003 the year after Leftwich won twice. That’s a pretty great run of conference quarterbacking. Roethlisberger was drafted No. 11 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and then won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
1. Randy Moss, WR, Marshall: Moss previously had won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1998. He also made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 after a dominant run with Minnesota, Oakland, New England, Tennessee and San Francisco.
2017 — Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan, Tennessee, No. 5
2014 — Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo, Oakland, No. 5
2014 — Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois, San Francisco, No. 30
2013 — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan, Kansas City, No. 1
2011 — Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, NY Jets, No. 30
2009 — Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois, San Diego, No. 16
2007 — Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan, San Francisco, No. 28
2004 — Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami, Pittsburgh, No. 11
2004 — Jason Babin, DE, Western Michigan, Houston, No. 27
2003 — Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall, Jacksonville, No. 7
2000 — Chad Pennington, QB, Marshall, NY Jets, No. 18
1999 — L.J. Shelton, OT, Eastern Michigan, Arizona, No. 21
1998 — Randy Moss, WR, Marshall, Minnesota, No. 21