2019 MAC football schedules released; WMU-CMU game gets favorable date
If you happened to be on campus in Kalamazoo or Mount Pleasant on Wednesday, and you saw an athletic director doing a little happy dance, well, here's why.
The Mid-American Conference released its 2019 football schedules, and rivals Western Michigan and Central Michigan couldn't have been any happier about the scheduling of their annual showdown.
The Western-Central game is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Kalamazoo.
That's noteworthy for a few reasons: For starters, the game is on a Saturday, widely preferred by both schools for attendance purposes. It's also early in the season, the earliest the game has taken place since it was Sept. 17 in 2011. That means the weather should be good, again boosting attendance.
And, this year, unlike last year, it's not on the same day as the state's big rivalry, Michigan and Michigan State, which is set for Nov. 16 in Ann Arbor.
Last year's Western-Central game in Mount Pleasant — a 35-10 Broncos win — drew just 10,097, the lowest announced attendance for the annual rivalry game in decades.
The 2017 game, which took place on a Wednesday, drew just 11,776 in Kalamazoo.
The rivalry dates back to 1907.
Each of the state's three MAC programs have impressive nonconference schedules, with Eastern Michigan (7-6 last season) visiting Power Five schools Kentucky and Illinois, Central Michigan (1-11) visiting Wisconsin and Miami (Fla.) and Western Michigan (7-6) visiting Michigan State and Syracuse.
Eastern, fresh off a second bowl in three years under sixth-year head coach Chris Creighton, will get its share of TV games — or weekday "MACtion" games in November — was will Western, which made a bowl in Tim Lester's second season.
Central will play all Saturday games, with the exception of its opener against Albany (Thursday) and finale against Toledo (Friday), after coming off a horrific season that cost head coach John Bonamego his job. Former Florida coach Jim McElwain is entering his first season as head coach.
Aug. 31: at Coastal Carolina
Sept. 7: at Kentucky
Sept. 14: at Illinois
Sept. 21: vs. Central Connecticut State
Oct. 5: at Central Michigan
Oct. 12: vs. Ball State (homecoming)
Oct. 19: vs. Western Michigan
Oct. 26: at Toledo
Nov. 2: vs. Buffalo
Nov. 12: at Akron (ESPN or ESPN2)
Nov. 19: at Northern Illinois (ESPN or ESPN2)
Nov. 29: vs. Kent State (ESPNU or CBSSN)
Aug. 29: vs. Albany
Sept. 7: at Wisconsin
Sept. 14: vs. Akron
Sept. 21: at Miami (Fla.)
Sept. 28: at Western Michigan
Oct. 5: vs. Eastern Michigan
Oct. 12: vs. New Mexico State (homecoming)
Oct. 19: at Bowling Green
Oct. 26: at Buffalo
Nov. 2: vs. Northern Illinois
Nov. 16: at Ball State
Nov. 29: vs. Toledo
Aug. 31: vs. Monmouth
Sept. 7: at Michigan State
Sept. 14: vs. Georgia State
Sept. 21: at Syracuse
Sept. 28: vs. Central Michigan
Oct. 5: at Toledo
Oct. 12: vs. Miami (Ohio) (homecoming)
Oct. 19: at Eastern Michigan
Oct. 26: vs. Bowling Green
Nov. 5: vs. Ball State (ESPN2, ESPNU or CBSSN)
Nov. 12: at Ohio (ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Nov. 26: at Northern Illinois (ESPNU)