MAC releases football schedule; 'buy' games are back, WMU-CMU set for midweek
Paydays are back for the Mid-American Conference.
The conference's schools — including all three in Michigan — released their 2021 football schedules Friday, and the schedules include the "buy" nonconference games again.
In 2020, the MAC played a league-only six-game slate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, costing schools millions of dollars they would've typically collected from playing Power Five programs in nonconference.
Among the highlights, Western Michigan will play at Michigan ($1.4 million) and Pitt, Eastern Michigan will play at Wisconsin ($1.4 million), and Central Michigan will play at Missouri ($1.4 million), and LSU ($1.45 million). WMU's game against Pitt is part of a home-and-home, with Pitt coming to Kalamazoo in 2022.
Also of note, the Western-Central game — the state's second-biggest rivalry, behind Michigan-Michigan State — will be played midweek, on Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Kalamazoo.
The MAC championship game is set for Saturday, Dec. 4, at Ford Field in Detroit.
Information about fans and ticket sales will come this summer, as programs determine what is allowed based on state and local orders.
The MAC was the first FBS conference to cancel the football season in 2020, followed by the Big Ten. Both conferences eventually reversed course and played conference-only schedules.
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Friday, Sept. 3: vs. Saint Francis
Saturday, Sept. 11: at Wisconsin
Saturday, Sept. 18: at UMass
Saturday, Sept. 25: vs. Texas State
Saturday, Oct. 2: at Northern Illinois
Saturday, Oct. 9: vs. Miami (Ohio)
Saturday, Oct. 16: vs. Ball State
Saturday, Oct. 23: at Bowling Green
Tuesday, Nov. 2: at Toledo
Tuesday, Nov. 9: vs. Ohio
Tuesday, Nov. 16: vs Western Michigan
Friday, Nov. 26: at Central Michigan
Saturday, Sept. 4: at Michigan
Saturday, Sept. 11: vs. Illinois State
Saturday, Sept. 18: at Pitt
Saturday, Sept. 25: vs. San Jose State
Saturday, Oct. 2: at Buffalo
Saturday, Oct. 9: vs. Ball State
Saturday, Oct. 16: vs. Kent State
Saturday, Oct. 23: at Toledo
Wednesday, Nov. 3: vs. Central Michigan
Tuesday, Nov. 9: vs. Akron
Tuesday, Nov. 16: at Eastern Michigan
Tuesday, Nov. 23: at Northern Illinois
Saturday, Sept. 4: at Missouri
Saturday, Sept. 11: vs. Robert Morris
Saturday, Sept. 18: at LSU
Saturday, Sept. 25: vs. FIU
Saturday, Oct. 2: at Miami (Ohio)
Saturday, Oct. 9: at Ohio
Saturday, Oct. 16: vs. Toledo
Saturday, Oct. 23: vs. Northern Illinois
Wednesday, Nov. 3: at Western Michigan
Wednesday, Nov. 10: vs. Kent State
Wednesday, Nov. 17: at Ball State
Friday, Nov. 26: vs. Eastern Michigan