The Best Time of the Year Is Here
Everything we've been waiting for has finally arrived.
The 5th best month of the year.
Everything we could ever want is here: the weather stays cool, leaves finish their annual fall, and snow has nearly arrived. I get to blast Christmas music without fear of repentance, and wintery treats get brought out for the first time. Thanksgiving brings families together to discuss the sins of our ancestors, while Veteran’s Day we mostly ignore.
But the best part of November? The reason for the season, the gift that keeps on giving, something you can only really be gifted by a mystical, immortal elf who goes by more names than a soft drink (its “pop” btw.) That’s right, the only thing that really matters in the month of November outside of pumpkin pie.
MACtion, the only time the entire country comes together to focus on the Midwest outside of an election year. “But Buffalo’s not in the Midwest!” Get out, you’re in the wrong place. The Midwest is a vibe, not a region. You know it in your heart to be true.
What is MACtion?
MACtion is the greatest part of the college football season. Every November, the MAC plans out mid-week games and forces their teams to partake. They throw three games at 7p.m. EST on a Tuesday and a Wednesday and force us to accept it. And you know what? We do. We accept it because there’s no other football on and we’re obsessed with this dumb sport for whatever reason.
It might sound terrible. I get it: the MAC is a Group of 5 conference, and as a whole isn’t on the level of the AAC or maybe even the Mountain West. They don’t draw a ton of eyes, feature far too many schools from Ohio, and generally don’t play the best football. The weather usually looks like a gritty early-2000s horror movie record on a VHS tape that cuts in and out of Toy Story because the tape is 30 years old and you’re still using it in 2013 for some reason.
Stadium seating for these games usually consists of the family of the players, old men who attended the school 60 years ago and ask when they’re going to join the Big Ten, and around 12 students who did not pay to get in. We get announcers who are trying to break into the industry on the mothership who really just advertise the SEC and the College Football Playoff every chance they get.
Even with these detractions, MACtion absolutely rules and has proven itself time-and-time again to be a can’t miss event every week.
It’s pretty simple, really:
On Saturdays during the regular season, the MAC is typically relegated to ESPN+ while the Power 5 teams eat up the ESPN television networks. During MACtion, the MAC is the only conference on, and is actually allowed screen time during prime viewing hours.
The football isn’t that great. As much as I love it, the MAC isn’t a great conference. They don’t get high-level recruits, the schools don’t have amazing budgets, and about half the coaches are 60-year old retreads.
The other half of the coaches though, man. The MAC is called the “cradle of coaching” for a reason; there are a whole lot of successful head coaches who start out in the MAC. Though it’s typically associated with the University of Miami, Ohio, it applies to the entire conference. Why not watch MACtion then? Keep an eye on the WRs coach for Central Michigan, because he might be coaching the Packers one day.
Someone, probably a guard, is going to shotgun a Bud Light. It will be beautiful.
Remember that terrible weather? Well, they’re going to play no matter what, and bad weather only further incites bad football. Fumbles? We have them. Overthrown interceptions because of wind? We got those too. A ball rolling around on the ground like a loose snake because nobody can pick it up?
You get to discover a new directional school in Michigan!
Legends are born during MACtion: Jordan Lynch, Jaret Patterson, and Tyree Jackson are just a couple of players who would’ve been completely ignored if they played most of their games on saturdays. Instead, they get the spotlight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to make their names known to the world before they disappear into the ether.
How else are you going to spend your time tonight? What else could you possibly have to do?
If you’re like me, you like a good punt. Sometimes, the offenses during MACtion - whether due to a lack of talent, good defensive scheming, or the weather - play poorly, and not in an entertaining way. Sometimes they’re just anemic. This can lead to absolutely electric punts that flip the field and maybe even result in a muff (get your mind out of the gutter.) Punting wins games during MACtion.
If Power 5 kickers can’t make field goals consistently, what makes you think Group of 5 kickers can?
Remember how I said punting wins games? Yeah, it’s because of the ugly football. Turnovers on their own side of the field happen often, so short touchdowns are common and these games can get high-scoring really, really fast. It’s beautiful.
The players are weird. In the MAC, the offensive lineman are at their most offensive lineman-y, every single nose tackle is 5’10 325 lbs, and nearly every receiver is a slot receiver. It is a style of football that couldn’t be dared to be run by any other conference, but fits perfectly in these extremely stupid games.
The atmospheres are completely unique to college football. Eastern Michigan plays on a gray field and hits bricks with a sledgehammer before their home games! Where else can you find that?
It only lasts a month. After that, we have to wait a full year to experience it again, so we might as well enjoy it now.
If there’s anything you think I’m missing, leave a comment. Share with your friends, tell them to leave a comment.