We all know that in terms of talent and quality of play, the MAC lags behind the rest of college football. However, like every other conference, the MAC is home to some fierce and long-standing rivalries that add to the already high entertainment value the MAC offers. Unfortunately, most college football fans don’t know what MAC matchups are actually bitter rivalry games. To fix that, we’ve created a list of the best MAC rivalries that every college football fan should know about.
Miami (Ohio) vs Ohio
This is the oldest rivalry in the MAC, as the two-instate rivals go back more than 100 years and are closing in on 100 all-time meetings. Miami owns the all-time series in what’s called the Battle of the Bricks between two schools from opposite sides of the state. However, the Bobcats have owned most of the 21st century, making the all-time record a little closer.
The most intriguing moment in the rivalry came in 1992 when the Ohio alumni marching band got into a fight with the Miami players. While silly, that’s not an event that most rivalries can match.
Ball State vs Northern Illinois
In classic Midwest fashion, Ball State and Northern Illinois battle for the Bronze Stalk Trophy, which depicts cornstalks. This rivalry doesn’t have the same kind of history as some other rivalries.
But it’s one of the newest MAC rivalries that fans need to circle every year, even if Northern Illinois has been the dominant team since the Bronze Stalk Trophy was first introduced in 2008.
Central Michigan vs Western Michigan
Behind only Michigan-Michigan State, this is the second-best rivalry in the Great Lake State. Along with Eastern Michigan, they compete for the Michigan MAC Trophy every year. However, the Chippewas and Broncos also play for the Victory Cannon, a trophy that refers to the fact that both schools have a cannon at their home stadium.
Naturally, these regional rivals have been playing regularly since 1907, but the rivalry has picked up since 1975 when Central Michigan joined Western Michigan as members of the MAC.
Kent State vs Akron
With the two schools separated by barely 10 miles, this is one of the most underrated college football rivalries in the country. Naturally, the rivalry also extends to other sports. The Zips and Golden Flashes first met on the football field in 1923 with Akron winning 11 of the first 12 games.
Since then, the rivalry has been all but even with a trophy called the Wagon Wheel being introduced in 1946. Thanks to Akron joining the MAC in 1992, this has become an annual rivalry and one of the most intense in the MAC.
Bowling Green vs Toledo
In the MAC, specifically in Northwest Ohio, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Battle of I-75 between Bowling Green and Toledo. Despite being less than 30 miles apart, they play in different divisions inside the MAC. However, the MAC typically makes sure they play each other every year because the two schools genuinely hate each other.
For proof of that, consider that the Peace Pipe Trophy that used to be awarded to the winner was retired in 2010 and replaced by the Battle of I-75 Trophy. Most importantly, the rivalry has been evenly contested over the years. Heading into 2020, both Toledo and Bowling Green have 40 wins against the other, so all-time bragging rights are on the line in virtually every game between the Rockets and Falcons.