Landon: MAC Shows Its True Colors

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Mid-American Conference showed its true colors here last week. And it wasn't green.

It wasn't just a case of Toledo wanting Marshall to lose the MAC championship game. That's understandable. It was a case of the MAC at-large wanting anybody but Marshall to win the title. And that's not understandable.

Frankly, I've never seen anything like it.

I also cover the Big East Conference extensively, so I know first-hand that jealousy, back-stabbing and shady politics aren't common components of most conferences.

At least, not the reputable ones.

But it is common-place in the MAC. And that's a concern for Marshall. A huge concern. Because MU is the target of all the envy, all the convoluted rule changes and all the gang mentality.

Marshall is the football program the MAC loves to hate.

And that is wrong. There is no other way to put it. It is simply wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yet, that was the case here last week. I mean, that's why Marshall was here in the first place. It certainly wasn't because Toledo deserved to host the MAC title game.

This blue-collar Ohio town proved that rather unequivocally.

Take game day, for example. The local paper, The Toledo Blade, had one pre-game story on the section front of its sport page. One story. That's all.

Then, there was the game attendance. Or lack thereof. About 15,000 fans wandered into the 26,000-seat Glass Bowl to watch Toledo's 41-36 win over Marshall. And about 6,000 of those fans were from Marshall.

The attendance was embarrassing.

But, then again, so was the reason the MAC title game was in Toledo. Marshall had embarrassed the MAC by winning every championship since rejoining the league. And Huntington had embarrassed the MAC by being the only conference city willing to bid on hosting the title game.

So, how did the MAC deal with the embarrassment? In typical MAC fashion. It rear-ended Marshall. At least, that's the polite way I'll describe it.

The pissy MAC presidents decreed that the MAC championship game would be played at the home field of the West Division champion, come Herd or high water. Forget fairness. Forget justice. Forget equality.

All the MAC wanted was a Marshall loss in a championship game. And the league was willing to do whatever it could to make that happen.

Congratulations, MAC.

I hope it was worth it. But permit me to be the first to break the news to the MAC. It won't be.

The fact that the MAC didn't even use vaseline won't be forgotten at Marshall.

Oh, sure, when the league thought it was going to lose its money program to Conference USA, the MAC said and did all the right things. It sweetened the pot for Marshall. It gave MU perks. It wooed and courted and romanced the Herd.

That's because as much as the MAC hates to admit it, the league desperately needs Marshall.

The MAC should have remembered that last week. But it didn't. And I believe it will turn out to be a costly mistake for the MAC.

Marshall doesn't need a conference that turns against its own members. Other leagues don't do that. Does the Big East gang up against the Miami Hurricanes? Of course not. The Big East takes delight in Miami's success, as it should.

The MAC, by comparison, legislates against Marshall's success.

What's wrong with this picture? I'll tell you what's wrong. Marshall shouldn't be in this picture.

The MAC has shown its true colors.

Marshall needs to find greener pastures.

Chuck Landon moonlights as a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail.

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