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November 6, 2013

MAC football conference receives opportunity to play in additional college football bowl games

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Central Michigan University’s Shamari Benton (26), who played his high school football at Birmingham Brother Rice, helps tackle University of Michigan running back De’Veon Smith during a game earlier this season. Central and the rest of the Mid-American Conference teams will have more opportunities to play in bowl games starting in 2014.

Watching college bowl games has become a popular pastime for many Americans, and fans of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) may receive plenty of opportunities to partake in the fun in the upcoming years.

The conference has announced three newly created bowl games, which, according to a release from the MAC, is “the third in a series of bowl announcements.”

The inaugural Boca Raton Bowl is scheduled to take place in 2014 and will be owned and operated by ESPN. FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University has been chosen as the venue.

Boca Raton bowl games are to be played pre-Christmas and televised on ESPN or ESPN2. According to the release, it is a joint agreement between several FBS conferences, with the first Boca Raton Bowl to be played against a team from Conference USA.

The Bahamas Bowl, which is also set to debut in 2014, will provide MAC teams with another opportunity to compete in a bowl game. The inaugural Bahamas Bowl game will be against a team from the American Athletic Conference in Nassau, Bahamas, making it the only bowl game outside of the United States.

The inaugural Miami Beach Bowl is scheduled for 2016, against a team from the American Athletic Conference. The game is scheduled to take place in Marlins Park in Miami, Fla.

According to the release, “the Miami Beach Bowl, Boca Raton Bowl and Bahamas Bowl will be supported by several FBS conferences on a six-year rotating basis (2014-2019).”

The additional bowls will give the MAC a minimum of five guaranteed bowl opportunities, beginning in the 2014 season.

Michigan-based teams in the MAC include Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University.

“First and foremost, this will continue to give our football programs, student-athletes, coaches, fans and alumni an opportunity to continue to grow our bowl experience,” said Ken Mather, an assistant commissioner for the MAC, and media and public relations contact. “We’ve had, in the past, three primary bowl partnerships. Ultimately, we’re going to be able to grow our number of primary bowl affiliations to five. That’ll be (a) tremendous advantage for us, beginning in 2014, as we look to have postseason bowl opportunities for our programs.”

Other primary MAC bowl partners include the GoDaddy Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the Camellia Bowl.

The final primary bowl partnership announcement for this rotation should be available in the next few weeks.

For more information, visit mac-sports.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.