CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the first time in Mid-American Conference history a member program will be playing in one of the five prestigious BCS Bowl games as MAC Champion Northern Illinois will face Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Seven MAC teams will be playing in bowl games this year as invitations were extended Sunday evening. The seven bowl invitations established a new conference record for the most bowl appearances in a single season. The previous high was five bowl invitations, which happened on four separate occasions (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
Northern Illinois (Discover Orange Bowl), Kent State (GoDaddy.com Bowl), Toledo (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), Ball State (Beef ‘O'Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg), Bowling Green (Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman), Ohio (Advocare V100 Independence Bowl) and Central Michigan (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) will represent the MAC in bowl games this season.
2012 MAC Bowl Schedule:
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State, Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 1
Kent State vs. Arkansas State, GoDaddy.com Bowl, Jan. 6
Toledo vs. Utah State, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Dec. 15
Ball State vs. Central Florida, Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, Dec. 21
Bowling Green vs. San Jose State, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, Dec. 27
Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 28
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26
"I am extremely proud of the student-athletes, coaches and fans at our seven MAC member institutions that have received bowl invitations and our collective accomplishments as a conference this season," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "The commitment of the student-athletes to excel has earned them this opportunity. I am very excited for our bowl lineup and I look forward to watching the MAC teams compete this bowl season. I also want to thank our primary contracted bowl partners, secondary partners and additional bowl partners who we added within the past three days. I speak for the entire conference, we appreciate these partnerships."
Last year, the MAC won the ESPN Bowl Challenge Cup for FBS Conferences with the best record in bowl games as the MAC set a conference record at 4-1. Dating back to the final bowl game during the 2009 bowl season with a Central Michigan OT win over Troy in the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6, 2010, the MAC has won seven of its last ten bowl games (2-2 in 2010, 4-1 in 2011).
The 2012 season has been a banner season for the conference as two MAC programs are ranked in the BCS Standings with Northern Illinois at No. 15 and Kent State at No. 25. This season, four different MAC programs have been ranked nationally in the BCS Standings, Associated Press Top 25 Poll or the USA Today Coaches Poll – Northern Illinois, Kent State, Toledo and Ohio.
In addition, the MAC has won a conference record 16 games against non-conference FBS programs – including eight wins against AQ programs – Penn State, Iowa and Indiana from the Big Ten; Cincinnati, Rutgers, South Florida and UConn from the Big East; and Kansas from the Big 12.
The complete MAC bowl schedule is as follows: All times are Eastern.
Dec. 15: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Boise, Ida. 4:30 pm ET (ESPN)
Toledo (9-3, 6-2) vs. Utah State (10-2, 6-0, Western Athletic Conference)
Note: Toledo finished the season with a 9-3 overall record, including 6-2 in league action. The Rockets will be making its third consecutive bowl appearance (2011 Military Bowl; 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl). Last year, Head Coach Matt Campbell led the Rockets to a 42-41 win over Air Force in the 2011 Military Bowl. Toledo will be making its conference leading 13th bowl appearance in program history (9-3 record in bowl games).
Dec. 21: Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg – St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 pm ET (ESPN)
Ball State (9-3, 6-2) vs. Central Florida (9-4, 7-1, Conference USA)
Note: Ball State concluded the 2012 regular season by winning six consecutive games and are 9-3 overall, 6-2 in MAC play. Second-year Head Coach Pete Lembo has turned the Cardinals program around as last year the club finished 6-6 and bowl eligible and progressed with a nine win season in 2012. Ball State will be making its first bowl appearance in four years and eighth bowl game in school history. The Cardinals appeared in two consecutive bowl games in the 2007 (International Bowl) and 2008 (GMAC Bowl) seasons.
Dec. 26: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Detroit, Mich. 7:30 pm ET (ESPN)
Central Michigan (6-6, 4-4) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5, 4-4, Sun Belt Conference)
Note: Central Michigan wrapped up the 2012 season with a three-game winning streak to finish 6-6 overall, and 4-4 in conference play. Third year Head Coach Dan Enos will be making his first bowl appearance with the Chippewas. Central Michigan went to four consecutive bowl games from 2006-2009.
Dec. 27: Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman – Washington, D.C. 3:00 pm ET (ESPN)
Bowling Green (8-4, 6-2) vs. San Jose State (10-2, 5-1, Western Athletic Conference)
Note: Bowling Green ended the season with an 8-4 overall record, 6-2 and second place in the MAC East Division. Fourth-year head coach Dave Clawson will be making his second bowl appearance with the Falcons as he led Bowling Green to an invitation in the 2009 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. Bowling Green will be making the programs tenth bowl appearance. The Falcons have appeared in a bowl game in three of the last six years, and five bowl games in the last decade.
Ohio (8-4, 4-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4, 6-2, Sun Belt Conference)
Note: The Ohio Bobcats finished the 2012 season with an 8-4 overall record, 4-4 in conference play. Ohio began the year with a 24-14 win at Penn State and during the season was ranked in the BCS Standings, Associated Press Top 25 Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll. Last season, the Bobcats won the programs first ever bowl game with a 24-23 win over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Ohio will be making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance (2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; 2010 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl; 2009 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl) under head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats have received a bowl invitation for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0) vs. Florida State (11-2, 7-1, Atlantic Coast Conference)
Note: Northern Illinois won the Marathon MAC Football Championship for the second consecutive year with a thrilling 44-37 double overtime win over Kent State. The Huskies are ranked No. 15 in the BCS Standings, No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Northern Illinois finished the season with a perfect 8-0 conference record and have a 12-1 overall record. Northern Illinois will be making its fifth consecutive bowl appearance (2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl; 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl; 2010 International Bowl; 2008 Independence Bowl). The Huskies have won their last two consecutive bowl games – Northern Illinois defeated Arkansas State 38-20 in the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl and beat Fresno State 40-17 in the 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl.
Jan. 6: GoDaddy.com Bowl – Mobile, Ala. 9:00 pm ET (ESPN)
Kent State (11-2, 8-0) vs. Arkansas State (9-3, 7-1, Sun Belt Conference)
Note: The Kent State Golden Flashes won the MAC East Division for the first time in program history and suffered a 44-37 double overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the 2012 Marathon MAC Football Championship Game. Kent State finished the regular season with an 11-1 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 in conference play. The Golden Flashes are currently 11-2 overall and ranked No. 25 in the BCS Standings. Kent State second-year Head Coach Darrell Hazell has turned the fortunes around for the program. This will be only the third ever bowl appearance for Kent State – (1954 Refrigerator Bowl, 19-7 loss to Delaware; 1972 Tangerine Bowl, 21-18 loss to Tampa).
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