This goes beyond the conference finishing 1-14 in their last 15 bowl games (thank you, Central Michigan). I have the best of intentions when I implore the Mid-American Conference football to get out of the stiff Bowl Subdivision and into a warm, comfy Championship Subdivision.
You might be asking: isn't this sports suicide? Who wants to go backwards? Nobody chooses weaker competition except for the weak themselves. (There's probably a motivational plaque somewhere that says this.)
But perhaps their game is not BCS material, and in this convoluted system, that's the whole point. In 2003, Miami University finished 10th in the AP Poll. That was the last time the top mid-major was Mid-American. Since then, it's been a rocky rotation of Boise State, Utah, BYU, and TCU. At some point in the recent past, the MAC put all their competitive chips into football, but even smart money can eventually come into possession of the house, much like intelligent humans staying home on prom night.
But cancel out the strength of their football out of the equation. Here's why it's not a terrible idea to move down:
1. The Big Ten will still like them. What's a major selling point for playing in the MAC? You may not get to play in a power conference, but once a year you may get to play in Beaver Stadium or The 'Shoe. This year the Big Ten played nine FCS teams in Washington Generals roles and 14 from the MAC. (FYI, the final score: Big Ten 12, MAC 2.) Factor in geographical distance to these schools, and as long as they're in Division I, they'll keep bringing them in to pound on them, because it's what power conferences love doing.
2. The P-Word and the C-Word. It's time to fess up and realize that the MAC is nowhere near catching lightning in a bottle and reaching the BCS. Even the slightly more muscly Conference USA has never been. Consider the commercials for Total cereal. How many bowls of mediocrity is it going to take to get the nutrition and satisfaction of one playoff run? Kent State basketball did it with their run to the Elite Eight in 2002. Miami hockey and Akron soccer made it to their respective title games last season. Playoffs make everything better, and championships are more likely to fall into the hands of the MAC in this manner.