CLEVELAND (Aug. 18) -- Buoyed by the national telecast of one of the league's
most intense rivalries, which began in 1905, the Mid-American Conference
announced its television package in association with FOX Sports Net
(FSN) for the 1999 football season. It will be the first scheduled
nationwide telecast between two MAC schools since 1987.
The Ohio at Marshall game is scheduled to be telecast nationally by FOX
Sports Net on Friday, Nov. 26, with a special 11:30 a.m. (ET) kickoff.
Marshall, ranked preseason No. 25 in the nation by Sports Illustrated
and Street and Smith's, is the two-time defending league champion and
won the 1998 Motor City Bowl. Thundering Herd quarterback Chad
Pennington, the winner of this year's Anson Mount Award from Playboy
magazine, is also a bonafide Heisman candidate. FSN reaches more than 68
"This is a tremendous commitment by FOX Sports Net to the Mid-American
Conference," said league commissioner Rick Chryst. "The telecast
provides a national showcase for one of the league's oldest and
"FOX Sports Net is excited to bring MAC fans both national and regional
action," said Frank Sinton, FOX Sports Net's Vice President of
Programming. "Because of the leadership of Commissioner Chryst to get
this deal done, home team fans in the MAC regions will be able to see
their teams in action on their FSN regional sports network."
In addition to the Ohio at Marshall contest, the FSN schedule includes
the following regional games:
(all times Eastern)
Oct. 16 - Bowling Green at Akron, noon
Oct. 30 - Central Michigan at Bowling Green, noon
Nov. 6 - Toledo at Central Michigan, noon
Nov. 13 - Miami at Ohio, noon
Nov. 26 - Ohio at Marshall, 11:30 a.m. - FOX Sports Net national broadcast
The regional contests will air on FOX Sports Net Ohio, FOX Sports Net
Detroit, FOX Sports Net Pittsburgh, FOX Sports Net Midwest, FOX Sports
Net Chicago and Empire Sports Network.
"Given our late start on the television package, we feel this is a very
competitive schedule of games that should track our conference race at
the height of the college football season," said Chryst. "Combined with
our school packages, I don't believe there will be a shortage of MAC
football on television this year."
In addition to preseason MAC favorite Marshall, the FSN package features
the top East Division challengers, Miami and Bowling Green, two-time
defending West title holder Toledo, and yet another legitimate Heisman
candidate - Miami running back Travis Prentice. Prentice is poised to
become the league's all-time leading rusher and challenge the NCAA
record for career rushing touchdowns and career games with two or more
The league's 1998 Freshman of the Year, wide receiver Kurt Gerling of
Bowling Green, leads the Falcons in games at Akron and at home versus
Central Michigan. The Zips feature record setting quarterback James
"Butchie" Washington while the Chippewas return plenty of talent from a
team that came within a field goal of winning the West Division in 1998.
CMU tailback Eric Flowers rushed for over 1,300 yards last season.
Toledo and Ohio will break in new quarterbacks but head coaches Gary
Pinkel (1995 and 1997) of the Rockets and Jim Grobe (1996) of the
Bobcats have each won MAC Coach of the Year honors for building their
This year's television package marks the first time two MAC teams have
played a regular-season game on national television since 1987, when
Eastern Michigan played at Toledo on ESPN. The 1999 season marks the
second year of the MAC's relationship with FOX Sports Net. FSN is the
first truly national, regional and local supplier of sports programming
through 22 regional sports networks.
"We appreciate the continued and expanded support of FOX Sports Net and
its affiliates, as we look to establish the MAC both in our footprint as
well as in the national market," said Chryst.
The MAC is the nation's largest Division I football conference with 13
teams that comprise two divisions. The East Division is made up of
Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent, Marshall, Miami and Ohio; West
Division members are Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan,
Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan. The divisional winners
will meet for the MAC Championship in a game to be played Dec. 3 at
Marshall Stadium in Huntington, W.Va. The MAC champion will represent
the league in the Motor City Bowl slated for Dec. 27th at the Silverdome
in Pontiac, Mich.