It's certainly not the first time a MAC team has come south, but Kent State came oh-so-close to snagging the BCS spot that wound up going to conference mate Northern Illinois last year, so that makes it worth noting.
As such, I reached out to SB Nation's own HustleBelt to see what I could learn about the Golden Flashes this spring. Editor Matt Sussman was kind enough to answer.
1. College football fans were aware of Kent State's season that nearly saw them crash the BCS (and ultimately led to Northern Illinois doing it instead), but what returns from that team for 2013?
Dri Archer decided to come back for his senior year, and that's a very great thing. His kick returning threat is very real and at 5'8" he's essentially a fun size version of Randy Moss. They also bring back complementary running back Trayion Durham as well as receiver Tyshon Goode, who missed all of 2012 to injury. Some key guys on the defense come back including Roosevelt Nix, probably the most disruptive 5'11" interior lineman in the country and safety Luke Wollet, who can create some turnovers.
2. What are the Golden Flashes' outlook for next season?
Well, it's not going to be another 11 wins, even though their stars are coming back. I'd say 7-5 and a bowl game sounds about right. It'll feel like a letdown but their winning seasons have been few and far between, so they'll take competitive over nothing.
3. We've seen MAC teams pull big upsets versus schools from the B1G and other conferences. Would doing it to a top-level SEC program like LSU be new territory?
Last year Akron was tied at halftime at Tennessee. Bowling Green lost to Florida by 10. They're always close but that second half is usually when they wear thin. The golden ticket for us is a win over Ohio State, who has never lost to a MAC team (or any in-state team since 1921). Taking down a top 15 SEC team would obviously be great, but it's usually not in the forefront of our minds just due to geography and perhaps practicality.
4. Tell SEC fans what they might be missing out of #MACtion?
Points, parity, proximity. It's nice to have all the teams closely situated above all else. Akron-Kent State and Toledo-Bowling Green are 30 minutes away from each other. Destroying the scoreboard is one thing but if we were more spread apart I'm not sure if this works. And by virtue of the proximity, everybody's recruiting from the same pool of players, and every year a team has a good chance to win their division. (Exhibit A: Kent State). You could pick any team to reach the MAC title and make a good case for it. Maybe not Akron.
5. How excited should we be for the proposition of #MACtion meeting the sport's resident Lord of Chaos, Les Miles himself?
What we're hoping for is somebody fumbles the ball and have it accidentally kicked for a field goal.