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Notre Dame versus the MAC... not a lot of MACtion, but we’re trying

At least — we should be

Mike Miller/One Foot Down

While many die-hard college football fans have a deep understanding and appreciation for the MAC, Gary from Granger may not care at all. Gary is 58 and the biggest Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans this side of the St. Joseph River (which is really any side because it winds around a lot). When Notre Dame first announced that Western Michigan was on the 2010 schedule, Gary colored over his “CHUCK WEIS OUTTA DA BEND” picket sign with a “MAC DON’TION” label and off he went.

The respect was lacking.

We get it... the MAC is a group of five school, and people like Gary don’t understand how 12 game schedules are put together. The Big 10 has been using the MAC as early season tests for decades, and hell — Ohio State will even schedule a couple a year if you let them. Other schools LOVE playing their MAC games, and you should too.

FBC-WMICH-NOTREDAME Photo by Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It really was just a recent thing for the Irish with their first MAC game played in 2010 against the Western Michigan Broncos (Go EMU!). As odd as that seemed, Notre Dame must have liked what they saw and scheduled up the Broncos to be played a decade later — until a global pandemic stopped them.

Really, the most obvious sign that Notre Dame enjoyed their MAC experience in 2010, was that five years later, the Irish would go on to play four more MAC schools in five years.

It’s been a nice little run so far — except maybe in 2018 when the Ball State Cardinals arrived in South Bend.

All week long the only real talk about the game was about how many freshmen would get the first action of their career as we were going to toy around with the new eligibility rules — and the Cardinals themselves.

Yeah that was hubris. Besides not taking them seriously (which Julian Love admitted to after the game) they tried to make Brandon Wimbush a pocket passer to the hilarious result of him going 17-31 297 yards and 3 INT. Brandon also had -7 rushing yards on 11 carries. Notre Dame did hold a comfortable 24-6 lead going into the 4th quarter, but Ball State chirped up 10 points to make it look even worse.

It was hilariously bad — but that’s what the MAC can do when you don’t take them seriously.

In 2021, the Irish will welcome the Toledo Rockets (GO EMU!) to South Bend for the home opener. Toledo is one of those schools that brings back like 97% of its production from the year before, so if the Irish plan on screwing around and try to make Jack Coan an option quarterback — we may have one hell of a long day ahead of us — and Gary from Granger has his drywall guy on speed dial.

Notre Dame VS MAC

2010 Western Michigan 44-20
2015 UMass 62-27
2017 Miami 52-17
2018 Ball State 24-16
2019 Bowling Green 52-0