EMU's Future MAC Opponents Announced Through 2026
EMU to host Buffalo, Central Michigan, Miami, and Toledo in 2024.
It’s January, and the Mid-American Conference released its 2024 in-conference opponent matchups as promised. When MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher announced that the league would be switching from divisions to pods and that we should expect to see more clarity when the conference publishes its schedule for the next season.
What Steinbrecher didn’t say was that the schedule release would include intraleague matchups for the next three seasons.
The MAC is one of the rare conferences at the FBS level to see zero changes to its football membership through the sport’s recent changes. All 12 MAC teams have been together for a long time now, and the league made changes heading into this new era of this supposed top-level football.
There are no more divisional splits between East and West lines; there are now four pods of three teams each.
Pod #1: Akron, Buffalo Kent State
Pod #2: Ball State, Miami, Ohio
Pod #3: Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Toledo
Pod #4: Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan
The hope is that the MAC, at best, will send its best team to the now-expanded 12-team college football playoff should the MAC host a worthy enough participant. On an annual basis, it’s a win for competitive fairness and fan interest — every MAC team will be able to travel to and play against every other MAC opponent within three years.
Below are Eastern Michigan’s home and road opponents in conference play over the next three seasons, announced Thursday by the conference:
Home: Buffalo, CMU, Miami, Toledo
Away: Akron, Kent State, Ohio, WMU
Home: BGSU, Kent State, NIU, WMU
Away: Ball State, Buffalo, CMU, Toledo
Home: Akron, Ball State, CMU, Ohio
Away: BGSU, Miami, NIU, WMU
The urgency of the MAC to have three years worth of home/road matchups out in the open like this, only two months after it announced the switch from divisions to pods, is new to these eyes and I’m glad that fans can actually see how committed to its vision the MAC was with this switch. There’s no excuse why a traditional 4 or 5-year player can’t play against every team in the conference — that’s been a longstanding minor issue in this sport that I’m glad is finally being addressed by this league.
The only MAC venue the Eagles will travel to twice over the 2024-2026 seasons is Waldo Stadium to face the Western Michigan Broncos. But that’s to be expected since EMU’s pod includes WMU and CMU — we can expect EMU to go to Kelly/Shorts in the 2025 and 2027 seasons.
If EMU were still competing in the MAC West, it’d have to face Ball State and NIU this year, but EMU won’t see either of them in 2024; up to this point, EMU and Ball State have played each other every season since 1973, EMU vs. NIU has been an annual matchup since 1997.
EMU will still see Toledo over its next two seasons, but not in 2026. EMU and Toledo have played each other every year since 1977.
This season’s trip to Peden Stadium will be EMU’s first visit since 2016 while Ohio’s been to Rynearson Stadium twice since then. Since 2010, EMU’s been to Ohio four times while Ohio’s been to EMU four times.
The detailed schedule for the 2024 schedule is expected to be released next month.