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“The Best of the MAC” – MAC Basketball Fans
The following list has been compiled by asking several fans across the MAC’s online community to rank the top basketball fan sections in the Mid-American Conference. Only those who had attended 4 or more MAC basketball venues were included from our random sampling of online fans. Their votes and comments were welcomed about each school. We also asked the same question at the Mid-American Conference of unbiased attendees of the Conference Tournament. After gathering the Internet data and compiling it we have since added the results from the comments we received at the MAC Tournament to further add a sense of fairness to the rankings.
Items like loudness, number of students in attendance, reputation, personal experience, etc. were factored into the rankings for each individual. Some votes may be based on homer-ism; you’re going to have that whenever there are fans involved. But you can trust us, we collected enough responses across enough fan groups to keep this as fair and objective as possible.
And now for the comments (teams are listed alphabetically):
Akron Zips - There is no doubt that the following for Akron basketball, not to mention Akron football thanks to the MAC Football Championship, is on the rise. Success will do that. But based on all of the comments we have collected, the games our voters have been to, and the overall rankings, it seems like few outside of Akron, Ohio, feel like this group has reached the top of the MAC.
Ball State Cardinals - The Cardinals’ fans are tougher to judge as it was difficult to find a lot of fans who had comments one way or the other about Ball State fans. Luckily, several on our panel of experts were familiar with the gameday atmosphere for BSU, and the numbers for Ball State were fairly strong.
Bowling Green Falcons - Like Ball State and CMU it’s tougher to judge the Falcons’ fan-base this year specifically based on a string of poor seasons on the court. However, it would not be fair to judge anyone based on one or two down seasons. Anderson Arena has long been known as one of the toughest places to win in the MAC, and despite a down year for the team, their fans have played a big part in building that reputation.
Buffalo Bulls - This is an interesting group. With the emergence of Buffalo’s basketball program in recent years, the MAC has also seen the emergence of a young, strong fan base in the Northeast. While this group has had their down moments (loud, obscene chants were clear over the TV broadcast of the Ohio @ Buffalo game leading to some negative local attention), they have a group that travels well and is very passionate about the Bulls.
Central Michigan Chippewas - Known as the “Rose Rowdies,” Rose Arena in Mouth Pleasant, Michigan has quite a reputation for being one of the toughest arenas in the MAC. A few down years for the program since Chris Kaman left for the NBA have likely hurt the reputation, but this group scored well with our voters.
Eastern Michigan Eagles - Only Northern Illinois received less positive comments than the fans at EMU. Years of struggling sports are likely a big part of that, but it’s disappointing to see how little support there is for EMU in basketball or football. Especially considering one of this year’s best MAC players, John Bowler, was a senior this past season.
Kent State Golden Flashes - S.C.R.E.A.M. is the name of the University-organized student section now at Kent State, and based on past visits to Kent it looks like their efforts are worthwhile. Kent students this year seem to be better-organized and louder than ever before, and it seems that the students are really supporting the program. If the basketball team continues to win 20+ games each year and contend for MAC titles you can expect this group to become even larger and louder.
Northern Illinois Huskies - Along with EMU, the reputation for the fans of the NIU Huskies is disappointing. While NIU was at the top of the MAC West all season, the talk from most online Huskie fans seemed to be about the need to fire their head coach. No matter what the reasons are, NIU basketball fans are bashed by many of their own and ranked last in our voting.
Ohio Bobcats - One of the first MAC schools to have a successful University-organized student section, the O-Zone has gotten a lot of attention in the local media and several mentions in the national media as well. It didn’t matter who we asked or what school they liked; it was clear that the reputation of the O-Zone is very strong throughout the entire conference.
Toledo Rockets - The Rockets have such a strong following in football that you would think that basketball would be similar. It seems like Toledo is always in contention for the MAC West title, but the opinions of the Toledo student fan section were not strong at all. However, the “crazy masked guys” who traveled to Cleveland during Toledo’s run to the MAC Championship game this past season did bring them some positive comments.
Western Michigan Broncos - The Broncos have a young team and a bright future for basketball in Kalamazoo. The voting reflected the excitement for WMU basketball in past years and we expect the excitement in the next few years to grow for the Broncos.
VanDelaySports.com “Best of the MAC” – MAC Basketball Fans
#1 – Ohio
#2 – Buffalo
#3 – Kent State
#4 – Akron
#5 – Western Michigan
Honorable Mention – Ball State
Voters included Dave Ruthenberg (MAC Report Online), Nick Gerogosian (VanDelaySports.com), Dan Whitmyer (VanDelaySports.com), Joel Welser (CollegeHoops.net), 5 random unbiased and unnamed attendees of the MAC Tournament and 12 online message board fans from various team boards.
Please note that all information is based on fact to the greatest extent feasible, however some rankings and ratings may be based on opinions gathered from MAC fans, students, etc. Many topics will be researched on MAC school Web sites as well as online message board discussion and polls. Final results are not solely based on polls or the opinions of one or two people but rather large groups of fans.