Ohio has had a strong bounceback season in the MAC, sitting at 8-3 overall and first place in the MAC East with a 5-1 record and a win over Buffalo, the second-place school in their division.
Ohio has likely cemented a spot in their first bowl without Frank Solich as head coach since the 1968 Tangerine Bowl. Most importantly, the Bobcats have a great chance at their first MAC title since 1968. Yet, the history-making feats would not stop there.
Despite playing in 13 bowls, the Bobcats have never faced a Power Five opponent in a bowl game. The Quick Lane Bowl is the only MAC bowl game that pits a MAC school against a Power Five school and the bowl should be able to provide a Big Ten school, unlike last year when the matchup was Nevada vs Western Michigan.
The only problem would be if Ohio does reach the MAC Championship Game. Ohio fans will certainly be enthusiastic to make the 3.5-hour drive north to Detroit to watch their Bobcats potentially win their first MAC Championship since the LBJ administration, but will they be as enthusiastic to make a second trip to play a 6-6 Big Ten school?
Conferences try to prevent their championship game participants from making repeat appearances at their conference championship game sites, especially the MAC. Since 2014, a MAC Championship Game participant has never played in the Quick Lane Bowl. In 2019, the bowl did not invite MAC West Champion Central Michigan, which would have made a lot of sense, but instead opted to invite Eastern Michigan.
This year, not only is history in play, but only one of the Michigan MAC schools is bowl eligible with Western Michigan sitting at 3-7 and Central Michigan at 4-6. Eastern Michigan may be the only bowl-eligible Michigan MAC school and while they have not appeared in the Quick Lane Bowl in three years, they have yet to appear in several games in the MAC’s bowl lineup, like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and the Arizona Bowl. If there was a year to not invite a Michigan MAC school, this year is it.