The Mid-American Conference announced today that Bowling Green will change divisions for football only in 2012 to accommodate the addition of the University of Massachusetts to the conference.
The Falcons previously played in the MAC West when Marshall was part of the conference. The change also eases the strain of scheduling cross-divisional rivalries. Nearby rivals Toledo and Bowling Green play every season, meaning that each team had played only one distinct team in the other division each season.
Though Miami is located slightly more west than Bowling Green, the Falcons play their home games closer to all MAC West schools than the RedHawks.
UMass will join the Football Bowl Subdivision and the MAC for football next fall to make the conference the first in the country with 14 teams playing football.
Bowling Green will remain a member of the MAC East for all other sports. Football-only MAC East members UMass and Temple play all other sports in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
With two even divisions of seven, each team will play six games against division opponenets and two non-division opponents each season.
The move means Ohio will play Bowling Green less frequently. The Bobcats defeated the Falcons 29-28 Nov. 16 to claim the MAC East title.
In return, Ohio will play in Foxboro, Mass., against the Minutemen every other year. The Bobcats also make biennial trips to Buffalo, N.Y., and Philadephia, Pa.
Here is the full breakdown:
MAC East: Ohio, Miami, Kent State, Akron, Temple, Buffalo, UMass
MAC West: Bowling Green, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan