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State's MAC football teams have lost seven foes and counting, aren't rushing to find replacements


Tony Paul   | The Detroit News

The Mid-American Conference hasn't made any definitive decisions about its upcoming football season, but other conferences are helping shape its schedules.

Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan have lost a combined seven nonconference opponents, with an eighth possibly looming, because of decisions by other conferences' to either play conference-only schedules or to shut down football altogether for 2020.

Here's a breakdown:

►Central Michigan lost road games at Nebraska and Northwestern when the Big Ten decided to go with a conference-only schedule, and recently lost a home game against an FCS foe when Bryant announced it was postponing fall sports. Nebraska costs CMU a $1.3-million payday, while CMU was to get $850,000 from the Northwestern game.

►Eastern Michigan, this week, learned it wouldn't be traveling to Kentucky for its season opener or to Missouri, with the Southeastern Conference following the Big Ten's lead in going to conference games only. That cost EMU $1.45 million — $1.1 million for the Missouri game and $350,000 for Kentucky.

►Western Michigan hasn't lost a Power Five opponent, at least not yet. It was supposed to open the season at home against Colgate, but a canceled season led WMU to replace that opponent with Stony Brook, which then also had its season canceled. WMU is scheduled to host Syracuse, but the Atlantic Coast Conference is limiting its schools to one nonconference game.

All the schools are looking at possible replacement foes, but the search isn't exactly urgent, given the state of college football remains very much up in the air because of COVID-19. Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford has said he's talked to as many as 10 schools about scheduling a game, but that all conversations are "casual." That's quite telling, given the season is supposed to start in about a month.

The Big Ten fired a warning shot this week, when it told its membership that the earlier decision to play just conference games doesn't mean the season will happen. Michigan State and Rutgers have shut down their football programs and told their players to quarantine amid spikes in cases. Earlier, Ohio State shut down football temporarily.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984