The Middle Atlantic Conference and the New Jersey Athletic Conference have announced that 16 member institutions from the two leagues will participate in a football scheduling alliance billed as the MAC-NJAC Challenge in 2012 and 2013.
The partnership between the two conferences will feature a series of 16 head-to-head match-ups over the course of two seasons, with eight games taking place in 2012, and the other eight contests occurring in 2013. For the MAC, it replaces the MAC-PAC Challenge, from 2010-11.
The complete schedule for the MAC-NJAC Challenge is as follows:
|Saturday, September 1
Brockport State at Lycoming
Wilkes at Morrisville State
King’s at William Paterson
Lebanon Valley at Montclair State
Delaware Valley at Rowan
Albright at Kean
Western Connecticut at Widener
|Saturday, September 7
Lycoming at Brockport State
Morrisville State at Wilkes
William Paterson at King’s
Montclair State at Lebanon Valley
Rowan at Delaware Valley
Kean at Albright
Widener at Western Connecticut
|Saturday, September 8
TCNJ at FDU-Florham
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
Stevenson, a football-only member of the MAC starting the sport in 2011, is not participating. Buffalo State, a current member of the NJAC, is leaving to join the Empire 8.
The matchups in the Challenge were established on a geographical basis, with an emphasis on reducing travel while ensuring that games qualify as in-region competition for NCAA regional ranking purposes. The same teams will face each other in back-to-back seasons, ensuring that all 16 participating institutions will host one game during the two-year Challenge.
“This is a unique opportunity for the members of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, and something that I know all of our participating institutions are excited about,” said Terry Small, Commissioner of the New Jersey Athletic Conference. “Our members have a tremendous amount of respect for the MAC institutions and their football programs, and there already are a number of great rivalries that have developed between schools in both leagues. This is a great opportunity for our programs to test themselves against outstanding in-region competition in a cost-effective manner.”
Members of the two conferences have met 35 times since the start of the 2002 season, with the NJAC holding a 19-16 edge in those head-to-head matchups. The two leagues also have a history of competing against each other in postseason play, with 10 head-to-head matchups since 2003. The NJAC holds a 6-4 edge in those postseason contests, with the MAC institutions posting a 4-2 record in ECAC Bowl Games, and the NJAC institutions holding a 4-0 advantage in NCAA Tournament play.
“Over the years, the MAC and the NJAC, two of the top Division III conferences, have played each other in a very competitive atmosphere in most sports,” said MAC Executive Director Ken Andrews. “Football has been no exception, as many important games have come down to the wire. This Challenge builds on that history and offers our programs, particularly for the student-athletes, a unique opportunity within the Division. We thank NJAC Commissioner Terry Small for working through the details with his membership in order to make this idea a reality.”
Every contest in the Challenge will take place on the opening weekend of each season with the exception of the games between The College of New Jersey and FDU-Florham, as both institutions have elected to continue their traditional match-up on the second week of each year.