The Mid-American Conference will announce today that its football championship game following the 2004 season will be played at Ford Field, the home of the NFL Detroit Lions.
It is the first time in the eight-year history of the title game that it will be played on a neutral field. The MAC Championship Game will be played Thursday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 and be carried on ESPN.
The first four MAC Championship games were held in Huntington, W.Va., on the home field of Marshall University. The Thundering Herd won all four of those games.
The league started to rotate the site between its two divisions the following year, and Toledo beat Marshall in the Glass Bowl in 2001, and the Herd won in Huntington over the Rockets the following year.
As the West champion, Bowling Green hosted East winner Miami in the MAC Championship Game last year, losing to the RedHawks 48-29 at Perry Stadium.
This year s championship game was to be played on the home field of the East champ, if a neutral site could not be found.
The MAC also considered Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis but opted for Ford Field, which will also host the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 27, pitting a MAC representative against one from the Big Ten. Bowling Green defeated Northwestern 28-24 in last year s bowl game, the second year that Ford Field has played host to the Motor City Bowl.
The MAC is one of only three conferences in the country to use a playoff format to decide its overall champion. The Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference are the others.