Lakeland gets a look at new conference football schedule
Athletics - posted on 10/17/2007
Lakeland College and rest of the Northern Athletics Conference got its first look at NAC football Wednesday when the 2008 league schedule was announced.
The Illini-Badger Football Conference will cease to exist after this season. IBFC members Lakeland, Aurora, Benedictine, Concordia, Wis., and Concordia-Chicago will join Wisconsin Lutheran, Maranatha Baptist and Rockford in the NAC, which made its debut last season when most of the schools from the Lake Michigan Conference and Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference merged.
"I'm excited about playing football in the NAC because from a collegiate perspective it gives schools more familiarity with each other," said Lakeland head football coach Kevin Doherty. "We played MacMurray in football only, so the rest of our college has no real identity with MacMurray. We have more rivalries with NAC schools partly from the commonality. If basketball has rivalry with a school, students take notice when we play football with that school as well."
The elimination of Lakeland's conference games with MacMurray, Eureka and Greenville, and new league dates with Rockford, Wisconsin Lutheran and Maranatha Baptist means less time on the road during the conference season.
"It's going to make travel easier for our parents and our fans with our league being more centrally located in northern Illinois and central and southern Wisconsin," Doherty said.
The schedule is a departure, of sorts, for Lakeland. The IBFC schedule had league games beginning in week four and running through week 10 of the 11-week regular season. The NAC schedule has the league opening in week five and running through week 11.
For the past five seasons, Lakeland has opened with a three-game non-conference season, so 2008 will be the first time the Muskies have played a game in week 11 since 2002. Lakeland is still working on scheduling its three non-conference games for 2008, but the change means the Muskies will get a bye week in one of the first four weeks.
"I like that," Doherty said. "If you have some kids hurt during the season and you have an off week it lets them have some time to heal. It's also a benefit for the younger guys because it lets them have an extra week to work and gain some confidence before the conference season."
Lakeland's 2008 NAC Schedule:
Oct. 4 - Rockford
Oct. 11 - at Wisconsin Lutheran
Oct. 18 - at Concordia-Chicago
Oct. 25 - Benedictine
Nov. 1 - at Maranatha Baptist
Nov. 8 - Concordia, Wis.
Nov. 15 - at Aurora
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