I went to Akron, and I've noticed over the past 10 years or so that the MAC has become a great option for HS players in the midwest for a lot of reasons. The MAC has been pretty good at hiring coaches, there are many nice facilities, they've been putting guys in the NFL, and with things like "MACtion", they've become the "cool" conference.
Kids are choosing schools like BG, Toledo, Akron, NIU, Ohio, etc. over the bottom half of the B1G on a fairly regular basis. The top 5 or 6 teams in the B1G have little to worry about, but the conference has an issue.
Would rather play for NIU, which offers a number of primetime ESPN games and a high likelihood of a bowl game, or Illinois, which offers the BTN and probably no bowl? It's not an easy call, and that's bad news.