So this happened this morning:
I must say, I’ve got mixed emotions on this one.
This is only the 10th time ever, and fifth time in the last eight seasons, that GameDay has gone to a Group of Five home game that wasn’t a Commander in Chief game (they’ve attended Army/Air Force and Army/Navy twice each).
This is only the second time ever that the show has plunked itself down at a Mid-American Conference game, the other coming way back in 2003 when Northern Illinois traveled to Bowling Green in a ranked-versus-ranked matchup.
This is a great opportunity to give a program on the rise some exposure so that the whole country can get a glimpse of exactly what several years of #RowTheBoat can accomplish.
GameDay always has a celebrity guest picker on the show, and while it makes me extremely sad that the most logical choice by a wide margin is not possible (John Saunders, rest his soul), the other choices are pretty solid. Luther Vandross, Greg Jennings, Jason Babin, Greg Jennings, Dave Dombrowski, and Tim Allen are all options. That said if they choose anyone other than Terry Crews or Bruce Campbell I feel it’s a horrific mistake.
This matchup is absolutely god-awful. Buffalo had beaten a couple of respectable teams in Army and Akron, but they are still 2-8 for a reason and they are not even remotely equipped to handle a matchup on the road against this Western Michigan team.
That said, they had no choice. Next weekend is rivalry weekend, and Western Michigan is playing at Toledo in a weeknight game, so if they were going to head to Western Michigan it had to be this weekend. Next weekend will have Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, so not going to Oklahoma/WVU is not a huge deal. There will also be The Apple Cup and Colorado/USC, so not going to Washington State/Colorado is also understandable. There are only two undefeated teams left, and this is the only chance they’ll have to visit Western Michigan.
Overall, it’s a solid decision. The matchup is atrocious, but the opportunities to get a Group of Five team – especially a team from the MAC – on College GameDay are few and far between, so you’ve got to take what you can get. It will also be an extra defacto gameday for Michigan in general (don’t think you won’t see some Michigan, Michigan State, and other directional Michigan signage).
Maybe it even pays off in the future if the crowd really turns out – not next season, per se, when their two home non-conference games are flipping Wagner and Idaho, but down the road, GameDay will remember a crowd worth visiting.
Little victories, y’all. You’d like to have GameDay in town for a better matchup, but you get to have them at all and for a winnable game, which would make for a good overall Saturday experience. Enjoy it while you can.