Saturday October 20th is rivalry day for Michigan college football.
At 12pm in East Lansing the Michigan Wolverines will look to keep their playoff hopes alive against long time in state rival the Michigan State Spartans. While over in Mt. Pleasant, the Western Michigan Broncos try hang onto their lead in the Mid-American Conference as they take on their rival, the Central Michigan Chippewas at 3:00 p.m.
Of course the Michigan and Michigan State game will be nearly over when Western kicks off, but, that may consume all the viewers. Most Western and Central students are fans of either Michigan or MSU as they each have loyal fan base statewide.
In theory, the UM/MSU game could also hurt ticket sales for Western and Central as everyone who has the opportunity to drive up to East Lansing for the big game, probably will.
Also, take into consideration that this is a matchup between two top 25 teams Michigan is ranked 6th in the country and Michigan State is ranked 24th.
According to the Detroit News, this double header of two long standing rivalries has CMU and WMU officials concerned.
Western Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard told the Detroit News, “it takes the focus off of what could be one of our largest games”.
When college football schedules get released, the Big Ten Conference is set in stone before the Mid Atlantic Conference.
The MAC hasn't always had the best scheduling in past.
Last season, the Western and Central game was played on a Wednesday in Kalamazoo. This prevented a lot of Central and Western students from going to the game and buying tickets due to the fact they were either just getting out of class or had early classes the following day.
According to the Detroit News, MAC commissioner John Steinbrecher said “It is impossible for us to schedule around Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue”.
Of course the Big Ten Conference will get a little more attention than the MAC when it comes to scheduling since they are a power house conference. However, all conferences should be treated equally as far as scheduling goes so they have a far shot at tickets sales and attracting viewers from students, alumni or local fans.
The biggest problem facing Michigan/Michigan State fans looking to watch the Western/Central after their marquee matchup is they won't find it on standard cable. The game of course is on ESPN+, which as many fans will find out Saturday, requires a subscription.
Maybe in the future scheduling for the MAC will get a little better, but lets look at the bright side of the situation. If you're a Western or Central student but love UM or MSU football and have access to a television, it's a great day for you.