KALAMAZOO, MICH. - It has been a year of many "firsts" for Western Michigan University, and soon the campus can add "host of a national college football show" to the list.
For the first time ever, ESPN is bringing College GameDay to the Broncos campus. Western's football team takes on Buffalo this Saturday, trying to remain undefeated on the season.
"Seeing this, it makes me feel proud to be a Bronco," WMU Junior, AJ Jeylani, said.
"We're going to row the boat to victory this weekend, for sure," Ross Hughes, said. Hughes was born into a Bronco family and he couldn''t be more thrilled for ESPN's appearance. "Both of my parents went to Western and it means a lot."
A visit, meaning a lot to many. Officials are seeing the impact of a national spotlight on campus.
"Its been pretty hectic, we just got our GameDay t-shirts today and they’re flying out the store," WMU Bookstore Manager, Dennis Brooks, said.
"The response has been overwhelming in the ticket office, in terms of tickets for the game, and we know the social media response for our students has been off the charts with excitement," Monty Porter, Senior Associate Athletic Director, said. "So we’re really anticipating a very large crowd here Saturday morning and equally large crowd down the hill at the football game."
A game, a day, many say puts Western on the map.
"This is really one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that draws the nation that supports college football to Kalamazoo," Porter said. "It makes us relevant as a community and a university so its awesome," he added.
"I think it just boost up our reputation even higher," Jeylani, said. "I think people are going to want to come to Western even more now. They’re going to see how wild we get out here, how lively we get out here, and they’re going to want to row the boat too."
Officials say at minimum, they're expecting at least 2,500 fans to show for College GameDay but they say that number could climb up to 10,000.
The WMU vs Buffalo game is Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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