ESPN's College GameDay is in Kalamazoo, Mich., for the first time ever on Saturday. The show is visiting for the occasion of 10-0 Western Michigan's game against Buffalo, which the No. 21 Broncos will almost certainly win, and to celebrate a so-far undefeated season that's pushed the team into the national spotlight.
WMU had been ahead of Boise State in the Playoff committee's rankings, which meant WMU was slated to represent the Group of 5 in the Cotton Bowl. Boise surprisingly pulled ahead by one spot this week, so it's no longer obvious that WMU controls its own destiny. But it feels a bit farfetched that WMU could go 13-0 through the MAC's championship game and not get into a New Year's Six bowl. It wouldn't be right, and now WMU's job is to pressure the committee not to do it.
The Broncos play an unquestionably soft schedule. No matter how things go from here, their best win until bowl season will be against so-so Big Ten team Northwestern. But you can only beat the teams you schedule, and none of that's the fault of WMU's impressive players. They've taken care of all their business. They just have to keep doing that.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. The broadcasters for the game are Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, and Quint Kessenich. But GameDay airs from WMU's campus from 9 a.m. to noon ET.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Western Michigan is about a five-touchdown favorite.
Make friends: SB Nation's Hustle Belt covers the MAC in great detail. Stop over!
Three big things to know
1. P.J. Fleck's Broncos are, indeed, good. The defense is just fine, but the offense is one of the most enjoyable and prolific in the country. WMU scores 44 points per game, seventh-most in the country, and also grades out as a top-10 offense by the advanced stat S&P+. Receiver Corey Davis is one of the best players at his position anywhere in the sport, and he's a likely high NFL pick next spring. Running backs Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan have 17 combined touchdowns, and QB Zach Terrell's had an excellent year.
2. Buffalo is not good. The Bulls are still struggling to get traction under second-year coach Lance Leipold, who went 5-7 in his debut but is so far 2-8 in his second go-around. Buffalo has only beaten Army and Akron, and the Bulls rank 127 out of 128 teams in S&P+. They're pretty close to the worst team in the country, and there have been precious few positive signs. The offense is abysmal and can't get to 20 points per game, and the defense gives up 32 points per game. Maybe things will get better eventually, but Buffalo has close to no chance on Saturday.
3. Expect a party. WMU's been building for a while under Fleck, and he might wind up coaching elsewhere soon enough. But Saturday isn't about what happens later. It's about what happens now, and it's a chance for Kalamazoo to celebrate an unbeaten team with a lot of cool stories to tell. Odds are it'll be a spectacle worth seeing.