Questions abound in collegiate season openersPublished 8:23am Friday, September 4, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Dowagiac Daily News
The college football season is here.
Notre Dame will host Nevada in its season opener, while Michigan will entertain in-state rival Western Michigan University and Michigan State will host Montana State on Saturday.
Notre Dame and Nevada have never met on the football field.
The Wolf Pack were 136 different opponent for the Fighting Irish, who enter the contest ranked No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches poll.
Nevada, while not ranked, is receiving votes in both polls.
Notre Dame is 95-20-5 in home openers.
Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live on NBC.
Saturday’s game is a sellout, giving the Fighting Irish 206 consecutive games with a full house. The last time Notre Dame did not play to a sell out was its 1973 Thanksgiving Day game against Air Force.
Western Michigan at Michigan
It’s been an interesting week for the Wolverines as they try to prepare for their 2009 season opener.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez has been in the news quite a bit and would love nothing more than to get on the field and play some football.
The Broncos come to Ann Arbor hoping to duplicate the same success Toledo had last season when it became the first Mid-American team to beat Michigan.
This will be the fifth meeting between the Broncos and Wolverines.
Western Michigan is 0-4 against Michigan.
This is the second time in Western coach Bill Cubit’s stint as the Broncos coach that his team has opened against a Big Ten Conference opponent.
The Broncos took on Indiana in 2006.
Western will be looking for its first season opening victory since it defeated Tennessee-Martin 42-0 in 2004 and its first win against a Division I FBS team since it knocked off Northern Illinois 37-23 in 1998.
The Broncos are 2-2 against Big Ten schools since Cubit arrived, beating Iowa and Illinois.
Former Niles standout Paul Dreher is No. 2 at defensive end on the Western Michigan depth chart and is expected to see playing time on Saturday in Ann Arbor.
Michigan is 106-18-2 all-time in home openers including 13-3 in its last 16 games.
Those three losses have come to Utah (2008), Appalachian State (2007) and Syracuse (1998).
Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally on ABC or ESPN2.
Montana State at Michigan State
This will be the first meeting between Montana State and Michigan State.
The Spartans will play host to the Big Sky Conference team on Saturday at noon.
The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan State is coming off a 9-4 2008 campaign and are being talked about as Big Ten Conference contender.
Montana State tied for second in the Big Sky last season and posted a 7-5 record.
The Spartans are 73-36-3 in season openers and are 8-2 in their last 10 contests.
Michigan State has never played a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school.
Spartan coach Mark Dantonio is 3-2 in season openers overall and 1-1 at MSU.
Michigan State defeated Alabama-Birmingham in 2007, but lost to California 38-31 last season.