Ann Arbor — Even before ESPN’s "College GameDay" decided to bring its three-hour Saturday show here for the Michigan-Wisconsin game, this felt like a big matchup to the Michigan players.
But then, Michigan-Wisconsin went up a notch when it was selected as a night game at Michigan Stadium and another notch when "GameDay" announced it was heading here. That’s all added window dressing to a game that will feature No. 12 Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) against No. 15 Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0).
“It definitely does,” Michigan left guard Ben Bredeson said when asked if this has a big-game feel. “Everybody knew this was going to be a big game from the beginning of the year. The Badgers are always good, we’re always good, so it’s fun to meet them.
“With the night game getting added to it and with 'GameDay' coming, for us it doesn’t really affect us but for the fans it makes it a lot more enjoyable. It gets everybody going a little bit more.”
There has been a buzz about this game in Ann Arbor, particularly since the Wolverines are on a five-game winning streak since losing in the season opener at Notre Dame, their other prime-time game from which 'GameDay' broadcasted.
“You can feel it,” tight end Zach Gentry said. “Everybody is excited. 'GameDay,' night time game. There’s only been a handful of nighttime games since I’ve been here, so excited about that.”
Linebacker Devin Bush Jr., said he always liked playing Friday night games in high school, and while he enjoys it in college, the pregame schedule is hard to get used to.
“It’s a lot more waiting around. Too much time to think about the game,” Bush said. “That’s the one thing I don’t like about college night games. High school’s cool because you go to school.”
Players will watch football and some will tune into "GameDay." Not Bush, though.
“Try not to because they talk about you,” he said, laughing.
Cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich said this week he’s not a fan of the late kickoff.
“The noon game is a beautiful thing, it really is,” Zordich said, drawing laughter. “Players are up and ready to roll. It’s fun. Hey, prime time, you’ve got to love that. I just never have. We keep busy. Try to keep it as normal as possible for guys.”
Most of the players like that this has a big-game feel and adds to their preparation.
“Every game in the Big House is pretty exciting for us,” tight end Sean McKeon said. “But obviously at night there’s a different atmosphere and 'College GameDay' is coming so we’re excited and we hope the fans show up and are excited as well.”