WMU, Cincinnati football set home-and-home series

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Tim Lester led Western Michigan to a 6-6 season in his first year at the helm.

The last time Western Michigan and Cincinnati played each other in football, passports were required.

Not the next time.

The two schools announced Monday that they've agreed to a home-and-home series, at Cincinnati on Sept. 12, 2020, and at Western Michigan on Sept. 10, 2022.

Discussions on a deal have long been in the works.

The last time the two mid-majors played was in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto, following the 2006 regular season, with Cincinnati holding on for a 27-24 victory. That was the first year of the bowl game in Canada; it lasted four years.

The teams also met in 1949 and 1950, with Cincinnati winning both times.

The 2022 season is the latest Western Michigan has games scheduled, and then it's just Cincinnati. It has no games set for 2021, and just two in 2020 — with Cincinnati, as well as at Notre Dame.

Western Michigan is behind the other Division I programs in the state in scheduling, perhaps because it has the newest of the state's head coaches — Tim Lester, who just completed his first season on the job. Head coaches typically have a significant say in scheduling nonconference games.

Michigan, Michigan State and Central Michigan have nonconference opponents scheduled every year through 2027. Eastern Michigan, like Western Michigan, has games through 2022.

There are active discussions at Western Michigan to add more games soon, including a potential for a game against Purdue, Lester's school before he landed the Western Michigan job. Northwestern, which Western Michigan stunned in the 2016 season opener, is a possibility to schedule another matchup.

The Broncos have been among the more ambitious teams of the state mid-majors in terms of their nonleague slates — perhaps because of their recent success, including a Cotton Bowl appearance two years ago. They opened the 2017 season at Southern California and Michigan State, and lost both, leading to a 6-6 finish.

While Western Michigan was bowl-eligible with the six wins, it was passed over for a postseason assignment.


Michigan State

* 2018: Utah State, at Arizona State, Central Michigan

* 2019: Tulsa, Western Michigan, Arizona State

* 2020: At BYU, Toledo, Miami (Fla.)

* 2021: At Miami (Fla.)

* 2022: At Boise State

* 2023: Boise State

* 2024: At Boston College

* 2025: Boston College

* 2026: At Notre Dame

* 2027: Notre Dame


* 2018: At Notre Dame, Western Michigan, SMU

* 2019: Middle Tennessee, Army, Notre Dame

* 2020: At Washington, Ball State, Virginia Tech

* 2021: At Virginia Tech, Washington

* 2022: UCLA

* 2023: At UCLA

* 2024: Texas

* 2025: At Oklahoma

* 2026: Oklahoma

* 2027: At Texas

Eastern Michigan

* 2018: Monmouth, at Purdue, at San Diego State, Army

* 2019: At Coastal Carolina, Kentucky, at Illinois, San Diego State

* 2020: At Kentucky, Coastal Carolina, at Missouri, at Army

* 2021: At Wisconsin

* 2022: At Arizona State

Western Michigan

* 2018: Syracuse, at Michigan, Delaware State, at Georgia State

* 2019: Monmouth, at Michigan State, Georgia State, at Syracuse

* 2020: At Cincinnati, at Notre Dame

* 2022: Cincinnati

Central Michigan

* 2018: At Kentucky, Kansas, Maine, at Michigan State

* 2019: Albany, at Wisconsin, USF, at Miami (Fla.)

* 2020: San Jose State, at Northwestern, at Nebraska, Monmouth

* 2021: At USF, Florida Atlantic, at LSU

* 2022: At Oklahoma State, South Alabama, at Illinois

* 2023: At South Alabama

* 2024: At Florida Atlantic

* 2025: At San Jose State

* 2026: Wyoming

* 2027: At Wyoming