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Central Michigan's football team has beaten a Big 12 opponent each of the last two years — although, two years later, folks at Oklahoma State are still in denial — and open the 2018 season against an SEC team, in Kentucky.

But none of that will prepare the Chippewas for what awaits in 2023.

Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford announced this week that Central Michigan will travel to mighty Alabama for a game Sept. 2, 2023.

Alabama has won five of the last nine national championships, and there's a good chance the Tide will add to that impressive resume before the Chippewas come to town.

Central Michigan folks said all the right things this week. They welcome all challenges. They relish the competition. And so on. Of course, the Chippewas also greatly appreciate the payday, in this case $1.75 million.

There is a connection between the schools, by the way: Former CMU head coach Dan Enos is the quarterbacks coach at Alabama, but given his transient nature, it's a stretch that he'd still be on staff in Tuscaloosa for the 2023 game.

This is the latest move toward ambitious scheduling for Central Michigan, which will play Miami, Fla., in 2019, and LSU in 2021.

CMU was 8-5 this past season, with wins over Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

WMU coach to enter UCLA HOF

Legendary Larry Farmer, an assistant coach for Western Michigan men's basketball for six years, will be inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in October.

Farmer, as a player, won three national championships at UCLA from 1971-73, and finished his collegiate career with an unbelievable record of 89-1. He then went on to be an assistant at UCLA before a brief stint as head coach from 1982-84. Farmer, 67, then bounced around all over the place, from head coach jobs at Weber State, to teams in Kuwait, to Loyola-Chicago, to assistant jobs with the Golden State Warriors, Rhode Island and Hawaii.

In 2013, Farmer came to Western Michigan, where his friendship with coach Steve Hawkins dates back more than a quarter-century, when Hawkins was 21 or so, had hair, and was helping out at Farmer's camps at UCLA.

That coaching run is about to come to an end, as Farmer is retiring, effective June 14.

"Boy, oh, boy, he's been such a huge part of our program," said Hawkins, who credited Farmer with developing some of Western's best big men over the years.

"I mean, we had the all-time winningest player in college basketball here in Kalamazoo."

Big Bronco bucks

Western Michigan continues to honor longtime senior associate athletic director Dennis Corbin, a wildly popular figure on campus who died unexpectedly in March.

This week, former Western Michigan football player Peter Tuffo and wife Kristi pledged a $100,000 gift, the first toward The Corbin Fund to commemorate his 36 years at Western.

The Corbin Fund is looking to raise $500,000, to be used to renovate the athletic training rooms in two buildings on campus.

"The university has done so much for so many of us, especially Denny and the training staff," said Tuffo, who played linebacker at Western in the 1990s, was the leading tackler his last three seasons, was first-team All-Mid-American Conference twice, and now is a big player in the construction business in south Florida. "I encourage others to join us to make sure its a special facility for the athletes now and the athletes to come."

This and that

►The monstrous College Football Hall of Fame ballot — 176 players and 38 coaches over all divisions — was emailed to all voters this week, with an announcement coming Jan. 7, 2019, and the induction Dec. 10, 2019.

State folks on the ballot include: Players — Flozell Adams, Michigan State; Jumbo Elliott, Michigan; Steve Hutchinson, Michigan; Lorenzo White, Michigan State; Tony Mandarich, Michigan State; and Jerry Woods, Northern Michigan. Coaches — Morley Fraser, Albion; Roy Kramer, Central Michigan; Dick Lowry, Wayne State; and Pete Schmidt, Albion.

►Oakland men's soccer released its 2018 schedule, and it will play four in-state teams — all of them on the road except, get this, mighty Michigan. The Wolverines will visit Rochester at 7 p.m. Oct. 3, a year after Oakland stunned then-No. 20 Michigan in Ann Arbor. Oakland will visit Michigan State Sept. 10, league rival Detroit Mercy Sept. 15, and Western Michigan on Oct. 9. Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan all made the NCAAs last year.

►Oakland officials have been having conversations with CBS Sports Radio's WXYT (1270-AM) about becoming the university's flagship station for men's basketball. Oakland hoops has been on WDFN (1130-AM) since 2009, but that contract has expired. 

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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