Spartans and Broncos on par with Simon and Garfunkel?

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
P.J. Fleck needs Western Michigan to bounce back after losing at home to Bowling Green last week.

When Michigan State opens its season on Friday at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo against Western Michigan, it's going to be a big deal.

Tickets have long been sold out for the 7 p.m. kickoff and Western Michigan is a team that won eight games last season and surprised many by making a bowl. Now it hosts a top-five team from the Big Ten and anticipation around town is high, to say the least.

Whether it matches a legendary concert is another question.

"Friday night we host No. 5 Michigan State in possibly one greatest events in Kalamazoo history besides a 1970s – somewhere in there – Simon and Garfunkel concert," Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said. "I was not alive so I could not verify that, but according to what's going on in our town and all the businesses, hotels and restaurants ... the buzz is truly bumping, which is wonderful. We're really excited about that and we've got an incredible opponent coming into Waldo Stadium."

Fleck, who spoke on the MAC coaches teleconference on Monday, is the energetic, 34-year old coach entering his third season leading the Broncos. And he understands what is at stake in the opener isn't just good for the city, it's an opportunity for his team, as well.

"Mark Dantonio has done a tremendous job," said of the Michigan State coach. "He's a wonderful football coach, got a great football team. We're looking forward to it. Our players have prepared all season for these 12 games coming up and we're real excited for the opportunity with the top-30 hardest schedule in America.

"We're ready to go forward, we have prepared or a long time. It's an exciting time for college athletics and an exciting time for Western Michigan."

Michigan State at Western Michigan

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo


Radio: WJR 760

Series: MSU leads 11-2

Line: MSU by 18.5