Football to play all but one game on Saturdays in 2018 season

Students cheer following a touchdown during the football game against Eastern Michigan University on Nov. 8 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Rejoice, Chippewa fans. 

The Mid-American Conference released the 2018 football schedule Feb. 22 and Central Michigan football is the only team with one midweek game. 

The Chippewas' lone midweek game will be on Black Friday for the last regular season game of the season at Toledo. Last season, the team played five regular season games during the week. 

Midweek vs. Weekend Games

"This season of Saturday home games is what fans have craved," said Athletic Director Michael Alford in a press release. 

CMU averaged 13,504 people in attendance at each of five home games in 2017. CMU's lowest home attendance came on Black Friday, with only 8,744 people in attendance, according to the box scores. 

In three Saturday home games in 2017, CMU averaged 16,359 people in attendance. The lowest attendance of the season was at Kent State on a Tuesday night when only 5,580 people attended the game.

Each CMU home game is on a Saturday. The team's last home game is on Nov. 10 against Bowling Green. CMU will have a bye during week 12, before the Black Friday game on Nov. 23. 

Head coach John Bonamego said the weekday games help with exposure, but there are smaller crowds in the stadium. 

“Attendance is where it hurts you," Bonamego said, when asked about weekday football games. "You have students that get up and go to class the next day and season ticket holders who live out of town, so it hurts the attendance of the league.”

Season Highlights

CMU will host Western Michigan at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 20. Last season, CMU beat WMU on a Wednesday night in Kalamazoo. 

The Chippewas travel to face Michigan State in Lansing on Sept. 29. CMU holds a 3-7 all-time record against the Spartans. In 2015, the Chippewas fell to the Spartans in Spartan Stadium, 30-10. 

In 2009, the Chippewas beat MSU, 29-27, behind a three-touchdown performance from former quarterback Dan LeFevour. Under Butch Jones' coaching, Antonio Brown caught one touchdown and the Chippewas topped Kirk Cousins' Spartan team. 

Last season, the Chippewas topped Kansas, 45-27, in one of the first away games of the season. Now, the Jayhawks will visit Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Sept. 8 in week two. 

Homecoming is on Saturday, Oct. 8 against Buffalo. The Chippewas have three home games in the first three weeks of October. 

Around the MAC

Kent State will take on Penn State, which finished ninth in the final AP Poll last season, on Sept. 15. MAC teams will also face Notre Dame, Miami and Northwestern, who all finished as a ranked team last season. On Sept. 8, WMU will travel to face the University of Michigan. 

Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Akron have one more midweek game than the Chippewas. Each other team in the MAC has three or more midweek games. 

Eight of the MAC's 12 teams will play the final game of the regular season on Black Friday. The other four teams will play on Tuesday, Nov. 20. 

Here's CMU’s complete schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 1 - at Kentucky 

Saturday, Sept. 8 - Kansas

Saturday, Sept. 15 - at Northern Illinois

Saturday, Sept. 22 - Maine

Saturday, Sept. 29 - at Michigan State

Saturday, Oct. 6 - Buffalo

Saturday, Oct. 13 - Ball State

Saturday, Oct. 20 - Western Michigan

Saturday, Oct. 27 - at Akron

Saturday, Nov. 3 - at Eastern Michigan

Saturday, Nov. 10 - Bowling Green

Friday, Nov. 23 - at Toledo