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College Gameday at Western Michigan: A review with pictures

It was a cold, but historic day in Kalamazoo as College Gameday made their second ever appearance at a MAC school.

Brandon Fitzsimons

“We have an outstanding community,” Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck said after his team’s 38-0 win over Buffalo on Saturday. It was a game that saw over 26,000 fans show up after a good number of them braved freezing wind chills that morning for the city’s first ever College Gameday visit.

“How about that Gameday atmosphere today? You all like that?” he said to the press before doing his best Kirk Cousins impersonation. “That was outstanding. I think today showed the power of Kalamazoo. It showed our strength. It showed our courage.”

“Back in February, we lost some to a shooting,” he went on to add, referencing the tragedy the city faced when Jason Brian Dalton shot eight people, murdering six, while working as an Uber driver. The massacre sparked the #KalamazooStrong movement that the basketball team would take up days later.

“We also lost some bikers that just wanted to go out and have a joyful ride,” Fleck added, referencing another sad day in Kalamazoo. On June 7th, nine cyclists were hit by a pick-up truck drove by Charles Pickett Jr on North Westnedge Ave. Five of those bikers died from their injuries, and the driver was later apprehended under the influence of a number of prescription drugs. Famed cyclist Lance Armstrong came to Kalamazoo shortly after to lead a remembrance ride through the area.

“I’ve never been around a community more inspiring in my entire life that came together. People that give and give and give for the benefit of not themselves, but for other people that they don’t want knowing it’s them. Today was for you,” he said as he pointed to members of the community in attendance at the press conference. “It was for all of our community who has never given up, never shook in terms of tragedy.”

“You saw a perfect example of what Kalamazoo strength and courage is all about when 9-10 thousand people are at a quad at 9 am to scream their head off about a football team.”

“As long as national attention comes to Western Michigan, that’s what it’s all about. And we needed that positive national attention to show how strong Kalamazoo really is, and how powerful an institution we have with some of the most powerful leaders you could ever be around.”