Bowling Green State University announced its 2005 football schedule yesterday, and the season opener is part of an agreement that will lead to unprecedented exposure for the team.
On Sept. 3, the Falcons will play at Big 10 powerhouse Wisconsin. The game is part of a home-and-home series between the teams. On Labor Day weekend 2006, however, instead of playing at Perry Stadium, BG and Wisconsin will face off in Cleveland at Browns Stadium.
It will be the first Division 1-A football game played in the stadium. Hampton and Tuskegee played in the Ohio Classic at Browns Stadium in 2003.
The game will be a valuable recruiting tool for the schools. Wisconsin doesn't play at Ohio State in 2005 or 2006, and Wisconsin associate athletic director John Chatima said it is a heavy recruiting area for the school. The Badgers became interested in the series when Browns Stadium came under discussion. Browns Stadium holds 73,200 to Perry Stadium's 28,599.
Also, many BG students and student athletes are from the Cleveland area, said Paul Krebs, BG athletic director. "This game should be a big attraction in Cleveland."
BG set up the game with the Browns using the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission as a liaison. Rick Chryst, Mid-American Conference commissioner, is on the Sports Commission's Board of Directors.
"As some of our programs get nationally competitive, it gets tougher and tougher to schedule non-conference opponents," Chryst said. "This is a noteworthy thing for us."
The teams will pay each other $150,000 for the trips. BG will pay the Browns $85,000 plus expenses to rent out the stadium for a day.
BG keeps revenue from the tickets the university sells and the Browns keep the parking and concessions revenues.
BG, which has been ranked in the two major top 25 polls for the past three seasons, is guaranteed three nationally televised games in 2005, with the Wisconsin matchup a strong potential fourth. The Falcons play at Boise State Sept. 21, at Miami Nov. 15 and at home against Toledo on Nov. 22.
The Boise State game is the first in another two-year home-and-home series.
"We scheduled that game a couple years ago, and it's neat to see where our programs have come since then," said Greg Brandon, BG coach. "That's a great matchup."
The Falcons have no home games in September, four in October and one in November. The three ESPN2 games are midweek.
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