In what marks arguably the most highly anticipated game of the 2023 college football season, No. 3 Michigan will host No. 2 Ohio State with a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game — and likely the College Football Playoff — on the line on Saturday.
Considering what’s at stake between the two unbeaten rivals, and the backdrop of the Wolverines’ sign-stealing scandal, it was hardly a surprise when ESPN’s College GameDay announced that it will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
The only problem? With the exception of Michigan legend Desmond Howard, it doesn’t appear the GameDay crew will be receiving a warm welcome this weekend. Taking to social media shortly after GameDay announced this weekend’s destination, many Michigan fans called for a boycott of the on-campus show due to ESPN’s perceived role in the investigation into the Wolverines’ program.
The best thing Michigan fans could do is just not show up. GameDay is only GameDay because of the crowd behind it. No-show and take away the atmosphere they crave. https://t.co/ej55yqHi9K
— Michael Spath (@MichaelSpathITH) November 19, 2023
— Chris (@MgoCJ) November 19, 2023
The team and coaches should refuse to speak to any of the ESPN team except for Desmond Howard ? https://t.co/pbO7kdOPIE
— Brent (@Brent_T_Hill) November 18, 2023
They shouldn't welcome ESPN after all this propaganda shit they've been speeding against the school. Tell them to kick rocks. https://t.co/dcsyNYH4HR
— FadeItOnThe1 (@Sheikh_Elite) November 18, 2023
Gameday will be for the few Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, Wolverines please head to Big Noon Kickoff. See you there! https://t.co/rvNiyCc9AR
— 〽️ Sal 〽️ (@AnnArborPaisano) November 18, 2023
Damn, was really hoping the university would let every outlet come to Ann Arbor except ESPN
Can't wait for Pat McAfee and Paul Finebaum to sit on campus and call us cheaters and say how even if we win, we should be disqualified from further competition ? https://t.co/xuwKXjaLDB
— Justin (@Tweets_ByJ) November 18, 2023
Can Michigan boycott @espn next weekend
— Michael Durante Jr (@mdurantejr) November 20, 2023
It’s not a surprise that Michigan fans would take issue with ESPN, as it was Pete Thamel who first broke the news of the investigation into the Wolverines’ program, which has since resulted in the Big Ten suspending head coach Jim Harbaugh for the final three games of the regular season (the NCAA’s investigation remains ongoing). While Wolverines fans being upset with Thamel for reporting that has proven accurate thus far might be misguided, some of ESPN’s highest profile personalities — including Stephen A. Smith and Paul Finebaum — have also called for harsh punishments for the Michigan program. For anyone whose followed the sign-stealing scandal closely, it’s been almost impossible not to notice the multiple ESPN personalities who have been willing to go after the Wolverines, compared to the defense Michigan has received from the talking heads at Fox, which is a Big Ten media rights holder.
This isn’t the first time that fans have called for a College GameDay boycott, as Florida State fans did the same in 2014 following the repeated reports regarding star quarterback Jameis Winston. That boycott, ultimately, never came to fruition and it would be a surprise if this one did too, although, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff — which will also be in Ann Arbor this weekend — draw a friendlier crowd.