As we do every week, The Other Side of Spartan Sports takes a closer look at MSU's upcoming football opponent. This week's school in focus is Central Michigan.
Central Michigan University
Location: Mount Pleasant, Mich. Officially, the city is chartered as Mount Pleasant, though it uses the name Mt. Pleasant interchangeably (such as on its own website). Google Maps lists the distance between MSU and Mount Pleasant as 68.9 miles, the shortest distance any opponent will have to travel to get to Spartan Stadium. Google Maps also says it takes 1 hour 16 minutes, though I bet most folks reading this who have done the drive have done it quicker. My best time is about 50 minutes.
Founded: 1892. It was originally known as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute.
Enrollment: Its 2008 enrollment was 20,246 at the Mount Pleasant location, with an additional 7,108 taking online classes or at a separate location.
Academics: U.S. News and World Report ranked the school as a Tier 4 national university in 2009, similar to many so-called directional and site-specific state schools like Southern Mississippi, Alaska-Fairbanks, UNC-Charlotte and Wayne State.
Like many regional Michigan schools, it carries a few outstanding programs - it's the only school in the state where one can major specifically in meteorology or public relations.
Tuition: CMU cost $10,048 in 2008, definitely on the cheaper end for Michigan universities.
Nickname: Central has been known by several names during its history, including the Normalites, Dragons, Wildcats, Bearcats and now, Chippewas. Though the name has been in use since 1941, it has faced significant opposition throughout its history.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission in the late 1980s recommended the university drop the Chippewa moniker completely. The university declined, though CMU did change its logos from Indian imagery to a block C in 1989 out of sensitivity. It adopted the motion C in 1996, and that logo remains in use today.
In 2005 the NCAA required member schools with Indian-themed nicknames like Central to either change their nicknames or get formal approval by the local tribes to keep using it. They received that support from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Council.
Notable Alumni: Central has produced several famous faces, including actor Jeff Daniels, sports broadcaster Dick Enberg, journalist and Marley and Me author John Grogan and former pro wrestler George "The Animal" Steele.
Fun Facts: The biggest tourist attraction in the Mount Pleasant area isn't the university, it's Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. The biggest metro area that contributes said tourists, outside the locals of course, is Lansing/East Lansing.
Central has not one but two fight songs, The Fighting Chippewas and Hail (to the) Chippewa!. The first one is a bold declaration of inevitable victory, with lyrics including "Fight! Fellows never yield" and "Central is going to win this game!" The second is somewhat more equipped for a parent to use for their kids at a youth league soccer match - it ends with the rousing lyric: "Win or lose we're proud of you!"