Cases are on the rise, students are on lockdown, but the mood on campus in Ann Arbor is all good.
“College football is back, can’t complain,” said student Charlie Goodwin. "Thankful to have college football back, it’s a big part of our lives here.”
The 18th ranked Wolverines are set for a primetime matchup in Minnesota Saturday, just as the Washtenaw County Health Department ordered all undergraduate students to stay home.
"I'll probably just watch it with my roommates, take it easy,” Goodwin said. "Home games are probably a bit more of a concern but you don't know until you know.”
"I don't think they're going to organize anything too huge, at least I hope that’s the case,” added pharmacy student Kevin Lin.
Washtenaw County now has more than 4,000 cases, and more than 60% of those are linked to the university.
“Honestly I wasn't too surprised (in the lockdown) because I live in the dorms, cases are going up, it’s kind of crazy,” said student Priyanka Madhavan.
In East Lansing, the Spartans are set to host Rutgers at home on Saturday with an empty Spartan Stadium, and a citywide ban on tailgating.
“You see more social gatherings, you see increased consumption of alcohol, and those behaviors have been attributed to increased spread of COVID 19, within college communities especially,” said East Lansing Mayor Aaron Stephens.
In a letter to the Big Ten, the mayors of East Lansing, Ann Arbor and 10 other Big Ten towns asked the conference for metrics on when to cancel games based on the positivity rate in the community, not just the team.
“I think that's reasonable because what we’re talking about here is preventative measures to make sure we’re all safe so we can have football, but also do it safely,” Stephens said.
As the games kick off, students are counting on their teams for a winning season, and more importantly they're counting on each other to have one at all.
“Hopefully they stay home and social distance for the first game so that way we can have fun for the games in the future,” said U of M student Dhiya Krupashankar.
MSU will be home with a noon kickoff while Michigan will kick off in Minneapolis at 7:30 PM.
The following Saturday, October 31st, both teams will be in Ann Arbor in the battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy.