MUNCIE | Tuesday night's ESPN2 crew actually looked excited while setting up for the big Ball State-Western Michigan Mid-American Conference football smackdown.
Play-by-play man Todd Harris has done a couple of Indianapolis 500s, some NCAA tournament basketball, and several Bowl Championship Series football games. But for his first trip to Muncie, he was as pumped as a little kid on Christmas morning.
"Bottom line: Ball State University is an exciting team to watch," Harris said prior to kickoff at its 22,500-seat Scheumann Stadium. "In our business, the question is always 'Does it move the (ratings) needle?' Ball State certainly does.
"Our game last Wednesday with Central Michigan actually outdrew two NBA games that were on at the same time."
The Cardinals prevailed 31-24 last week and improved to 11-0 for the first time in school history. They finished a perfect regular season by beating Western Michigan 45-22 on Tuesday.
"That game featured two of the nation's best quarterbacks in Ball State's Nate Davis and Central's Dan LeFevour," Harris said. "Did you watch them throw the ball? My God, you can put them both among the top 10 in the country."
Ball State will face East Division representative Buffalo (7-4, 5-2) in the MAC Championship game Dec. 5 at Detroit's Ford Field.
"As much as we rave about the BCS, this is a (Ball State) team people are talking about around the water cooler," Harris said. "It's their sixth time on ESPN's family of networks, and we're expecting another entertaining game."
ESPN carried the Navy, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Miami and Central Michigan dates prior to the Broncos hitting town.
The Cardinals had won their 11 games by an average of 20.8 points and hadn't been shut out in 43 straight.