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Western Michigan Football Preview

   by Matt Fargo - 08/20/2008

No. 87 Western Michigan Broncos

2007 Record ~ 5-7 SU ~ 3-7-1 ATS

Starters Returning ~ Offense (7) Defense (10)

After a 1-10 season in 2004, the Broncos hired Bill Cubit to take over the head coaching duties and he responded with a 15-9 record over his first two seasons. Last year, Western Michigan fell to 5-7 which was a disappointment considering it was getting 16 starters back from its International Bowl team. Three of those losses were by four points or fewer and if it weren’t for simple mistakes, it could have been a third straight winning season. The Broncos are poised to get back there if the right things come together.

Offensively, this team possesses some of the best talent in the MAC and it is more than capable of increasing its production significantly from last season. Two things stand in the way and one feeds off the other. The rushing offense finished 86th in the country last season despite having a premier running back in Brandon West. This season, his success will depend upon how the offensive line responds to four new offensive starters. Tim Hiller is one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC but needs to cut down on his picks.

While the offense has the tools to succeed, the defense has no choice but to. Western Michigan finished a decent 68th in the nation in total defense a season ago and got better as the season went along. After allowing 38.7 ppg through its first six games, the unit cut that in half by allowing only 19.2 ppg in its final six games. The Broncos return 10 of the starters from that defense and they have the ability to be one of the best in the MAC. Stopping the run is priority one after finishing 83rd last season.

The Broncos will see how they stand up against the big boys right away as a trip to Lincoln to face the Cornhuskers starts the season. Idaho and Tennessee Tech follow and later on, a neutral game against Illinois closes the non-conference portion. The MAC is always full of surprises and while the Broncos somehow avoided both Bowling Green and Miami, they have to face both Central Michigan and Ball St. on the road. After a 3-7-1 ATS mark last season, the Broncos will be a team to follow and take in many spots.

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