This game is crucial to WMU's shot at the International Bowl. The Broncos (7-4) might also be scoreboard watching during pregame. Their main competition for the bid, Northern Illinois (6-5), is playing Eastern Michigan at 11 a.m. Kent State is another team seeking its seventh win. They play at Ball State today. I don't think the Flashes have such a great shot at a bowl since they have tailspun across the finish line.
If neither Kent State or Northern Illinois get their seventh wins, the door is cracked for the Zips at 6-6 to earn a bid to the International Bowl instead of 7-5 Western Michigan, who they would have just beaten. It sounds crazy and full of stipulations, but so was last season's division title.
All that said, I don't think Akron will do its part. The Broncos' defense features an intense pass rush. They also stop the run better than any other MAC team. Although they don't run or pass particularly well, the Broncos also find a way to score.
The Zips also will face the most feared defender of the season. Ameer Ismail, a linebacker, has 15 freaking sacks. Let's not forget the WMU secondary, which probably is close to tops in the nation with 21 interceptions.
Like I wrote in my column, the play of seniors has been disappointing. If Akron is to win, there must be a reversal. Specifically, the offensive line needs to excel in pass blocking and Luke Getsy will need a Motor City Bowl-like performance. While I'd like to have faith in those things happening, I wouldn't bet on it.
Prediction: Akron 21, Western Michigan 27