Western Michigan is not headed to Detroit, but I argue the Broncos are the MAC's best team.
They do almost everything well. The Broncos have one weakness, pass defense, and they really aren't that bad at that either.
Like Akron, WMU boasts a win at an ACC stadium, beating Virginia 17-10. The Broncos gave Florida State a scare last week, as well.
WMU isn't playing in the MAC Championship because of losses at Ohio and Central Michigan. The Broncos already are bowl eligible at 7-4. A win locks up their bowl bid. A loss brings Kent State into the equasion, should the Flashes win at Ball State.
Here is how the Broncos stack up against the rest of the conference...
- Fourth-best scoring offense (Akron is sixth)
- Third-best scoring defense (fifth)
- Eighth-best pass offense (fourth)
- Fourth-worst pass defense (middle of pack)
- Best in MAC at kickoff returns (third)
- Best in turnover margin, including 21 freaking interceptions (fourth, with six picks)
- Sixth-best rushing offense (fourth-worst)
- Best in rushing defense (sixth)
- Best in total defense (fifth)
- 94 more sacks than any other team in the MAC (second-to-last)
- Second-fewest sacks allowed (seventh-fewest)
- Running back Mark Bonds is second in the conference in rushing yards per game.
- Quarterback Ryan Cubit is fourth in passing yards.
- No WMU receiver stands out.
- But here's the scary part: Three of the top four pass interceptors are Broncos. Londen Fryar leads the MAC with five. Louis Delmas and E.J. Biggers have four each. C.J. Wilson has three of his own.
- Scary part, Part II: Ameer Ismail leads the conference with 15 sacks, 5.5 more than the second-best pass rusher in the MAC. He is definitely one of the conference's best linebackers.
To win, Luke Getsy will need to be nearly perfect. The offensive line will also need to have its best game of the year. WMU's defense is fearsome and the Broncos' offense can score, too. If J.D. Brookhart's Zips aren't prepared, this could be a blowout.
Here are some stories in today's Buchtelite about the team...
- Brookhart talks about what has gone wrong this year.
- Adam Ferrise previews the Akron-WMU game.
- My column explains why the Zips have more talent than last year, but will be much less successful. In a word: leadership. The Buchtelite's site has the link messed up. I'll try to get it fixed and post my column tonight.