MAC Championship: Western Michigan (12-0) vs. Ohio (8-4) Game Preview
Check out the MAC Championship: Western Michigan vs. Ohio fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Friday, Dec. 2
Game Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Bowl and Conference Implications
Let’s just say, it’s tricky. If CFP No. 19 Navy beats Temple in the American Athletic Conference championship, then the Cotton Bowl decision could come after the Army-Navy game on December 10th. However, if Navy loses and Western Michigan beats Ohio, the Broncos will be a mortal lock to end up in the Cotton. If Western Michigan loses, then it joins Ohio in the pool of MAC bowl teams, with the Famous Idaho Bowl against the Mountain West – most likely, Boise State – in the equation.
What Does Each Team Need To Do?
Does Ohio have any shot of slowing down the Western Michigan juggernaut?
The Broncos have scored 41 points or more seven times in the last nine games, and the two times they didn’t hit the mark, they rolled to blowout wins anyway.
Averaging 257 yards through the air, and 247 on the ground, the Broncos can do just about anything they want to mix it up and find the right formula that works.
And it might need a little while to figure out exactly what that is.
The Bobcats give up just 105 rushing yards per game, mostly because of a pass rush that owns the backfield, with Tarell Basham and the defensive front dominating throughout the season with 40 sacks as a team with 90 tackles for loss.
They’ve got to get to WMU QB Zach Terrell, and they’ve got to somehow slow down a Bronco ground game that’s averaged over five yards per pop in five of the last six games.
But that’s going to be a problem against a WMU offensive front that doesn’t allow a whole bunch of pressure.
Both offensive lines have been terrific all year, with WMU allowing just 12 sacks and Ohio 16, but it’s going to be up to the Bobcat front five to be better, stronger, and control the game from the start.
Western Michigan crushes MAC teams by holding on to the ball for long, sustained drives, and that’s Ohio’s game. The Bobcats don’t have a killer running game, and they’re not particularly great at cranking up the third down conversions, but they generally managed to stay in control of most games. However, they’ve had one really, really big issue that’ll be a death blow if it doesn’t change in Detroit.
Ohio has to play a clean, perfect game, and that might be a problem considering they’re a -5 in turnover margin over the last six games after going a +10 in the first six. They’re losing the ball more, going 1-3 on the season when they turn it over two times or more.
Along with doing everything else well, Western Michigan is phenomenal at taking the ball away, too, coming up with two turnovers or more eight of the last ten games and going a +18 in turnover margin on the year.
Western Michigan has yet to lose the turnover battle in any game.
What’s Going To Happen?
For the first time since 2010, someone other than Northern Illinois or Bowling Green will win the MAC title.
It this finally when Ohio breaks through, or is this going to be the Western Michigan Invitational?
The bridesmaid three times since 2006, Ohio has had a few chances at finally coming up with a MAC championship, but it was only close once – the 23-20 loss to Northern Illinois in 2011 – losing those three games by a combined score of 74-40.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan has never won the MAC championship game, with this the first time back in the show since losing to Marshall in 2000.
Western Michigan’s last MAC title? 1988. Ohio’s? 1968.
Ohio has the defense to keep the Broncos from blowing up, but it doesn’t have the answer for Corey Davis.
The Bronco’s rising NFL receiver prospect caught 17 touchdowns on the year, and he’s about to up his stock even more by tearing up a Bobcat D that’ll sell out to do anything to be disruptive, and will get burned for it.
MAC Championship: Western Michigan vs. Ohio Prediction
Western Michigan 38, Ohio 20
Western Michigan -19, o/u: 59.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Mitt Romney – 1: Rudy Guiliani … 2.5
Must See Rating: 5: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 1: CMA Country Christmas 2016 … 4