The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Western Michigan Broncos.
No. 100: Western Michigan Broncos
Spring Practice Starts: February 20
Spring Game: March 31
Western Michigan Spring Status
Tim Lester had an impossible act to follow after Western Michigan’s run to the Cotton Bowl in 2016, but he was able to retool and rework the team to get it bowl eligible. The Broncos were snubbed from the post-season, but the 6-6 run still wasn’t bad.
Now the Broncos have a lot to be excited about. They need more from the quarterbacks, but the young receiving corps should be better, and the O line should be okay despite the loss of future NFL starter Chukwuma Okorafor.
The D needs more work with six starters needing to be replaced, but the line should be okay and the secondary has enough pieces to be fine.
Will it be enough to be better and more consistent? The Broncos lost three of their last four games – dropping games to Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and Toledo – and they failed to beat a team that finished with a winning record.
Western Michigan Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Linebacker. There might be a few concerns at other spots, but losing the top three linebackers – three of the top four tacklers – is the biggest problem for a run defense that allowed just 156 yards per game.
Drake Spears got in a little bit off work, and Alex Grace saw enough time on the strongside to be ready, but it hurts to lose cornerstone players like Asantay Brown, Robert Spillane and Caleb Bailey. All three were among the top four tacklers in 2016, too.
Western Michigan Biggest Issue
The pass rush has to show up. The passing game was last year’s big problem, but more on that in a moment. The Broncos have to start getting into the backfield after coming up with just 21 sacks last year. It’s not like the D dominated in 2016 – with just 28 sacks – but it would be nice to get a lot more
Western Michigan Biggest Positive
The passing game is about to make a huge improvement. Of course you’re not going to be better after losing an elite draft pick receiver like Corey Davis and a heady veteran starteing quarterback like Zach Terrell. But the quarterback situation had to start over, and it showed.
Jon Wassink was fine before going down with a collarbone injury. He’s back, and now there’s depth behind him after Reece Goddard and Alex Mussat saw time, too. With Michigan transfer Drake Harris adding more flash to the mix, and recruit Dashon Bussell a good one, there should be a huge improvement.
Really, Why Are The Western Michigan Broncos Ranked Here?
The Broncos should be at least as good as they were last year despite losing their three best players – Okorafor, CB Darius Phillips and RB Jarvion Franklin – mainly because the passing attack will be stronger.
They’ll still be one step behind the MAC’s stars this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be deep in the hunt for the conference championship.