Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Western Michigan season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Western Michigan
You know how every team goes into every season with some shoe brand-created T-shirt with a dopey, faux-inspirational slogan on it?
Western Michigan, here’s yours.
Where’s The Respect?
All the Broncos did was go 13-1 the year before under PJ Fleck with a trip to the Cotton Bowl as the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six Bowl team, rebuild with a new coach and a whole slew of key new starters, finishing a decent 6-6.
Granted, there were only a handful of open bowl spots to MAC teams, almost all of the six wins were against miserable teams, the starting quarterback was knocked out for the year, and the losses to Central Michigan and Northern Illinois turned out to each be elimination games for a post-season trip, but still …
Where’s the respect?
Fleck took the program by the horns and built it back up from scratch – going through a rough run before everything started to kick in with 35 wins in four years – but only three bowl games.
This year’s version might lose seven starters on the defensive side, but there’s enough talent up front and in the secondary to overcome the key parts missing at linebacker. This is where the program reloads.
Offensively, getting back injured QB Jon Wassink – the Broncos don’t go 1-3 in November if he’s healthy – is the big key. The running backs are strong, the receivers are getting better with a few new parts, and the offensive line is terrific with four starters returning.
No, in a solid MAC, six wins probably won’t do it this year, either, but this year’s team should be good enough to take a bowl game – and the respect – itself.