The Western Michigan Broncos will take on the Ohio Bobcats in the MAC Championship Game on Friday Night with a chance to stay unbeaten and go to the Cotton Bowl. In what has already been a dream season for Broncos fans and alumni, the Broncos are 12-0 with two wins over Big Ten opponents. They will win the “Group of Five” sweepstakes with a win tonight and go to one of the New Year’s Six Bowl games, which is pretty amazing for a program with one bowl win in their history.
The Broncos have been to seven bowls in their history. The first six resulted in losses. They finally got a win last December in the Bahamas Bowl over Middle Tennessee State. In the 1900s, they played in two bowl games. In 1961 they lost to New Mexico in the Aviation Bowl and in 1988 they lost to Fresno State in the California Bowl. In this century, let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to get to a bowl, they’ve played in the 2007 International Bowl (a loss to Cincinnati), the 2008 Texas Bowl (a loss to Rice), the 2011 Little Caesar’s Bowl (a loss to Purdue), and the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where they lost to Air Force. Now, they could be heading to the Cotton Bowl where they would likely face the Big Ten Champion.
The MAC has always been the doormat to the Big Ten. Every season, early on Big Ten teams will schedule MAC teams as an easy win and a tuneup to get ready for the Big Ten schedule. If Western Michigan can play the Big Ten Champs in the Cotton Bowl and beat them, that would be the Leicester City story of College Football.
If the Broncos trip up tonight, then Navy will get that spot if they can beat Temple in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game on Saturday. Navy hasn’t been to a major bowl since the days of Roger Staubach in the early 1960s, so either way it would be a great Cinderella Story.
Should both teams lose, then the Mountain West Conference winner between San Diego State and Wyoming could possibly get in depending on where the final rankings fall between them and Temple.
A loss to Ohio seems highly unlikely for the Broncos. The only thing that could possibly stop them tonight would be the pressure of going undefeated. They have the better team and it really isn’t that close. In fact, the toughest game they had in the conference was against a 9-3 Toledo team last week and they handled them rather easily.
So get ready to celebrate tonight Broncos fans, your dream will come true. Then say goodbye to your Head Coach P.J. Fleck as he rides off to be the next coach of the Oregon Ducks.