Friday, October 16, 2009
Western vs Central: Second Best Football Rivalry In Michigan
The Western-Central game is the top rivalry game in the MAC and is almost always a great game. The Broncos lead the series by 8 games but have only won 9 out of the last 20. Central has the upper hand even more recently, taking 2 straight against Tim Hiller and the Brown and Gold. Hiller vs LeFevour has been very underwhelming, with this going to be the second and final meeting. The pocket passer and the scrambler. The spread vs pro style. The Heisman hopeful and the steady vet. This should be another classic in the series. Waldo Stadium should be buzzing come Saturday.
How Western Can Win: Western can't let this game turn into a shootout. The Bronco defense has not been good enough to take over a game or even be steady throughout a game. They just have to bend a ton but not break. A vital turnover late in the game could make all the difference. Western will need to keep the scoring going after last week's 58-26 drubbing of a improved Toledo squad. Brandon West and Co. need to churn out yardage and keep LeFevour on the sidelines. The running game will be vital for both teams with colder than usual weather in breezy Waldo Stadium. Hiller will have to take care of the ball but also make big plays. They are going to have to gamble to beat a better team.
How Western Can Lose: There is a standard WMU losing pattern in the Cubit era. They get behind early with turnovers and stupid plays. WMU never looks like a winning team and the Broncos lose. It has happened multiple times in my experience as a Bronco. Ball State last year, Central last year, Indiana this year its all the same. If they fall into that trap, the game may be over before it really gets started. Turnovers and poor defensive play and bad third down conversion will doom the Broncos on Saturday.
How Central Can Win: Don't get behind early on the road. Putting up big offensive numbers will only increase your chances of winning. The defense needs a few big plays to take the Bronco attack out of rhythm. Stop the running game and make the Bronco passing attack beat you. Let LeFevour run and pass to keep the young Bronco defense off balance.
How Central Can Lose: Let the Broncos hang around all game. Then the Veteran Hiller can work his magic with the surprising Jordan White and deep threat Juan Nunez. Brandon West can not be allowed to put up 100+ yards to eat up clock. Don't let the weather or Waldo faithful keep you off rhythm. Rhythm is so crucial to a spread attack. You can win a shootout, so don't take your foot off the pedal.
The game will be on FSN Detroit+ at 3:30 PM on Saturday. This is the first Saturday Central game at Waldo since 2005. The game has already sold more tickets than any WMU game in over 3 years. Western will have to play very well against a better team and to stay in the MAC West hunt. I really hope the Broncos can pull off an upset. I was right in the MSU vs U of M game so here is my prediction:
WMU 35 CMU 31