Western Michigan Broncos 2021 College Football Preview
Created July 11, 2021
Record – 4-2
ATS – 3-3
“Here we go again. Again.” <Tugg Speedman; Scorcher VI – Global Meltdown>
The Broncos continued to be SNAKE BITTEN during the Tim Lester era and failed to make the MAC Championship Game for the 4th consecutive season. This time it was due to a final game collapse vs Ball St (L 30-27). There’s been a lot of talent on recent squads but they can’t seem to get over the hump. 4-2 wasn’t a disaster but fans are expecting a bit more. Let’s see what’s in store for the Broncos in 2021.
Western Michigan Broncos 2021 Outlook
The Broncos performed well on offense LY and were balanced (#5 MAC rush, #3 pass) whilst scoring an impressive 41.7 PPG (#3 MAC). QB Kaleb Eleby boasted a phenomenal 18-2 TD to INT mark and completed 65% of his passes at an impossible clip of 11.2 yards/attempt. Eleby was #3 in the FBS in pass efficiency behind NFL-bound Mac Jones and Zach Wilson. He’s back this year but will be without #1 WR D’Wayne Eskridge who was one of the most dangerous players in the MAC. The #2 and #3 WRs Skyy Moore and Jaylen Hall both return and recall that Hall averaged a sweet 26.9 YPC whilst bagging 7 TD receptions LY. The top-3 RBs all return led by 2nd Team MAC honoree La’Darius Jefferson (624, 5.6, 5 TD). Four starters return up front including star OL Mike “Frank” Caliendo, and note that the Broncos allowed just 7 sacks LY (#2 MAC sacks allowed per game). This offense will be REALLY good despite bringing on a new OC.
The Broncos struggled on D a season ago and allowed 34 PPG for the second time in three seasons. And they didn’t even have to face Kent St. They allowed over 500 yards to Toledo and Eastern Michigan (!). Ten starters return to the stop unit including everyone up front and NG Ralph Holley is one of the best DL in the conference (3 sacks, 9 TFL). DE Ali Fayad chipped in four sacks and the Broncos were #2 in the MAC in sacks/game LY. The LB group returns a good chunk of their two-deep but will be without tackling machine Treshaun Hayward who transferred to Arizona. The Broncos posted a mediocre 12-2 TD to INT mark LY but return everyone on the back end and have a good-looking pair of safeties. This should be one of the most improved defenses in the MAC.
Western Michigan has posted four (!) Top-50 finishes in the Phil Steele special teams rankings over the past six years (LY #32) but lose their dynamic KR D’Wayne Eskridge. They were #85 in net punting LY and just 5-9 on FG attempts.
Overall – The non-conference schedule is challenging. They take on Michigan and Pittsburgh ON THE HIGHWAY and face a scrappy San Jose St squad at home. They draw well from the MAC East and have a really good road conference draw in (Buffalo, Toledo (yikes), Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – November 9th (Akron)
This isn’t a spot we’ll be likely to lay a ton of points. Akron is still closer to PURE FILTH than competitive BUT this game pops up in a DIRECTIONAL MICHIGAN SANDWICH (Chips, Eagles).
Season Win Total
per 5Dimes, July 11
Over 6 -110
Under 6 -110
There’s nobody in the MAC that these guys can’t beat. If they can slither past San Jose St and go into conference play at 2-2 this ‘over’ should be a winner. If not, 6-2 is not out of the question.
It wasn’t that long ago when Western Michigan ROWED THE BOAT all the way to the Cotton Bowl and gave Wisconsin all they could handle (L 24-16, 2017). The Broncos finished that year with a record of 13-1.
The Broncos have posted a mark of 24-20 since the aforementioned SUPER SEASON of 2016. Six wins. Seven. Seven. Four in the shortened season. This year’s team doesn’t appear to have any major weakness and they’ll be very potent on offense. Central Michigan and Ball St may have something to say, but our best guess is that the MAC West will go to the winner of the Broncos / Rockets clash in late October.
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