Western Michigan Broncos 2023 College Football Preview

Western Michigan Broncos 2023 College Football Preview

June 20, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 5-7

ATS – 6-6

The Tim Lester regime came to a conclusion as the Broncos posted their first losing season since 2013 when they finished 1-11. It was a decent run for Lester (37-32) but many folks feel like the Broncos left a MAC title or two on the table. The Broncos played better down the stretch and finished with a pair of wins over Central Michigan and Toledo (!). Can that momentum carry into 2023 for new HC Lance Taylor?.

Western Michigan Broncos 2023 Outlook


The Broncos’ offense was PUTRID last season as they could only muster 302 YPG (#124 FBS) and 19 PPG (#118). There’s not a ton of reason for optimism unless they get better production from their returning QB duo of Jack Salopek and Treyson Bourguet who booked a nasty 9-12 combined TD to INT mark LY. Maybe Old Dominion transfer QB Hayden Wolff will end up being THE MAN? We’ll keep an eye on the battle for the starting gig over the summer. Whomever starts at QB will be without leading WR Corey Crooms (814, 5 TD) and have to deal with a depleted rushing attack given the departure of 1,000-yard back Sean Tyler and backup La’Darius Jefferson. The WR unit has experience but nobody that appears to be as talented as Crooms, and it’s anyone’s guess what to expect at RB. Four starters are back up front which is a probably a good thing but the line play was mediocre in 2022.


The Broncos played solid defense LY and was the main reason the season didn’t up being a total disaster. They allowed 24.1 PPG (#2 MAC) and that was their lowest figure since the magical 2016 season in which they went 11-1 (19.8). BAD NEWS INCOMING. The Broncos lost their top-seven (!) tacklers including a number of star players, as well as their top-three sack men (19.5 total) so it could be a long season for the Broncos’ stop unit. DC Lou Esposito’s return is certainly a good thing but he’ll have to work some magic. Marshawn Kneeland is a good piece to work with up front (10 TFL LY) and they’ve got some beef on the DL, The LB group is a total rebuild project but they have a pair of legit doods in the secondary in CB Keni-H Lovely (4 INT LY) and safety Tate Hallock (Michigan St transfer).


PK Palmer Domschke was just 13-19 on FGA LY and they’ll need to find a new punter. They’re gonna miss KR Sean Tyler (23.1,TD).

Schedule Analysis

Overall – YIKES. They have three nasty non-conference road games on the agenda (Syracuse, Iowa, Mississippi St), play Toledo ON THE HIGHWAY, and draw Miami Ohio and Ohio from the East.

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Iowa (Sept 16)

This looks like a ROLL THE HELMETS OUT THERE AND LOSE BY 100 POINTS spot as the Broncos start their MAC schedule the following week.

Season Win Total

Market consensus June 20 <wide range of prices available>

Over 3.5 -140

Under 3.5 +120


No leanage.

They’ll be 1-3 heading into MACtion. Can they win three conference games and bank the ‘over’? Tough call. If we had to choose we’d shop around for a ‘4’ with higher juice and play the ‘under’.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

The 2016 Western Michigan squad was one of the best MAC teams in recent memory. The Broncos SHOCKED the WORLD in the opener with a road win at Northwestern (W 22-21) and they kept winning right thru the MAC Championship Game when they defeated the Ohio Bobcats (W 29-23). They gave Wisconsin all they could handle in the Cotton Bowl (L 24-16) and finished the season with an impressive record of 13-1. ROW THE BOAT, yo.


This is obviously a rebuilding year for first year head coach Lance Taylor who was the OC at LUA-VUH last year. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the offense exceed expectations with improved QB play, but it’s not fair to ask the defense to perform at a level anywhere close to what they did in 2022. The nasty schedule isn’t gonna do them any favors. A small handful of wins seems like the best case scenario but we hope they can pull a big upset along the way and set the course for 2024. Go Broncos!