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Western Michigan Preview August 31, 2007

Posted by City Hoops in Previews.
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wmu.gifWESTERN MICHIGAN

Last year: 8-5, 6-2 MAC
Lost International Bowl, 27-24 vs. Cincinnati 

Returning starters: eight offense, eight defense
Most exciting: Soph. RB/KR Brandon West
Mr. Reliable: Sr. RB Mark Bonds
Sure hands: Jr. WR Jamarko Simmons
Breakout season: Jr. DE Zach Davidson
Impact newcomers: Jr. WR Schneider Julien (JUCO), Jr LB Boston McCornell (JUCO) 

Opener: Saturday at West Virginia
MAC Opener: Sept. 29 at Toledo
Prediction: 8-4 (7-1 MAC)

Top Detroiters: James Blair, Sr. OT (Pershing); Dezmond Gray, Sr. DT (Cass Tech); Matt Pickens, rFr LB (Brother Rice); Chris Pyant, rFr DT (Farmington Hills Harrison)

Fast fact: The Nov. 6 (Tuesday) rivalry clash with Central Michigan will mark the first-ever nationally televised game at Waldo Stadium (ESPN2).

Click through for the outlook …Broncos Outlook:

One game.

It was gone with the wind (and rain).

Western Michigan entered last season’s showdown at Central Michigan with just one loss in the conference and hopes of a MAC West title and trip to Ford Field.

But the Broncos play’ at Kelly-Shorts Stadium was about as brutal as the weather in a 31-7 loss. They couldn’t recover the next week against a mediocre Florida State team and lost to a Brian Kelly-coached team for the second time (Cincinnati) in the International Bowl.

With a different outcome against CMU, Western’s season might not be defined by losing three of its final four.
Third year head coach Bill Cubit believes his team has the framework to enter this November with similar aspirations of a division and MAC Championship. Most preseason pundits have picked the Broncos either first or second in the West Division, interchanged with Central.

Whichever quarterback Cubit settles on – currently a battle between sophomore Tim Hiller and senior Thomas Peregrin – will have plenty of weapons at their disposal, including a top-flight tandem at running back (senior Mark Bonds, who topped 1,000 yards last year, and sophomore Brandon West) and a collection of capable receivers.

The ball-hawking defense led the nation last year with 24 interceptions and returns eight starters. Good news for the future: all the projected starters are juniors. Most of the key depth is provided by juniors and sophomores.

Like its MAC counterparts, Western did a tremendous job of scheduling. The Broncos open with an ominous task: on the road at West Virginia. Other BCS conference opponents include a home tilt with Indiana and road games at Missouri and Iowa. 

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