2012 Western Michigan Broncos Football Preview
2011 Record: 7-6 (5-3 Mid-American)
Head Coach: Bill Cubit, eighth season (47-39 at Western Michigan) (81-57-1 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 13
Spring Game: April 14th (Brown 41 Gold 28)
Notes: Coach Cubit, who returns for his eighth season, had of his best teams last season. The Broncos struggled defensively late last season. They averaged giving up 21.67 points per game in the first six games, but 34.71 points per game in the final seven games (though the loss to Toledo was in the last seven games, 66-63). Because of the defensive meltdown, the Broncos are switching to a 3-3-5 set. Cubit has averaged 6.7 wins per year while at WMU, with a high of 9 and a low of 5. Despite Cubit’s success, WMU has yet to win a bowl game in the program’s history. He’s been close though, as the 2007 International Bowl was a three-point loss to Cincinnati and the Broncos lost last season to Purdue in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl by five.
BVTSB Take: Coach Cubit is known to playing a tough non-conference schedule, one that routinely prepares his teams for the MAC schedule. Last year, WMU played Michigan and Illinois, losing both. The Broncos had a strong showing against the Illini, nearly pulling off the upset. They beat Nicholls State and Connecticut in non-conference to split the schedule. Western has split games against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan each season since 2008. The Broncos haven’t swept their MAC Michigan rivals since 2005. Quarterback Alex Carder returns for his senior season, and could be first team all conference once the season is over. Carder has thrown for over 3300 yards each of the past two seasons, as well as 30 touchdowns. He certainly has NFL potential as a later round draft pick or as a free agent. Running back Tevin Drake, who rushed for 586 yards and five touchdowns also returns to help Carder out of the backfield. Wide receiver Jordan White accounted for 38% of all of WMU’s receptions, but he will be with the NFL’s New York Jets now. It’s a huge loss for Carder and the Broncos, who saw White go over 1900 yards receiving and 17 touchdown catches. Western also loses Chleb Ravenell and Robert Arnheim to graduation. In all, the Broncos lose the experience of three receivers who accounted for 72.8% of all catches, 78.7% of receiving yards, and 75% of all touchdown catches. Needless to say, WMU is very inexperienced at wide receiver, so Carder may struggle early. WMU faces Illinois and Minnesota on the road this year, while picking up Eastern Illinois and Connecticut at home. All of the non-conference games are winnable, especially based on the showing the Broncos had against Illinois and Connecticut last season, but they are also capable of going 1-3 in those games. WMU does draw Massachusetts, Kent State, and Buffalo out of the East, so the schedule isn’t exactly tough. This team is more than capable of winning the West Division, but the wide receivers will need to learn quickly, as Western plays Toledo (at Waldo Stadium) and Ball State (at Scheumann Stadium) in two of their first three conference games.
2012 Early Projection: 8-4
To see the 2012 MAC composite schedule, click here.
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