Western Michigan gets what should be its best chance for a win since the infamous Nicholls loss this Saturday, as the Broncos travel to take on the Minutemen of UMass (1-6, 1-2 MAC). While UMass has done ostensibly better this year given their one win, WMU still stacks up reasonably well with them and should have more than a puncher's chance this week.
David James: It's hard to argue that Western Michigan is significantly better than UMass right now. After all, while both lost to their FCS opponent, the Minutemen managed a win over Miami. Now, while Miami is amidst one of their worst years ever, that's still more than WMU has accomplished thus far.
With that said, I actually like this matchup quite a bit for WMU. The Bronco offense is not going to light up the scoreboard against anybody, but if there's a worse offense in FBS to be found, it likely resides in Foxboro, Mass. WMU's offense at least contains some big-play threat; UMass is mostly just impotent.
This isn't an easy matchup on the road. UMass' defense is not a bad unit; still, I feel WMU has taken on tougher defenses for the majority of the season. And although it has been in baby steps, I think there has been improvement over the last couple of weeks. This time, the competition is at a lower level, and WMU should be able to pull it out.
Western Michigan 20, UMass 10
D.J. Duckett: This game may very well be WMU's best chance for a win in what has become a very disappointing season for the Western Michigan football program. In seasons past, this game was almost a guaranteed win, now the Broncos are looking at it as a last chance to salvage what they can from this year.
The Bronco defense should be able to match up well with the UMass offense, as they have in most of the MAC games this season. That will leave it on the shoulders of the Bronco offense to generate some points and give the team a chance to win. I see a WMU team desperate for a win going on the road and finally pulling one out.
Western Michigan 14, UMass 10
Brian Persky: To say the disparity between the top and bottom of the Mid-American Conference is very wide would be an understatement this season. Unfortunately, both teams in this matchup find themselves on the wrong end of the spectrum. P.J. Fleck is in complete rebuilding mode at WMU and Charley Molnar is still infusing division one players into what was once a proud FCS program.
Injuries and depth problems aside, the Broncos are still probably the better football team on the field for possibly just the second time all season (Nicholls). Fleck will look to get the ball into the hands of some of his playmakers (Corey Davis, Dareyon Chance) as much as possible in order to give Western Michigan its desperately needed first victory of the season.
With both teams struggling offensively, yet fielding relatively strong defenses, I think points will be extremely rare and hard to come by. The Broncos have more than enough on defense to hold the Minutemen at bay, as I'll be looking for them to win field position battles in order to win this game. It'll be ugly, but I'm calling for a Bronco victory in Gillette Stadium.
Western Michigan 13, UMass 7