The 2014 bowl season kicks off this Saturday afternoon (5:45pm ET) with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl from Boise, ID. The Western Michigan Broncos (8-4) of the Mid-American Conference take on the Air Force Falcons (9-3) of the Mountain West. The Broncos ended their season on November 28th with a 31-21 loss to MAC Champion Northern Illinois. Prior to that they had won 6 games in a row, all against MAC teams. The Falcons defeated then 21st ranked Colorado St. in the regular-season finale on November 28th after the Rams entered the game with a 10-1 record. In week 5 of this season Air Force handed the current 21st ranked team Boise State one of its two losses, a 28-14 win on this very field in Boise.
Western Michigan is ranked 30th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 34.6 points per game and 35th among FBS teams in total offense with 443.3 yards per contest.. The Broncos rank 38th nationally in points allowed with 23.8 per game and 47th in total defense 372 YPG allowed.
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Air Force is ranked 50th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 30.9 PPG scored and 49th among FBS teams in total offense with 423.5 YPG. The Falcons rank 42nd nationally in points allowed with 24.2 per game and 62nd in total defense 396.3 YPG allowed.
Western Michigan vs. Air Force Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Western Michigan Broncos +1.5
@ Air Force Falcons -1.5
Over 56.5 (-110)
Under 56.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Western Michigan vs Air Force Pick
The Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games on fieldturf and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. The Falcons are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Under is 6-1 in the Broncos’ last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 7-3 in their last 10 games following a ATS loss. The Under is 10-2 in the Falcons’ last 12 non-conference games, 6-1 in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 6-2 in their last 8 games following an outright win.
This game features two of the most improved teams in the country as each team has won more games than they did last season. Western Michigan under second year Head Coach P.J. Fleck is looking for the first bowl victory in program history. The Broncos are 0-5 all-time in bowl games with 3 losses by five points or less; the most recent being a 37-32 loss to Purdue in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit in 2011. In what the oddsmakers have as a close game, the Falcons have a couple of key advantages in that they are playing in familiar surroundings and have outstanding discipline and special teams. They have a key weapon that could be the difference in a close contest, kicker/punter Will Conant is the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year. He is 18-of-20 on field goals with a long of 50 yards, and a perfect 42-for-42 on extra points.
The Broncos have two dynamic offensive players of the nation’s most productive players in wide receiver Corey Davis, who has 12 TD receptions (4th nationally) and ranks 9th nationally with 1,232 receiving yards. He has caught at least one TD in 11 of WMU’s 12 games. Freshman tailback Jarvion Franklin has run for 1,525 yards and 24 TDs this season on his way to the MAC Offensive Player of the Year Award.
This game will come down to the team that plays with the most discipline and makes the fewest mistakes, and Air Force has the advantage having played a tougher schedule and having a group that will not be intimidated by playing in a bowl game. Take the Falcons here as WMU will still be searching for their first bowl win after this one.