The Western Michigan Broncos have been high on life for the last month after going undefeated and capturing the MAC Championship. For months they went without nobody noticing them outside of the state of Michigan. Now they have the opportunity to show off to the rest of the country. While some teams are not too happy to go a certain bowl game, Western Michigan are ecstatic to be playing in the Cotton Bowl. Motivation is not going to make an impact in this game for the Broncos. They’ve been excited for a month ever since it was announced they were going to the Cotton Bowl. Western Michigan will take on the Wisconsin Badgers, who would have liked to been playing elsewhere, say Pasadena.
Wisconsin lost the Big Ten Championship to Penn State by a score of 38-31, which blocked their plans of going to the Rose Bowl. The Nittany Lions had to be somewhat disappointed themselves, as they were hoping to get invited to the college football playoff instead of Ohio State. Penn State beat Ohio State and won the Big Ten Championship, so they had a good case. However, the committee went with Ohio State, who proceeded to get blown out of the stadium against Clemson on New Year’s Eve. You can bet that Penn State was watching that game thinking they could have given Clemson a much better run for their money. For Wisconsin, the Cotton Bowl isn’t a bad consolation prize, but they were a touchdown away from the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl, so it is a bit of a downer for them.
This game comes to a familiar angle in bowl games: is Wisconsin going to be excited enough to play in the Cotton Bowl? We all know that Western Michigan is jacked up beyond belief, so can the Broncos parlay that into a win over the Badgers? Talent may all Wisconsin needs to override that wave of energy from the Broncos. Conversely, though, I think Western Michigan can’t come out to excited to be in this game. Too much excitement has players feeling a bit jittery and by the time they settle down, the game is out of hand. I’m looking forward to see how Western Michigan handles a Power 5 opponent in the Cotton Bowl. Most of all, though, let’s find a winning pick.
Western Michigan Broncos vs. Wisconsin Badgers Cotton Bowl Betting Odds:
Western Michigan +8.5(-110)
vs. Wisconsin -8.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin Pick:
Western Michigan have the horses to put up big numbers, but they haven’t played a defense like Wisconsin. The best defense I’d say they played late in the season was against Ohio in the MAC Championship, who were able to hold them to 29 points. They didn’t have one high-tier team on their schedule. Nevertheless, an undefeated regular season is impressive no matter how you look at it. They can complete the true perfect season against Wisconsin this afternoon. The Broncos offense is led by prolific passer Zack Terrell, who passed for a staggering 32 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He did finish up the regular season, though, with 2 interceptions after throwing 1 all year long.
He frequently targeting his favorite target, Corey Davis. Davis has been one of the best wide receivers you’ve never heard of over the last three years. It hasn’t been a one-time show for Davis, he’s gained 1,408, 1,436, 1,427 yards the last three seasons. In that time, he’s caught 45 touchdowns for an average of 15 a season. Antonio Brown came out of the MAC, and now Davis will have an opportunity to be the next big receiver to come out of the conference.
Western also have a potent running back, after Jarvion Franklin rushed for 1,300 yards along with 14 touchdowns total. Wisconsin is going to bring some heat on defense, though. The Broncos finished with an average of 496 yards and 43.5 points per game to overwhelm the rest of the competition in the MAC. I don’t think if they can overwhelm Wisconsin, however. The Badgers finished 6th in total team defense, allowing an average of 303 yards per game. They also surrendered only 15.5 points a game. This game reminds me an awfully lot of Northern Illinois vs Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl. Florida State ultimately had too much talent, coming out of it with a 31-10 win. I could see something similar happening in the Cotton Bowl this afternoon. P.J. Fleck has done a tremendous job with this team, and he is going to rewarded in the future with a well paying coaching position at a bigger school. But today, he’s going to find out that this isn’t the MAC he’s up against.
PICK: WISCONSIN -8.5 (-110)