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CENTRAL MICHIGAN vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 7:30 pm
ESPN There have been some good matchups in past editions of this bowl. In 2008 Rusty Smith and Dan LeFevour put on a nice QB duel. Three years earlier DeAngelo Williams capped off a stellar college career by carrying the ball 238 yards and scoring three times as Memphis beat Akron in a thriller. There have been other compelling, intriguing games. On paper at least, this is not one of those matchups. The game falls the day after Christmas, but it’s not likely to be a big present for college football fans. One team just isn’t very good, and the other, while better, is going through a high-profile and very distracting coaching change. The Chippewas are riding a three-game win streak, while the Hilltoppers lost three of their last four, so momentum is definitely in CMU’s favor. But the break leading up to the game at Ford Field is going to even the playing field, and I expect WKU’s offense, led by Antonio Andrews and Kawaun Jakes, is going to prevail in this game. CMU did what it had to do to become bowl-eligible, winning its last three games. But still, the record of the teams it beat this season is a dreadful 15-53. the Chippewas might have home-field advantage, playing much closer to home, but I don’t think it will play a big enough factor to lead them to victory. Running back Antonio Anthony, the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards, will be cause too many problems for the CMU defense. CMU hasn’t played in a bowl game in three years, and they are playing close to home, so their fan support should be strong — at least compared to Western Kentucky. The fanbase isn’t at its most enthusiastic right now, though, and the attendance has fallen the more they have played in this game, so it would be easy to give the Chippewas too much credit for the location. With Western Kentucky, there is a whole lot of excitement around this team about having a guy like Petrino taking over. That’s a massive get for this team, and it only happened because the guy is a slimeball. Players will inevitably be looking forward to next year, so Guidry is in a very tough situation here. The advantage he has, though, is that he has been through this before — he was the interim head coach for Miami of Ohio in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011, and he led the team to a win.
Time to bounce back after a beat down with Fresno State. But again start off the bowl season with 5 straight wins, once in a while you have to take one for the team. Posted this weeks ago but gotta believe Western Kentucky will bring strong fan support along with their strong running attack. The Chippewas will bring the fans as well, but this is fan base that I don’t feel is 100-percent behind this team, as many don’t feel CMU is deserving of this bid. WKU’s strong offense will be too much for CMU, as the offense will not be able to keep up. The Hilltoppers get a win in their first ever bowl game. A strong rushing game from Antonio Andrews and a large, boisterous Western Kentucky following will propel the Hilltoppers to a win in their first bowl appearance in program history. They have the better record and they have better wins, and though they aren’t wildly explosive they are good enough to exploit the lousy Central Michigan defense. Western Kentucky should win this game by more than 2 touchdowns. Dont really have much of an opinion on the total so will hope we kick off a big week with a win tonight and a bunch of games tomorrow.