2018 College Football Team Previews: Western Michigan Broncos

Western Michigan Broncos
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Coach: Tim Lester (6-6@WMU, 46-29 overall) 2nd Season
Stadium: Waldo Stadium (Capacity: 30,200)

CSJ Projections:
4th: MAC (3rd in West Division)
3rd: Michigan
81st: FBS
85th: Division I

2017 In A Sentence: After Western Michigan went 13-1 and had a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2016 and also lost its head coach in P.J. Fleck, the only place it could go was down and the Broncos did that but did not have a full collapse as it finished 6-6 and did not get a bowl bid.

Biggest Shoes to Fill: RB Jarvion Franklin leaves Kalamazoo as the Broncos all-time rushing leader. He had 4,867 career yards, which also ranks fifth all-time in MAC history and 33rd in FBS history. His 52 rushing TDs (WMU record) ties for fourth most in history of the MAC, 28th all-time in FBS. He signed a college free agent deal with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers this past spring.

Key Player: QB Jon Wassink had the Broncos in line with two MAC games to go to win the West Division of the conference but broke his collarbone and with it knocked the divisional title hopes with it. After struggling in his first two games against Power 5 opponents, he then completed 70 percent of his passes with 14 TDs to two INTs over his final six games. His health will be key to WMU getting back to the MAC West contention.

Fearless Prediction: With a number of losses on both offense and defense, WMU will need to break-in new starters but the talent level is there to just do that. If the new players can gel and take a few lumps in the first four games, all being non-conference games, it very well could be in the race and also get back to a bowl game.