Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, MI
Opening College Football Odds: Western Michigan -7
Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan TV Coverage: ESPN2
Last season's Western Michigan team will be most remembered for reaching the New Year's Six. This year's team won't be remembered for nearly the same feat, though playing in the highest scoring game in FBS history probably should count for something.
That 71-68 game does skew all the numbers for the Western Michigan offense, though in fairness, playing two straight games in driving rainstorms against Akron and Eastern Michigan will probably balance things out.
The Broncos are 5-3 with a 3-1 record in conference play. There's no shame in losing to Akron, but the real contests are going to come at the end of the regular season when they have to travel to Toledo and Northern Illinois. We could be talking about a team that still wins the MAC, yet with those two games still on the schedule, we also could be talking about a team that doesn't qualify for a bowl game, too.
Remember Shane Morris when he was supposed to be the savior at quarterback for Michigan? In his Wolverines career, Morris threw the ball just 87 times and did so without a single touchdown. He was constantly expected to do more than he ever was given the opportunity to do so, and he transferred as a graduate to Central Michigan this season.
Morris hasn't been great, but at least he's had the ability to play. He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 1,966 yards with 16 touchdowns, but he continues to have interception problems with 11 picks.
The Central Michigan offense is certainly pass-first, and there are games when Morris is on and the team delivers performances like a 56-9 drubbing of Ball State. Then again, this offense also has four times this year in which it scored 17 points or fewer, and that won't be enough to beat anyone at this level of the MAC.
The Western Michigan offense is going to look much different this week than it did in the past. Jon Wassink wasn't your typical drop back passer, but he was certainly used more to throw the ball than run it. After suffering a broken collarbone in the team's last game at Eastern Michigan, it'll be freshman Reece Goddard who comes in to make his first career start.
Goddard has only appeared in three games this season, and he's thrown just three passes for his collegiate career. He's done more running so far than throwing the ball, and we have no clue whether he can or cannot throw the ball more than a few yards down the field.
"He's young, he has a lot of talent, and he has great moxie when he gets the ball in his hands in the pocket," said coach Tim Lester about Goddard.
Though that's a ringing endorsement, we all know that true freshmen tend to struggle in their first outings when they're the man under center.
Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan Free Picks
This game just has the feeling of an upset to it. Many who place bets at their favorite online sportsbook are going to remember this Western Michigan team as the one that ran roughshod on the MAC last season. It isn't that team this year, it hasn't beaten much of anyone all that impressive yet this season, and its starting quarterback is out for the rest of the season.
Morris, a fifth-year senior with a slew of experience, has already generated one away upset this season against a big team from the MAC in Ohio, and though there have been some maddening losses as well, this could be another great day to put the Chippies on the road to a bowl game in December.
College Football ATS Pick: Central Michigan +7 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Central Michigan 37, Western Michigan 24