Western Michigan appears set to earn a New Year’s Six bowl game following a MAC title game win on Friday night. The Broncos would head to the Cotton Bowl in P.J. Fleck’s fourth season.
The boat shall row into a New Year’s Six bowl game.
With Navy dropping a 34-10 decision at home to Temple in the AAC title game on Saturday, Western Michigan will cap off its standout season with a berth in the Cotton Bowl.
The Midshipmen were ranked only two spots behind WMU in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and could have possibly stood in the Broncos’ way for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl berth. The Midshipmen had victories over Houston, Memphis and Tulsa, playing a schedule that stacked up stronger than WMU’s. But the loss to the Owls knocks the Midshipmen out of contention for that spot, clearing the way for the MAC program to play in a spotlight contest.
On Friday night, the Broncos won their first MAC championship since 1988, as Robert Spillane’s interception finished off a 29-23 victory over Ohio. The Broncos finished the regular season 13-0, the lone unbeaten outside of SEC power and No. 1 Alabama.
It would be stunning if P.J. Fleck’s team was not the highest ranked Group of Five team when the final College Football Playoff rankings come out on Sunday, which would deliver the school a New Year’s Six bowl bid. In addition to running the table in the MAC, WMU has two wins against the Big Ten, as the Broncos knocked off Northwestern and Illinois this fall.
With the win on Friday night, Western Michigan became just the seventh team in the past six seasons to complete an unbeaten regular season.
“It’s a historic day in Western Michigan history, and we deserve to be in the gosh darn Cotton Bowl, period,” Fleck said after the game on Friday. “Write it down.”
In last week’s bowl projections, the Broncos were slated to play Penn State in the Cotton Bowl.