Team preview: Western Michigan

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(All information as of June 20, 2007)


It's never a bad time to go bowling in college football, especially if the game comes after Jan. 1.

After leading Western Michigan out of the MAC basement in 2005, Bill Cubit took the Broncos one step further last season. They capped off an eight-win season with an appearance in the inaugural International Bowl in Toronto on Jan. 6.

The only difficult part was a 43-day wait for the game after beating Akron, 17-0, in the regular-season finale on Nov. 24.
"It was hard," Cubit said. "They aren't use to bowl games around here, and I hadn't done it either."

The Broncos looked out of sorts in the first half, falling behind 24-0 before they let loose and ended up settling for a 27-24 loss to Cincinnati.
WMU would obviously preferred to head into a busy offseason with a bowl crown, but the appearance was just another step in the right direction for the program under Cubit.

After all, the Broncos had not been to a bowl since 1988 (a 35-30 loss to Fresno State in the California Bowl) and had appeared in only two in school history before going north of the border.

Perhaps even more important than a bowl bid has been Cubit's record in the MAC the last two years. The Broncos lead all MAC schools with an 11-5 mark (.688) in league play since 2005.
That winning percentage might dip a bit this season after the Broncos took some heavy hits in the senior department and also lost several coaches.
On the field, quarterback Ryan Cubit, guard Dominic Mora, linebacker Ameer Ismail and kicker Nate Meyer leave some huge voids -- even on a team with 16 starters back -- with their departures.
"The guys we lost were crucial to our success," Cubit said. "They were the rocks that turned things around."