Call me a hopeless romantic, that's fine with me. But I thought it would be fun as a Bronco fan to see how Western could still potentially make it to the MAC title game. And by "fun," I mean I'm extremely bitter about the last two weeks and need something to latch my football hopes onto. As we all know, the Broncos responded to that bone-crushing NIU loss by not really responding at all and losing to in-state foe EMU. So come with me on the highly unlikely walk to Ford Field for WMU...
So there are three schools with one conference loss and Toledo with zero conference losses for Western to get around in the MAC West. BSU, EMU, and NIU are those one loss-ers. After already losing to NIU and EMU, Western has to hope those teams get two more losses, as they would hold the head-to-head tie-breaker against Western if they only receive one more loss. But, beating BSU would give the Cardinals two losses and the head-to-head advantage to WMU in the standings. And of course, Toledo has to lose twice, one being to WMU so again the Broncos get the tie-breaker.
Here's what needs to happen:
First, Cubit and his Broncos have to win out. Duh. Having a third conference loss means it's really over. That means beating Ball State, Toledo, Miami, and Akron. Beating BSU knocks them out of the race, and an upset of Toledo still relies on someone else taking the Rockets out.
Besides WMU, Toledo has to play NIU, Central, and Ball State. The best bet for that second loss is probably the Huskies. At that point, UT has two losses (one to Western) and is thus out of the picture for WMU (I know how crazy this sounds at this point in the year, just indulge me).
From here on out it gets pretty hairy. We still need to find Eastern and NIU two losses. Each team has four games left. But for Western's sake, NIU only has three games to get those losses if the Broncos are hoping for that Huskie upset of Toledo. It would be nice for Western if EMU would play its normal role and lose the rest of their games, but they are clearly a much better team this year.
One possible scenario is EMU losing to Ball State and Buffalo (who deserve a win, those poor kids), then beating Kent and NIU, handing Northern that first loss. At the same time, NIU would beat Toledo and Ball State while getting a second loss to Bowling Green (who recently proved themselves by beating Temple).
Of course, there are many, many ways this could all shake down. Maybe Ball State takes down Toledo instead of NIU and then Toledo can be one of the Huskies' losses?
Is the chance of something like this happening small? Yes, of course. But after watching and studying a lot of MAC football I do know it's extremely hard to predict how a conference season will finish.