That was the final record, a complete reverse of what many Bronco fans had predicted this season given the 2 MAC West home opponents (NIU & Toledo) and the relatively weak non-conference schedule. 8-4? That was almost the low-ball guess. Still, it was reasonable.
I shudder to even type that one. The MAC record. Wins? UMass and on the road against CMU. Losses? NIU and Toledo at home. Kent State and Ball State on the road. Reasonable given the recent success of the four teams and the injuries that led up to the games. Carder gets hurt, enter TVT. Poor game against Toledo? Sure. Ball State and Kent State meltdowns? UGH!!!!!!! Decent game against a great NIU team? *golf clap*. Leading a 4th quarter comeback against CMU? HELL YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What TVT did this season was hard to explain. He stepped in, had haters, but still progressed into a starting QB for next season. He made progress, and showed it in Mt. Pleasant with a 4th quarter comeback. He had his moments, but in the end, was better than Carder this season, mostly because of.............
That was the record in the final two games. @ Buffalo, vs EMU (for the Michigan MAC Trophy). Buffalo? OK, I'm not sure why start Alex Carder, but Bill Cubit did. Carder struggled, gave the game away, and the Broncos were bowl ineligible. But the EMU game? That was the final nail. Maybe Cubit was gone after the game anyways because of the Buffalo choice. Maybe not. We'll never know. But to lose to a team that came into the game 1-9 is unacceptable with this team.
That was the number of INTs thrown this year by Bronco QBs. 1 shy of Idaho's 22 for worst in FBS. Tied for 2nd with Washington State. Carder threw 10 against UConn, Minnesota, Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Buffalo, and EMU. TVT threw 11 against Toledo, UMass, NIU, Kent State (2nd in the nation in INTS), Ball State, and CMU.
Turnover margin. More than -1 per game. Tied with Akron for worst in the MAC and Top 10 for worst in the country.
The worst record in Bill Cubit's tenure. Any one win and he would've tied his 5-7. What makes this record so bad? It was the talent. The running game finally showing up. The offensive line being so seasoned. The defense playing decent this season. And it was the passing game that faltered. It was the decision to go with loyalty (Carder) over the hot hand (TVT) that doomed Cubit.
That was the last record that was this bad. 2004 was the season. Gary Darnell was fired after that. However, it was more foreseeable. Darnell was not well liked. That team was not expected to compete. This team was. It had the pieces. It underachieved.
That was the defensive yardage given up ranking in the MAC by WMU. This defense was good. Hell, look at the rest of the rankings in the MAC:
|3rd Down Conv||3rd|
|Opponent 1st Downs||3rd|
|Opponent 3rd Down Conv||5th|
If you want a good giggle, look at who is #1 at pass offense
*-rushing attack at 10th is close to 9th and isn't as far down on the list as years past
Remember, there are 7 teams bowl eligible in the MAC this year. 6 have 8 wins or more. Those are good rankings and yet, 4-8 record.
I'm sure it was the players fault. They don't throw INTs. They don't turn the ball over. They down give up long passes. But the 4 INTs against Buffalo? Rust and loyalty. The poor, listless play against EMU? Poor motivation. You could see it against CMU. Chip players jumping up and down and into the game, Broncos were just "meh". Final outcome aside, it was a sign.
So what comes next?
Well the head coaching search has begun, and a ton of names are out there. Too many for me to actually wrap my head around. Whoever he is, this is what he inherits:
- A senior QB that has plenty of game experience with his.........
- Good core of WRs led by Jaime Wilson (should he stay), Josh Schaffer, and Justin Collins
- A stable of running backs led by Dareyon Chance, who finished just shy of 1,000 yards this season.
- A decent O-Line that will graduate a few seniors this offseason.
- A talented secondary that needs coaching to truly be great
- A nice stable of LBs that have their moments of greatness
- A D-Line that will need work after graduating some seniors
- A sophomore punter-kicker combo that were hit-and-miss this season (see 82 yd punt and 19 yd punts)
He'll also inherit away games at NIU and Toledo, but get Ball State and CMU at home. Non-conference wise? At Michigan State, vs Nicholls State, at Northwestern, at Iowa to start the season.
Until then, let there be hockey!