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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Western Michigan Broncos Football Preview: Talkin' sMACk

Fitz and James engage in verbal fisticuffs as the notorious Western Weekend approaches. School pride and a potential MAC West Championship are on the line this year. Who walks away with the Victory Cannon?

Things are about to get serious this Saturday.
Things are about to get serious this Saturday.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Fitzsimons: This is gonna get ugly, isn't it?

James H. Jimenez: Not as ugly as your team's uniforms. But pretty close, yeah.

Fitz: Our jerseys get us record setting recruiting classes that help create +6 win differentials between seasons.  YOUR jerseys are maroon.  Seriously, what an ugly color!  Bleh.

But it looks like both our star running-backs might not be 100% this weekend.  Thomas Rawls still looks like he's being nagged by an injury and Jarvion Franklin is nursing a minor ankle sprain from the EMU game.  With Michigan weather doing its thing (copious amounts of snow, at least in Kalamazoo), can Cooper Rush hit Titus Davis, and whoever else is in that receiving core?

James: Well maroon is certainly better than excrement brown. (Gross.)

This is where I remind you that Titus is oh... I dunno, THE ONLY RECEIVER IN DIVISION I HISTORY to nab 8+ touchdowns in four seasons! I would live to see Donald Celiscar get blazed by him for at least one or two more. He got beaten by his coach, after all. And Coach hasn't balled in awhile.  We also have Jesse Kroll and Anthony Rice as good possession-type receivers, and Ben McCord as a security blanket.

And who needs Rawls, or hell, even Saylor Lavallii, when you can unleash Devon Spalding, the freshman running highlight reel in the backfield? Have you seen his last two games? Very impressive stuff.

Fitz: Who'd he do it against?  EMU and Miami?  LOLOLOL.  We'll see if he can hoop with the best of them.  And don't forget we have a Davis of our own who might just be better than Titus.  Corey and Daniel Braverman provide a lethal 1-2 duo at WR to complement Franklin's pure abusive power.

And say what you will about the secondary and coach.  We've shut teams down lately through the air, and Coach just did in his 2nd season what Enos just did last week during his 5th season:  Win 7 regular season games.  AND WE'VE PLAYED ONE LESS GAME!

That banner that the snowmobile will be dragging around Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Saturday will be from me.  And it'll say "KEEP DAN ENOS FOREVER PLZ K THX!!!"

James: Yeah, ​Coach ​Enos ​has been off to a slow start,​ ​but​ he's been coaching with his hair on fire lately, and the Chips seem to be responding very well to the sudden change in temperament. And I thought you said that Jarvion wouldn't be 100%. It's hard to hurt the other team when you're hurt yourself.

We also have a bruising defense, and as you mentioned prior, the weather is definitely going to factor in on both offensive attacks. We have one of the best lines in the MAC with Justin Cherocci, Jabari Dean, Blake Serpa, and Joel Ostman creating havoc. Don't forget a certain hot safety by the name of Tony Anesse who not only has hands, but also a propensity to lay the hammer down. (You might remember his game-sealing interception from last year's win at Waldo.)

Oh, didn't you mention something on Twitter about how bad Western is playing at Kelly/Shorts Stadium? That stadium is one of the best in the MAC, and with Coach Bro and the Rowboaters coming into our place, you best believe it's gonna be loud, especially with the visiting sideline being back on the grandstand. You're gonna get the boo birds from both sides while you ride that snowmobile, buddy. 

Fitz: Sure we're that bad historically, but remember the last time we were there?  I do. And last year is last year.  Hell, this year look at common opponents:  sure you have us with Purdue, but we played EMU, Miami, Ohio and Toledo better than you guys did, blowing out the first three and losing a heartbreaker to Toledo.  Trust me, Kelly/Shorts isn't squat as a stadium, it's the fact that CMU is the northern most team in the MAC that makes things tough.  I mean, THERE'S NOTHING THERE!

​James: Ugh. A sad, sad day indeed. I remember helping a poor fellow Chip wipe away tears. Anyways, I  need not remind you that we avenged ourselves last year in K-Zoo. But I totally will.

Let's take a look at the games you mentioned. We nearly doubled up Purdue, who you lost to. slammed Eastern with bits and pieces at running back, and won the Miami game even despite some questionable pass interference calls at the end. I do give you Toledo, but Central came very close to tying that game at the end on the road, with Rawls and Davis at probably 75% health. Ohio is so weak, you can call that one a toss-up. Besides, transitive stuff doesn't matter here. What matters is the head-to-head match-up. The Chips are finally figuring out how to win the close games, something they could not do last year. and I believe that they are more than capable of achieving a second straight victory this year. They know the stakes.

And really, what's so redeeming about Waldo Stadium? It's next to a train track and surrounded by trees, hills and unsightly buildings. Such a high school atmosphere. Kinda like how your football squad is just a JV version of Boise State, right down to the ghost horse helmet and desperate "we want to be a a big mid-major school" stench.

Fitz: Meh, last year was last year.  Everyone beat us.  'cept UMass.  They couldn't beat us.  Now?  We're blowing teams away.  That EMU game?  Yeah, we did that without Jarvion running (or even playing most of the game).  The offense is so balanced, that it's almost unstoppable at this point in the season.  I think if we play Purdue now, we win.

And Waldo is amazing.  It's historic (built with the baseball stadium, which hosted the first two College World Series), it goes all the way around (ahem, wuddup EMU and CMU?), and the hills and trees give it personality.  Who likes boring, bland bowl stadiums?  Build yours into a hill, it's better.

Also, at least we're doing something about our program.  CMU had Brian Kelly and Butch Jones, and is back to irrelevance.  Who wants to go to Central?  Now who wants to go to Kalamazoo and all the gimmicks.  They may be annoying at times, but it works.  Damn kids these days.

James: I'm gonna steal a line from Alex here: "Always with the if!" The fact is, you did not beat Purdue. Waldo might be built all the way around, but damn are all those randomly sized bleachers awkward. There are so many open spaces, that sound can escape through the corners of the grandstand. Where do you get your crowd noise then, the occasional train? The church bell tower three blocks down? Kelly/Shorts is electric, and with a good forecast expected for the game, I'm sure it will be a factor.

Yeah, CMU lost Butch Jones and Brian Kelly. But do you know where they coach now? Tennessee and Notre Dame, respectively. Who from Western Michigan's coaching tree has had any success like that? Bill Cubit? CMU has produced NFL-caliber talent of recent, with Antonio Brown, Jahleel Addae, and Eric Fisher all starting currently, and Titus Davis and Letterius Walton sure-fire prospects. On top of that, Central's Indoor Athletic Center is amazing. Those are the gimmicks that work in my opinion.

At the end of the day, the fact is, is that both of teams are pretty much even on both sides of the ball. Don't forget this is a rivalry game, Fitz. You can toss out records and talent and coaching and whatever. Stuff happens. The Victory Cannon will remain in the Pleasant Mount thanks to the home crowd and the potential trap game for WMU, who faces the Huskies next week. Final score: Central 24-17 Western.

Fitz: It's funny because Coach Fleck drilled down to the core on every little strength of CMU at this week's presser.  I feel like he's more than ready, and has had this game marked since the schedule came out.  I think this team is all moving in the same direction, and is a force to be reckoned with.  Jarvion should be ready to go, and if he is 100%, WMU will power through the Chips.  I'll say he's still not there, but is close enough for the Broncos to confuse and wear down CMU's defense to pull away a bit in the 2nd half.  Final score:  Western 31-17 Central